Basement Conversions and Game Rooms

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ October 2, 2010

Game rooms are all about expressing the personalities of the people who play in them. Some homeowners like converting a basement space into the ultimate man cave, replete with wide-screen televisions, pool tables, Foosball sets, video games, small kitchens, and wet bars. Others are happy enough with some tables and chairs, a comfortable couch, and a home theater set-up. Add a microwave for making popcorn, a dart board, and hang up some pennants and posters of your favorite sports teams.

A small game room almost defeats the idea. Game rooms should include sufficient room to stretch and walk around, especially if you have a billiards or ping pong table. If you really want to get moving, create room for a treadmill, stair climber, set of free weights, and a Yoga mat. Your major consideration in converting your downstairs into a game room or home gym is to waterproof the basement.

That may entail re-routing the drainage channels from your exterior gutters and downspouts, or sealing your interior basement walls and flooring, or installing a sump pump. If your basement has deep cracks or fissures, you might consider calling in a structural engineer to see if your foundation is intact. Attend to that before planning a playroom.

Game Room Essentials

When designing a basement conversion, make a checklist of items you want in your game room. Make columns, lining out your "must-have" items, along with a separate list for "nice-to-have" features. That way you can narrow your budget. Does the space need a small bath, kitchenette, or laundry area? Now you're talking about additional wiring and drainage work. If you're adding a bar, do you have plumbing and electrical to support it?

Also be sure you have provisions for lighting, heating, cooling, or flooring. Whether you're planning track lighting or just adding a number of lamps, make sure your basement is wired.

You can also start simple. Small game rooms can make the grade with as little as a dart board and a poker table. Both are certainly less expensive to add than a pool table or a wet bar. Even a Foosball table can run over $1,000. Remember, too, that clutter can kill off the comfort of a game room, chasing people up to the main rooms of the home.

There probably are more chairs and gizmos for game rooms than you have the money to buy. Brookstone has a clever assortment of furnishings. It's easy to get carried away, so consider a phased development of your game room over time.

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