What is a Realistic Game Room Budget & How to Get the Best Deal?

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 Today I am going to talk about how to budget for your game room furniture purchases and how to get the best bang for your buck.  As an employee of a specialty retailer I get to see all of the new games and furniture that arrive every year, along with the "deals" that can be had on them.  I am also in the unique situation of just purchasing a hew home and have the same decicions to make about furnishing my recreation space that I help customers with every day.  This means setting a budget, prioritizing certian items around who will be using them and how often, and figuring out what I need right now vs the things that can wait.

I was fortunate to purchase a home with a nice finished basement.  There is one large section that has room for either a Pool Table, a full sized Ping Pong Table, or a large home theater setup.  Because I know my family mostly hangs out upstairs to watch TV, a big fancy home theater would be cool to watch movies on the weekends, but would otherwise not get much use.  I love to shoot pool, but my wife can't stand the game and loves to play Ping Pong.  So for my family, the perfect compromise is a moderatly priced slate pool table with a Ping Pong conversion top like this one HERE.  I can get a nice solid hardwood recreational level slate pool table, decent accessories, Teflon Tournament spill proof pool table cloth, and this Ping Pong Top with accessories for around $4,000.  Luckily most Billiard Table Manufacturer's run specials around the Holidays so this purchase is the 1st priority on my list. 
This Killerspin Conversion Top fits on any 7' or 8' home pool table

I have always wanted a dedicated home theater in my house, can't help being a movie buff!  There is a downstairs bedroom in my new house that will acomidate a small home theater, and I need a 2nd TV room for the kids so I will be able to sell this to my wife as a "family" purchase :)  Rather than sink 8 to 10 grand in Projectors, sound systems, soundproofing, ec., I am going to use an extra Flat Screen TV from our old house and just live with it for now.  One thing I will need to purchase however is a single row of theater seats for this room.  I can get China import faux leather recliners for around $1,000 per row of three, but having sold and worked with economy theater chairs before I will not be going that route.  Good North American Made seats with real coil Springs and heavy-duty foam are not that much more expensive for a row of three chairs.  One trick I learned about custom home theater seating is that the fabric or leather you choose has the most impact on the price.  High end Italian leather can make a chair three times more expensive than basic fabric.  I am getting three chairs like these HERE.  In Bonded Leather they will come in at a fabric grade price, figure $540 per chair.  With a real lifetime warranty I know these chairs will hold up and be a good investment.  Lead time is 6 or 8 weeks and the best price can be had year round (just make sure you get an Internet Price Match from a local dealer), so I am going to get these on order ASAP!

This Firenze Group from Palliser starts at $540 per chair and is our most comfortable entry level theater recliner

My last major addition to the basement game room is also the most expensive.  The hottest game in the country right now is Table Shuffleboard, mostly because there are no age or physical barriers to play.  You can get your butt kicked by everyone from Grandma to your 7 year old niece.  Unlike Billiards, Ping Pong, Foosball, or even Darts, Shufflebaord does not require perfect form or good hand eye coordination to win.  Unfortunately, Table Shuffleboard is one of the most expensive home game room games you can invest in.  This is due to the raw materials used to build the boards (Canadian Rock Maple) and the time consuming process used to build modern poured resin play fields.  While I have room in my new basement for a 16' long tournament width (20" by 3") play surface board, I don't have a $6,000 budget for a good quality shuffleboard.  I could get a knock off board and save 10% or 20%, but once again having worked with China knock offs and budget manufacturer's tables, I know the long term drawbacks of ownership are not worth it on this item.  My compromise is to go a little smaller with the board and play surface, and a lot smaller on my investment!  I am getting a Brunswick 14' Andover Shuffleboard with a 16" wide play surface.  By getting a shorter board, I can get a smaller play surface and still have a challenging, fun, and lasting shuffleboard investment.  Brunswick runs little spiffs and promo's throughout the year, plus I will get free delivery and setup on my shuffleboard table if I combine it with the pool table purchase.  In this case I saved $300 on installation charges and got a free Light Kit as well, worth about $500!  Most specialty retailers will only charge you for delivery on one big game room item, everything else rides free on the truck.  My investment for the Shuffleboard ended up being around $3,800.

The 14' Andover Shuffleboard has a lifetime warranty and one of the nicest cabinets in this price point

I know many people would love to get a Home Bar as well, or mabie a Poker Table, but my family would not use these things very often.  I know what games my wife and I enjoy playing together, along with the things my kids will grow up playing and my friends will enjoy as well.  In the end my budget came in well under 10K for the entire basement, I got some great manufacturer deals, and I saved money on delivery and installation to boot.  This is a realistic budget for quality home game room stuff in todays marketplace.   I still want to add a Dart Cabinet, a few bar stools and chairs, and some nice themed art work for the walls in the future.  I can take my time picking out these items and try to get deals on discontinued and floor model pieces because they are just icing, the big stuff is taken care of.  I know if I spent the next 6 to 12 months waiting around for a better deal I might end up saving a few hundred, but winter is here and I want to enjoy time with my family, not time shopping and haggling.  I also know most manufacturer's raise thier prices after the 1st of the year, making November/December a good time to pull the trigger.  I hope my personal experiece on the other side of the fence as a consumer was helpful to you.  This definitly puts me in a more enlightened state of mind the next time I work with a customer to furnish a game room.

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  • Patrick McGarity
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