Get in the Game - How to Create a Space You Can Play In

It’s time you elevate your entertainment. Whether you seek a family space for board game night or you’re an empty nester looking to convert extra bedrooms into something more appealing, a dedicated area devoted to fun might make your home the most popular place in town.

“Game rooms offer families the benefits of creating a separate entertainment area, reducing clutter in the home, and offering a place for recreation and relaxation,” said Theresa Bass, a digital PR strategist at Ignite Visibility, who works with Price Self Storage, a home organization solutions company. For empty nesters, she adds, this room can increase home value and double as a hobbies and activities center.

Creating this space is easier than you think. “Designing a game room doesn't necessarily require an extensive set-up,” said Ricky Allen, director and interior designer at Ever Wallpaper, “it's more about creating a space that meets the interests and needs of those using it. A mix of board games, space for card tables and even a dartboard can offer hours of entertainment without the need for large investments like a pool table.”

Here are four tips for creating your game room:

Design your game room with intent

“The design of a game room is influenced by space and budget, as well as your hobbies and how you like to spend your time,” said Evelina Juzėnaitė, principal interior designer at Planner 5D. “For example, some love only computer games, while others enjoy playing billiards or would like a home bar.”

You should consider the following:

Who will be playing? – Who will be using this space — your entire family, just adults, family friends with children of different ages? “If you know this, your design direction will already be clearer” said Juzėnaitė. “Children need more comfortable furniture when playing games, and adults can play more complex board games or computer games.”

Define the room's purpose – Will your game room be a dedicated space? Then you have more opportunities for creativity. But if it’s part of another room, you’ll want to blend the new area’s design with the rest of the interior. “This way you will have a visually beautiful and flowing space,” advised Juzėnaitė.

game room with pool table

Photo credit: Planner 5D

Use versatile lighting, furniture and storage units

Good light is essential in a game room, both for ambience and activity. “Warm lighting can be achieved through a combination of overhead lights and table lamps or floor lamps,” said Allen. “For example, you can use a pendant light or ceiling fan with a dimmer switch to control the brightness and warmth of the room. Table lamps or floor lamps with warm-colored bulbs can be placed strategically around the room to add additional sources of soft lighting.”.

Accent lighting using neon colors such as blue, purple and green add a party atmosphere as well. Allen also suggests infusing the space with vibrant colors using throw pillows, rugs or wall art. “These elements can add pops of color and energy to the room without overwhelming it,” he said. “You can also consider painting an accent wall in a bold color or incorporating colorful lighting fixtures to add a fun and playful touch.”

Without the right furniture, there is no game room. Who wants to spend time in a space where you consistently feel uncomfortable? Think soft modular sofas, beanbags and bar stools. “For long-term enjoyment, look for supportive cushions and high-quality materials that complement the design of the space while taking longevity into account,” said Matt Little, owner and director of Festoon House

Add in a sturdy table and some storage solutions and you’re ready to go. “For families designing their game room, consider utilizing furniture, DIY partitions and unique floor-to-ceiling storage systems to create faux walls and separate spaces within a room, allowing for easy reconfiguration, a fresh look and distinct zones for adults and kids,” said Bass.

game room with pool table

Photo credit: Live Uncluttered Blog by Price Self Storage

Keep snacks handy

A dedicated kitchenette takes your game room to the next level. Look for something simple, maybe a counter and a compact refrigerator. Wine lovers might even want a separate fridge for their best bottles. You could even install a few cabinets to hold your chips, cookies and other fun foods.

game room with divan and pool table
Photo credit: Niki Tashe, interior designer

Make it personal

A game room offers many possibilities. You can keep things simple with a few board games, table and chairs or bring in bigger elements such as a giant television for gaming, arcade favorites or a pool table. “I look for unexpected, artistic games - a vintage skee ball machine or sculptural wood puzzle coffee table, for example - to make the room more lively and visually interesting,”said Niki Tashe, interior designer.

Tashe has customized a Murphy bed in the past, equipping it with a gaming table for poker, chess or cards on the back, which folds down from the underside when the bed is stored vertically. “It's a great space-saving and multi-functional piece,” she said.

Remember that atmosphere is everything. “Whether you choose a competitive arena or a private retreat, the goal is to create an environment that stimulates and fosters enjoyment, recommends Little. That might mean bringing artwork into the space or displaying your Bobble head collection on shelves. Bring your personality and spirit into your game room and you’ll spend many hours enjoying the space.

Want to add a book nook to your home, too? Read our piece on creating space for a book nook in your home.

Feature photo by Planner 5D

Photo credit: Niki Tashe

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