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Designing Space for Family Fun

Designing Space for Family Fun

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By Ann Marie Ragan, Lecturer,  
Department of Apparel, Design and Hospitality Management, NDSU

Spending time toge4ther as a family is time well spent; however, the costs often associated with entertaining an entire family tend to keep the family at home. Recreation rooms, or rec rooms, in the home provide the perfect space for families to reconnect, save money and have fun at the same time.

Recreation areas in homes can range from a small corner of a room to an entire basement of a home. The key to designing an effective recreation room for your family is determined primarily by the type of activities your family enjoys, your budget and how much space is available. The following guidelines are designed to help create a home recreation room/space customized to you and your family needs.

Measure Twice, Buy Once

A common mistake made by the eager do-it-yourselfer is forgetting to measure the space before shopping and purchasing furniture. Taking time to measure and lay out a floor plan properly can save you time and money. Measuring a space is not difficult; however, don’t forget to measure and include the placement of windows, electrical outlets and light switches in the drawing of your floor plan. These little details often dictate the location of furniture, as well as electronics and gaming equipment that needs electricity, such as an air hockey table.

Define the Purpose

Is your recreation room for playing board games and watching movies or do you enjoy playing billiards together? The best part of designing your own recreation room is tailoring the space to accommodate your family’s interests and favorite activities. Involve the entire family in this process. Who knows, you may be surprised to fine your teenage son would rather play board games with you than video games by himself.

Designate Zones

Gaming equipment not only can be large, but it often requires additional clearances for playing the game. By designating zones within your space, you will be able to know exactly how much space you have to work with, making selecting and purchasing the equipment much easier. Other activities that need space include board games because they often require the use of a table and chairs and video games. That’s especially true for physically interactive video games such as those used with Wii and Kinect for Xbox 360 gaming systems.

Determine a Budget

If you truly want to save your family money, a budget is a necessity. Don’t have a lot of money to spend? No problem. You have many ways to acquire the things you need to turn your dream recreation room into a reality. Use what you have by reconfiguring or repurposing existing furniture. Watch for sales and wait until closer to the holiday season or shortly after the holidays to take advantage of clearance pricing.

Garage sales are another great place to find gaming equipment if you are careful. Be a smart consumer and chick to see that all the components of the equipment are intact. If the equipment needs electricity, plug it in before you buy it. Check gaming table legs for adjustable glides used to level the equipment prior to use.

Save money for that special addition to the space or have your kids contribute to the savings plan. This will instill a sense of ownership and may help them take care of these items because they helped buy them.

Multipurpose Furniture is a Must

Playing board games doesn’t always have to take place at a dining room table. A larger coffee table can do the trick by proving space for treats and beverages and double as storage for the board games. Large floor pillows or cushions become seat cushions around the coffee table as well as extra places to sit for sleepover guests who are enjoying a movie. And let’s face it, pillow fights are fun, too.

Enjoy billiards and air hockey but don’t have room for both? Purchase a multigame table and have both. Create a snack bar using an old shelving unit or buffet. Some fresh paint and tasty treats are all you need to keep the good times rolling. Including flexible or multi-purpose furniture that supports the activities of the users now and as the family continues to grow can make a recreation space a permanent space.

Flexible Lighting

Incorporating dimmable lighting in your space not only can save energy (which saves money), it can create the perfect lighting for playing cards as a family, conquering your son at pool or snuggling on the sofa with the family dog for a movie.

Surround sound and Soundproofing

Today’s technology provides us with the chance to have the feeling we are in the movie through the use of surround-sound speaker systems. Planning room for these components can be tricky, but including these elements really can bring the theater experience home.

The family will have times when some members are studying and some are playing; therefore, incorporating insulation between the ceiling of the basement and the upper floorboards and installing carpeting can prevent sounds from traveling to other areas of the home.

Interior Design Elements

Finding the ideal concept for your fun new space can seem scary, but a few smart choices can ease anxiety and allow for changes as your personal style changes. First, determine a concept for your space. Do you want the interior design of the space to be completely y different from the rest of your home or more cohesive? Some more energetic designs might be based around a sports team, favorite movie, a tropical oasis, or a rustic cabin. More sophisticated designs might include a classic pub style with traditional furniture pieces and artwork or a sleek urban-inspired space.

Once you’ve selected a concept, find a piece of artwork, fabric pattern or a pillow that relates to your concept and use this as your main source of inspiration. Choose your paint color by matching one of the colors from your inspiration and use a lighter or darker version of the color to create depth and interest. Making your remaining selections based on your inspiration piece. This will limit your options and makes the selection process easier. Remember, some of the best (and most affordable) artwork comes in the form of candid photos of friends and family.

A space dedicated to the recreational interest of the entire family can save money and keep your wallet full, but it also can fill your home with laughter and memories, which has no price tag.

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