First, don't worry overmuch about space. The ideal game room will be rather large, but even a small place can be made to work. There are other considerations to see to that are actually more important
- Floor Covering: Avoid thick carpet. If you drop something small you will never find it. If you get it dirty it will never clean properly. If you need to, pull up the carpet and go with bare floors. Linoleum or wood is better and will be easy to clean. The ideal surface is actually commercial grade carpet with no pile. It is generally easy to clean, will allow you to find dropped bits, and is more forgiving to models that fail their initiative save and go tumbling over the side. If you have a bare floor, you can always roll out an area rug for games and roll it up for messy hobby projects.
- Lighting: Install an overhead light fixture with multiple bulbs and put in the brightest ones it can handle. If this is not an option, get several halogen lamps for the corners. If you want to be able to take any pictures or read your rule book during a game, this will be crucial.
- Power: Are there sufficient outlets for your needs? Could you plug in a laptop, phone charger, lamp, air conditioner, jigsaw, and refrigerator at the same time? Is there a hookup for cable or internet?
- Plumbing: Is the room connected to a bathroom? If the room has access to a sink, it will be of great use. You can clean out your brushes regularly and take a break when needed without disturbing others. Just make sure the second option is not used during game night. Make your guests go down the hall.
- Temperature: Does the room have a bearable or adjustable temperature? Install a window AC if you need to in order to combat gamer stench.
- Proximity: Is the room near your Enginarium and Librarium? Is it near a place where people will want to be sleeping (the Somnatorium) on game night? The ideal Strategium will be near the prior and far from the latter.
- Use a collapsible game table. There are lots of plans for game tables out on the web, but the design I like the most is also the simplest. Go to the DIY store and buy something called 1/2" OSB (oriented strand board). It will come in a big sheet that is 4'x8', so get a buddy with a truck to help you get it home. Once there, you have a few options. If you cut it in half, you will have two skirmish sized boards of 4'x4'. If you cut off 2 feet, you will have a Warhammer board with another to use as an army display board, and if you leave it alone you will have an Apocalypse board. Whatever you decide, paint one side green and the other side black (I use cheap paint and a big roller). Flock or sand appropriately, and now you have several game tables. They can be laid over an existing table or set up on a couple of sawhorses. There are some nice foldable sawhorses out there that can be easily stowed when not in use. These type of boards can be leaned up against the wall or behind a shelf and take up little room. They are also dirt cheap and require no skill to construct.
- Use a collapsible work table. I use a thicker piece of plywood for my work projects. The OSB is not quite as durable, so I use a 3/4" piece of plywood. If you have problems with it sliding around, you can cover the saw horses with a rubber mat or a piece of cork board.
- Use wall mounted shelving for storage. This gives the added benefit of not taking up any floor space. Use these shelves for storing the terrain and armies that are currently in use. If you are not playing with them regularly, they should be in the Enginarium, safe from dust. Likewise, keep a few rulebooks and codexes in here, but not the whole collection. The rest should be in the Librarium.
- The only things on the floor should be a couple of chairs, a mini fridge, a trash can, and a file cabinet if needed for army lists and campaign notes. By now most of this should be on your laptop anyway.
- If you have the room, a side table is not a bad idea for writing notes, setting up your laptop, or organizing armies.
- Put up several Frank Frazetta posters and have a sound system ready to go. These two things can help you get in the hobbying mood and will be sure to dissuade your spouse from coming in to bother you.
- Don't let the Strategium start to look like the Enginarium. Be careful to clean up your hobby project mess at the close of each day. This will better allow you to get in a quick game when your buddies stop by and force you to not leave projects hanging.
Remember- don't let anything stop you. Gaming is more important than responsibility. Imperator Vult!