Home entertainment keeps the winter blues at bay. But there’s more to creating a great room than mounting a TV on the wall and adding a sofa or two. Take your cues from activities that your family enjoys. Whether it’s billiards or video games, your retreat from the world can become the most popular spot in the house!
What makes your room perfect will be different from your friends or family. But by considering a few key design elements, you’ll be sure this important room works exactly the way you want.
Element #1: Entertainment Geared Toward the Users
You wouldn't ask a designer to create an entertainment room for you without letting her know your interests. Entertainment for one family might not be any fun for another, so your room should reflect activities that your family enjoys the most. If you don’t play cards or board games, a game table might be a waste of valuable square footage. Then again, my best friend Nance has a table where there's always a puzzle in progress.
Maybe poker and billiards are right up your alley. Or perhaps the kid in you still loves to play video games. Whatever you prefer, carve out a space for what you love, and build the rest of the room around it.
Element #2: Ample Space for Each Activity
You might have enough room for a pool table, table tennis and pinball machines, but room for the equipment doesn’t equal room to use it comfortably. The location of each element in your entertainment room will be partly determined by how much room is necessary to play.
For example, you’ll need between 5 and 6 feet on all sides of a pool table to account for the length of the cue and the swing to make a shot. If ping pong is your game, you’ll need a minimum of 3 feet at each end of the table, preferably more. Built-in Cabinetry also helps free up floor space. (Read: Think About Built-ins for a Clutter-Free Home)
Element #3: Big Screen Home Entertainment
Decor magazines tried for years to tell Americans that TVs are ugly and need to be hidden. But the fact remains that for a lot of families, no entertainment room could ever be complete without a comfortable, cozy place with a big screen. Even if you don’t have the space or budget for a full home theater, you’ll probably want a niche in the room where everyone can sit down and watch a great film.
Three things are critical when arranging a space to watch TV.
- Seating that’s as comfortable as possible, with enough room for everyone in the family. Ideally seating is back far enough that the height of the screen feels natural when watching.
- A screen large enough for everyone to see. For safety, the screen should be away from potential hazards like the back end of a pool cue or a flying ping pong ball.
- A sound system that brings the show to life, so you can enjoy it using all your senses.
Element #4: Readily Available Refreshments
Whether you’ve plopped down in front of a movie or you’re playing a long night of poker, entertainment and refreshments go hand in hand. With a small kitchen in your home entertainment room, you can grab a soda or popcorn without carrying everything through the house.
A full-service kitchen isn’t necessary, but you’ll probably want a sink, mini fridge and a microwave. If you like the idea of baking cookies or frozen pizza, a large toaster oven can suffice in place of a full range. A bar with seating helps define the kitchen in a larger entertainment room.
Home entertainment is whatever you want to make of it. Maybe you don’t like games at all, and prefer the quiet of a great book or hobby. It doesn’t really matter if you prefer a small library and game table or a bank of noisy and vibrant video game machines; what matters is that you create a space where you want to relax and hibernate at night or the weather outside keeps you indoors.
Have you created an entertainment room in your home? If not, this is the perfect time to appropriate some square footage (Read: The Unused Dining Room Dilemma) and turn it into something your whole family will enjoy
My wife and I are thinking about putting a game room in our house. I like the idea of having a gathering space for fun in the house. I love the idea of putting in a bar for entertaining people also.
I like how you said that your entertainment room should reflect the activities that your family enjoys the most. I am building a home theater in my basement. Thanks for the tips on the elements of great home entertainment.
I appreciate that you explained the elements of achieving a great home entertainment room. In my opinion, every family should have at least once a week simple gathering at home, like watching tv together, playing indoor games, eating pizzas, etc. In that way, you might be busy but still, find time for a family bonding.
Joy, I wish every family was able to do as you suggest, spend one evening a week together doing something fun. Sad how technology rather than saving us time, seems to have driven us to race through life faster.
I appreciate you mentioning having a good sound system for an entertainment room. After a friend of mine showed me his surround sound system, I’ve been convinced that’s the next step to up the ante of my own home. A game table in the room would also be really fun to have.
Larry, Check out the multiple game tables in a house I just shared, a resort home outside Orlando FL
Tina, I always have been fan of BIG entertainment rooms – specially, home theater. One of the reasons I bought my house was – huge family room! And finished huge basement – about 1300 sq ft – to accommodate ping pong table and ice hockey table! We are in the world where entertainment at home is a reality! Thanks for sharing great thoughts in this post.
Wow, I guess you must have lots of people at home to keep those tables busy. We have 1300 sq ft on our lower floor in AZ, and it’s perfect for 2 home offices as we both work at home.
This reminds me of the days when I dreamed of having a pinball machine in my basement … years before the Internet & more video games that we can imagine.