Pool has long held a place in the hearts of many. It’s a great way to have a good time and bond with family or friends. As such, it has made its way from pool halls and bars and become part of many dream homes. However, for the most part, when people think about having a pool table in their home, they typically imagine a garage or a basement to place it in. What happens when you don’t have either of those areas; can you put the pool table in the living room?
The answer to that question is yes, you absolutely can. A living room is meant to be the center of the home and interaction. While traditionally, the interaction comes in the form of sitting on couches and chatting, there is nothing that says you cannot do the same around a pool table.
In fact, your quality time with people may improve if you are spending it while playing pool instead of just sitting on a couch. Additionally, while it is an unusual choice, and it might depend on the layout of your home and the size of the living room itself, it can make your home look interesting, unique, and lovely. Read on to find out the benefits of having a pool table in your living room (and whether it’s okay to sit on it).
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The Benefits of Having a Pool Table in the Living Room
Now that we’ve established that putting a pool table in your living room is not only acceptable but can actually be a unique and fun decorating style, it is time to explore some other benefits of having a pool table in the center of the house. Take a look at the following reasons the living room might just be the best place for a pool table.
It Helps Build Relationships
As touched on, having a pool table in the living room can be a great way to bond and have quality time with friends and family and even new acquaintances, but why exactly could it be better than just sitting and chatting on the couch? Well, there are several reasons such as:
- It makes you put your phone down. Not that there’s anything wrong with using your phone, but it can also become a crutch where we just pull it out and use it whenever you’re not sure what to say. Having an interactive game breaks the ice and helps get the conversation, jokes, and laughter going.
- You can make a family night of it. Or it can be quality sibling time. Games, in general, are a great bonding activity for families. You don’t have to limit your games to board games or outdoor games, which are dependent on the weather. Team up in pairs of two and enjoy a game of pool together—a perfect option for a family of four.
- You can work through disagreements. Sometimes sitting down and trying to force a conversation with someone you’ve had a disagreement with can be more stressful and awkward than it should be. One way to ease into resolutions is to be doing something enjoyable at the same time. It takes away the forced eye contact, which may be uncomfortable for some, and keeps the tension to a minimum since you’re having fun.
Whether you’re working to strengthen your family unit or love to make new friends and invite people into your home, having a pool table as a centerpiece can be an amazing way to make that happen.
It Can Improve Cognitive Functioning
This is a benefit that can happen at all age levels. When it comes to children, when parents have conversations with their kids, their kids open up to them more, and as a result, their kids will be more willing to open up about areas of their academics that they may be struggling with. This can, in turn, lead to them getting the help they need or explaining things in a way that makes sense for their kids.
In addition to the increased parental communication, which can help with school, pool can be incredibly beneficial for a variety of academic (and life) endeavors, including:
- Hand-eye coordination. Hand-eye coordination is an incredibly valuable skill in sports and physical activities because it enhances and speeds up reaction time and accuracy. It also is beneficial when it comes to learning to read and write.
- Problem-solving skills. Playing pool requires the player to take their time and plan out their shot-the correct angle and force and think ahead to what will happen if they choose a particular way to hit the ball. While problem-solving will help them greatly in school, it will also benefit them throughout their lives as they come across problems in work and life.
- Increased concentration. While generally speaking, kids don’t have a long attention span, playing pool regularly can help them build and hone this skill which will benefit them throughout their lives.
Adults need to regularly practice these skills as well. If you’re a young adult, being regularly challenged in an enjoyable way can help slow down the mental decline that happens with age, just as regular exercise can help you stay mobile and active well into your later years. For the elderly, it helps keep their brain active, which can also slow down mental decline, which leads to dementia.
It Can Improve Physical Health
While we all know that regular exercise is beneficial to our health, many people struggle with finding the time, energy, or will to exercise. It is as seen as a chore, and as such, there is a reluctance to engage in it. However, one great way to get started on an exercise routine is to choose something fun. Enter: Pool! Some of the ways that pool is beneficial physically include:
- Burning calories. Pool is not a game where you stand or sit still. You are consistently walking around the table and bending down in order to take the perfect shot. In fact, it is estimated that during an average game of pool, you walk around the table 100 times or the equivalent of ¾ of a mile. Because of this constant movement, a good game or two of pool can burn the same number of calories and get you moving the way walking does.
- Toning for your back, hips, and legs. The constant movement and walking help strengthen the muscles in your legs, back, and hips. As your muscle increases, the more toned you are able to get.
- Increasing your balance and flexibility. You might not realize it, but just as there is a lot of walking that goes during a game of pool, there is also a lot of stretching and bending to get that perfect shot. It can be easy to forget about stretching in your exercise routine, but as you get older, stretching is especially important to maintaining your mobility, strength, and a wider range of motion.
It Is Multipurpose
If you think that having a pool table would take up too much space while also only having one use, think again. If you’re having a big family get-together (such as at Christmas or Thanksgiving), a pool table can very easily be turned into a dining table that can seat a lot of people.
Additionally, a pool table may be beneficial if you think you ever might want to sell your home in the future. Studies have shown that when potential buyers see a pool table in the home, it makes the home more attractive to them. This, in turn, leads to more interested people, more offers, and you may be able to potentially sell your home at a higher price.
So Why the Living Room?
By this point, you are probably thinking that those all sound like great reasons to have a pool table in your home. However, you may still be skeptical about why that justifies putting the pool table in the living room. There are three good reasons why putting your pool table in the living room may actually be the best choice:
- Because you may not have the luxury of additional space. Just because you don’t have a garage, a finished basement, or an extra room doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have things you enjoy and can benefit from in all the ways listed above.
- By having the pool table in a spot of the house where there is regular activity, it is more likely to be put to regular use. There is a certain amount of truth to the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Having a designated game room is a cool idea, but are people going to go in the game room on a daily basis the way they do with a living room?
- It gives the home character and helps you express your quirky, unique side. Everyone expects a living room to be filled with sofas, a tv, and maybe a coffee table. Nobody expects a pool table to be the center stage. It’s a good conversation piece and a great tool for interaction, quality family time, and parties.
Why Not the Living Room?
To be fair, while there are many benefits to having a pool table in such a central area of the home, there are some downsides to it which it is important to look at so you can know what you are getting into it and whether it would be worth it for you.
The first problem that may come to mind is that it takes up a lot of space. If you don’t have a big living room or if it is oddly shaped, having a pool table can make finding enough room for other things a bit tricky. Or it may cause your living room setup to look awkward, which nobody wants. Perhaps you are thinking, well, that won’t be a problem because a pool table is sturdy enough to hold weight and can be used as seating when no other seating is available.
However, that is not so cut and dry, and before you base your decision on putting a pool table in the living room with the idea that it is multipurpose in terms of being used for seating, you should ask yourself if sitting on the pool table is even legal. You may be disappointed to find out that you should NOT sit on a pool table (unless there is no other way for you to be able to take a shot) for the following reasons:
- The pool table has been designed such that it is leveled just right, so putting weight on the edges consistently will shove it out of alignment.
- Secondly, the edges of pool tables have rubber cushions. While they can put up with a certain amount of use and pressure, constantly putting 100+ pounds on it, or pushing down on it to give yourself leverage to climb up, means that the cushions will eventually fall off.
In short, while pool tables are sturdy and well made, they should also be treated in a certain way so they last as long as possible. So, casual seating is a no-no.
What Shape (and Size) Living Room Works Best?
Now that we’ve gone over some of the pros and cons of having a pool table, we should explore another practical aspect: Will the pool table work with the layout of your living room? To figure this out, you should know that the size of a standard pool table is eight feet long and four feet wide.
While this is only about a foot longer and wider than the average couch, a pool table will also need additional space surrounding it, so you have space to play without denting your walls or breaking other things. This means there will need to be an additional clearance away from the walls and other furniture by five feet. When all is said and done, you should plan for a pool table to take up 14 by 18 feet of floor space.
So, if you are going to have a pool table in your living room, you have to decide three things:
- Is the room big enough for the required space? This one is pretty easy to figure out. Pull out your tape measure. If the room is at least 18 feet in length and 14 feet wide, that is one aspect you can check off.
- Do I still want seating in here and to use it as a regular living room in addition to a gaming room? This may be a little trickier to figure out. A living room may technically be big enough, but if you want it to be a place where people can gather regardless of whether they’re playing pool or not, then a 14×18 room just is not going to cut it, and you should only go forward with a pool table if the room is a minimum of 25 by 19 feet.
Maybe you have another room of the house that can be used for seating and tv, and you’re okay with making the living room a designated pool-only room. There is no right or wrong decision; it will just come down to personal preference. For a more detailed approach, be sure to check out this page.
- Is it the right shape? The best shape room for a pool table is a rectangular one, as it follows the shape of the pool table. Another great layout would be an open floor plan, as there is more flexibility with where you place your furniture.
On the other hand, some layouts that may not work or may make for an awkward setup are a square room, a room with curved walls, or even a larger room that is rectangular in shape but may have walls or partial walls. It may end up looking strange or leave you without enough space around the pool table or without enough space for additional seating.
For a pool enthusiast, having a pool table in the home may be absolutely mandatory. However, one area of the house that is not often thought of or used for a pool table is the living room. There are many great reasons to place a pool table in the living room, including but not limited to unique decoration, a deepening of familial bond and friendships, as well as being a great form of entertainment, breaking the ice, and taking a break from electronics.
On the other hand, there are some things which you should consider before putting a pool table in the living room, including whether the room itself is big enough, if it is the right shape or layout for a pool table, and whether you want the room to still function as a typical living room with seats. There is no right or wrong answer as to whether you should put a pool table in the living room. It is up to your individual home and your personal preferences.