How To's, Resources + FAQs

How to Set Up a Modern Game Room

Spending time together doesn’t always have to mean an expensive evening out or a movie. Playing games offer a great opportunity for a lively and engaging evening with family and friends. Ping-pong, foosball, billiards, pool and darts are some great games that are fun, family friendly and have you up on your feet. A dedicated space for family fun doesn’t have to look like the sports bar down the street or a 1970s game room. Today, game spaces can be sleek, minimal and modern.


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Lighting plays an integral part in the design of any room, but it’s even more important for a game space. An evenly lit playing field gives everyone a fair chance once the game begins, and looks stylish as well. I love the use of the Tom Dixon Beat Lights above the pool table in this room. The variety of shape and sizes add visual interest without detracting from the simple and elegant design of the room. The dark walls and bar are brought to life by light gray upholstery and rugs, which give this room a rich, sophisticated look.


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Every game room needs some comfortable seating, and this room is infused with bright pops of color that embodies fun while keep a modern tone. Bar stools are great if you have a pool table because they allow the players to easily lean while remaining ready to spring into action for their turn. Comfortable lounge chairs or sectional sofas are excellent options for the audience to watch the action in comfort. They’re also great spots to take a break, catch a flick, play a multiplayer video game or play board games and party games like charades.

Game Tables

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The most important elements for your modern game room are…surprise, games! One of the most popular gaming tables is a pool table. Pool tables tend to be one of the larger gaming tables (ranging from six to nine feet long) and require a much larger space commitment. A level floor is a must for gameplay, and you’ll need to make sure you have enough space all around the pool table so players can fully draw their cue sticks back to shoot without damaging walls or surrounding furniture. Bumper pool is another option that takes up less space and features a different type of gameplay.

Today’s modern ping-pong tables come in a variety of colors, materials and sizes. In order to provide adequate play space, you’ll need seven feet on each end of the table and four feet on each side to clear the walls. If furniture will be close by, you should add a couple extra feet to be safe. Many modern ping-pong tables are designed to serve double duty as dining tables or conference tables, making it possible to integrate them into smaller spaces that don’t have a dedicated game room.

Foosball, also known as table football (soccer), takes up less space than pool tables and ping pong tables but still offers plenty of fun.

Long and narrow, shuffleboard may not be the first game table option you think of, but it can be a great game room addition. Since you shoot from both ends, this type of table is great for narrow spaces and can be placed close to a wall, which may help you save a bit of space.

More Ways to Play

With a game table as the centerpiece of a game room, it can’t hurt to add more variety to the space with other games. A dartboard adds a bit more decorative flair to the room, and takes up no floor space (although you do need to allow 7 feet and 9-1/4 inches clearance for throwing the darts).

Convert that ping pong table into a regular table around which you can play a rousing game of Monopoly or a few cutthroat rounds of five card stud. Or that same surface could be used for quieter pursuits, like putting together a puzzle or playing dominoes.

Game room design has come a long way. With multi-functional game tables available and sleek modern style, your game room can blend seamlessly with your modern style.

Nicole Tatem

Nicole Tatem

Nicole is the Sr. Site Merchandiser for Accessories, Kids, and Textiles at YLiving. She is obsessed with great design in all forms with a special love for jewelry, wine bottle labels, and tableware. When she’s not exploring the many museums and art galleries of the Bay Area, Nicole spends time looking for and visiting obscure and unusual destinations (locally and abroad) while practicing her photography skills.

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