Adding a Game Room for At-Home Entertainment

Game room

The Basics...Structure and Space

It's essential that you have a suitable space before you begin designing your game room. The vast majority of these rooms are created in the basement, simply because most homes have an abundance of unused space in this area. However, if you don't have a basement or are already using it for a home theater or spare living area, don't worry. There are no rules as to where a game room can be placed, and it can be just as much at home on the first, second or third floor of your home.

Basement game rooms present some challenges, as do any basement renovations. In homes with unfinished basements, this space is often slightly damp. The foundation may be exposed, and piping and wiring are often in plain sight. Depending on the level of work you're willing to put into the project, you can transform an unsightly, utilitarian basement into a dream gaming area direct from the pages of a trendy design magazine!

Finishing the walls and floors should be your first concern. Ensuring that this is done properly requires the knowledge and experience of a professional contractor. You can easily find one in your area by consulting home-improvement websites. Finding a local contractor who is fully aware of your area's weather patterns and overall climate is essential to properly finishing your basement.

If additional wiring will be required to create your game room, be sure to hire a licensed electrician. Electrical wiring involves a lot of delicate and often dangerous work, and it's always best left to the professionals.

Humidity is often a concern in basements. If you're planning on keeping new, valuable items in your basement, it becomes a bigger concern. Humidity can damage delicate electronics, warp expensive game tables, and impart a musty, damp smell to upholstered furniture.

You can address humidity issues in two main ways. Freestanding dehumidifiers work well in smaller areas. Keep in mind that most models need to be emptied regularly to avoid leakage and keep them operating efficiently. Your second option is much more involved, but can pay off in low maintenance. Contact an HVAC contractor and ask about adding a climate-control option to your home's existing heating and cooling system. If your current system is newer, this may be a rather simple addition. However, if you home and heating/cooling system is outdated, you may need an entirely new system in order to enjoy climate control. Weigh the decision carefully and, as always, research contractors before you make a decision to hire.

Why Add a Game Room?

In today's economy, it may seem silly to consider spending money on something as unnecessary as a game room for your home. However, many savvy homeowners are realizing that the money they spend going out on weekends is essentially money thrown away. While the initial investment can be steep, a home game room can provide a place to entertain friends in style, without the expense of game tickets, cover charges, costly drinks, and the many other expensive aspects of outside entertainment options. A game room won't completely replace going out, of course, but it can provide a wonderful option when all you really want is a relaxing evening with friends and family.

Which Style is Right for You?

Video Game Haven

Obviously, this is a matter of personal taste. If you and your family are video game aficionados, then a dedicated space for gaming may be a great addition to your home. Custom built-in cabinetry can house every gaming console under the sun, and a wide-screen television will add a fun, arcade-like atmosphere. A few comfortable places to sit, some open floor space for active video games, and you're ready to play!

Old-World Billiard Rooms

If you're more traditional in your gaming preferences, you might enjoy an all-out billiard room. These are increasingly popular in today's homes. They're trendy and traditional at the same time, while offering the always-popular game of pool as the main attraction.

Pool tables, especially well-made ones, can be rather pricey. However, they are investments which usually last for years and years. How many accessories you purchase is, of course, up to you and your budget. Some families have just a few basics, such as a cue rack and minimal seating. A very popular method of decorating and accessorizing is to take a cue from the exclusive gentleman's clubs of days gone by. Outfitted in plush leather, these clubs were the ultimate in masculine elegance. Dark greens, blues or burgundies are popular wall color choices, with black or brown leather seating. Hardwood floors are another popular and beautiful addition. A pool-hall style hanging lamp is a trendy, unique and memorable touch that can lend your game room authentic style.

Home Arcades

Game rooms that resemble arcades are very hot right now. These rooms combine all the favorite games of the home's occupants. Pool, darts, air hockey and real arcade games are all popular choices. Depending on the size of your available space, you can create a virtual arcade right in your very own basement! The dècor of these game rooms can vary greatly, from ultra-modern to understated elegance.

Sports Fanatics

If the SuperBowl is a national holiday in your home, a room with a football theme may fit perfectly into your lifestyle. A large television is an obvious addition, but you can really get creative when it comes to creating a sports-themed room. Even better, if you routinely have large game-watching parties at the local sports bar, your savings will add up very quickly once you start hosting those parties at home!

Sports bars are a very popular source of inspiration. Many homeowners have installed one large television in a central area, but also included a ceiling-mounted smaller set in a far corner to make sure all fans have a great view on game day.

Installing a wet bar is one way to really capture that sports-bar atmosphere. This is a great place for the secondary, smaller television as well. You have many different options when it comes to bar materials, from sleek and modern granite to warm and cozy polished wood and brass. Remember to keep your overall dècor in mind when choosing each element of your game room, especially if you're creating a theme.

Game rooms are fun places to be, and so they're a great opportunity to experiment with unique accessories and decorative pieces. Unexpected touches like a theater-style popcorn machine can lend a fun, whimsical air.


Before any work is done, it's important to determine just how often your household is likely to use a game room of any kind. Many homeowners have gotten caught up in the fun of designing a game room, only to finish it and have it sit unused. If you're making an effort to go out less and stay home more, then a game room probably makes good sense financially. However, it's important to be honest with yourself. If you don't think you'll get more use out of it than you put into it, a game room may not be the best home improvement project for you right now.

Another important element of game room practicality is making the room enjoyable for every member of your household. Try to incorporate something for everybody. Video games and DVD or Blu-Ray viewing areas are great for all ages, but especially great for teenaged children and their friends. Encouraging your kids to have their friends over instead of going out every single night will not only save you money, but it will show them that it's not necessary to leave home to have a good time. This is a great habit to cultivate when it comes to raising budget-conscious kids.

Finding the Right Contractor(s)

Determining what you need help with is the very first step in finding the right contractor (or contractors) for your game room addition. If you're starting from scratch with a damp, unfinished basement, you may need the help of a contractor who specializes in basement renovations, along with an HVAC professional and an electrician.

If you have a more workable space, you may be looking to hire an interior designer or perhaps somebody experienced hardwood floors, wet bar installation or wall coverings.

Regardless of what you need help with, finding the right contractor can be a simple, headache-free process. Websites which connect consumers to contractors are wonderfully reliable. You can search your local area for a specific type of contractor. You can also post your project online, and wait for the contractors to come to you! Either way, the process is much simpler than it was just a few short years ago.

Be sure to check the credentials of anybody you hire, and make good use of the consumer reviews before making your final decision. Once you've found the right contractors, you're well on your way to having a fun space to relax with friends, economically and conveniently, right in your very own home!

Posted by: Diane Sheppard
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