How to Plan Out a Rec Room in Your Home

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
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.

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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. 

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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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Shop For a Game Rec Room

You & Me Table Tennis Table
You & Me Table Tennis Table
Celebrate Chinese New Year with a good old game of ping-pong/table tennis! Ping-pong masters and newbies alike will love the minimalist design of this standard-sized ping-pong table. Don't think you have room for a ping-pong table in your home? The You and Me Table Tennis Table doubles as a large dining table or conference table with side drawers for stowing away your sport essentials.  Built from high-quality materials, it’s made for either indoor or outdoor use. It comes complete with a net, bats and the balls. Made in Spain. The ping-pong table comes complete with one net, two paddles and two balls. Crafted from steel and iroko wood legs.
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Walnut Wood Backgammon Set
Walnut Wood Backgammon Set
Fun nights with family await you upon this 18" Wood Grain Backgammon Set. Its size makes it look like a small briefcase, but upon opening, this set reveals its fun insides. With everything you need for a game included, where even the case becomes your board, it's a self-contained party in one beautiful package.
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Backgammon & Checkers Game Set with Canvas Bag
Backgammon & Checkers Game Set with Canvas Bag
Roll it up and travel to play with this handmade, double-sided backgammon and checker drawstring game-bag set. Take your leisure gaming in style. Handmade in classic natural cotton canvas, leather drawstring cord and a signature red stitching detail. Toss in your beach towel and sun screen and head down to the shore. Enjoy a round on the beach, boat or picnics on the lawn. 
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Las Sillas Game
Las Sillas Game
Stack these petite chairs without being the one to topple the tower, or leave your arrangement on display as the shape-shifting sculpture. Made in Spain of compressed cardboard. Simple assembly required. Contains 14 chairs.
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POP Tic Tac Toe Game Set
POP Tic Tac Toe Game Set
Make a statement on your coffee table or play a high stakes game of tic-tac-toe with the leading four year-old in the house. It's the perfect house warming present for a single friend or a growing family. Comes boxed ready to gift with a clear acrylic board and eight game pieces.
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The Pure Foosball Table
The Pure Foosball Table
Work hard and play hard. The Pure Foosball table designed by Alain Gilles for Debuchy by Toulet not only helps you unwind after a long day or relax with friends on a Saturday afternoon, but it also adds a touch of modern design to your home. Inspired by a Scandinavian aesthetic, this design elevates the humble foosball table to the rank of décor centerpiece. Bring it into a living room or a gaming room. Add cold beverages, some snacks and good friends. Go.
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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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Shop For a Movie Rec Room 

Blockbuster Movie Night Popcorn Collection
Blockbuster Movie Night Popcorn Collection
Urban Accents is your culinary wingman and always has your back in the kitchen, and this set is no exception. This is the ultimate popcorn lover's collection with unique kernel varities and naturally flavored seasonings to suit cravings for savory, tangy, sweet and cheesy taste buds alike. It even includes eight classic movie night boxes, so you get to enjoy festive snacking right on your sofa.
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Modern by Dwell Magazine Lounge Chair
Modern by Dwell Magazine Lounge Chair
One of the standout pieces in the new Modern by Dwell Magazine collection for Target is the Lounge Chair. Shown here in white/natural, it’s also available in gray/black and costs only $249.99. Chris Deam and Nick Dine put a lot of thought into the seating pieces in this collection in order to ensure comfortability and functionality. The clean, graphic silhouette is a modern hybrid between an armchair and a slipper chair. A cut-out in the lower back area gives it some breathing room, while the metal legs create a firm foundation by wrapping up and over the bottom of the chair.
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Contemporary Cotton Cord Pouf by Chandra
Contemporary Cotton Cord Pouf by Chandra
To pouf or not to pouf? It’s easy to jump on the Ottoman trend with the Chandra Contemporary Cotton Cord Pouf. Hand knit on the outside and cotton-filled on the inside, it’s the extra seat for an unexpected guest or an ideal footrest for an evening spent blissfully alone on the sofa with the remote.
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Sponsored by Lumens
Original Cinema Lightbox
Original Cinema Lightbox
Bring your words to light with creative marquee lightboxes for your home or office.  My Cinema Lightbox is constantly working on new options, designing by imagining what they’d like to have in their home or office and then bringing it to life. The Original Cinema Lightbox is great for home and wedding decor, bumilestone announcements, photoshoots, just about any creative idea you have, and its lightweight design allows for easy transport.  
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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. 

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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.

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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. Follow this link for more tips on how to create your own meditation zone in your home.

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Shop For a Fitness/Yoga Rec Room

Jagger Yoga Towel
Jagger Yoga Towel
Microfiber yoga towel with Super Grip bottom
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Sponsored by AHA
Carry Handle Striped Beach Throw
Carry Handle Striped Beach Throw
Beach day, handled. This big and easy striped throw is ready to drop everything and head to the beach at the drop of a straw hat. We love the luxuriously soft, quick-drying Turkish cotton as an alternative to a bulky beach towel not only for seaside trips, but also for outdoor concerts, picnics, and even yoga. The included cotton velcro carrying handle—which detaches from the towel when not in use—makes it easy to pack up and sling over your shoulder.  Made in: Turkey  Made of: 100% Turkish Cotton. Carry handle is made of 100% cotton twill tape with velcro closure.  Size: 50" L x 60" W.  Sourced from: Turkish T Photography by Rocky Luten.
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Sponsored by Food52
"Home Sweet Home" Energy Clearing Set
"Home Sweet Home" Energy Clearing Set
Home Sweet Home is the perfect new office- or housewarming gift. Just as you would clean the dirt, grease, and grime from your home, you also need to clean the energy. This gift set comes with a bottle of best-selling Good Juju, made from three powerful herbaceous energy shifters. It clears predecessor energy and allows for the best to unfold for the new occupants. This set also includes a bundle of sacred white sage that was collected while in meditation and a one-of-a-kind raw crystal to enhance the energy of the home. All products come nestled in a wooden box, hand-burnished with a lotus and ready to be gifted.
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Sponsored by AHA
Preserved Moss Living Wall Garden
Preserved Moss Living Wall Garden
Add a lush touch of green to your home or office with this preserved moss wall garden. It combines mood and reindeer moss with dried green hanging amaranthus inside a wood frame. Choose either the simplicity of a white distressed wood frame or a more modern black wood frame to offset the cool tranquility of this living arrangement. Ideal for creating a mini oasis of beautiful serenity, moss walls are a modern interior décor trend with an ancient history. A thousand years ago, zen Buddhist monks of Japan cultivated moss on stones and walls and considered it an essential element: a symbol of harmony, age, and tradition that facilitated meditation.
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Grow-Your-Own Bonsai Forest Kit
Grow-Your-Own Bonsai Forest Kit
 Try your hand at bonsai gardening with this kit that includes everything you need to grow a grove of mini Dawn Redwood trees—ancestors of towering California redwoods. The little trees invite meditation and relaxation. The tree species for this kit was carefully chosen for its beauty as a bonsai specimen and for its fast growth rate. Your bonsai kit includes everything needed to grow and sculpt an authentic bonsai tree into an elegant work of living art.
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Ethics Supply Co. Scented Candles
Ethics Supply Co. Scented Candles
These adventure-inspired candles bring authentic scentscapes of the outdoors into your home. Scented with all natural essential oils and fragrances ingredients, Ethics Supply Co.'s lineup feature a 45-hour burn time. Each is hand-poured in small batches in California from coconut wax, soy wax, and beeswax into a reusable glass vessel. Our favorite? The 'House of the Sun' fragrance: black tea leaves, smoked seashell, and rich tobacco. 
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Wood & Leather Jump Rope
Wood & Leather Jump Rope
With hand-carved wooden handles and a thick, exceptionally durable leather cord, this jump rope is truly a handsome piece of equipment for fitness, training, or just for fun. The ergonomic wooden handles are mounted on ball bearings for enhanced comfort and increased speed.
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F1 Fitness Kit
F1 Fitness Kit
For the travelers who never stray from their health routines, the F1 Fitness Kit will be their new traveling gym. The kit includes two lightweight jump ropes, resistance bands in three levels of difficulty, and an exercise manual that will help you create your own routine. All pieces are contained in a navy gym backpack that’s expandable with a cinch closure. As an expert in creating practical and comfortable goods for jet-setters, Flight 001 brought together everything you need to stretch and get some cardio in—whether it’s at a hotel or in between long meetings at a weekend conference.
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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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Shop For a Reading Rec Room

Triskelion Magazine Rack
Triskelion Magazine Rack
A striking yet practical geometric magazine rack designed by Gerardo Mari, Triskelion is made by laser cutting and bending varnished aluminum sheets, creating three pockets for storing magazines and documents that seem to fold upon themselves.Based on an ancient Celtic symbol consisting of three legs or lines radiating from a center, Triskelion's three modules also incline slightly, so the magazines find their natural equilibrium to the center, making them easier to put in and and take out. Perfect for home or office.
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Guidelines Magazine Rack
Guidelines Magazine Rack
Everything from the Roijé studio is both aesthetically beautiful and highly functional. Flaunt your exceptional taste in interior design with this wall-hung magazine rack. This triple threat of a magazine rack showcases cover art, clears clutter, and adds modern design to your walls.
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Magazine Rack
Magazine Rack
Designed by legendary Spanish designer Marti Guixe, Magazine Rack is made by a simple three-dimensional fold of a thin metal rod, creating multiple structures to hang your magazines, towels, or anything else you choose.Lightweight and simple, the bright vibrant colors make the item pop in any surroundings.Available as a wall mounted rack, or in a free-standing version.
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Side Table & Magazine Holder
Side Table & Magazine Holder
Organize your home with the power of Japanese design  Yamazaki has been in the business of helping people declutter, organize and tidy up their homes for over 100 years. This combination Side Table & Magazine Holder is simple yet stylish, functional yet handsome, and perfect for any home.  Simple yet functional and stylish  Second shelf can be used as a magazine stand  Sturdy construction from steel and wood  Designed in Japan Join Huckberry’s 1 million+ adventure community. We deliver the coolest gear at the best prices, inspirational stories, and a hell of a lot more to your inbox every week. Membership is free and takes seconds.
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Pearl Bookcase from Modloft
Pearl Bookcase from Modloft
The Pearl Bookcase adds a modern edge to any room. Four fixed hardwood shelves with ladder-style stainless steel supports give the Pearl a light appearance. Clean, modern lines and open shelving allow this stunning piece to act as a natural partition between adjacent rooms in the home.
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Sponsored by YLiving
Annie Leibovitz
Annie Leibovitz
Annie Leibovitz drew from over 40 years of work, starting with the viscerally intimate reportage she created for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s and extending through the more stylized portraiture of her work for Vanity Fair and Vogue. Celebrated images such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono entwined in a last embrace are printed alongside portraits that have rarely, and sometimes never before, been seen. Annie Leibovitz was able to present some of her famous group portraits in a format that proves that she is the master of the genre. Her pictures are at once intimate and iconic, wide-ranging stylistically and also uniquely hers. Annie Leibovitz is often imitated, particularly by younger photographers, but her work is somehow immediately recognizable. The Collector’s Edition is available in four different covers: Whoopi Goldberg, Berkeley, California, 1984 Keith Haring, New York City, 1986 David Byrne, Los Angeles, 1986 Patti Smith, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1978 All editions come with a tripod book stand designed by Marc Newson.
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Modern by Dwell Magazine Bookshelf
Modern by Dwell Magazine Bookshelf
Available in different sizes and configurations, the Bookshelf from the Dwell x Target collection was designed to be clean, simple, and functional. It combines open and closed backing and comes in a wide (shown here) or a tall version—in either white/natural or blue/natural. The three shelves rest on thin steel legs that have cupped sides to give stability. Deam points out, "The bookshelves employ an experimentation with thin steel, but by cupping it to gain strength. This gives them an incredibly thin side profile, which is really unique." Dine continues, "Good shelving that's clean and simple is hard to find these days."
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