Where space is tight, and for multi-purpose rooms that will double as cozy or workspaces, Ransom recommends companies like the Games Room Company (gamesroomcompany.com), which offers multifunctional furniture: pool tables and interchangeable ping-pong tables, billiard tables that convert into dining tables and game tables that can be folded up. Comfortable seating is key: “I always incorporate deep sofa space to relax next to the game tables,” says Pooley; and high-back upholstered club chairs work well around a side table for long games of chess. Also provide plenty of storage for board games, bats, balls and cues.
Choose technology carefully
Some will want their playroom to be a screen-free family zone; while others, especially those with teenagers, might appreciate a separate space for online games away from the main living area. If you are installing a screen, make sure there are good blinds or curtains on the windows to block out the light. If your games room is in the garden, make sure there’s a good WiFi connection (essential for streaming music, as well as games), and consider installing a home security system.
Bring on the fun factor
“The playroom is the perfect opportunity to involve the kids in the design,” says Holder. “They often have the most imaginative and inventive ideas for how this space could work, from standard requests like a popcorn machine next to the movie screen, to the most fantastical.” For adults, “a bar is a really smart design addition that will impress and create a relaxed, inviting atmosphere,” says Pooley. Ransom suggests looking for refurbished old pinball machines, classic jukeboxes, and vintage vending machines for a retro vibe.
Use lighting to add ambiance
If there is a pool table or table tennis table, it will need to be properly lit from above, so ceiling lights or spotlights on dimmers are the easiest option; but if the room will also be used as a bar, or for playing cards or board games in the evening, include the option of lower ambient lighting. Build a layered lighting scheme with spotlights hanging on a dimmer, mixed with table and floor lamps on a different circuit, so you can quickly switch from bright lights to a more relaxed evening mode.