Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
You work hard. So why not play hard in a dedicated home game room and/or home theater—one that’s well-equipped with the latest tech and popular options designed to delight visitors and make staying put vs. going out that much more fun?
“If you are a homeowner who spends a lot of time gaming, socializing, or hosting game nights with family and friends, you’re an ideal candidate for a game room, as a designated space for entertainment can enhance the overall enjoyment of your home,” says Robert David Orr, owner and senior editor of RemodelReality.com. “If you love watching movies or sports and hosting viewing parties, you’d also benefit greatly from home theater. A dedicated area for immersive audiovisual experiences can really level up your entertainment options and add value to your home.”
Minimum essentials for a game room include comfortable seating, ample lighting, and a selection of different table and video games, according to Michael Hereford, an avid gamer and senior editor with InverseGamer.com.
“Ideally, your game room should have a pool table, foosball table, and at least one gaming console,” he suggests.
On the other hand, home theater should, at minimum, include a large screen or digital projection system, a high-quality sound system, comfortable seating, blackout curtains, and proper lighting that can be dimmed.
After these base inclusions, it’s time to think about upgrades that can take your home theater or game room to the next level.
“If you’re on a tight budget, say under $500, consider adding to your game room versatile seating like beanbags or floor cushions, a ping-pong table, and wall-mounted shelves where you can display personal memorabilia or collections. You can also create a custom chalkboard wall for scoring or game-related drawings,” advises Orr.
Got a little more money to spend? Ponder adding higher-quality gaming equipment and perhaps a mini-bar or snack area. Orr recommends upgrading to ergonomic gaming chairs, themed décor like sports memorabilia, and a compact arcade cabinet with multiple classic video games. These elements can be added, he says, for hopefully under $2,000.
A higher-budget game room can yield top-of-the-line gaming equipment like a billiards table, custom-built seating and storage solutions, and an elevated sound system. Expect to fork over $5,000 or more.
Creating a better home theater involves likely spending at least an extra $1,000 to upgrade your TV or projector, improve seating, and invest in a better sound system, Hereford suggests.
“With a medium budget of $3,000 or more in additional funds, you can enhance the audiovisual experience with a higher-quality projector a TV, an advanced sound system, and improved seating,” he adds.
Ready to splurge on that home theater and spend five figures? “If so, you can opt for a state-of-the-art 4K projector or TV, a deluxe audio system, custom theater seating, a snack bar, advanced acoustic treatments, and smart home integration for lighting and temperature control,” Orr continues.
Don’t feel like you have to drain your nest egg to keep up with the Joneses here.
“Upgrading a game room or home theater doesn’t have to break the bank. I’ve seen people make a big impact with just a few hundred bucks by adding better lighting and some DIY décor or a sound system upgrade and blackout curtains,” says Joy Aumann, a Realtor with Luxury SoCal Realty.
As far as return on investment, don’t expect to get 100% of your money back when it’s time to sell your home.
“A snazzy game room can catch the eye of a young, tech-savvy buyer, while a top-notch home theater could draw in movie buffs. But remember – these spaces won’t be for everyone, so it’s important to think about your target audience and budget appropriately,” cautions Aumann.
Put another way, “a game room and home theater can add value to your home, but they might not yield as significant a return as other home improvement projects,” Hereford says. “The primary purpose of these spaces is personal enjoyment and entertainment value.”