How to Plan Out a Rec Room in Your Home

How to Plan Out a Rec Room in Your Home

By Michele Koh Morollo
The fast pace of 21st-century living can sometimes make kicking back and having fun a challenge, even in your own home. If you have the extra space—or can make the space by getting creative—why not set aside a room or area specifically dedicated to playful or relaxing activities?

A recreation room—a.k.a. rec room, ruckus room, or rumpus room—is a space that's set aside for a variety of recreational purposes. Often located away from the main living areas of the home, rec rooms have long been a favorite spot for poker nights with friends or family movie marathons. They're particularly valuable for teens who like to have sleepovers or want to get creative without worrying about disturbing their parents. 

If you’re planning on designing a rec room in your home, think about where you want the space to be located. Then, decide what activities it will be used for. Take a look below as we break down the steps.

Decide Where to Plant Your Rec Room

A basement can be a top choice for a rec room, as it offers privacy and a distinct sense of being separate from the main living area. However, other locations in your home would also work, including an unused garage, mezzanine, porch extension, empty bedroom, or attic.

Decide What It Will Be Used For

How you intend to use your rec room can help you decide on the location, layout, and furnishing choices. Here are some of the activities that you may want to use the space for.

If You Want a Game Parlor

If you’re looking for a place where you can escape for a game of ping-pong or darts, then a game den in the basement—or even a large solarium—may be ideal. A large space is best for game parlors, as you may want to include a pool or foosball table, a section for video games, and perhaps even a table and mini-bar for poker nights.

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Galison The Patterns of Frank Lloyd Wright Wooden Dominoes
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If You Want a Home Cinema

Basements are perfect for home cinemas as they're easy to soundproof and offer better surround-sound acoustics. For a home cinema rec room, you’ll need a video projector and screen, comfortable seats and cushions, storage systems for DVDs, and perhaps even a mini kitchenette, bar, refrigerator, or snack pantry.

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If You Want a Space for Painting, Sewing, or Arts and Crafts

Most spaces in the home can easily be transformed into an arts and crafts room. Even small spaces work well as rooms where you or your kids can paint and draw without having to worry about making a mess. If you’re designing the room as a place for painting, choose easy-to-clean wall materials such as tile or vinyl. You might also want to include a deep sink for washing paintbrushes. If your passion is sculpting or pottery, you’ll need to install a kiln. With fire safety in mind, an outdoor location—perhaps a shaded porch or sunroom—might be your best bet.

If You Want a Music Space

A basement with soundproofing is also ideal for a music room, where kids, teens, or adults can bang away at their drums, play the piano or guitar, or hold loud—and possibly off-key—jamming sessions with friends. When designing a music room, make sure the space is fitted with sufficient electrical sockets to accommodate electric organs, guitars, microphones, and amplifiers. Consider installing acoustic panels or foam noise absorbers in the ceilings and walls so that you never have to worry about disturbing the household, no matter what time the jamming starts.

If You Want a Space for Fitness and Meditation

This wouldn't be a full-on home gym, but a place dedicated to your movement and wellness. A room or small space that's close to a garden, courtyard, or patio that has plenty of sunlight and fresh air is a good option for a fitness, yoga, and meditation zone. Keep this space as clean and clutter-free as possible. Choose foam, rubber, or vinyl for flooring. You may want to include a corner for weights, or even a stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine. If you’re using the room just for yoga and meditation, all you need is your mat, a cushion or two, and perhaps an aromatherapy burner to create a more relaxing atmosphere.

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If You Want a Reading Room

If your idea of recreation is simply curling up with a good book, then choose a quiet spot that’s far removed from the television and main communal areas. All you’ll need is a comfy lounge chair, a bookshelf, and a magazine rack to hold all your favorite reads—and maybe a few potted plants for company.

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