game room tools

The Naked Game Room
12 Great Tips To Dress It Up

~~Getting Started

Thinking about setting aside some space for leisure time activities?

Don't know where to start to get things moving?

You've come to the right place.

We're all about starting from scratch - and if necessary, working with a tight budget and sometimes no budget.

I'm just a hard-headed optimist when it comes to these things.

I believe that there are resources available even when you don't think there are.

You just have to look.

1. Don’t Put It Off Due To Lack Of Resources

If necessary, start small.

But start.

At least get the ball rolling.

If you wait until you have an ample amount of cash to build something behemoth, you'll miss out on the rootin' tootin' fun you could be having right now!

Seeing something in the works will motivate you to build it in phases and you’ll be surprised what great ideas and creativity you can muster when doing it this way. 

There's no better time than now!

2. Clear A Space

Get the whole family involved.

Yes, even those testy teenagers will catch on to the fun after teamwork sets in.

Make it a game – or even better, a contest of healthy competition: who can clear out their section the fastest, who donates the most stuff, etc.

A little elbow grease never hurt anyone.

So get your broom, rags, cleaner, scrub brush and duct tape out and get ready to rock. 

Put on some music and dance that area clean.

As for your ridiculous collection of glass doorknobs, as well as the rest of the collective foolishness, do yourself a favor.


Fill up a carton box of things you can’t part with and then either donate or throw away what's left.

Now obviously, in terms of the overall project itself, what can and can't be tackled at the get-go will depend on your budget and whatever resources you have at hand currently.

Would your crazy brother-in-law be willing to help you with cosmetic touch-ups or maybe even a big job here and there?

The more people you can wrangle up the better. Promise ‘em pizza and a few laughs. 

Remind them that you might get tangled up in a ladder or something just as funny. Do they really want to miss that?

Okay, so now you’ve got a pretty good picture of what you have at your fingertips.

The following sections will not apply to everyone – at least not right away.

But I wanted to include as much as I could, just for poops and giggles.

We’ve built our game rooms (play rooms as we always called them growing up) from nothing.

And I mean nothing.

That’s what the term “naked game room” means.

In fact, you should always take a picture of any room or space that you’re renovating for the BEFORE and AFTER memories.

3. Video Games/Movies/Music/Entertainment

This will probably be the focal point of the room.

Go out and treat yourself to the best 50, 60 or 65 inch TV that your hard-earned dollars will buy.

Remember, it's always best to mount it on the wall.

While a pedestal is perfectly fine, it just takes up more space and also makes it tempting for little fingers to touch.

If you don’t have some sort of seating available, like a couch, check out the thrift stores, yard sales, rummage sales, flea markets and swap meets.

Keep in mind that if you can wait until the end of the day, you’re more likely to get a great bargain because people do not like to lug everything back home with them.

If you can’t afford all the frills right away, just make the space as comfortable and engaging as you can.

Lots of throw pillows (oversized is always nice and these can be made quite easily with a little material and some cheap stuffing), blankets, pillow pets, etc.

Items like TV stands, tables, bean bag chairs and even video games and the like can be purchased for almost nothing at the above-mentioned outlets.

And it’s okay if everything doesn't match!

Just make it cozy, inviting and fun.

You can always replace and enhance as you go.

X Rocker II SE 2.1 Wireless Sound Video Gaming Chair

We're huge proponents of gaming chairs, though.

Gaming without good posture alignment is like motorcycle racing without a helmet.

If you have any cash at all, I recommend a good gaming chair (or chairs).

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Lots of makes and models out there, at all different price points.

But there are some reasonable versions out there that won’t break the bank and will deliver extreme benefits to your family’s health.

Click here to see what doctors are saying and for some very reasonable yet sturdy gaming chairs.

And if you're really adventurous, you simply must have the newest in virtual reality - Oculus Rift. Reach out and touch the forces of evil! And watch your friends melt with envy.

I can’t stress enough that plenty of shelving will be enormously helpful in this area - from a storage perspective, as well as for display and convenience.

It doesn’t have to be designer shelving.

For this type of item, I don’t know how much luck you’ll have at the discount places I mentioned above but Amazon has a wide selection of utility shelving that take no time at all to put together.

And of course, you can always paint them and then add design decals to spiff them up.

4. Reading Area

Again, a handful of blankets and some throw pillows (Amazon sells something called a “body” pillow – oversized and long so that two or three kids will be comfortable when lying down).

And of course who doesn’t love bean bag chairs! Just make sure there is ample lighting in this area.

Shelving is a must, with books for all ages of the household.

Magazines and catalogs are a fun addition as well.

Even Mom likes to put her feet up once in a while.

Another idea for this area would be to have coloring and activity books, drawing paper, crayons, markers, etc.

Remember to have placemats on hand to lean on so that nothing gets marked up.

5. Board Games

Face it, we’ve got to have a space set aside for some good ol’ family board games.

I’m a hopeless retromaniac – I love the old favorites like Sorry and Monopoly.

But don’t forget Trivia Pursuit, Scattergories and of course, Pictionary.

You can get a very suitable easel with paper at any of the larger retailers for a reasonable price.

Or even a hanging white board.

These can also double for playing school.

Fill up a basket or decorative box with markers, pencils, erasers, small notebooks, stickers, etc.

The Dollar Store is a goldmine for finding cheap treasures.

Regular playing cards, as well as children’s card games can be purchased for almost nothing, yet can provide hours of fun, especially on that incredibly boring rainy day.

You might want to add some jigsaw puzzles to the mix, as well.

You can get a couple of pieces of 36 inch plywood at Home Depot to work your puzzles on, so that they can be carried and stored out of the way in between sessions.

Oh - and don’t forget play-dough and molding clay.

As you probably already guessed, a nice sized table (a card table or a longer craft table would do well) is fairly mandatory here.

6. Instruments/Karaoke

If your gang is so inclined, have them keep their instruments all in one place and encourage them to practice and jam together once in a while.

A karaoke machine is typically a larger investment but there are some less expensive ones out there that will do the trick. 

Family and friends will love gathering at your house.

As far as acoustics, yes, there needs to be a certain amount of emphasis on this but I wouldn’t stress over it.

You do what you can, when you can.

But I would at least make sure this area is free from a lot of clutter.

7. Add Some Competition

Air Hockey!

As it turns out, you absolutely can find the best air hockey table to fit your needs and budget. 

You'll be the hottest talk of the town and everyone will want to hang out at your house come Friday night!

Dart Board!

Want more friends? Buy one and they will come! 

Aren't you tired of going out to the bar to play your favorite game? Money spent, tipsy gets old really fast.

Get the best dart board for your buck here!

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8. Colors

If your space is in the basement and there is a lack of natural light streaming in, we recommend light colors. 

If you can, however, avoid tans and grays.

Be a little bold and try some pastels.

Hey! Now don’t grimace your face up like that! It doesn’t have to be girlie.

There are tons of palettes out there with some great new shades and tones available. 

I came across a new shade a few months ago that resembles stone-washed denim.


And if there’s no money yet for studs and sheet-rock, paint right over the stucco or cement walls! 

Lots of paint options available these days and there’s a paint for just about every surface.

If your space is on one of the main floors, you’ll probably have more options but it’s still a good idea to be aware of the natural light that’s available to whatever area or room you’ll be working on.

In fact, most places that sell paint, will have someone on hand to give you great advice on whatever your concerns or questions are.

Don’t be afraid to take a bold step into some innovative painting techniques such as texturing, sponging glazing and more.

Home Depot has mini workshops every once in a while on this and other informative task topics.

As you can probably tell, we are big Home Depot fans.

It’s never a bad idea to take some cell phone photos of different areas of the room or space, so you can pull them out when you’re matching colors or ideas or item placement.

And if your space is in the basement, be sure to measure the doorway access, as basement entryways sometimes are not standard and may run small. 

And even 1/8 of an inch can make a difference when you’re anxiously attempting to get that beautiful stand-up arcade game through the door to your new palace.

9. Lighting

Again, if your starting budget doesn’t call for specialty lighting, then a few table or pole lamps will fit the bill very nicely.

This is where the fun begins because your gang can get creatively crazy (or is it crazily creative?) with styles, colors, shades, etc.

Your room is a reflection of everyone who’ll be interacting in it and everyone gets to be a part of the planning and execution. 

I believe it’s called a mish-mash or a hodge-podge. It’s the best.

If you are interested in specialty lighting, I would again recommend Home Depot.

Their expert advice will take you a long way.

Unless, of course, you or a member of your posse is so inclined, in terms of contractor work.

Then you have more options.

I still recommend Home Depot, though. I’m pretty sure they price match, as well.

10. Flooring

When we created our first game room, there was no money for any kind of “real” flooring or carpet.

So, we got to work and scrubbed our cement basement floor and then painted it with a special grade of paint.

I believe we gave it two coats and then let it dry for two or three days.

And then, Voila! It glistened.

Perfect for what we needed at that time.

About a year later, we got a fabulous deal on carpeting.

But until then, it was fine. 

 Lots of throw rugs will help, no matter what kind of shortcut you’ll be taking in terms of flooring. I remember having great luck at the thrift stores.

11. Wall Art/Photos

Ok, listen........just hang anything!

Have everyone choose their favorite photos and then pick up some really nice collage frames here.

Buy some cheap posters that look expensive and then get some inexpensive poster frames at Michaels and have your group start creating.

You’ll be surprised at what can happen and how things can come together when you use everyone’s ideas and allow everyone to help.

Be sure to hang things with the right materials.

We use 3M Command brand hanging strips and hooks.

There are some pretty good putty-like products out there as well.

You’ll thank yourself later.

12. WishList

These are things that everyone can enjoy!

Click on each one to see the killer reviews, as well as the fabulous assortment of choices and options at

Lower prices, free shipping on tons of items, several convenient payment options, timely delivery, great customer support and hassle-free returns are just some of the benefits.

Feel like a kid again?

~~Summing It All Up

Once you’re finished, remember to look at this as a work-in-progress.

You’ll add things, change things and enhance as you go.

That’s exactly what we did.

The important thing is that it's a space that is dedicated to getting together with family and friends.

Having fun, lots and lots of laughs and best of all, creating memories.

Now, start renovating!

Game Room Heaven - Where The Fun Begins!

Walda Woods

Walda Woods spent many years in the corporate world as an executive in the telecommunications and deregulated energy arenas. She now spends her time as a freelance writer and editor. Originally from Boston, MA, she currently lives in Topeka, KS to be near her family. She recently started a blog on game rooms, focusing on leisure time and the memories that friends and family can create. Her unique blend of personality, humor and values is sprinkled throughout this website and keeps her game room audience coming back for more.

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