Important considerations when designing a gaming room to store and play your favorite board games, video games, or other games.
Don’t have a dedicated gaming room? Learn how to transform your common room into a secret game room in plain sight!
Welcome to my living room / game room! It the ideal tabletop board game room, complete with a ton of closed storage cabinets built to hide away our growing gaming collection, a DIY gamer’s coffee table, and seating options for the different gaming comfort preferences. It is used for both board games, puzzles, and video gaming!
No Dedicated Gaming Room? Turn Your Common Room Into A (Secret) Game Room
Every gamer’s dream is to have a dedicated gaming room with all the bells and whistles. But that isn’t always practical… Some of us don’t have an extra room to dedicate to all things gaming, and often there is one person in the relationship who isn’t keen on the idea of room full of gaming gear.
Okay, so you have to keep your family room, home office, or other space designer friendly. No problem! By day, my living room is just an attractive living room, by night it is a comfortable gaming room for our board games, and my husband’s video gameplay.
Whether you are transforming a room into a dedicated game room, or creating a “hidden” one, here is what you need to consider:
Choosing The Right Room
The best space for a multi-purposes gaming room would be wherever your entertainment center is.
Obviously this makes for the best video game room, but the same features that make for a good video gaming experience can also be helpful for board gamers as well.
In my home, that means the living room was the top choice. For others, a large office with plenty of space for game seating, monitors and TV, might be the ideal gaming room setup.
Plan For Adequate Storage Space
Keep the clutter at bay, and take good care of your board games or gaming accessories with adequate (hidden) storage.
Don’t just calculate the amount of games / controllers / supplies you currently own, but estimate the amount you will probably end up owning in a lifetime. Then plan adequately for your growing game collection.
I built my own storage from scratch so I could control the precise depth, width, and height of my storage. Learn more about these cabinets and how to build them here.
However if you aren’t keen on the idea of making built-ins yourself, you can add DIY pullouts to any set of cabinets by screwing 1″x2″ boards to 1/2″ Plywood and attaching full extension drawer slides (affiliate shop link).
This is a good opportunity to hide cables, add a mesh metal screen to the front of a cabinet door and run gaming consoles from inside. It’s a stylish way to hide gaming hardware or TV hardware, without impeding the signal.
Pull out shelves are the perfect solution for storing board games, video game supplies, puzzles, and more!
Organize Gaming Accessories / Gear
Organize various miscellaneous gaming pieces such as extra dice, drawstring bags, game piece storage baggies, etc.
Design one of your shelf pullouts with compartments for smaller items. Simply glue/nail some 1.5″ wood across the top of the plywood in the desired pattern.
If you don’t have pullouts, drawers with dividers can do the same task.
Cut upholstery foam to hold video game controllers and place in a pullout, drawer, or basket. Learn how here.
Keep less frequently used gaming tech and games tucked into cabinets, storage ottomans, or in baskets on shelves.
A Comfortable Seating Area
Game room furniture doesn’t have to be specialized pieces. Regular furniture can do the trick, just consider the best seating for your type of gaming.
Many tabletop board gamers opt for for a round card table with uncomfortable folding chairs, which I’ve never entirely understood. Modern board games (also known as Eurogames) are multiple hours of gameplay, and not everyone will be comfortable on a fold out or dining chair for that long. It isn’t the most comfortable chair.
We opted for a comfortable sectional with a large DIY gaming coffee table. This is INCREDIBLY comfortable, and we also provide a few other seating options.
A swivel armchair is my ideal gaming chair, a sofa (or recliner) for my husband, low cushioned stools for my kids, and floor cushions for those who prefer to sit on the floor.
Everyone is different, and you need to take all of your player’s comfort into account when planning a gaming area.
The Board Game Table / Puzzle Table
Once you have figured out what seating your players are most comfortable in 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.
Buy an extra wide coffee table, or follow my tutorial for this board game coffee table I designed (see the tutorial here). It accommodates the size of most of our large board games.
Tray pullouts expand the gaming surface when more room is needed, and compartment trays can be used for small pieces you don’t want lost mid-game. Or those compartments can hold food and drink so it isn’t on the gaming surface.
At the bottom, a puzzle drawer keeps in-progress puzzles so they don’t end up with lost pieces or accidentally broken while being moved. Pull it out to work on the puzzle right there in the drawer!
Adequate & Adjustable Lighting
Lighting and light control is very important.
Natural light (sunlight) from windows change throughout the day, so add curtains to control the amount of light and glare.
Make sure ceiling lights or other fixtures in the room are directional and can be adjusted so they don’t glare on the TV or board game. Even my beautiful decorative light fixture has arms that can be moved so that the path of light can be adjusted.
Use multiple lighting sources: a primary overhead, and some mood lighting or dimmable lighting. This is especially helpful when watching movies, or for gamers who like dimly lit rooms to reduce possibility of glare. Sconces, lamps, and strip lights as ambient lighting is also a great secondary option!
Small Touches, Big Impacts
A few small touches can make a big impact both on the players and the rest of the family. Here are a few other considerations to take into account:
TV Stand Riser: Building a simple riser for the TV acts as a space to keep the Playstation, Xbox, and other gaming consoles while plugged in. Or even to tuck away cable boxes, etc.
Surround Sound / Headphones: Incorporate inconspicuous surround sound for an immersive experience. Even some board games incorporate a sound element! And have wireless headphones / headsets available for those times you don’t want to disturb the rest of the family.
Easy-Clean Surfaces & Furniture: This will be a room that snacks and food will likely be brought into. Just accept the fact, and go for dark colored, low pile area rugs that hide messes (but make it easy for game pieces to be found on). Choose upholstered pieces that are liquid and stain resistant. People should feel free to enjoy their time in this room, not be afraid of mistaken messes.
Group Games & Supplies: Group by favorite games, number of players, or time it takes to play. Quick Tip: If you organize individual board games by number of players, it will make gaming setup go much faster!
A Space Everyone Can Love…
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. Now the entire room reflects both my inner gamer and my inner designer.
And for all you out there who are gamers but your significant others 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!
Gaming Room Ideas On Pinterest
For loads of great game room decor, plus clever gamer room projects, visit my Gaming Room board on Pinterest! See other game room decor ideas, small room ideas, gaming desk ideas, gaming table ideas, and various types of game rooms (pool, table tennis, air hockey, etc.)
Check out 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!
Hi! The picture links aren’t working for me and the link to the gaming table plans ask me for a password. We are huge board gamers so I’m excited to view the plans and see what else you did!
I’m sorry, it should all be working now! And huzzah for fellow board gamers!!
where did you get the light fixture?
THIS IS AMAZING!!! I am working on my kids’ “teen lounge” and am looking for ways to get them playing together (offline) and this is PERFECT!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! This is going to the tippy top of my “stuff I gotta make” list!
How can we purchase one of those gaming tables
I’m afraid this table was a DIY build, so it isn’t anywhere out there for sale. However it is a fairly simple build!
This is an amazing gamers table! We want something like this in our home too. We are board game enthusiasts and always have friends over for game nights. Is there way to get this made for our house? We are not handy people and no idea how to go about this. Any recommendations will be helpful. Thanks!
Take her instructions and photos and have it built locally if you are not able to build yourself. The table was something she made for herself.
The game table is stunning. You sure beautiful work.
Thank you so much!
Holy crap this ROOM! The table?! The cabinet (we’re in the process of doing something similar)….. Everything!
Oh thank you! I love that you are creating built-in storage, I don’t know how I lived without it.
caroline l bedard
You are an organizational genius! I have never seen such perfection in organizing – I’ve been reading books and blogs about organizing for many years.
Beyond the organization, this is also the most beautiful custom furniture and room to provide comfort, ease of use, and a lovely living space. In some ways it reminds me of the craftsmanship of projects in Sunset magazine in the 60s, but yours is more detailed.
Just to let you know, I am very happy to have found you.
Oh my goodness, thank you for such an amazing compliment. I truly truly appreciate it!
That coffee table BLOWS MY MIND with its amazingness!!!
Wow, girl! I am so incredibly impressed with your projects. My boyfriend is a board game enthusiast and right now we have an Ikea Kallax shelf housing the games. That being said, they are on their sides and shoved in there and I know that he hates it because he doesn’t want those boxes to get damaged. We are moving into a new home shortly, one that allows us more room to store these games and I absolutely fell in love with your organization/storage ideas! I want this project to come to life in our own home and I would love to surprise him for our ten years together! My biggest concern is how much space you allowed between each pull-out shelf. We both know that games come in ALL shapes in sizes, just wondering what you followed or if you have any recommendations.
Thank you so much and looking forward to chatting!
What a surprise! Somebody is going to get all kinds of brownie points! lol
Yes, height between pullouts, and even the size of the pullouts is a super important consideration. I recommend getting out his largest game, and sizing it with an additional inch (at least). Or if you are okay with double stacking nominal sized games, then size it for two to stack on top. I personally went with a height of 6.5″ between pullouts.
I think you are absolutely brilliant! You have a great sense e of design but as a mom you understand functionality which is impossible to find. Where did you get a puzzle drawer for the table? We are almost done with our home renovation which has taken 10 months due to the scale of the project and the thing I miss the most is doing puzzles with my son. It’s the way he bonds with me and the only time my teenager talks and tells me things. I would love to work on something like this or purchase it if you have any advice. Thank you for your ideas! Keep up the amazing ideas!
How sweet! Thank you! Oh girl, yes…moms get it. LOL! I built the puzzle table myself. You can see more about the table here: https://homemadebycarmona.com/diy-coffee-table-with-pullouts/
Lovely gaming table and a great idea for those without much space in their home. Thanks for sharing! Carolina at Hamilton Billiards
So glad I found this, your ideas are so creative! We are an older gaming couple and for years we’ve been fumbling with where/how to store our collection of hundreds of games, where to play, etc. I *love* your coffee table but have to ask how comfortable do you find bending over a coffee table for hours? We had lots of back stiffness. I’d rather play at a coffee table while seated on pillows on the floor, but then getting the table height right is an issue. We found we needed to move to a standard table for all but short games. Of course, that’s not always so comfortable either! We are still searching for our solution, but congratulations on finding beautiful solutions for your family!
How awesome! I’m always excited hear from other tabletop gamers. Yes, I built the coffee table because I have issues with my back. I realize it’s not for everyone, but I built it to be slightly higher than a normal coffee table with pullouts so I DON’T have to do a lot of bending over. At a table my shoulders hurt, on the floor (even on floor cushions) I am hunched over and can’t stand up straight for a good 10 minutes after a game. This worked for me…we sit at a couch that isn’t a “sink in” type sofa, and I can sit back and recline comfortably while waiting for my turn. I can still see everything, and my own individual gameboard/supplies/cards are all close at hand with my pullout. I hope you find what will work best for you! I would recommend building this coffee table top on an adjustable base, or maybe test different heights before building the legs.
I clicked on your link to follow along on the diy table but it brought me to an error page. May you please email the instructions to create our own?
What I want to know is where did you get those cute stools? I love the height and color!! Your drawer pullouts made me use your link to to go to Kreg tools and get tools. I felt like I could do that at the maximum! I hope they turn out. the shelfs I buy are never tall enough with the rights spacing, so thank you for sharing what seems like a doable project to make something that could work in my rental home.
I’ve been following your blog for awhile because your awesome and have really great design sense. BUT. THIS???!!! You freakin’ nailed this table design + storage!! There is not one single thing you didn’t take into consideration and the unit is simply one of your best executed DIY’s ever. I mean it. You SMASHED this. Fantastic!
Hm, do I detect a game enthusiast? Or maybe a storage enthusiast? Haha! Thank you for such a high compliment! My heart is full… 🙂
I LOVE that gaming table as well as the wall built-in! You are quite the carpenter!