Updated January 24th, 2024
Game nights with friends are a lot of fun. Nothing brings you together better than some friendly competition. What do you do if you want a game room but do not have any space inside your house? Have you considered your garage? With a little planning, your garage can make a great game room. Let’s look at how to turn your garage into a game room.
What is your vision for a game room?
It’s important to take a minute and think about what kind of game room you want before any further planning. Do you want a traditional room with a pool table and dartboards? Maybe you want a home arcade with classic video games. What if you want a Man Cave for watching games with friends and a well stocked bar. Do you need to keep cars in your garage still or can you use the entire space? Spend a few minutes thinking about what you want. See our section below on game room themes for some more ideas.
How to turn your garage into a game room
A garage game room is different for different people. They all involve some amount of finishing the space and some amount of adding furniture or games. Here are some steps to take and some garage conversion ideas to get you started.
1 – Clean up
The first thing to do is give your garage a solid cleaning. Declutter and get rid of anything you don’t need. It might be a good time to have a garage sale if you find you have a lot of things to get rid of. You can also donate to the Salvation Army or other charities. It might surprise you how much more room you have after you spend some time clearing out the junk.
2 – Measure space available
Measure how much square footage you have in your garage. This will determine how much you can put in your game room. Now would be a good time to grab some graph paper and draw out a picture of your garage with dimensions. Take note of where electric outlets, light fixtures, doors, and windows are. If you need to keep a car in the garage make note of that too.
If you have a double garage you will have a lot more room to work with. If you don’t need to keep cars in it you have plenty of extra space to create a living area or spare room in addition to your game room. If you need to park a car you can use half the available space. Maybe you need to store everything in half the garage and spread it out when it’s time to use it.
Grab a tape measure and go to work.
3 – Plan car, game, furniture, and storage space needs
Now that you know how much space you have it’s time to plan out where you will put everything. If you want to have a pool table you need to consider the pool table and how much room you need around it to play. Do you want a couch, a big screen TV, and a home theater sound system? Consider the spacing of the couch to the TV. If you want arcade games you can line them up along a wall. Some ping pong tables can fold up and move against the wall when not in use. Think about storage also. Where are you going to keep your pool sticks and accessories?
Do you need to share space in your garage for other needs? Does it also need to be a laundry room or extra bedroom? With creative storage, you can make your garage a game room and utility room, wine cellar, hobby room, or home gym. If you are lucky and have an unused garage you can use the entire garage space for a game room.
Make some copies of your measured garage drawing. You can mark on them where everything will go. Do this until you are satisfied you have everything you want in the space you have.
4 – Evaluate lighting and electrical needs
The standard garage has one overhead light fixture with a single light bulb. This is how every house I have owned has started out. You want more lighting for playing pool or other games. If you have a gaming table, you will want a light over the table. If you are making a man cave you want some lights over the bar and around the room. It’s not that hard to add more light fixtures in the ceiling of an unfinished garage.
Take note of how many electrical outlets you need. If you are making an arcade room, you may need a lot more outlets. If you are setting up a home theater, you need an outlet near the TV and stereo so you are not running cords all over the floor.
5 – Decide on your desired level of comfort – floor and wall finishing, heating and cooling
Do you need a heated and cooled garage to make it tolerable most of the year? Do you live someplace that is more moderate with temperatures? See our articles on heating a garage and cooling a garage for more information. There are a variety of ways you can both heat and cool a garage to make it more comfortable.
What do you want your walls and ceiling to look like? Do you want a garage that is an extension of your living space with finished walls, floor, and ceiling? Are you okay with something more rugged with exposed studs in the walls? Do you want flooring such as rubber mats or are you okay with bare concrete? If you finish the ceiling it may also allow you to add attic space over your garage for hidden storage.
The fancier you go, the more liveable your converted garage becomes, but it also makes your games room more expensive. If you want extra living space that can double as an extra room or spare bedroom you will want to go fully finished.
6 – Check for any needed permits
You may need permits from the city for doing work on your garage. Check with your local government to see if you need any permits for the improvements you’re doing. The last thing you want is a big fine for not getting permits and having to undo all the hard work.
7 – Install wiring, outlets and lights
If you are handy and have some good electrical skills you can wire up your garage yourself. If you have any doubts hire an electrician to add any lighting and outlets you need. An electrician should also be familiar with any permits you might need for your location if your not sure.
8 – Install flooring
If you want something other than concrete flooring now would be the time to install it. A lot of people like rubber floor tiles or mats. This makes a nice quick flooring that is easy to install. Indoor/Outdoor rugs also work well. Keep in mind that even the best garage door won’t completely seal out the elements from your gaming room. Do not use flooring that can’t get wet.
9 – Install insulation and wall and ceiling finishing
If you are going to heat or cool your garage you need to insulate the walls and ceiling before finishing. Without insulation, you will waste a lot of money trying to heat and cool the garage.
Most people like to go with drywall for wall finishing. There are other options such as plywood, pegboard, or other wall coverings. You can drywall the ceiling or go with hanging tile. Depending on your theme and might want to leave the ceiling unfinished. You can hang decorations or sports equipment in the ceiling or use it for other storage.
Paint the walls and ceiling to complete the finished look.
10 – Get some games and furniture
Now that you have the floors, walls, celing and electrical finished it is time to add the fun stuff. Go buy and install your pool table, arcade games, couches, bar, TV’s, tables, etc… you need. Hook everything up and test it out. Time to have fun and enjoy all your effort.
See our article on tips for putting a pool table in the garage to learn more.
Game room theme ideas
The idea of a game room means a lot of different things to different people. Let’s take a look at how you can set up a game room or rec room in your garage.
Traditional game room
The traditional game room contains things such as a pool table, dartboard, shuffleboard, and a table for cards or board games. Maybe you have a ping pong table top for the pool table.
The man cave is the ultimate space to bring your buddies over to watch the big game. Make that extra living room for entertaining your friends. You need a big TV, some couches and chairs, and a fridge. Maybe you want a bar also with beer on tap. See our article on keeping a fridge in the garage for some help on that topic.
Fill a room up with vintage arcade games and a pinball machine. Relieve your childhood memories of heading to the arcade with a pocket of quarters. In your home arcade, you have a much better chance of owning the high scores on your machines.
Video game room
Get a big screen TV, some comfortable chairs or a couch, and all your favorite video game consoles. Maybe throw in an arcade game in the corner. Be sure to have some storage cabinets for games and consoles.
Get a nice table and comfortable chairs for playing your favorite tabletop RPG game. Have some cabinets for storing gaming supplies. Be sure to add a fridge for beverages so you can stay hydrated while playing. Go crazy with lightings so you can set whatever kind of mood you’re going after for the game. Add a TV on the wall for whatever you need to display while playing. Make the ultimate garage gaming room.
See the below video for some ideas and things to consider when planning out a game room.
How much does it cost to make a garage into a game room
There are 2 expenses to consider. How much will it cost to prep and finish your garage? How much will it cost to buy games and furniture for a game room?
If you need to completely finish your garage it is going to average around $10,000. This is to go from bare studs in the walls and ceiling to completely finished walls and ceiling. Concrete floors to finished floors. Adding insulation to walls and ceiling. Installing an HVAC system. The biggest costs are finishing walls and ceilings and installing an HVAC system.
If you have a detached garage it may cost more to add an HVAC system since you aren’t sharing any walls or systems with your main house. If you have an attached garage you might be able to duct your home air conditioner into the garage and you are sharing at least one garage wall that is already insulated.
Your cost depends on far you want to go. See this article from fixr.com for a more detailed cost breakdown for finishing a garage.
For the costs for games and furniture. A pool table averages $1200-$3500. Vintage arcade games can run from $1500 to $5000. You can get a very large TV for $1000 these days. If you want high end furniture you can spend thousands on a couch. You can go IKEA for your game room needs and get a full room of furniture for $1000-$2000. It all depends on what you want in your game room. Expect to spend a few thousand on games and furniture for most game rooms.
You might also like:
- 14 Helpful Tips For Keeping A Refrigerator In The Garage
- Are You Putting A Pool Table In The Garage? – 10 Helpful Tips To Do It Right
About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am a homeowner and love having get togethers and finding the best things to make spending time at home easier and more fun. We spend a lot of time at home so why shouldn’t we have a great time there? I decided to start Budget Home Insider as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things home living with everyone.