After a burst of home improvement spending in much of the US after the pandemic, the pace is slowing partly thanks to economic headwinds. For instance, in Des Moines the median household spend for 2021 was up 20% to $18,000, with places like Home Depot since signalling a clear slowdown.
Of course, a lot of projects are partly or wholly to improve property resale value, dominated by heavily used rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. One popular room where you can really get creative, though, is a games room. They can be centred around video games with killer audiovisuals or analogue games like poker or darts. They can be lavish or functional, and unlike a kitchen can be done pretty easily on a budget.
So, here are some pointers to get creative juices flowing for the perfect games room.
Getting this aspect right isn’t just about ambience, as important as that is. The right lighting can make or break the functional aspects of some games. While having overhead spotlights is mostly about focus in a game of poker, for example, over a pool table the shadow cast by the balls can affect how their positions are perceived. For more media-centric spaces that might also serve as a movie theater, there are many options from main overhead and wall lighting to seat-side lamps, LED and fiber optic strips. Bulbs that can have their color and intensity changed via a smartphone are a fun, adaptive and highly affordable inclusion option.
What’s in a wall?
For a games room the walls usually want to be kept pretty muted in terms of color, and the suggestion would often be to go either for light and airy for naturally-lit spaces, or chic and dark for moodier ones. In a basement specifically, Madelyn Macejkovic points out that darker hues make most sense in a spacious basement as well as making an impact with texture, and has a few tips about drywall insulation, too. Neutral colors don’t mean walls have to be boring — one tip is to put games equipment like bats, cues and scoreboards up on the walls instead of stowing them away.
Include a statement piece
Some sort of table is going to dominate most games rooms. Thinking about this early on helps to narrow down other aspects of the room to fit around it. It can be worth considering a multifunctional table, such as a large squared off wooden affair suitable for cards or board games that’s also marked out to enable a game of table tennis. The first things that many people think about when it comes to games rooms are 8-ball, fussball and poker tables. To install a pool table right, there’s a pretty high premium in terms of cost — they range anywhere between $1,000 to $15,000 — and that isn’t even considering the demands on space you will need to consider. Fussball is obviously a lot cheaper, although it’s best to go for wood rather than plastic. If you’re a poker fan, then the obvious choice of furniture is a poker table. In this guide to buying a poker table, they reveal a wide variation of tables are available to suit every budget, game type and space requirement. It also goes into extra considerations like tabletop materials and accessories.
Throw in some nostalgia
Finally, for some character it’s generally a great idea to put in one or two nice accents like an old jukebox, refurbished cabinets or old framed posters. It’s the kind of touch that will get a conversation going, add some warmth. Minibars are a popular way of breaking up the space and impressing the guests when breaking out the adult libations for a late-night poker sesh, with the wood contributing to a pleasing smell.
A games room is a great invitation for friends and family to spend time together, and getting the decor right can be make-or-break your space in terms of whether it gets used at all. As ever, a few small touches will go a long way.