Right before the pandemic hit, we completed a lower-level makeover for an empty-nest couple in Fairfax, Virginia. Our billiards room design transformed a blank slate into a warm, casual space for entertaining. The billiards room turned out to be a particular blessing this past year. It provided the perfect setting for family game nights with the couple’s grown kids, who live locally.
The Billiards Room Design
Planning a billiards room can be tricky. You have to allow several feet of clearance space around the table to establish a comfortable playing field. Here’s a look at our plan:
We also created a color rendering, which helped our clients visualize how the finished space would look.
Billiards Room Basics
Obviously, the most important component of a billiards room is the pool table, so we started there. We worked with New York-based Blatt Billiards to find the perfect piece for the space. The folks there are pool-table pros! I highly recommend them. We selected a beautiful oak table with a weathered finish.
We also ordered the companion wall rack, in the same weathered-oak finish, for storing cue sticks and other pool paraphernalia.
Good lighting over the pool table is also key (particularly in a windowless space such as this one). It doesn’t hurt if the lighting choice racks up style points too. We crowned the table with a bronze-finished linear pendant from Kelly Wearstler’s collection for Visual Comfort. The photos don’t show the stunning pendant in all its glory, so here’s the full view:
A Billiards Room Bar
With these billiards-room basics pinned down, we set about adding warmth and meaning to the somewhat sterile lower-level space. The couple loves earth tones so we decided early on to wrap the walls in a richly textured grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries.
What really sets the tone for the entire space is the photography wall art we selected. Our clients have taken several special family trips over the years. They wanted to incorporate photographs that would remind them of their far-flung adventures in Africa, the Galápagos Islands and the American West. We initially explored using personal photographs taken on these trips. However, we ultimately decided to purchase professional images that would evoke travel memories.
The colorful baskets were handmade by women master weavers in Senegal. The homeowners wanted a bar area and already had the four rush-seat stools. Given the necessary table clearance, space was a bit tight. We asked the artisans at Michael James Furniture to craft a custom, wall-mounted ledge to our specifications.
The bar counter design blends spalted maple with matte-black metal brackets. The Visual Comfort sconces echo the bar’s metal details.
Rounding Out the Room
Michael James Furniture also crafted this live-edge console table and the floating shelves. These pieces all boast the bespoke combination of spalted maple and rustic-looking metal. The surfaces display sentimental souvenirs from the family’s travels.
The tangerine-toned table lamps are from Christopher Spitzmiller. The fabric covering the Hickory Chair wing chairs is Lotusland, a large-scale, paisley print by Fabricut. I love its rich, earthy hues.
Our billiards room design incorporates tons of natural texture; the artwork and accessories inject pops of color. This fun vignette features a pair of seagrass ottomans from the Carrier & Company Case Collection for Century Furniture.
Not shown in these photographs is the requisite game-room television. Never fear, one hangs over a console on the wall opposite the two wing chairs.
In the end, what I love most about this billiards room design is that we took a nondescript box and created a warm, inviting space for our clients to gather with friends and family. That it lures their grown kids back to the nest is a bonus! While this lower-level game room served as a cozy cocoon during the winter lockdown, it will also offer an ideal escape from the Washington area’s heat over the next few months. I hope you find a nice spot for chilling out this summer.