When asked to build a luxury home for a house tour this year, designer Kenyon Woods opted to include a rec room – but not the rec room of his childhood.
Unlike old-time rec rooms with their wood panelling, ceiling tiles, box TVs and cast-off furniture, this one measures about 800 square feet on the main floor, with space for watching TV, shooting pool, rock climbing and more.
"Media rooms used to be off by themselves," said Woods, owner of Authentic Custom Homes in Oklahoma City.
"I'm tired of the theatre or game room being separated. Today, families want to be together" even if they're doing different activities.
Recreation rooms of all shapes and sizes are popular in new homes, according to a recent survey by U.S. Houzz and Home, an online source of interior-design photos and decor ideas. Gaming and entertainment spaces, gyms and playrooms were among the top uses for rec rooms, it said.
Clients often want "several different areas in one large, open space," agreed Kristen DuChemin, design director for the Columbus, Ohio, home builder Romanelli & Hughes.
For some, that means adding game tables such as foosball, shuffleboard, air hockey and billiards.
Chance Pack, spokesman for game manufacturer Valley Dynamo in Richland Hill, Tex., says sales of game tables, which dipped during the recession, have seen an uptick as the home-building industry rebounds.
Parents and grandparents like gaming tables, he said, because they are interactive and intergenerational, luring kids away from electronics and into family activities.
"People are really focused on the entertainment aspect of their home," Pack said.