Create a Mobile Living Room

Don't throw out your back rearranging the room a half dozen times. Instead, do the heavy lifting on paper. Measure out the dimensions of your room and furniture, then draw the room to scale onto a sheet of graph paper - for smaller rooms, I recommend a ratio of one square on the graph paper per square foot in the room.


The finished drawing should look like a blocky bird's eye view of the room.

On a separate sheet of graph paper, draw the furniture's dimensions to the same scale and then, with scissors, cut it out.

Now, moving the graph-paper-furniture around the bird's eye view of your room, experiment with arrangements to find the best living room layout that also provides the required 8 feet of unobstructed space.

Time to move the furniture. Again, it's essential that transitioning between your normal room layout and your Kinect layout be effortless.

One option is to put the furniture on wheels. It works in offices; why shouldn't it work at home? Casters, small wheels that can be mounted to the furniture's base or legs, are your best option.

Two things about casters: buy heavy duty and be sure they have brakes. You don't want your couch rolling away while you're feeding your Kinectimals.

Hopefully, you now have found the "Kinect" and "Regular" flavors for your living room and a simple way to alternate between them.

Keep it Down

You're Kinected, great job. But all this bopping around the room is causing so much noise that you can hardly hear the television. Your instinct is to turn up the volume, but loud noise will tick off the neighbors, making this a temporary solution.

Now what?

A well-known fact about the speakers included in TV sets: They suck. To enjoy the full range of sound, you have to pump them louder than you would stand-alone speakers. This is why the codger next door is always asking you to turn down the games with the booms and the bangs and the whatnots.

Of course you could acquire stand-alone speakers. A home theatre in a box can be purchased for cheaper than ever before and their sound is more than serviceable. But cheaper doesn't mean these things are cheap; they can still run you half a grand. And say you do buy the speakers: Suddenly the living room feels crowded, again.

Another option is the gaming headset. Not the most ideal choice for Kinecting or the most glamorous, but a headset is cheaper than surround sound, smaller than a receiver and quieter than a baby's belch. And as someone who cohabitates in close quarters, I appreciate having them on hand, Kinect or no Kinect.

Sound: check. Space: check. Storage: check. What's left?

Apply the Final Touches

Buy a rug. Most New York apartment buildings require tenants to cover a high percentage of the floor with carpet or rugs and most tenants ignore this obligation. Lest you want the folks below banging on their ceiling with a broom, threatening to call the cops, you really should cover the hardwood/tile floor. This will dampen the sound, please the neighbors and even do your knees some good.

Ensure the room is adequately lit. For Kinect, light is like Goldilocks' porridge. You can't have light shining directly into the sensor, but you can't play in the dark either. You want it just right. Depending on where you fall on this spectrum, drapes or lamps might be a worthy investment.

Invite your friends to play. Listen, after all this work, you sure as hell better show off the shiny new technology.

And you're done! If things went well, the small apartment has been optimized for Kinect. Take a deep breath, sit down on the couch (remember where you put it, check the brakes) and if you're of age, crack a beer. You deserve it.

Chris Plante is a freelance writer living in New York City. Learn more about his life, career and haunted apartment at his website,

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