Furniture makers have long made pieces for storing gaming consoles and their accompanying equipment in children’s room. Now they’re starting to offer more stylish varieties for other parts of the house.

“Gaming consoles have really moved out of kid’s bedrooms to family rooms,” said Patricia Bowling, spokeswoman for the American Home Furnishings Alliance in High Point, N.C. Furniture makers have “kicked up a notch” the functionality of living room and game room cabinets, she said, and borrowed many of the storage ideas and organizational aspects of children’s bedroom furniture.

The newer pieces can store the various controllers and specialized accessories, such as musical instruments and sports equipment, that are popular among video game enthusiasts. Designed to keep a room tidy and attractive, the furniture also can accommodate cords and plugs.

The trend toward hanging televisions on the wall rather than storing them in cabinets also has helped drive the need for new, family room-style furniture, designers and manufacturers said.

Huge growth in home gaming sales convinced Hooker Furniture in Martinsville, Va., to start designing furniture for games, said spokeswoman Kim Shaver, citing a 2009 Centris study that said more than 33 million U.S. households have systems.

The pieces are such an important part of the company’s furniture line, she added, that it intends to create a gaming room at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., in April.

“We’ve decided to ramp our development of the gaming console,” Shaver said. “It’s extremely popular with retailers and designers.”

Hookers’ gaming cabinets come in three finishes and are designed to reduce clutter, she said. “The units are more casual in design,” she said, and are meant for family rooms and recreation rooms.

Designer Eric Ross of Eric Ross Interiors in Franklin, Tenn., said he counsels clients putting together game rooms to choose furniture with doors that will hide the sets and accessories.

“You’ve got to conceal all the equipment,” he said. “Children aren’t neat.”

A nice feature of some of the new furniture is full-extension, pull-out storage trays that let players see all the games at once, Ross said.

Before furniture makers started manufacturing consoles for gaming systems, homeowners often tried to create their own with shelving and baskets – a do-it-yourself solution that Ross found lacking.

“You can see in the baskets,” he said. “It’s just not practical.”

Van Shephard, senior designer at Lombards Furniture Galleries in Columbus, Ohio, agreed that a cabinet is best, to hide all the game parts. Some high-end retailers have starting making TV cabinets designed to accommodate the wires and plugs from gaming units, he said.

“It’s very up and coming,” he said. “It only makes sense.”


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