Maximum Value Big Ticket Upgrade Projects: Recreation Room

A recreation room makes an extra space for your family to relax and play and can up your home's value should you ever want to sell. Here, affordable design ideas and tips.
Contemporary Game Room With Dark Wood Pool Table

Contemporary Poolhouse Game Room

The downstairs of this gorgeous contemporary poolhouse features a sleek game room with a state-of-the-art pool table. A funky linear chandelier hangs above the pool table, adding pizzazz to the space.

Recreation rooms are a great bonus space for entertaining and household fun. Whether it's a comfy spot to cozy up and watch a movie, an open space to play games or even a personal library, recreation rooms are meant to store all of your activities and can help a potential buyer see the house as a home and a livable, enjoyable space.


  • Separate access to the space. Recreation rooms that have separate access, such as a staircase from the kitchen or living room, are becoming increasingly popular for homeowners who want to entertain, but don't want company walking through the entire home to get there. Being able to have the rec room set apart from more personal areas of the home can allow for entertaining as well as family time in a way that doesn't intrude on other parts of the home.


It is important to note the typical cost vs. return in a recreation room. According to appraisal expert, Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, homeowners should recognize that a rec room is a secondary space, and when it comes time to sell, there is not a great amount of value added to the space just by having high-end detailing and amenities.

The trick is to try to not over-improve the space. A standard finish is acceptable in a room that is designed to be turned into just about anything. For a potential buyer to see the rec room as livable, basic finishes and a clean look turn more heads that a decorative chandelier or hand-carved exotic wooden trim.


  • On a Budget: Are you looking to add more pizazz to an empty bonus space without blowing your budget? Your best bet is to develop a wish list. Decide which activities you want the space to accommodate, and then work through the list to identify your priorities. This will help keep add-ons to a minimum in order to maximize space and keep your goal in sight without stretching your budget.
  • Mid-Range: Do you like the idea of having a multi-functioning room but a full cinematic experience or a decked-out arcade just aren't in your budget? Try turning up the notch on design. Use your personal style to jazz up the space with color and accessories and look for multi-functional pieces that help you organize and store clutter like games, movies and books.

    It won't matter if you don't have the 60-inch flat screen with surround sound or the most expensive pool table; design and functionality can play a big part in turning a basic space into a more inviting and enjoyable place to hang out with family and friends.

  • High-End: As is true with basement construction, a rec room and its possibilities are practically limitless as long as you have the means to accommodate the items on your wish list. Everything from pool tables, home theaters, game tables and comfy furniture are great pieces to add to a rec space. Higher end materials can also offer a polished look and give the room a more custom feel. These items, like lighting, built-ins and hardwood flooring can give your rec room the extra touch to take it from standard to exceptional.

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