Learn how to transition an unused formal dining room into a game room your family will use and enjoy all the time!

Since getting married, I’ve lived in three houses.

They’ve all included “formal dining room” areas in the floor plans.

But Kevin and I?

We’re really not formal dining room entertainers.

Even when we host a dinner party, we’re kitchen table people.

In our first two homes, those spaces sat empty.

Money was tight and we couldn’t justify buying furniture we really wouldn’t use.

When we moved to North Carolina, our eat-in-kitchen area was large and we bought a table that could expand to seat 12!

And then we bought an air hockey table for the dining room.

Because honestly?

That space would get way more use as a game room!

Deep earth tones were all the rage at the time so we painted the room a deep olive green.

A few years later, we upgraded that air hockey table to a beautiful pool table.

Dining room with dark green walls and ceiling with a pool table

And even though the room is one of the first rooms you see when you come into our home (both from the garage door and the front door), we never invested in a pool table light.

My utilitarian husband popped in a flood light light bulb and the old light fixture was “plenty bright” for shooting pool.

Dining room with dark green walls and ceiling with a pool table and bad lighting

Isn’t it funny the things we’re willing to live with and honestly become blind to after a while?

Because this light really looked pretty awful.

Kitchen table light with flood lamp light bulb hanging over a pool table

As the trees planted in front of our home grew, the game room became the darkest room in our house.

Even on the sunniest of days, the room always looked dark.

So I decided it was time to give this room a little makeover.

Dining room with dark green walls and ceiling with a pool table

Planning My Game Room Makeover

I knew this project would be on a pretty small scale.

Nothing as elaborate as the makeover I just gave my laundry room!

I was going to rely primarily on a new paint job and some fresh lighting to make this space flow better with the rest of our first floor.

The first thing I wanted to do was change the paint color.

My first floor is all painted Revere Pewter (HC-172) by Benjamin Moore, and I love it!

But I wanted to try something a little different for the game room.

Since it’s such a dark room, I decided to order the color at 50% intensity!

Did you know you can do that?

If you really love a color, but want it to be brighter (or darker!), you can ask them to increase or decrease the intensity when they mix it for you.

I also decided to paint the ceiling with ultra-matte ceiling paint in White Dove (OC-17) by Benjamin Moore.

White Dove is a warm white that will work well with the warm undertones of Revere Pewter, and having a lighter color on the ceiling will help brighten the room even more.

Mood board with paint colors and lighting selections to make over a game room with a pool table in a dining room space

Choosing Lighting for a Game Room

One of the reasons we hadn’t gotten a new light to go over the pool table is that I didn’t really like any “pool table lights” I saw.

But who says you have to use a “pool table light” over a pool table?

No one!

Which opened my world to all sorts of possibilities.

I chose a simple rectangular-shaped light. The fixture is a “kitchen island pendant,” so I hadn’t even looked at it as a possible option!

Lamps Plus Richardson Kitchen Island Pendant
Richardson 36-inch Bronze Kitchen Island Pendant

The deep bronze color would add some nice contrast to the lighter paint colors in the room.

It would also blend nicely with the other lighting on my first floor.

Then, the seeded glass cylinders protecting each light bulb add a little sparkle!

I decided to swap out the wall sconces as well for something a little less “farmhouse” that would work with the bronze finish.

I loved these simple wall-mounted lights! Would you believe they’re actually “outside” lights?

Pair of Lamps Plus Casa Mirada Vintage Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
Casa Mirada Vintage Bronze Outdoor Wall Light

But just because a light fixture is safe to use outside doesn’t mean you can’t use it inside! You just can’t safely go the other way (lights made for inside use can’t safely be used outside).

Next, I decided to add a table lamp for the buffet table to bring some light into that back corner of the room.

I have one other small project planned for the room: adding some base cap moulding to the ceiling to make a large “picture box” to give it a little architectural interest.

The best part about this planned makeover?

It should all be able to be completed in one weekend!

Want to see how it looks now? Go check it out!

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment.

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Pinterest graphic for a game room makeover

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