It’s often the last room to be set up in a house, an afterthought that only gets built when money and time permits. But there’s something undeniably awesome about a basement rec room. It’s a welcome refuge in the house, whose only purpose is fun and games, and it makes for a great way to entertain guests.

Creating the perfect rec room takes time – it takes some careful planning, a critical design eye and a little bit of elbow grease. That’s not meant to turn you off from the prospect of putting together a rec room, and in fact, just about anyone can do it. This article will walk you through a few necessary steps on your journey toward the perfect basement rec room.

Budget for Everything… And Then Some

The most common mistake that homeowners make, before they even start ideating their ideal rec room, is failing to budget. The last thing you want is to be partially finished, only to find that you have to extend the timeline indefinitely because you’re strapped for cash. Budget every facet of the rec room – the remodeling, the plumbing, the fixture installation, the electric work, the little bric-a-brac that goes on the wall, and any other small cost you can think of. Then, add a couple of hundred dollars to the budget, to allow for some buffer room.

Design With Tone & Purpose in Mind

Decide on a basic “tone.” This could be an era inspiration, or more of a general mood. In the case of the former, you might go with something like “50’s billiard hall”, or “80’s arcade”; in the case of the latter, you might simply say “time-worn,” or “slick and modern.” Whatever tone you end up choosing, let that guide your design choices. But don’t forget to consider purpose: if the main purpose of the room is to center on a pool, for example, make the pool table (literally) the center of the room.

Make It Feel Lived In

Once you’re done laying down the groundwork, finishing the main layout, turn your attention toward small details. It is often this minute details that make a room feel lived in – your favorite teams’ pennants on the wall, a stocked liquor cabinet and glassware sideboard, pictures, signs, an area rug… whatever you can fit in to make the rec room feel cozy.

Ensure Your Basement Is Protected

Lastly, it’s important to protect your investment. The basement is perhaps the most vulnerable area in the house to damaging plumbing backups, so it’s difficult to overstress the importance of backwater valves for your home and basement. It’s relatively easy: just hire an experienced plumber to install a backwater valve, and maybe a floor drain if your house needs one, and you should be fairly protected. If you live in a place that sees a lot of precipitation, you may want to add basement weatherproofing to your budget as well.

With these simple steps, you’re ready to start creating your ideal rec room. Before long, you will be rewarded with a fun getaway in your own home!