The Family Game Night Area With a Vintage Twist | Carving Out A Small Nook For Family Fun

Where families and friends gather for laughter, a little competition and the sanctity of memories in the making—the Game Night Area. Do you have such a spot in your home? Whether it be a simple table or an entire basement, no matter. The game area is special, but most importantly fun.

Good news is you don’t need much space to create it. Today I’m sharing how I carved out a small area in our living room for family board games. I’m making it pretty too, with a little bit of vintage inspo!

How To Get Started

The layout of the living room in our new home is more long than it is wide. I took advantage of this rectangular set up to segment off one part of the living room for the game area. The adjacent part will act as the main seating area of the living room. The couch will help define the division between both areas.

So what I have to work with now is approximately 10 x 10 square feet with a window view to the front yard.

Keep it simple...

Because this space is incorporated into the main area of the home, for me it was important that it matched and flowed with the surrounding aesthetic. Had this game area been located in the basement or inside an enclosed room, this would not have been as important.

With the goal of both visual appeal and function, I’m going to design things in a more minimalist, yet practical way. There will be no table as this would make the small space feel more crowded. Instead, a braided circular area rug will serve as the sitting area. Large decorative cushions can be used for casual comfortable sitting. They can be propped up against a wall or furnishing when not in use. I love that they will double as seats and decor.

This 5′ round salt and pepper area rug was the perfect size for the game area. It adds texture and natural appeal to the space. I found its style to be contemporary but also fitting for a timeless look of a lived in space. The subtle pattern and palette keeps it in harmony with the rest of the living room. It is big enough for our whole family to sit around and get comfy.

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A cozy and inviting area rug can lay the foundation for the look.

Since the concept here is a gathering place, the furnishings will be set up to surround the central point (the rug) and respect the openness of it. This keeps the setting clean and easy to just grab a game, plop down on a pillow and get started. I find the less steps needed to initiate a family activity, the more likely it is that everyone will pause from their routines and join in on the fun (especially me!).

I’m adding only two chairs to the game area. I’ll place one on each wall. These will add decorative appeal and serve as extra seating. Both chairs were previous thrift store finds that I had renovated. They came with us to our new home and add beautiful vintage character.

Even the chandelier installed by the previous home owners plays a role in honoring the gathering circle below. Its stylish cascade of shelled tiers add elegance offer a warm glow to the area.

The Gallery Wall

I can’t resist a good old fashioned gallery wall. I’m so drawn to the visual experience of a tastefully hung cohort of pictures or art.

I decided to create a gallery wall in the tiny section of wall space available in this area. It was a way to up the ante with a decor statement in the game area.  It was a stylish way to balance out the lack of a table by filling it in with some wall decor. 

Take a look at this next picture. It is a little blurry, but it gives you an idea of the small space of wall I’m working with to create this gallery.

I pulled out framed photographs and art work from our moving boxes. Isn’t it like Christmas when you rediscover your forgotten decor after it’s been packed for a while!

The process of creating the gallery wall involves some mental visualization and a few trials of holding the art up in different positions on the wall. It may help to have someone do it for you so you can step back and try to imagine how everything will look hung together.

There are many ways to express yourself through a gallery wall.  I’ve seen it done where all the picture frames are in the same color but different sizes. That can be a fun scene. I decided to mix and match colors, sizes and styles. But I’m staying within the theme of contrasting onto the white of the wall. So, dark brown frames and bold colors in the artwork and photographs. I’m also pulling in colors that will tie into the surrounding furnishings and area rug.

I’m intentionally avoiding light, muted elements for the gallery wall. They won’t create those pops of color that I’m mustering up here.

Once I pick out the placement of each piece, I begin hanging one at a time. You can be extra precise with your spacing by taking measurements ahead of time and marking where your nails are going to go. I just like to use the “eyeballing” method. I get one picture up and then I add more in a way that I like. Usually this works for me, especially after having done the “air” rehearsal first.


A beautiful thing about gallery walls is that you can rotate your art or photographs from time to time. This keeps things fun and fresh. It’s also a great place to show off your family’s art work. Here we have a drawing from my teenager when he was little and a decoupage piece gifted to me by my very talented and famous artist in Costa Rica, Ana Griselda Hine.

I set one of my favorite throw pillows (you’ve probably seen it in other posts on my blog) on one of my redone second hand chairs. It acts as a filler in the space and a lively burst of color.

I found an antique china cabinet for free on FB Marketplace. I was seeking a compact size cabinet so it took me weeks of searching. I didn’t want a huge cabinet in this small space, but I did want something for storing blankets and that could add a design impact to the living area.

When I got the cabinet it was in decent shape for its age. I didn’t mind that it had been painted firetruck red. All the while I had a plan to paint it pink! The red would be a great under tone for my pink vintage look.

Here is what she looked like when I got her…

Quite a bit of work went into repairing and painting this furniture piece, including redoing the entire back board of the hutch, but it was so worth it.

She is a true beauty in our home. The cabinet also brings in some weight to the visual experience in the game area, compensating for the more minimal aspect of the rest of the space.

The bottom part of the cabinet stores our blankets and the drawer is great for batteries and random loose items.

To decorate the cabinet, I used thrift store books to add height and style to a glass lemonade dispenser. Next to this, I placed a large gray basket that houses other loose articles.

Inside the hutch I added some of the wedding china that belonged to my mom and a few other ceramics and books. I love the concept of cabinets of curiosities, so mixing in a few different things was intentional. I was careful, however, to not make the hutch look too stuffed with things.

To store the board games for family night, I used a big woven basket. I love the way the basket looks next to the rug and how it adds an earthy vibe to this area. Large baskets are great for keeping things tidy and out of sight.

I bought two new games to add to our existing stock, Catan Jr. and Genius Square. Both have been hits with the family and friends. My kids play Genius Square on their own all the time now and Catan is a go to favorite for family game night. We like that the kids learn skills through these games.

In the video below you can get a better view of our new curtains. I wanted to mention them in these post because picking the right curtains can be tricky when you order them online. In fact, I had to send several curtains back that I had bought. They just didn’t look right once I got them in the space. But these Boho Off White Linen Curtains are simply gorgeous and I am so happy with how they look in our living room and in our bedroom.

If you like light filtering curtains and you are seeking a more neutral palette in your home, you may want to give these a try. They have simple details that are so beautiful and the fabric is stunning.

So friends, what do you think of this game area nook? Would you try something similar at your house? What ideas do you have for creating a family fun spot in the home? Let me know in the comments below. And be sure to subscribe at the bottom of this post so you don’t miss a thing!

Watch The Video - Family Game Area Styling

Get The Look

Here are some suggestions for capturing a similar look. Please note, some of these products I have not tried out.

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