In the beginning there was a table design. But it had to wait as it had no place to go. Until now! Well not exactly now but pretty soon...
So it is finally time to build my games room. For the past 3 weeks I have been reno'ing my basement. The computer room is done. The basement bedroom is painted. Now I get to finally work on my "room" which is situated at the base of the stairs (foyer). Walls have been moved, plumbing has been removed, and the lighting has to be "updated".
Lets discuss the lighting.
I have previously posted ideas in other threads (Game Room Lighting) of what I would do when finally reaching this step of lighting a games table/room up. Now that I have personally reached this stage and am experiencing it first hand, here are my revised ideas: Using Direct Light & Diffused Light
1. Direct Light - A large flat LED panel directly above the table to flood the table in light to remove all shadows. This would be on a separate dimmer switch so the intensity could be controlled and even turned off for those sleeved card games where it would make it nearly impossible to read the cards.
2. Diffused Light - Recessed Lighting around the outer room on a separate dimmer switch. The indirect light would make playing cards easy as there would be no glare from directly above.
Part 1 is easy as I will pick up a 2' x 4' dimmable flat LED panel and suspend that over the table.
Part 2 - not so easy. I explained to my wife that I wanted to put multiple recessed lighting "directional" lights around the outer edge of the room shining on the walls to bounce the light around. My concerns with this was would there be enough light bouncing around to light the table up (positioned roughly in the middle of the room)? The room dimensions are 13' x 13' with ~8' high ceiling. I had my doubts that this would work well. Visions of a dark table with bright walls haunted my dreams. And then my wife stepped in and said she hated recessed lighting so it was out the window regardless. What to do?
My revised plan is to merge the two light sources (1 & 2) together in a light box that is similar to a pool table light above the table. I plan on making a 2' x 4' box with flared sides. For the direct lighting, I will mount the 2'x4' LED flat panel directly on the bottom. The sides, instead of being straight up and down, would instead be flared out at around a 45 degree angle up towards the ceiling. The sides would be made from diffused glass. Inside of this box would contain multiple light sockets that dimmable LED bulbs can be screwed into. They will point out towards the slanted glass panels to light them up as well as light the ceiling above for even more bounced light.
Here is a rough ascii art image of what I have planned (side view):
\ O| O |O / <- LED Bulbs behind diffused glass
------------- <- LED Flat Panel
| Table Top |
The angled glass will be illuminated by the inner bulbs and throw diffused light around the room yet not directly down on the table. The bulbs will also illuminate the ceiling above which will also reflect the light even more across the room. The flat panel LED underneath blocks any light from the bulbs from going directly down onto the table since it is in the way. Some light will reach it from the diffused glass but that is indirect which is what I am after.
I'm hoping with enough bulbs (or strong enough bulbs) that this diffuse lighting will be enough to make the room comfortable to play in and light up the table. Since both the inner bulbs and the external flat LED panel are on separate dimmers, I can control the intensity of both to suit the game being played.
My original design started with a 4' x 4' panel (two LED panels side by side) but after stepping back and taking a look at its size, it was over kill. Hence, we are now down to the 2' x 4' sized light box.
I will mock something up before hand to get an idea of how much light will be thrown by this light box. I am concerned about the large shadow the LED panel might cast when not turned on.
Any comments on something I might have missed?
So how's the project going?
I'm thinking about the lighting above my table too, and wondering what the best solution might be.
I'm mostly concerned about glare from direct lighting. I play a lot of war games under plexiglass, and the glare with my current lights can be problematic. I haven't seen any indirect lighting solutions that I liked.
It's C-O-L-D. My garage is not heated so my table saw and other tools have been put away for the winter until the spring. Doing all the work myself means I'm twice as slow as a paid worker but I also have a 9 to 5 job every day and can only do this at nights and on the weekends. I also want to play a few games each week as a guy has to have soem fun, right?
That said, My games room is about 75% finished. It has been re-dry walled, painted, new ceiling with new wiring to give me controls for multiple lighting solutions.
One switch controls 6 recessed pot lights that are spaced around the outer edge of the room. My wife finally saw the light (haha) once we got to that point and realized that recessed lighting around the room was required. I had originally planned on using it to help light the table but decided instead just to use it to light the room for non-gaming purposes. These pot lights will illuminate the two closets along one wall and the games storage shelf along the adjacent wall.
Two additional dimmer switches were added to a single point in the ceiling where the table will be located. These will control the two sets of lighting I previously discussed: Diffused lighting from the sides and a large 2'x 2' flat panel led (down from the 2' x 4' I originally planned) for direct lighting above the table. I did a mock up of this when doing the wiring as I wanted to be sure it would work prior to finishing off the ceiling making it impossible to change if I found out it did not work. My plywood base and white paper mock up turned out quite nicely and convinced me that it was feasible. This will be a custom built light so it won't be something you can buy from a store. Once I get a chance to build the actual fixture, I will post images and an in depth description of how it works. I'm designing it with very specific angles made for my table size to maximize lighting yet remove glare.
I believe I would have had my games room finished in the fall but expectantly we decided to renovate the whole basement half way through which added two more rooms (spare bedroom and the laundry room) and a washroom which took up all my time. Had we stuck to just the two original rooms (computer room and games room) I would have been done. The things I have left to do in the basement are:
1. Finish the two closets in the games room so I can empty my theater room which is currently full of the stuff stored in the previous closets from the
games room prior to renovating it.
2. Finish the laundry room floor (it was tile and now will be vinyl flooring - same as the rest of the basement) and fix a few of the walls which have a few marks/holes from years of usage.
3. Lay down the vinyl plank flooring in the whole basement (computer room and spare bedroom are finished). We have two dogs so we were concerned about new rug and muddy/wet paws. The vinyl flooring was also half the cost of the rug and will be way easier to keep clean. We will find some large floor rugs to put under the table and line the hallways if we so desire.
4. New doors for all the rooms.
5. Baseboards for every room.
6. Build the Games room light fixture
7. Build the Games room wall shelf for games (it will be custom built out of Maple plywood based on the 5x5 Ikea KALLAX I purchased a year ago but will now be selling). The new shelf will also have a shelf large enough to hold Mechs Vs Minions .
8. Build the Table
So I have lots to do! My spring/summer/fall are all booked up and I am very excited to finish this job.