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Build A Theater Seat Riser Platform With These Simple Instructions


A riser platform is a definite must if you're going to have more than one row of seating in your home theater. It will help the people in the back row(s) get a clear view of the screen.

There are many different ways to build a riser platform. After all, its just a shallow wooden box. Its shape, carpet covering, trim, and even lighting can make a plain-jane riser platform into something pretty cool. Here's a simple plan on how to do it.

In this example, we're going to build a typical riser platform measuring 8 feet wide by 6 feet deep. It will be about 12 inches tall and have a single step. This is plenty of room for three theater chairs or a couch.

If you're going to be building a riser platform, be sure you have enough head-room for the back row. Most homes have 8 foot ceilings. This is fine but can get a little tight if your riser is 12 inches (1 foot) of the floor. You also have to consider the amount of room you'd need to mount a projector, not to mention that your guests will hear louder fan noise.

If you're building a new home, it would be a good idea to plan ahead and make sure the ceiling in your home theater or family room is at least 9 feet tall.

We're going to use a pair of 8 foot long (96") 2x6 studs for the front and back, and 9 shorter studs to make up the body. You can buy 96" studs, but you'll have to cut the shorter studs yourself.

Note that a 2x6 isn't really 2 inches by 6 inches, but really 1 1/2 by 5 1/2. This is due to the manufacturing process. Why is this important? Well its not if you don't care of the exact dimensions of your riser platform, but here we're building ours to be 5 feet deep.

Start by cutting nine 2x6 studs to a length of 69" long. Thats 6 feet (72"), minus 1 1/2 inches at the front, and 1 1/2 inches at the back. When you'll assemble the riser platform, you'll end up with exactly 6 feet in depth. Why 9 studs? To keep the riser platform strong and able to support the weight of a couple people, we'll be putting a stud across the length of the riser (8 feet) every 12 inches on center; thats 9 studs.

Assemble the pieces according to the diagram below. This is very much like framing a wall.

riser platform

Now that the first frame is built, you have to build a 2nd frame only this one will only be 5 feet deep. Use another pair of 2x6 studs measuring 96" long. Cut the shorter studs to 60" and assemble as before. Put the shorter platform on top of the larger one so the back lines up. Screw together.

riser platform

Cover the top with a sheet of 1" thick plywood. The next step would be to cover with carpetting. If you're already getting the room carpetted, ask the flooring company if their guys will carpet the riser platform while they're there.

If you're more adventurous, you could build a riser that features a subtle inward curve. These look pretty neat but you have to do more work with your ends.

Instead of a stud going across the front, you'd cut the end of each stud at an angle. Studs 1 and 9 will have the same angle, studs 2 and 8 will have a shallower angle, and so on. This will form an arc. Carefully cut another stud into smaller pieces and screw them between each stud for support.

Bend a thin piece of plywood (1/2") across the front surface. Use a power stapler or nailer to secure the plywood face to the studs. Don't be too concerned about someone accidentally kicking in the thin plywood. If you are, you could apply a layer of wood glue, then put down another identical peice of plywood. Hold it together with clamps every few feet and staple it in.

riser platform
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