Each week Mansion Global tackles an interior design topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at creating an upscale recreation room.
A game room is the ultimate recreation zone. Whether it caters to kids, is designed for more adult entertaining or is a combination of the two, leisure pursuits are the theme of this space. “We spend so much time in front of screens, a game room can be a place to disconnect and be social,” said Krista Ninivaggi, founder of boutique interior design firm K&CO in New York.
Even if you’re confined to a basement, that doesn’t mean the décor should also be an afterthought. Designing an area for play can still feel decidedly chic with the right kind of accents and furniture.
Define the space
“It’s fundamental to have a space that is well organized. There needs to be a home for each and every game, whether you’re using a cabinet or open bookcase, so that it’s easily accessible. People should be able to dive right in and enjoy themselves.
"Don’t dilute the room by making it feel secondary. Keep the decor in line with the feel of the rest of your home. Otherwise, it can be jarring to walk into a game room that looks entirely different from the other spaces.
"When thinking about the furniture, a game table is certainly essential—and one that provides flexibility. Every game requires a different kind of surface so it’s important this table lets you maximize a multitude of different games. I like to switch out the surface of the tabletop—suede, wood, etcetera. I also like comfortable club chairs around a coffee table to create a lounge-like feel.
— Mansion Global (@MansionGlobal) December 14, 2017
"Consider a pool table, which is great for sport, but also allows for spectators. … I also love a good air hockey or foosball kind of game. It can also be fun to incorporate an old-school arcade game into an adult game room.
Having lighting directly over a game table makes playing easier. There should be lighting coming from the ceiling or from a source above the table. As long as there is ample lighting over the table, the rest of the room can be more dimly lit.”
— Phillip Thomas, founder and principal of Phillip Thomas, Inc. in New York City
Make use of every corner
“Setting up different zones in the room by designating spaces, such as a bar area, a lounge, and game section, not only differentiates areas, but it gives people destinations and encourages flow. This way guests have an excuse to walk around the room and keep the conversation going. By using a game room as a space for a party, the games become a good way to break the ice and increase mingling. Even if you don’t have space for a billiards table, a shelf stocked with board games and a small card table will help people interact.
"Placing seating around the room with tables, rather than in one central location, encourages guests to stay and linger. This can be achieved with couches and coffee tables or chairs paired with small cocktail tables.
Photo rendering by Neoscape courtesy of K&CO
"Add interest to the space by using drapery as a wall treatment. This helps soften the look and can hide parts of a room you don’t want guests to see, such as a laundry area in a basement. Mirrors are another decorative tool. They reflect the light sources and create sparkle, adding depth.
"One statement chandelier creates a ‘wow’ factor as soon as you walk into the room, while wall sconces add mood all around.
"A coffered ceiling is not only a sophisticated element, but it can help absorb sound by containing acoustics within the coffers themselves, which create pockets for the sound to disappear into. Placing a rug on the floor will also help keep the noise level down—and look chic.”
— Krista Ninivaggi, founder of K&CO in New York City
Know your audience
“If your game room caters to a young audience, you’ll want to go for seating and drawing areas with soft and flexible furniture, as well as dimensions adapted for kids. Soft materials and attractive textures will also make kids more willing to use the space, creating a friendly environment that can boost creativity as well as activity.
"In terms of layout, divide the room into at least two different areas separated by age, so games can be tailored accordingly and there are no risks for little kids.”
－Milan, Italy-based designer Patricia Urquiola
Streamline the space
“Visible wiring and equipment is one of the quickest ways to make the space feel cluttered. Integrate any speaker systems and hide wiring to give the room a more tailored look.
"Also keep in mind, sound will travel, so choose furniture with soft fabric to absorb some of the noise. Furniture that’s flexible, such as ottomans or easily movable tables, is ideal for accommodating different gaming situations.
"Mixing in some feature lighting—in the way of fixtures on the walls or ceiling will help elevate the overall look.
"Having a focal point, such as a large gaming table or a flat-screen television centers the design of the room itself.”
－Jeffrey Beers of Jeffrey Beers International in New York
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