The ideal game room reflects the interests of the owner, and the options for layout and style are endless. If you’ve considered setting up a game room in your home or office, you may be wondering how to get started. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some things to consider when setting up your own game room.
Quality over Quantity
Building out a whole game room in one go, with all the bells and whistles, is a luxury. For most people, the best advice would be to start with a single table — the one you know will get the most use. Once you’ve been using it for a while, you’ll be able to make better decisions regarding what could be added to improve the experience.
This also makes sense from a financial perspective. It’s far better to invest in a quality table and accessories that will play well and provide a quality gaming experience, vs. spending the same amount of money on several pieces of cheaper equipment that lack quality and durability.
This is critically important! It’s very easy to underestimate the amount of space you’ll need. For example, a full size pool table (4.5’ x 9’) played with standard-sized cues would require a space that is a minimum of 18' 4" x 14' 6”. Of course, using a smaller table and/or smaller cues would reduce the necessary space required. The bottom line — do your research and make sure that whichever table you buy — whether it’s for billiards, foosball, poker, air hockey, shuffleboard or table tennis — is plenty large enough to accommodate it. Also remember that you may want extra space to add more items later on, such as another table game, poker table, bar, etc.
Do It With Style
It’s immensely satisfying if your game room can reflect, to some degree or another, the personality and tastes of its owner. A search on Google or Pinterest will turn up tons of ideas for very cool, purpose-built game rooms in modern, classical, and retro styles. Of course, not all of us are able to invest in a coherent, ground-up style for a game room. For that reason, a lot of the furniture you’ll find tends to follow tried-and-true styling that’s designed to look good with a number of decors while still offering some flourishes that reflect the taste of the owner.
The First Table
As mentioned above, initially the best option to go with would be the table you know will get the most use. With that in mind, let’s go through some of the options for your first gaming room table.
Pool tables are the quintessential centerpiece of game rooms and rec rooms in the US. As with all the best games, pool can be tons of fun for a relative newcomer while still offering challenges to those who have decades of experience.
However, a proper pool table (e.g. slate, hardwood construction) is likely going to be the most expensive of any game table investment. For this reason, we’d recommend putting some serious consideration and planning into a pool table purchase to make sure you get the most from your hard earned dollars. The upside is that a pool table has real longevity, often lasting multiple generations with proper care and a bit of maintenance, and the enjoyment a table can bring is unparalleled.
Considering the fact that it’s a long term investment, it’s especially important to make sure that you know what room size you require for the table and cue size you’re looking at. Check out our table size guidelines as a starting point
We’re placing this toward the top of our list as darts is easily one of the most affordable additions to a rec room. It’s a great option in that the game can involve a high level of skill and practice yet still feel accessible to novices who just want to play around. You can simply throw up a dartboard and start playing, or you can install a dartboard cabinet for a slightly more dedicated game room look.
Considered by many to be the hallmark of many rec rooms, the popularity of foosball has been increasing worldwide. It’s a game that’s easy to learn for anyone from kids to grandparents, but it’s tough to master. A foosball table can also work well as a second table, as it requires notably less space than a pool table or ping pong table.
Table Tennis (Ping Pong) Table
All you have to do is jump on youtube to see that table tennis can be much more than a leisure activity. It’s also easy to learn the basics on how to play - you’ll just get a bit more exercise chasing down errant balls when you’re still learning. Depending on your game level, table tennis can certainly require the largest amount of space of any game tables, with the IFFT outlining a requirement for nearly 50 feet of space. However, the game can easily be adapted to smaller spaces. One great thing about table tennis is that you can buy a table tennis conversion top for a pool table, allowing you to maximize your game options in a limited space.
Air Hockey Table
This classic face-off between two players on a low-friction table has been an arcade staple since the 1970s. Some tables include an LED scoreboard to help keep track of the action.
While you don't really need anything more than a fold up card table, a dedicated poker table can add a lot to the experience while also making a statement that you're deadly serious about winning your buddies' cash. If we do say so ourselves, we offer some nice options here.
Where to Set Up a Game Room?
Traditionally, a basement has been a popular choice for setting up a game room, although family rooms are becoming an increasingly popular option. Over the last half century, living room use has declined, as the traditional family room has taken its place. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), one-third of homes built in 1999 have no living room at all. Meanwhile, the family room has evolved into the new place to gather with friends and family. A quality gaming table in the family room not only has the obvious utility, it can enhance the room’s decor.
Game Room in the Office: Work Hard, Play Hard
A game room doesn’t always have to be built at home - it's increasingly becoming a staple of the office environment where companies are realizing the value of employees bonding outside of strictly professional interactions. They make a statement about your brand and the culture of your workplace, making it attractive to a younger demographic of employees. Also, employees that ‘work hard and play hard’ tend to be more energized and focused, enabling them to produce better work results.
A game room is also a fantastic way to promote social interaction within your condominium. Living in a condo can be a cold experience, as residents often ignore each other in the hallways and elevators. But like children who meet in the playground, a game room gives adults a chance to interact and get to know each other, promoting a true sense of community within your condominium. Suggest it to your HOA, you may be surprised at how much enthusiasm the idea is met with, especially if you offer to spearhead the effort!