Simple room improvements

Monday, 22. November 2010

Looking over at a post from The Red Box Blog and it got me thinking on the line of room improvements for gaming.  Needless to say this useful since we don’t always get to play in the most ideal places for a variety of reasons. Since we at Pen and the Sword think that Role Playing – Entertaining is a lot of fun, however a lousy play space can quickly sap the energy and dampen the mood. So, we’re getting into a little bit of home improvement this time around.

Dismal lighting is great.. if you want it for setting a mood. Otherwise it’s terrible, it makes rooms generally unattractive, saps energy out of you and makes it difficult to work on any sort of projects that actually require decent light. Fortunately, track and recessed lighting make it a pretty simple fix. Both are easily direct-able from a gaming table to a piece of art, most are dimmable and simple to turn on and off. Thanks to modern LED technology, they are also quite small, sip power and throw of a minimal amount of heat. There is some technical skill needed with the install, but it’s not something that couldn’t be relatively easily developed. Worst case scenario, hire an electrician for the install or to do the final wiring if you’re not confident with it. Other stand alone lamps can fill the bill as well, although I prefer to have the additional floor space when possible.

Basements and homes build on slab floors in particular have a rather annoying feature in the winter. The concrete is cold and works as a great heat sink.. from you right into the ground. A few throw rugs will make life a lot easier, not to mention making clean up easier as you can simply take the rug out and shake it, or in for cleaning in should someone spill wine on it. Needless to say, one can go crazy on this but something that’s functional and not an eyesore shouldn’t be too terribly expensive.

In the case of using basements to play in, a lot of them are unfinished. This isn’t really a huge detriment as the walls can be easily cleaned up with some paint if you’re not interested in framing them in. The real detractor aside from the floor however is the ceiling. Unfinished ceilings are dark, expose all the innards of the housing and do some weird things with acoustics due to all of the surfaces. Fortunately modern ceiling solutions are pretty handy at fixing this if you’re not interested in a drywalling everything over. Drop ceilings will improve the lighting and acoustics dramatically and are relatively easy to install. As an added bonus, they give an added layer of insulation helping to keep the basement a bit warmer when you do heat it or cooler when you’re using it in the summer. In the case that there isn’t enough room for drop ceiling, there are a number of nearly flush mount tiles to be had that will have similar effects without taking up as much room. You mileage may vary.

Heating & Cooling
So you’ve made some of the improvements and the room is still too hot or too cold. Checking your venting into and out of the room is a good place to start, and possibly get the duct work cleaned out if need be. Nobody likes breathing all that dust anyways. If the airflow is still inadequate, an additional fan can be installed into the ducts and wired up the the furnace to improve airflow. For the instance of cooling in addition to that a well positioned fan works wonders.. even if you already have some sort of air conditioning. It’ll direct the rest of the cold air where its needed and let the entire system work more effectively. If it’s still to hot well.. cold drinks may be in order.
Heating is probably a larger issue and is fortunately the simpler of the two to fix. For a more portable fix, I prefer the IR style heaters. They produce an even heat without the need for convection and pose a minimum burning risk. They are also quite portable, and as such can be put to good use in the garage or workroom should the need arise. For a more permanent solution, there are various baseboard type heaters as well as some interesting vent less gas heaters depending on what you’re willing to pay and of course the available room.

Although property values are down, with it are the costs associated with any sort of improvements within the house. Are there any simple improvements that I’m missing?

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