By Stacey Shannon
Whenever we get serious about our hobbies, it eventually becomes essential to have dedicated spaces for them. Artists have their studios, woodworkers have workshops, and gamers have gaming rooms. We’d all love the newest and coolest stuff in our creative spaces. But paying close attention to your personal wants and needs will drive you in the right direction.
Our gaming rooms are the places we relax and leave our worlds behind for a while. It makes sense that we’d want everything for them, but space and finances often stand in the way. Before you go bonkers with display cases and massage chairs, think of what you actually need to upgrade in order to improve your gaming experience. Meaningful improvements in things like your room lighting, audio system, room design, and seating will improve the gaming experience. And they may just improve your game as well.
The most important aspect of your gaming room should be that it allows you to see the game well. Investing in a solid PC and monitor are the most obvious places to start. Some gaming PCs come equipped with a monitor, but an upgrade here works wonders. When your monitor can’t handle the graphics workload, things can get blurry right when you need your vision to be at the top of its game. If your equipment is up to par, you need to make sure your room lighting isn’t taking anything away from you.
Going too dark with your room lighting can lead to eye strain. Going too bright can distract you with screen glares that obstruct your vision. You need something in the middle. Since video games have gone the way of interactive movies, it’s a good idea to take a cue from movie theatres. Pairing blackout curtains with low, indirect accent lighting or cove lighting will give you enough light to see what you’re doing; meanwhile, it provides your monitor the perfect atmosphere to look its best. Top all that off with the cool visual aesthetic that accent lighting provides, and we’ve got a winner.
The Sound System
Even though video games are primarily a visual medium, the sound is where much of the excitement and tension are created. It heightens your senses. A good headset is essential to both coordinating and trash-talking with other players; it also allows you to keep game volume to a minimum. When communicating with players isn’t necessary and you feel like fully immersing yourself in the game world, you’ll want to make sure you also have a solid speaker setup. While speakers fall under the umbrella of upgraded computer peripherals, they are important enough that they’ve earned their own category. Investing a little time and attention to your sound setup will take your games to the next level.
To get the best sound, you’ll want to go with a 2.1 channel audio system; these generally include two front speakers and a subwoofer. This setup gives you both the booming bass that amplifies the dark, ominous tones and the full audio range that keeps people from sneaking up on you. If you want to take it up another notch, consider adding acoustical panels, window inserts, or try to install a soundproof door. Acoustic treatments both help your system sound better and allow you to turn it up without disturbing the rest of the house. They also help keep outside noise where it belongs. Creating a space that is cut off from outside distractions may improve your game and your relationships at the same time.
A gaming room is only as great as it feels. A cluttered room is distracting, and the busy reflections take away from the game visuals. Incorporating elements like floating shelves, a good gaming desk, and cable ties organize the clutter into focal points and organize hardware so your attention stays where it belongs. They also help you make the most of your space when dealing with smaller rooms, where overcrowding can make you become downright claustrophobic.
Decorating a gaming room should involve very personal choices. Don’t be afraid to choose bold paint colors here. This is your gaming sanctuary. Choose whatever color suits your style and mood. If you prefer cool, relaxing colors to sharpen your focus, go for it. Blues and greens are very popular. If you work better with vibrant colors, there’s no reason to shy away from them. The paint color will set the tone for the countless nights spent there, so make sure the tone is right for you.
Marathon gaming sessions can take up the better part of a typical weekend. When you’re investing that kind of time, it’s important to have comfortable, supportive seating. Investing in a good gaming chair will allow you to move fluidly and without wasting much effort. The support it provides will also keep your muscles up to task for long and short sessions alike.
If you have friends over regularly, don’t forget about them. They’re much more likely to hang around awhile if the space is comfortable. A soft fabric couch provides you a viewing area; it also pulls double duty by absorbing some of the sound waves and allowing you and your friends to hear each other over the game sounds. Keeping company comfy is where all the hosting points are earned.
Once you’ve taken inventory of what you’ve got and where you want to be, it’s time to make some choices. Paint is relatively inexpensive and is always a good starting point. It can create a mood that makes all your other choices easier. Painting early on will also help keep the painting process as simple as it can be since you don’t have to navigate everything else in the room.
If you’re already happy with your paint color, start with whatever upgrade will give you the most bang for your buck. However, you move forward, be prepared for the possibility that you’ll keep going with it. Pimping your game room gets addicting.