Game Rooms of Different Shapes and Sizes
Not everyone has enough space for a designated game room—it’s one of the most popular uses for a finished basement—but even if you have to squeeze the fun into a portion of a room otherwise used for a different purpose, it’s hard to beat the appeal of a space entirely devoted to having a good time. Whether yours is mostly used for family time, a spot for the kids to blow off steam, an entertaining zone, or even your own “me time,” the following game room ideas will help you design the space of your dreams.
Avoid Specific Themes
While it might initially seem like a good idea, the problem with a game room designed around a specific theme—such as tiki bar, English pub, the beach, or the 1980s—is that an overreaching theme can limit your creativity, or get stale after a year or two. Instead, focus on basic good design, including comfortable furniture, plenty of lighting, cheery pops of color, and enough seating for everyone.
Related: 10 Shortcuts to a Not-So-Scary Basement
Divvy Up the Space
Even a small game room should have a multipurpose design. For example, you could mount a television on the wall for family movie night, set up a zone for doing crafts or playing games, include a small refrigerator to keep chilled snacks right at hand, and even buy a pool table, ping-pong table, or foosball table if space permits. Multiple activity choices increase the versatility of your game room and make it likelier to become a favorite family hangout.
Game Room Ideas That Go Vertical
Wondering what to do with a long, narrow game room? Such a design can actually be a plus if you want a very large television; the larger the screen, the further back seating needs to be for optimal viewing, so go ahead and mount the TV on a far wall, then take advantage of the room’s shape to set your couch back a suitable distance. Of course, there are other game room ideas for a long and narrow space: it’s the perfect layout for a dartboard or indoor “shooting range” mounted on a far wall.
Have a Cocktail Corner
Even if you spend a lot of family time in your game room, there’s no reason not to add a little adults-only entertainment in the form of a cocktail corner. It doesn’t take much; all you really need is a pair or more of comfortable chairs and a cabinet or bar cart to hold glasses, favorite spirits, and bar accessories. Choose a bar cart that reflects your decorating personality, such as this contemporary styled set from Wayfair.
Make it Music-Friendly
Whether it’s classical, pop, jazz, or rap, chances are, music is a part of your entertaining or leisure time. That’s why a set of good speakers, such as the Sonos One Two-Speaker Set sold on Amazon, is a must-have addition to your game room. Speakers can also improve the sound quality of your television, giving you that “theater” sound right in your own home. When deciding on the placement of your speakers, remember that you’ll get the best sound quality if they are evenly spaced on either side of your room’s main seating area.
Related: Smart Home Skeptic? These Are the Products for You
Create a Board Game Zone
One of the best ways to spend some family time is gathered around a board game. And with near-endless choices, there’s sure to be a game your family will love, even if you have a wide range of ages or difficult-to-please teens. If game nights are a regular event in your game room, you’ll want a table that’s large enough to hold the board and playing pieces, as well as enough comfortable chairs for everyone.
Set Up a Projector
No, not one of those old-fashioned projectors you might remember from your schooldays. Today’s projectors work with a huge range of multimedia and streaming services instead of big spinning reels of film. Use a projector to cast a favorite video game on the wall for bigger-than-life gaming, enjoy your favorite TV show as a family, or even use a projector that can really go big—the GooDee HD Video Projector, available at Amazon, can cast an image that’s a whopping 230 inches—for a backyard movie night, using a light-colored bedsheet as a screen.
Add Interest to the Walls
You might prefer to stick with neutrals in other areas of your home, but why not throw caution to the wind when it comes to your game room ideas? There are many ways to make the walls a lot more fun than an expanse of white paint: choose a bold paint color instead, hang a gallery wall full of favorite family or vacation photos, use a self-stick mural to create an accent wall, or easiest of all, slap up some self-adhesive decals that highlight the room’s uses, such as these video game-themed decals from Etsy.
Go with Durable Fabrics
A game room means fun, and fun can get messy. Whether you’ve got a crowd around the game table, the family curled up on the couch to watch movies, toddlers doing crafts, or just you and your significant other eating dinner while catching the latest episode of your favorite show, it’s almost guaranteed that food is a part of the picture, and food means spills. Luckily, you have many choices of furniture with durable, easy-to-clean, and stain-resistant fabrics, such as this game-room-perfect couch from Wayfair.
Related: Couch Surfing: Top 10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Sofa
Pinball is Fun for All Ages
You might find it hard to believe that pinball machines were illegal in most of the United States—particularly in New York City and most other big cities—from the mid-1940s through the early 1970s, but that didn’t stop the popularity of this partly-luck and partly-skill pastime. Today, you can buy a modern take on the game—such as this Star Wars themed machine from GameStop—or if you are lucky, perhaps find a vintage machine that’s still in good condition and priced within your budget. Either way, a pinball machine in your game room is sure to be a major source of entertainment for players young and old.
Buy a Pool Table
Not every game room has enough space—nor does every homeowner have a big enough budget—for a full-size regulation billiards table. But just about everyone can find the space and a slice of budget for a pop-up pool table like the 6-foot folding model sold by Wayfair. Just bring it out when it’s time for a friendly game of pool, a fiercely competitive playoff, or some practice time. Fold the table up and put it away when the game is done. You’ll be surprised at the table’s popularity; billiards might even become a favorite new pastime.
Game Room Ideas Can Include Exercise Space
When considering various game room ideas, why not include an area for exercise? After all, staying fit and healthy is an excellent use of your downtime. And a home gym doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. In fact, with a good exercise mat, a set of dumbbells, a resistance band, and a workout app suited to your level of fitness, you can lose weight, gain muscle, and improve your overall health right in your very own game room.
Related: The Best Puzzles for Game Night
The Great Outdoors
While a game room is mostly an indoor concept, when the weather is nice, there’s no reason you can’t take your entertainment outdoors. The backyard is a great spot for all manner of vigorous games, including badminton—this badminton set from Sharper Image is a snap to set up and take down. If birdies aren’t your thing, consider a volleyball net, croquet set, archery, horseshoes, or even a little putting green.
Add Some Hoop Action
The YMCA invented basketball back in 1891 as a way to encourage active and fun play indoors during cold winter weather. While your game room might not be large enough to house a full court, there’s no reason you can’t take a page from the YMCA’s playbook and hang a mini basketball hoop, like the SKLZ Mini Hoop sold on Amazon, right over your game room door to keep kids and adults alike entertained and burning off energy, even when the weather outside is frightful.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!