The idea of having one’s own space in a shared household is nice, but it’s beyond the reach of many guys. Three kids, a live-in partner, your mother, whoever it is you have to compromise with on the use of your home’s rooms and furnishings, unless you live alone you’re compromising with someone.
A lack of free space doesn’t mean you have to give up on that dream of a game room in which to unwind and have fun. Multiple products have been designed with a lack of available space in mind. These game room items are not only easy to keep out of sight when not in use, they are ideal options if you’re living in a one-bedroom, studio, or other limited living space.
Folding gaming tables get a bad rap. Probably because so many of them are made to be cheaply sold, and, therefore, are poor quality. But not all folding tables are made the same. Companies like Kick Foosball make folding game tables that are more like the real thing. These tables are not designed to be completely portable from location to location, but to be easily moved out of the way (if not totally hidden away) when not in use. They are a little larger, and a little less inconspicuous than the other table types on this list. But if you want the most normal table play experience, this is the table type for you, assuming you can get your spouse/mother/roommate to agree.
Folding table pro: Quality folding tables are very similar to standard game tables.
Folding table con: The highest quality folding tables don’t fold up all that much. You’ll need a little more space for storage.
Portable Gaming Tables
So, we’ve acknowledged some folding tables really aren’t that portable. Now, let’s talk about the table games that really are that portable. Portable table games come in a couple of main breeds: floor and tabletop.
Floor tables are technically folding tables that fold much more compactly than the folding tables above (more like a card table). They are lighter and lie flatter, making it easy to both transport and store them.
The downside of these tables is they are also shallower and less sturdy. You have to be gentle playing on them, making gameplay less like playing at a real table. If you’re goal of a home table is to learn how to play foosball, air hockey or pool, or to practice some basic techniques, though, this table should prove solid enough.
Floor portable pro: It’s… well, portable.
Floor portable con: Even the top-quality ones are flimsier than their permanent counterparts.
Tabletop table games also come in a couple of main breeds: quality and crap, and you’ve probably seen more of the crap ones in your lifetime than the quality ones. These are the games sold at mass retailers every holiday season for 50% off in a bland, mass-produced box.
Crap tabletop versions of game tables are not the only tabletop versions, though. Companies that make quality tables occasionally make tabletop versions as well, and some table games simply have better tabletop versions than others.
Table tennis (ping pong) is, perhaps, the best choice you can make in a tabletop game. The best tabletop versions of table tennis are those with folding boards designed to lay directly on top of a dining table or another gaming table to create an experience almost exactly like playing on a standard table.
As for other table games, when it comes to tabletop versions, bigger is better. Look for tabletop versions that are 3 feet or longer, which is about the max size for most tabletop versions of table games.
Tabletop portable pro: The smallest of all the temporary game room options.
Tabletop portable con: Unless it’s table tennis, nothing at all like the real thing.
Okay, hold onto your hats, we’re about to go designer. When it comes to giving multiple purpose to a single room in your home, convertible gaming tables are the pinnacle of all-in-one. The crème de la crème of game table décor, if you will.
Convertibles. No, not the driving kind, the Transformer kind.
How would you like a foosball coffee table? Or a dining table with built-in pool and table tennis?
Recognizing most households have limited space, and some would simply rather their game tables be available but not seen, high-end manufacturers have brought their top-notch convertible design to the game table niche.
These convertible tables range in quality from pretty decent to ultra-extravagant, so you should be able to find a convertible table to satisfy even the harshest furniture critic in your household.
Or, if you’re feeling truly inspired to make your space count, you can build your own pool table dining table.
While it may not be the game room you’ve always dreamed of, and you may not have the funds or space for your Tennessee Whiskey pool table yet, I think we can agree any game room is better than no game room. So, when you’re short on space, double up that space’s utility to create a part-time game room that may not be the envy of your friends and neighbors, but they’ll at least have a really good time in.
Shawna Newman is a digital marketing consultant with an emphasis on site-building and SEO. She has sold several successful web-based businesses, and owns and operates Skipblast Digital.