Video games are big. Like $155 billion big. In fact, it’s estimated that 26% of the world’s population are regular video gamers across various platforms. Given these statistics, it’s likely that you or someone you know is an active video game player, especially if you own a home or rent an apartment in video game meccas like Seattle, WA, or Austin, TX.
Video game rooms are a great way to help get more immersed into a game, regardless of the platform. Depending on budget and space, a gaming room can allow you to bring in more computing power, louder and fuller sound, storage for all of your accessories and decals, and can give you an excuse to use that unused room in your home. Whether you’re playing Candy Crush in your bonus room or Fortnite in your small office space, here are 10 gaming room ideas for how to create the ultimate room on any budget.
1) Bring your gaming room idea to life: pick a theme and decide on décor
Before you start purchasing products or ripping down walls, it’s important to decide on an aesthetic or theme for the gaming room. It’s your chance to embrace your favorite game, character, or genre, and manifest your room around that. If you’re using art, “try to choose art that compliments the game,” says Gary of The Vintage Poster, a boutique poster and print resource. “If you’re framing, make sure the frame contrasts the art – the contrast will make it pop.”
Do you like Mario? Try using a lot of reds and yellows, incorporate mushroom décor, and set up lights highlighting cool wall art and posters. Is Zelda your favorite? Focus more on greens and browns, memorabilia, and custom artwork. Fancy Call of Duty? Try embodying realistic art and camouflage colors throughout your room, and make sure your gaming setup is top tier.
This first step is about brainstorming and being creative with your space. Choose something that you like and run with it. You want to be able to walk into your gaming room and feel inspired by simply being in your space.
Pro tip: enhance your space with featured art
Personalized canvas prints are perfect for adding flavor to the walls of a gaming room. Whether you have an all-time favorite still from a game or a favorite game poster, a personalized print can bring your walls to life. – Parrot Print, a canvas printing specialist.
2) Ensure you have a reliable internet connection
While this may sound obvious, it’s so important. Most games nowadays require an internet connection to play or at least have certain features that are unusable without one. Having a consistent connection will raise your gaming experience to the next level.
While one gigabit (Gbps) and even 2 Gbps internet is all the rage nowadays, you don’t actually need very much internet speed to play an online video game. Most people agree that you only need a download speed of 5 Mbps or faster to enjoy the most a game has to offer.*
Removing the nagging worry of losing connection in the middle of a match or online chat is a huge boost to the effectiveness of your gaming room.
*The FCC has a list of broadband speed guides which contains the minimum speed required to perform certain tasks. They claim that 4 Mbps is the minimum download speed for gaming, but experts believe that to be too slow.
3) Incorporate tabletops, storage, renovation, and customization
Now that you’ve chosen a theme and have your internet all sorted, it’s time to make some larger changes and additions to your gaming room. This is the stage when you can tear down a wall, commission a custom-built desk or storage space, or purchase that desk you’ve had your eye on for months. The entire room is now yours to mold.
Your desk will likely be a centerpiece of your gaming room, so investing some extra time and money will make your room feel more like your own. There are many routes you can take depending on your space, but some common custom desk styles include:
- Standing/adjustable height
If you have limited space, use a floating desk to allow for more storage. If you have more space, try a longer, curved desk for extra desktops and decals. If you are going the more expensive custom route, you can even incorporate many of the above styles into one unique desk.
Other furniture options and gaming room customization ideas
Shelving units, side tables, couches, custom display cases for your memorabilia, TV stands, and mirrors are just some of the other furniture options to consider. There are also countless room customization or renovation possibilities. Add or remove a window or wall, paint the walls, add new carpet, or do anything else your heart desires.
It’s important that you conquer the big projects before moving on to the nitty-gritty. This process will vary widely depending on your budget, but even DIYing a floating shelf can add that extra touch of personality.
Pro tips: get the most out of your space
Creating the ultimate gaming room should center around two vital components: comfort and organization. You want to select a comfortable chair with lumbar support for endless fun, and you want to ensure it’s easy to find your games and accessories. A sleek lateral open shelf cabinet allows you to store all your games and extra equipment while sticking with the aesthetic of the room. – NJ Office Furniture Depot, the place to go for furniture in New Jersey.
A great way to update a game room is to add some type of feature wall. It doesn’t break the bank but will make a huge impact. – Renno Home, a resource for all things renovation.
4) Choose a perfect gaming seat
You’ll likely spend most of your time here between consoles and your desktop, so it should be the pinnacle of comfort and style. Spending time fidgeting or squirming trying to get comfortable only takes away from your high-level gameplay.
There are loads of different gaming chair styles to choose from here, ranging from a standard desk chair, to a custom-fitted leather racer chair with magnetic armrests and an adjustable headrest, to a gaming armchair lounger. Don’t feel the need to overstretch your budget; there are plenty of affordable options that provide comfort and longevity.
5) Invest in quality displays
You’ll be looking at your displays for hours on end while you game, so choose carefully. There are three general choices to choose from: monitors, televisions, and projectors. Monitors benefit from their smaller size and versatility, while “projection screens can enhance your experience by increasing immersion,” says Benjamin of Elite Screens, a source for cinema-quality projector screens. “Not only do projector screens give you a cinematic feel, but they are better for your eyes as well.”
Projectors are generally best for much larger rooms and are hard to move from one room to another. TVs are the perfect option for those who like consoles and will be sitting farther away from the screen. However, since monitors tend to be the most popular, let’s take a close look at those.
There are four general quality aspects to take into account when choosing a monitor for your gaming room:
- Size: This is the diagonal distance between opposite corners of the screen, i.e. a 13” laptop measures 13” from the top right of the screen to the bottom left.
- Resolution: This is what determines the sharpness of the image on your screen. The more pixels your screen has, i.e. 1920 x 1080, the better your resolution will be.
- Refresh Rates: This describes the frequency that a display updates or “redraws” an onscreen image. The amount of refreshes per second is measured in Hz, i.e. a refresh rate of 144 Hz means the screen refreshes 144 times per second. The higher the better.
- Price: Prices for monitors range from under $100 to $2000+. While the expensive monitors may look great, the lower end of the spectrum provides more than adequate quality.
Typically, most would agree that size doesn’t matter as much as resolution or refresh rate, and most games will look great on your standard 1080p, 60Hz monitor. The newer Freesync and G-sync technologies produce better quality images, but are costly. Choose what specs fit your budget, and remember that higher numbers usually yield increasingly insignificant returns in performance.
Pro tip: what to consider when choosing a display
When choosing a display, think about what type of games you play. Competitive gamers should focus on refresh rate and aim for a 120Hz or 144Hz display to stay ahead of the competition, while role-playing and story gamers should prioritize a 4K resolution for the sharpest graphics. – Cable Matters, a knowledge base and source for computers and related products.
6) Craft your ultimate hardware setup
Are you a console fan? A desktop dueler? A VR wiz? Regardless, your gaming room needs gaming hardware. Consider a couple of options before splurging on a powerhouse setup. Style and price are also important.
Before you purchase your dream console, or before hiding them behind a cupboard, take your entire room into account. Don’t ignore the console’s or computer’s aesthetic value, and instead work them into the room. A console can be a statement piece that sits on top of a desk or TV unit. A computer can sit prominently, blending into your room’s theme. To level up your gaming room, let your hardware breathe freely.
Computer performance vs price
Numbers are king here. Consoles are generally fixed in their performance capabilities, but desktops and laptops can be built with specific specifications in mind. Keep an eye out for these metrics when buying a computer:
- RAM/DRAM: Measured in GB, this is where short-term device memory is kept and determines how quickly a computer can function performing multiple tasks. A higher amount of RAM, e.g. 32GB, means that a computer can run multiple demanding tasks at once without reduced performance.
- Storage: Think of this as long-term memory for your computer. Usually, a computer will have at least 256GB of storage.
- Central Processing Unit (CPU): CPUs are made up of chips consisting of multiple cores that process most everything that runs your computer. Keep in mind that they can’t run anything on their own, and require quality RAM and storage to operate. Their power is measured in gigahertz (GHz).
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): The GPU works in tandem with the CPU to accelerate computer graphics workloads. GPUs can either be built into a computer with the CPU or exist separately, allowing for customization.
- Cooling capabilities: Demanding workloads result in the computer generating heat. Too much heat will reduce performance and can cause damage. There are a few ways to cool a computer, but the most common are air and liquid coolers.
In general, shoot for middle-of-the-road hardware. That is, unless you want to spend thousands of extra dollars to experience the pinnacle of performance and style. Pre-built computers are more expensive but more convenient. If you have the ability, customize your gaming computer to your heart’s content.
Pro tip: what money can buy
A budget of around $2800 is sufficient for purchasing a setup capable of playing any game and can accommodate streaming, VR, and video editing. For the ultimate gaming experience, consider a $4000+ RTX 3090 powered system. $1800 will provide the full gaming experience at a lower cost, although with reduced graphics capabilities. – Supernova Gaming, the place to go for custom-built computers and quality accessories.
7) Decide on a quality sound system
The audio quality that comes directly from a TV or laptop is generally poor. Adding external speakers will improve your audio exponentially. It adds dimensions to your sound that would otherwise be lost. Let’s look into some popular speaker styles.
- Soundbars: Soundbars are the minimalist, stylish choice. The trade-off here is looks and price for sound quality relative to more traditional speaker styles. These fit easily into any gaming room.
- Bookshelf speakers: These can be used with soundbars as an addition, or can be their own system. These typically come with more than two speakers and can provide quality surround sound. They can be rigged to provide a large gaming room with resonant sound.
- Floorstanding speakers: These are usually large and expensive speakers with a powerful, full sound. They are heavy and obtuse, the opposite of soundbars.
Get Bluetooth speakers if possible for versatility, and try to coordinate the speaker style with your gaming room style. Many speakers have the ability to light up and can be custom-built if you’re willing to spend the extra money.
8) Add soundproofing to your gaming room
Gaming is loud – it’s preferable that way – but you don’t want to get distracted or distract others in your home. Because of this, it’s a good idea to add soundproofing to your gaming room. Many materials and objects provide some soundproofing, but in general, it boils down to five strategies:
- Soundproof insulation
- Dampening seals
- Wall panels
- Soundproof paint
If you have the budget for it, include a mix of soundproof paint, thick doors, and custom panels to seamlessly blend strong soundproofing and interesting visuals into your gaming room. Panels and
full-wall systems “not only help with acoustics,” says Jon of Fabricmate, a company specializing in soundproof panels and wall solutions, “but also protect your walls from hits and impacts, and can be customized to your specifications.” If you’re on a tighter budget, apply dampening seals on the cracks around your door/s and window/s and use a thick rug. After applying the soundproofing, this space can also double as a podcast space or music studio for you or anyone else in your home.
Pro tip: the benefits of soundproofing
Whether it’s a basement or a bedroom, the right soundproofing is critically important for a gaming room. Soundproofing needs to serve two purposes: giving you the best possible audio quality inside the room while limiting noise emitting outside. Soundproof panels are a great option because they can be made from recycled materials and are easy to install. – SONOpan, soundproofing and wall modification experts.
9) Stock up on gaming room accessories
Who doesn’t like accessories? Customize your room to your heart’s content with a headset, gaming mouse, mechanical keyboard, figurines, microphones, charging ports, a gaming mouse pad, or whatever else you can think of. If you’re a streamer, make sure to grab a webcam as well. A pair of headphones “can elevate any gaming room,” says Kaylie from Master & Dynamic, a company specializing in top-notch gaming accessories. “To keep things organized, add a sleek and functional headphone stand to display your gaming headset when not in use.” If you’re on a budget, just get what accessories are necessary. Anything that costs more than $150 is marginally better than a cheaper option.
Pro tip: find the perfect gear for you
It’s all about the experience, and equipment is key. To help make you the best gamer you can be, you’ll want to find a lightweight mouse that fits your hand perfectly, a fast keyboard so you can make the right plays, and a quality headset to hear subtle sounds. – Steel Series, a popular and high-quality gaming and accessories company.
10) Incorporate lighting
It’s time to spruce up your room and transform your space with home lighting. We aren’t talking about simple lamps and fluorescents. We’re talking about strip lighting, Bluetooth lightbulbs, backlights, custom-shaped panels, and hanging decals. Lighting “can be the perfect addition to help create a gaming atmosphere,” say Cory and Derek of Lighting Access. “Correctly placed lighting not only creates a more aesthetically pleasing experience, it can help with eye strain too.” Lighting may seem unnecessary, but it definitely adds to the aesthetic and quality of your room. These lights can also be synced up with your gaming computers, mouse, keyboard, and even headset to weave your entire room together into an RGB LED explosion.
Since all the suggested lighting uses LEDs, which consume less electricity, you’ll be able to save energy at home and avoid racking up your monthly bill.
Pro tip: use lighting for immersion
“Although many people tend to game at night, sitting in the dark can cause headaches and eye strain. Using LED lights with a daylight color temperature can help prevent this. If you don’t want bright lights at all times, dimmable LED lights will allow you to adjust your game room aesthetic. – Lumenture
Your gaming room is your space – your home within your home. By following these 10 gaming room ideas, your room, big or small, will shine. Make it yours, regardless of budget. Above all, be sure to have fun with it.