By: Devin Morrissey
The perfect game room is a wholly subjective matter, but there are elements that many game rooms have in common. From the proper table for tabletop gamers to the right room theme, the foundation for dream game rooms shares commonalities.
First, you need to find the right location. There’s the stereotypical basement if you want some peace and quiet but still want to be in the house proper. This is, of course, largely dependent on your house layout. If there is no basement, the key is picking a fairly large room, especially if you will be hosting other people. For a room where you will be playing tabletop RPGs, you need space for people to sit and move around comfortably, while still fitting a table big enough to roll dice, hold books and character sheets. In short, the size of the room matters.
For a game room that will only be you, a TV, and your console of choice, space is less of an issue. A major element is the room should be somewhat isolated if there are others in the house. If you are using a speaker system setup instead of headphones, you don’t want to disturb roommates, spouses, or whoever else might be in the house. Soundproofing the room will still pay dividends if you share the house with anyone else, especially if you are trying to get some gaming in after children have gone to bed.
However, there are also alternatives. Using an insulated garage or barn is a classic man or lady cave move, which means it’s also perfect for a game room. You will have a bit more leeway in being loud, and there’s a good chance you will be left alone to game in peace. Plus, the barn will really immerse you in your next Stardew Valley play through. If you go this route, however, it’s probably best to hire a company well-versed in converting barns to man caves, as you will likely need to wire the barn for electricity and more.
The Table Or Desk
If you are a tabletop player, you need a place to roll your dice, and for that you need a gaming table. It can be a simple table, no frills, big enough to fit you and your friends, rulebooks and character sheets, and you will have a serviceable table. However, going the extra step is well worth the effort.
Consider putting cup holders in the table. Drawers to hold dice, hidden areas to write secret notes to the game master, or even putting a TV in the middle of the table as an extension of a laptop to show maps can all add a finishing touch and elevate a bland room to a legendary gaming area.
While there are plenty of companies that will sell you high-priced gaming tables, it’s entirely possible to build your own, provided you have the right tools. This also means you can custom-fit the table to your play area.
Even if you are just using a coffee table as somewhere to put food and a drink while playing video games, the space of the room, and how that compares to the table, are very important. There should be 18 inches between the edge of your couch, sofa, or chair and the coffee table. For all types of tables, have a space allowance of 30 inches from the edge of a media cabinet or TV stand, and even more from walls if you can manage.
If, however, you only need a desk for your computer setup, be sure to get a table wide enough to fit all of your monitors. Leave extra space to expand, but also for a place to put your phone, snacks, a drink, or a notepad. Also consider a standing table, to keep from being completely sedentary for too long.
Which chairs you choose depends on what the room will be used for. Do you have multiple consoles so multiple people can play at once? Consider a sofa or couch. Is it just going to be you and maybe another person? Recliners offer comfort, while gaming chairs are purpose-built with speakers and more.
Chairs for a gaming table or for your computer desk should be comfortable and ergonomic office chairs.
The final part of the room is one of the most important, and ties everything together: the theme. The theme can be anything from retro gaming, with the feel of a ‘80s arcade, complete with old arcade machines, to simply a color scheme achieved with ambient lighting.
Personalization is key. If you and your group play a lot a sci-fi tabletop RPGs, you can mimic space or the industrialized future with mood lighting. Blues, purples, and oranges can set the mood for games like “Stars Without Number” or “Traveler.” A light underneath a monitor or screen can act as a focal point, drawing the eye.
When deciding on colors, it’s important to keep everything cohesive. If you have a light as a focal point for a TV, choose furniture with muted colors. Coordinate colors from your computer monitor with your keyboard and ambient lighting, while having a neutral wall color.
You also can’t go wrong with having game posters and art. Whether going for a specific art style, or trying to stick to official posters, you will be able to find something that fits your vision and your walls. You can even commission artists to make art of your favorite tabletop character.
Making your dream gaming room is all about getting the parts right. It’s not terribly hard to do — though expenses can rack up quickly — and it takes having a vision and following through to execute properly. After picking a location, getting a table or desk, and chairs, all that’s left is a theme, lighting, and adding your own details.