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How to create the ultimate game room

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 (Houzz/William Interiors / Gina Willman, ASID)

An evening full of games is not meant just for the kids. With pool, pingpong, darts and more, there are plenty of activities to keep all ages entertained.

You may think your home has run out of space for such an area, but it’s possible your basement is an untapped resource. Whether it’s already furnished or waiting to be redone, you can certainly rework it into a great game room with a little know-how.

Use the square footage wisely. Decide in advance how your space will be used and what from your wish list can make it into the room. Be careful not to overpack it with activities. “Keep in mind that most game tables need anywhere from 3-5 feet of additional space around them, otherwise they can overwhelm a small basement,” says interior designer Letitia Holloway of Myers Design.

Invest in an entertainment-friendly layout. Entertaining many guests in a lower-level game room can be tricky with one television and limited seating. You may want another television above the bar or near the game tables, so everyone has a good view.

Lighting is key. You'll need good lighting to make the right move on game boards. Make sure every table is under the glow of adequate task lighting in addition to ambient lighting for the remainder of the space.

Pick the right furniture. If you or your kids are into gaming on the big screen, consider adding a set of gaming chairs that are ergonomically designed just for that use. Holloway suggests the Sound Egg chairs, which are wired for sound and provide the ultimate gaming experience.

Choose furnishings that double as seating. Pieces that are easy to move around the room, such as ottomans or stools, are helpful, too. This way, guests can pull up a seat to wherever the action is. “Ottomans are a great way to add seating to the group without having to pull out folding chairs,” says Holloway.

Don’t forget a place to keep score! Add a scoreboard as a fun and affordable accessory with a splash of chalkboard paint across the wall.

Think about your favorite sport. If you have the space and budget, you can re-create your favorite sport in your game room. “If you're into hockey, turn your entire basement into a floor-hockey stadium with built-in goals, a penalty box, proper flooring and safe lighting,” says Holloway. “Whatever you are into, find a way to make your lower-level game room unique to your needs and personality.”

Soundproof your space. Noise levels can increase in game rooms. “Minimizing sound between floors can be done in many ways,” says Holloway. “Review options such as upgraded framing, Quiet Rock, added insulation, sound panels and more with your contractor so you can make an informed decision based on cost and importance."

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Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals around the world. Shawn Gauthier is a contributor to Houzz.

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