If you love a good game of pool or a fun round of bowling, you’ll enjoy these games right in the comfort of your own home. It’s easy to design your billiard hall or awesome bowling alley by making a few changes to your space. These games have always been a favorite, but now having the ability to enjoy playing them at home is more popular than ever. The global pool table market hit an impressive $225 million in 2021 while bowling continues to be a favorite for kids and adults alike. If you’re looking for ways to install a pool table or bowling lane at home, this guide has everything you need to get started.
Why a man needs a man cave
If you need a place to hang out at home, a man cave is a perfect idea. These rooms allow you to spend time alone or with your friends without ever having to leave your home. Here are just some reasons why every man should have a man cave.
A place to hang out
Creating your man cave gives you a great place to hang out with your buddies without having to spend a ton of money at the pool hall or bar. Once you set up your man cave, you can invite friends to watch the game on your flatscreen TV, play pool, or just hang out and catch up. With a man cave, you’ll have a comfortable hideaway to de-stress and unwind after a long day. It’s also a great place to invite people over if they want to get away or play a few rounds of bowling or cards with friends. Designing a man cave provides a haven to hang out, do what you enjoy, and be yourself.
A man cave isn’t just a place to play – it’s also a place to promote good mental health. When you’re in a comfortable space, your mind tends to relax and feel at ease. This environment increases the serotonin in your brain, which controls feelings of happiness and contentment, and improves your mood. Having a man cave promotes happiness, positive thinking, and optimism. It gives you a special place to decompress no matter what your day brings, as the more time you spend in this room, the happier and more relaxed you’ll feel.
Everything is better at home
Your man cave gives you a fun place to enjoy yourself while staying home with the ones you love. Just because you like to spend time in this room doesn’t mean you don’t want to be around your family. This space allows you to reflect on the things in life that are most important to you. You’ll also be safe when you spend time here rather than going out to a bar and running the risk of drinking too much. Since you won’t have to spend your hard-earned cash at other establishments, it’ll also save you money.
Start with the basics
As you prepare to set up your billiard and bowling room, it’s best to start with some fundamentals.
Determine where you want your new man cave to be — whether it’s in the garage, basement, or a spare bedroom. Measure the size of your designated space to ensure it will fit your new pool table or bowling lane. If you need to make changes like basement modifications or knock down a wall, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a local, experienced handyman who can get the job done right.
Every great man cave needs an awesome bar, and you can build your bar or purchase one at a furniture store. Make sure you choose a bar with built-in storage, so you have a place to hold your beer glasses and bar tools. Pair your new bar with some comfortable barstools so your guests have a spot to sit and relax. A mini fridge or an extra full-sized refrigerator is also a great idea so you don’t have to go from the kitchen back to the man cave whenever someone needs a drink.
Add some of the latest tech to your man cave like a large high-definition flatscreen TV. LED rope lights that change color help set the mood. Don’t forget to invest in a good stereo system with Bluetooth speakers so you and your guests can listen to music while enjoying the man cave.
Where to sit
Aside from your barstools, ensure you have a comfortable place to sit and relax. Bring in a large sectional if you have the room, or try out some home theater seating. A large recliner is a popular option for a man cave so you can kick up your feet, take a nap, or simply chill out.
Keep the décor in this space simple by only displaying meaningful items that bring back fond memories. Hang a few posters of your favorite movies on the wall or frame some of your tickets from sports games or concerts. You can also install some shelving and decorate it with small collectibles, trophies, and other items with a fun design.
Make billiards the main event
As you plan your billiard room, keep these tips in mind to help you choose the right pool table.
Commercial style vs furniture style
A commercial-style pool table is what you’ll find in most bars or pool halls. These tables are ideal for tournaments and professional players. Surprisingly, a commercial-style pool table tends to cost less because the focus is less on aesthetics than functionality. Furniture-style pool tables are much more visually attractive and are usually approximately 8 feet long. They’re smaller than commercial tables, but some can be found in a larger professional 9-foot size if desired.
Size and construction
Think about your pool table’s size based on the playing surface first. A typical furniture-style 8-foot pool table should have a 44” x 88” play surface, so a minimum room size of 13’ x 16’ or larger is best. Smaller 7-foot pool tables have a play surface area of approximately 38” x 76” or 39” x 78”. Now, let’s look closer at the material options.
- Slate: A single piece of slate is a standard design that rests on four legs and may need to be leveled using shims or adjustable feet underneath. This design may sag in the middle over time which could cause the pool balls to roll toward the center.
- Framed slate: This option is the best style and features a plywood, MDF, or particle board frame with slate attached to the framing using screws or glue. The cloth is then stapled onto the frame instead of glued directly onto the slate for better support.
- Unframed slate: An unframed slate pool table usually measures ¾” thick or less. The frame is still the primary support, but the felt is attached to the slate using a special adhesive that could come loose if not applied correctly.
- Slate liner: For this pool table style, you would attach a slate liner to the cabinet or frame instead of the actual slate itself. The felt is then attached to the slate using staples, but the liner may sag over time or cause the seams to slip and come loose.
Wood and finish
Pool table manufacturers use various wood types and finishes. Look for durable wood like solid oak, maple, or mahogany that will stand the test of time, and then add a beautiful finish to complement your man cave. You can choose a light honey or oak finish, or go for something dark and deep like a rich mahogany color. Formica finishes are also available and commonly found on commercial-style pool tables, but they’re great at preventing scratches and dents during heavy gameplay.
Billiard table felt is made of a durable wool blend that can handle a lot of wear and tear. Most billiard table felts come in various colors like red, black, or even pink depending on your choice. With proper care, the felt on your pool table should last a decade or more. Professional-grade options are also made of a nylon blend that can last even longer.
Pool table billiard guide
Here are some tips for maintaining your billiard table and more information about the various games you can play.
- Use 100% phenolic resin balls to protect the felt and playing surface from damage.
- Make your shots parallel to the table to avoid scratching it with your pool cue.
- Dust your pool table regularly with a soft, damp cloth and cover it when it hasn’t been used for a while.
- Use a table brush and clean the table after every game to remove excess chalk and dust.
- Clean the pool balls regularly with mild detergent and water and dry them thoroughly before storing them between games.
Here are a few fun games you can play once you have your new billiard table set up.
- 7-ball: This game is similar to 9-ball but with a few additional rules. Balls numbered 1 to 7 are used in a diamond rack, with ball 7 in the middle and the rest around it. Ball 1 is at the top of the rack. The second player chooses their three pockets along either side of the table. The player who breaks the rack gets the opposite side, and the goal is to sink the balls in ascending order into one of your three pockets first.
- 15-ball: You can play this game just like 9-ball — sink the balls in rising order or play for points. Balls 1-10 are worth one point, and balls 11-15 are worth two points. Whoever reaches the first point target (that you set in advance) wins the game.
- Cutthroat: This game is for 3 to 5 people, and each person is assigned a group of balls. Each player gets balls in various numbered groups depending on how many people play. You can keep shooting if you hit your ball into an opponent’s pocket. If you miss, your turn is over. The person who has all their balls pocketed first gets eliminated, and the winner is the person with the most balls left on the table.
- Table tennis top: Add a conversion top to your pool table to turn it into table tennis. It’s a great way to get more from your billiards, and it’s perfect for people who aren’t into playing pool. When you’re done, simply fold the conversion table, lift it off the pool table, and store it away.
- Bar games: Keep your game room fun with other awesome bar games like darts, foosball, or pinball.
Design a home bowling alley
If you love bowling, here are some tips to help you create your own home bowling alley.
How much space is needed?
A single regulation-sized bowling lane is 87 feet long, so the room should be 100 feet long or more. This measurement includes 16 feet for the approach, 67.5 feet for the lane and pin machine, and at least 3.5 feet for the service aisle. If you want room for seating and storage, you’ll want to allot a minimum of 100 feet. The standard bowling lane width is 3.5 feet, but 6.75 feet is best for gutters and capping. Overall, 675 square feet per lane is best.
Bowling equipment is heavy and can weigh up to 20,000 pounds for two lanes, so special skills are required to install it correctly. There are also specialized tools needed that most homeowners won’t have or can’t get access to. If you’re installing a bowling alley in your home, it’s best to turn to professionals for help.
How much does it cost?
The cost to install a bowling alley in your home depends on how many lanes you want and the type of equipment you choose. On average, a quality installation should cost approximately $120,000-$195,000. High-tech scoreboards and other equipment may cost more, so it’s best to get several estimates and shop around to compare pricing.
Bowling alley requirements
Here are the main components every bowling alley needs:
- You’ll need a sturdy, durable lane for the ball to roll down.
- Look for used bowling balls online to get a good deal, but you can also find these new at almost every sporting goods store and online.
- The ball return takes the ball from the back of the lane to the front.
- Digital monitors and scoring boards make it easy to keep track of your score, and the costs may vary depending on the brand or technology you use.
- Of course, you’ll also need pins to enjoy your bowling alley at home. Choose classic plain white pins or get customized with different colors and designs.
Why is it awesome?
Bowling is a fun activity that people of all ages love. You can play it with your family members or friends or play it alone to practice your skills at any time. Bowling is a decent arm, leg, and back workout that helps you with your hand-eye coordination. Having a personal home bowling alley will make people want to come over and visit more often. Even when the weather is awful outside, you’ll be able to enjoy year-round entertainment at your bowling alley.
Lighting is essential
From bowling to billiards, good lighting is a necessary part of any man cave. Use bright lighting that makes it easy to see without being too overbearing. LED lighting is always a good choice for a bowling alley, while pool lighting that hangs directly over your billiard table is ideal for a great game of pool. LEDs are bright, long-lasting, and energy efficient so you don’t have to worry about changing bulbs or using too much power.
Adding custom lighting will give your man cave a fun, personal touch. Try a customized neon sign with your name, a fun slogan, or an inside joke. Lighted acrylic signs etched with your choice of symbols and wording are another excellent choice for a custom touch. You can even make your custom lighting by adding small string lights inside a whiskey bottle. Try a set of marquee lights shaped like different letters to spell out the word BAR — or even your name. You can also make your industrial-inspired ceiling lights with heavy metal piping, wire, and lightbulbs.
Remember these tips to design your own billiard room and bowling alley. Whether you add one or both of these fantastic games to your home, they’ll spice up your man cave for years. Don’t forget to include the basics — like a comfortable place to sit, great lighting, and the newest technology so everyone will want to enjoy it with you.
Maintaining and safeguarding your ultimate billiard room and bowling lane with home insurance
As you embark on creating the ultimate billiard room and bowling lane at home, it’s important to focus on the aesthetics and entertainment value and consider the long-term maintenance and safeguarding of your investment. Here’s a guide on ensuring the longevity of your billiard room and bowling lane, complemented by the security provided by home insurance.
Maintenance tips for your billiard room:
1. Table and equipment care:
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintaining your pool table, ensuring regular cleaning and inspections.
- Store cues properly to prevent warping, and consider investing in cue protectors.
- Clean and dust the bowling lane regularly, especially if it is synthetic, to maintain its optimal playing surface.
2. Environmental considerations:
- Keep your billiard room and bowling lane at a consistent temperature and humidity level to prevent warping of the table and affecting the bowling lane material.
- Install proper ventilation to minimize moisture buildup, which can damage both the pool table and bowling lane over time.
3. Security measures:
- Install security cameras and alarms to deter theft or vandalism in your dedicated gaming space.
- Consider reinforcing doors and windows to enhance the physical security of the billiard room.
Safeguarding your investment with home insurance:
1. Specialized coverage for gaming equipment:
- Check with your home insurance provider to ensure your billiard table and bowling lane are covered under your standard policy.
- Consider adding a rider or endorsement specifically covering these high-value gaming assets.
2. Valuation of collectibles:
- If your billiard room features collectible cues, balls, or bowling memorabilia, consider getting these items professionally appraised to determine their value accurately for insurance purposes.
3. Increased liability coverage:
- As home entertainment areas can pose additional liability risks, inquire about increasing liability coverage to protect against accidents during billiard or bowling activities.
4. Review policy limits:
- Regularly review your home insurance policy limits to ensure they align with the current value of your billiard room and bowling lane setup.
Integrating insurance with your ultimate gaming space:
1. Documentation and inventory:
- Keep detailed records and an inventory of your billiard and bowling equipment, including receipts, serial numbers, and photographs. This documentation will be crucial when filing an insurance claim.
2. Regular policy updates:
- Inform your insurance provider about any significant upgrades or additions to your billiard room or bowling alley to ensure these improvements are adequately covered.
3. Safety precautions:
- Emphasize to your insurance provider any safety measures implemented, such as security systems and environmental controls, as these could potentially lead to policy discounts.
By combining regular maintenance practices with comprehensive home insurance coverage, you can enjoy your ultimate billiard room and bowling lane worry-free, knowing that your investment is both well-maintained and protected against unexpected events.