Convert a dining room, loft, basement or guest room into a place for the kids (and you) to play

About the author: Shoshana Gosselin is a writer for Houzz.com. Brunswick has teamed up with Houzz to provide tips on how to make your home a more active place.

Fall is coming, and the kids will have to find indoor activities. Do you have a spot for them to get their creativity blazing? A place where they won’t be in your way? Basements are good choices for game rooms; so are converted attics, bonus rooms and rarely-used guest bedrooms. You can even convert an unused living room or dining room into a play space for kids. These places don’t all have to be solely for your kids to romp around in: They can serve as game rooms without necessarily looking like a kid’s space.

Once you have a room in mind, write down what you might want your kids to be able to do in that room, then think about ways of decorating to make it more fun. Here are some ideas to toss around:

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LDa Architecture & Interiors, original photo on Houzz

Convert a bonus room into a game room for the entire family. Take advantage of the low walls by creating built-in drawers so art supplies and board games can be neatly put away. Make sure you have the space for your ping-pong table which could measure 9′ x 5′. You can get tables that fold up to get out of your way.

A lot of people think about using their front rooms/living rooms as a kid zone. This is the first room visitors see, and it can get messy. Instead, try using a rarely-used dining room. I dig the idea of bookcases that can be used as cubbies for holding toys. (Get baskets that fit inside to keep the small stuff together and away.) And the dining table is a great space for art projects, building with Tinker Toys or Legos, and homework.

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Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC, original photo on Houzz

Turn an upstairs loft into an activity area for projects and relaxation. Paint accent walls creative colors that designate them as fun zones. The bubbly wall treatment is very fun.

Create a cozy game room out of your living room. Make it look smart with bookcases for tons of books. Place a 40- to 50-inch table in the center of the room. This will allow for 4 to 6 chairs for playing board games.

I prefer a pedestal table to squeeze an extra chair in. Use comfy leather chairs for long hours of playtime or reading.

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Rossington Architecture, original photo on Houzz

Give your kids some independence with a computer to do homework, then a round of pool as a reward. Bonus rooms are great spots for creating a spot that is fun and functional for your kids as they grow.

If you plan to add a pool table to a room, measure the size of the table with surplus clear space to allow for a cue stick to be placed and stroked easily around the table. Cue sticks are typically 58 inches long. So if the table is 5′ x 9′, you might add 5 feet (60 inches) all around, making the floor space you need 15′ x 19′ feet.

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Jamie McNeilis, Accredited Staging Professional, original photo on Houzz

Turn an attic into a rec room for teens to hang out, and for the parents to host get-togethers.

Horizontal stripes can be another fun wall treatment that is easy to create. Soft colors like gray blues, chocolates and creams add whimsy without shouting “kid space.”

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Tracy Murdock Allied ASID, original photo on Houzz

A game table can fit easily into an adult environment without taking it over. For a family room with an open, relaxing vibe, try soft leather sofas, rich woods and neutral paint palette. The foosball table adds a fun element without making this room feel like a sports arena.

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Designing Solutions, original photo on Houzz

Just had to add this one in because it is so cool. A rock wall and basketball hoop! How can I add this room to my own home? I will add it to my honey-do list.