Every tabletop board gamer’s dream is to have a dedicated gaming room with all the bells and whistles. Some of us aren’t so lucky and have to use our common rooms as our gaming room.
I designed this living room to be our ideal tabletop game room, complete with a ton of closed storage cabinets built to fit our growing gaming collection, a DIY gamer’s coffee table, and a slew of options for the different gaming comfort preferences.
Any time a room is transformed into a gaming room there are a few considerations to take into account:
Plan For Adequate Storage
Don’t just calculate the amount of games you currently own, estimate the amount you will probably end up owning in a lifetime. Not how much you want to own, how much you will actually own. Hahaha. If you think it is going to be a LOT, it is better to go with double depth storage cabinets, and even plan for future overflow options.
After estimating what our future game collection would look like, I opted to build my own storage from scratch so I could control the precise depth, width, and height of my storage.
I shared more about these cabinets and how to build them here, and of course building bookcases on top is simple enough. However if you aren’t keen on the idea of creating built-ins yourself, you can add DIY pullouts to any set of cabinets by screwing 1″x2″ boards to 1/2″ Plywood and attaching drawer glides. They are cheaper than buying pre-made pullouts, but if you aren’t a DIY person they are worth the investment.
Use the same 1″x2″ boards cut to size to create fronts for the pullouts. I used pocket holes to attach the fronts securely.
I also created a pullout with ‘compartments’ to hold various miscellaneous gaming pieces such as extra dice, drawstring bags, game pieces storage baggies, etc.
I haven’t actually finished the top pullout on a couple of my cabinet units yet, but I plan to create one specially designed to hold video game controllers like I did here.
I also want to create another one for my daughter’s various puzzle pieces. When you build your unit yourself, only your creativity limits you in how you want to store your items.
The built-in units provided SO much storage (which was the plan) that until our game collection grows again I designated one cabinet for my husbands old video games and systems, and any other oldies but goodies he wanted to store.
Plus I assigned one other cabinet for my kids to store their puzzles and other items in for the time being.
Comfortable Gaming Area
Most tabletop board gamers opt for for a round card or dining room table, which I’ve never entirely understood. Most of my tabletop Eurogames take a minimum of 4 hours, and my body has never been comfortable on a fold out or dining chair for that long. However I realize that everyone is different, and you need to take all of your player’s comfort into account when planning your gaming area.
In my case, my kids prefer to sit on the floor or on stools that are closer to the floor. My husband will choose either the floor or a couch, absolutely NOT a dining chair/fold out chair, and I can’t sit on the floor at all or I might not get back up again. For us, the ideal gaming space would be a gaming surface around a sectional sofa.
This provides a variety of seating for my family with room to change that seating style as the kids grow or as other gamers join us.
So for example the plush little stools are perfect height at the gamer’s coffee table I built, and both the kids and I find them comfortable for how we like to sit. While the sofa sectional is perfect for my husband and other guests we may have. In the future I will add some ground cushions for those who prefer the floor, and I may add upholstered bench seating to one side, or even an armchair that can be pulled up if needed. Plus the sectional has easy release attachment hooks so we can change the layout if we want a sofa on either side of the coffee table for a particular game. Everything in this room is designed to be adjustable and movable to accommodate whatever is most comfortable.
The Gaming Table
Once you have figured out what seating your players are most comfortable in, then you can plan for your gaming table. Consider something like an adjustable height table if you all disagree on the perfect height for your family.
In my family (and for my living room) a gaming coffee table would be perfect. I built this coffee table (see the tutorial here), but there are a few features I didn’t share with you that only gamers will really understand.
I built this gamer’s coffee table to be slightly higher than a normal coffee table for a comfortable gaming height when sitting at a sofa. However I also used legs that be replaced with higher or lower legs should we desire.
I designed the length and width of the table to accommodate the size of most of our board games with extra room to spare (yet not so big that you have to reach far to play on a board).
However there are those games that just sprawl out with tons of working parts and pieces and you need extra space. That is where the coffee table pullouts come in handy.
I also included a puzzle drawer for one of my puzzle loving kiddoes at the bottom. It’s a great way for her to store and work on her in-progress puzzles so they don’t end up with lost pieces or accidentally broken while being moved.
Adequate & Adjustable Lighting
Of course lighting and light control is aaaaallllways very important. We could never seem to get this ‘just right’ before. You want enough light in a gaming space, but natural light from windows can be perfect one time of the day and off the next, so being able to control the amount that comes in with drapes is important. Also make sure that if you go with pot lights or other light fixture in the room they are directional and can be adjusted.
All it takes is a glare off the top of a game to annoy a player because they can’t see part of the board. Even my beautiful decorative light fixture has arms that can be moved so that the path of light can be adjusted as necessary. The wall mounted lights are also directional, and none of the bulbs aren’t those LED lights that cast bright glare either.
We may be a tabletop gaming family, and I may be a board game geek mom and wife, but I’m also a woman who wants my house to look like a beautifully decorated space and I feel this room now reflects both my inner gamer and my inner designer.
And for all you guys out there who are gamers but your wives aren’t fans, this might be the right solution for you… 😉 This room isn’t just great for gaming, it is stylish for normal entertaining, it makes for the perfect family movie night at home, and more!
See the full before and after of this space and all the details that went into this design challenge here. Yes, that below was this room before!