BY ERIK J. MARTIN
REMEMBER THE wood-paneled rumpus
rooms of the 1970s? They were all the rage.
Today, the latest incarnation is the entertainment room—a modern multipurpose
area where family and friends can binge-watch their favorite shows or engage in
serious lights-out movie-watching, partake
in a PlayStation 4 war, roll the dice in an
old-school board game, socialize with
snacks, or bring out the tots’ toys.
“Family entertainment rooms today
can be used for so much more than storing
old pingpong tables,” says Kristina Leigh
Wiggins, author of Building Your Home: A
Simple Guide to Making Good Decisions
(Brown Books Publishing Group, 2017; not
available at Costco). “Their design is moving toward being very functional for how a
family actually lives day to day—a place
where they can connect and have fun.”
Location, location, location
The first step toward creating the ultimate entertainment room is to pick the ideal
space within your home. Aim for an area that
offers at least 600 square feet, if possible, to
accommodate the furniture, electronics and
elbow room you’ll need, says Seattle-based
interior designer Nancy Dalton. “Consider
things like traffic flow, distance from the TV
to the seating, placement of your speakers
and ability to change the room around as the
family ages,” she says.
Also give thought to the noise and activity this room can generate.
“For this reason, it can be smart to situate your entertainment room on a second
floor or secluded away from the bedrooms,”
says Costco member Angela Nuessle,
national interior design director for
PulteGroup Inc., an Atlanta-headquartered
Akeia Blue, a Capitol Heights, Maryland,
Think fun-iture, not just furniture
homeowner and Costco member, designated
her attic for entertainment duties. “It’s a
separate, cozy space where me and my loved
ones go to relax,” says Blue, who decked out
her digs, despite her tight budget, with a
60-inch TV, Bose sound system, Wii console,
couch, beanbag chair and floor cushions.
“When I have visitors, it gets constant use.”
Next up: the furnishings. For the primary furniture, experts recommend choosing either a sectional sofa set or a modular
four- to six-piece sectional. Extras include
manual or power motion reclining seats, a
center or arm console with cup holders and
an oversize ottoman with inside storage.
Additional seating can come in the form of
a recliner, a beanbag chair and/or a chaise,
euro or pillow lounger.
Other key ingredients are an appropriately sized TV console—with storage for
electronics and media—and a round or
rectangular gathering table, perfect for
gaming, snacking or conversations.
“My table has a chessboard in the center
but flips over to provide a perfect surface for
board games, food set out for football games
or wine and cheese tasting,” says Dalton.
Optional play pieces include a pingpong,
foosball, shuffleboard or pool table, assuming your room has the real estate and these
pieces don’t block TV viewing.
Flexible, functional and fashionable
“The most essential characteristic that
a piece of furniture should have in this room
is flexibility. Chairs and sofas should be
easy to move, and storage should be versa-
tile. This will allow you to grow and change
with the space,” says Wiggins, who suggests
avoiding built-in cabinetry and large com-
ponents that can’t be easily repositioned.
Also consider adding different furniture pieces that coordinate but don’t necessarily match perfectly. “For example, I
like to mix and match theater seating with
more traditional furniture pieces, as it does
not marry you to one look,” Wiggins notes.
“By focusing on the function of the furniture and mixing and matching the type, you
can avoid headaches down the road—like
trying to replace a damaged chair that’s
Finally, to tie the room together,
emphasize a dominant color that will be
present in the fabrics, wall paint and floor
material, and complement this color with
different accent hues and patterns in any
wall art, décor, pillows and window treatments you choose.
“Keep in mind that you can be a bit more
playful with colors in this space,” Nuessle
says. “An entertainment room is less formal,
so you have more flexibility to be creative
and introduce fun geometric patterns and
bold colors for a distinctive look.” C
Costco member Erik J. Martin (martin
spiration.blogspot.com) is a freelance
writer in the Chicago area.
Costco offers furniture and furnishings for
your entertainment space, along with TVs
and other devices to fill it up, in the
warehouses and on Costco.com.