From the 1960s to the 1980s, one of the bonus features in a new home was a finished basement with a rec room. Back then, it was often called the “rumpus room”. This subterranean space had wood paneling and included a game area—with a pool table or ping pong table—and a small kitchen and bar. It was the play space, for kids and adults.
Lifestyles changed. The party atmosphere gave way to healthier choices. Family entertainment shifted to electronics. Wireless technology has enabled us to take our distractions with us anywhere in and out of the house. The finished basement evolved into more functional living space—an extra bedroom or suite, home office, media room, home theater, or fitness center, to name a few.
We’re now experiencing a revival of the rec room in new homes. Homeowners are looking for a throwback to the fun space of the 70s and 80s, but with a 21st century twist.
Today’s rec room isn’t merely a repository of tired furniture. Homeowners are investing in thoughtful design for a functional room that integrates into the style of the rest of the house. Built-in shelves and cabinets provide essential organization. Even the space under the stairs is being converted to more useful storage, play, or study area. The old bar has been replaced with a kitchen island. And furniture and flooring are designed to be as comfortable, durable, and attractive as home furnishings elsewhere in the home.
Any fun room will require a television, probably as large a screen as the room will allow. Whether the occupants are watching television or movies, working out to a video, or video gaming, the big screen is essential.
The rec room renaissance embraces different lifestyles. It might include a Man Cave, where the guys can enjoy a private escape to play poker, watch sports, and ignore the “Honey Do” list for just awhile.
Your recreation room could be a more active family room, with a balance of today’s electronics with some unplugged fun—like air hockey, foosball, ping pong, or billiards.
If you have young children, this space serves as a playroom where you can let the young ones explore their creativity in a fashion as unbridled as you can tolerate. It’s a great room for hosting birthday parties, too.
Another trend in the revival of the rec room is the placement. It’s not necessarily a basement location these days. Recreation rooms can blend seamlessly into the desirable open floor plan, fitting into the living space instead of relegated to the basement.
Whether you’re looking for a new home or planning a renovation, think about the uses for a rec room and the ways it can enhance your lifestyle.