Making a space for family game night

The Family Game Room

by Kathy Wilson

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More and more families are rediscovering game time. It's a great way to spend quality time together, and it's a lot of fun. Here are some great ways to set up a game room in your own home, without having to take out a home loan.

Find a space in your home where you can have games easily available and even leave some set up permanently. This can be anything from a guest room to a garage space to an attic or even a corner of your family room. Look in little nooks like under the stairs or against an empty wall.

A pool table is wonderful fun for both kids and adults alike, but can be very expensive. The discount stores now carry some less expensive styles, and you can often find used ones in the classifieds. Smaller versions are also available if room is a priority. If you can't afford a pool table or a pinball machine, or don't have that kind of room, consider setting up a game table. You can either put up a cheap card table and cover it with inexpensive tablecloths or sheets, or can bring out an unused dining table and remove some of the leaves. A large basket in the center of the table can hold simple and inexpensive games, such as cards, puzzles, Jenga, or Monopoly. Keeping the games easily accessible encourages family and friends to use them, rather than automatically turn on the TV.

If your game room is more a game "corner," simply dress the game table in fabric to coordinate with the rest of the room. Perhaps a whimsical sign above the table to declare your game area would be appropriate for the room.

If your do have a spare room to create a separate "Game Room," you are lucky! Try choosing a rustic theme for your room, such as Irish Pub or Mountain Lodge. Use rich colors on the walls. Add a small table to set snacks and drinks. Make sure you have several seats in the room to allow weary game players to rest. Check out garage sales for mismatched chairs you can pick up for just dollars. Paint rustic signs for charm, or hang old sports equipment on the walls. (You know you were just dying to throw out those old cleats!) Pick up cheap games for the little ones from the dollar shop to keep them busy while the older ones are involved in their pursuits, so everyone can be together. Hang an inexpensive basketball hoop with a sponge ball on the back of the door; you can pick these up at a dollar shop or discount store.

A game room does not have to cost a fortune, and can help mold memories and relationships within your family that will last a lifetime. So pull out the Life, set out the Go Fish cards, and pour everyone a tall lemonade. It's game night!

Reviewed April 2017

Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For hundreds of free budget decorating ideas, and to sign up for her free newsletter and ebooks, visit her at

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