a racked triangle of billiard balls
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Save Space for Play

• Game tables eat up a lot of square footage. For a small pool table (3½ feet by 7 feet), you need a clear space at least 11½ feet wide by 14½ feet long to play comfortably—if you buy the shortest cues, that is. A tournament-size pool table (4½ feet by 9 feet) or a 5-by-9 Ping-Pong table needs even more room. Unless you're positive you'll use it a lot, consider skipping a single-activity table.

• An all-purpose worktable can seat several people for crafts, puzzles, board games, and much more—and designers say it's often a better draw for crowds than a game table.

• Today's video games involve actual physical activity, not just fiddling with a joystick. Check your gaming platform for recommended clearances around and above the console. (No one should break a bone playing a virtual version of any sport.)

• Wall-to-wall carpet is a good choice to deaden sound in a play area. Opt for synthetic fibers that resist mold and mildew.
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