How to set up your living room for PC gaming

With previous “console exclusives” like God of War still hard to find on PC and consoles like PlayStation 5, you may have wondered if you want to delve into the vast, terrifying world of PC gaming. But it can be difficult to move away from console gaming, as it’s always had one major advantage over PC: convenience. Consoles are built for the couch and living room; PCs are built for offices.

It’s hard to blame anyone for not wanting to spend their free time at a desk – especially in this age of increasing remote work. So how do you combine the world of convenience with PC gaming? Of course you build your own computer room for your living room.

Luckily I have a bit of experience turning my living room into a niche gaming setup. Let’s go through what items you’ll need if you’re looking to put a PC in your living room, and how each fits into your project.


Of course, the most important thing you need for your setup is the PC itself. You could get a mini PC that takes up less space in your living room and looks like a router (the AMD Ryzen should work just fine). However, this type of PC does not have a dedicated graphics card, which will cause problems if you want to play modern games.

It might not be the sexiest option for your living space, but I recommend simply putting a desktop tower in your living room and telling respectable guests that it’s a snazzy looking subwoofer. For my living room PC, I’m using an old work desktop that I replaced last year and it’s doing the job. But if you want to go all out, you can either build a PC using a resource like PCPartPicker, or buy a ready-made one from a site like iBuyPower.

I’ve gone both ways in the past and recommend the pre-built option. It’s simple, the PC just works when you plug it in, and you can pay for it in installments over months or years.

TVs and displays

Photo: Ryan Gilliam/Polygon

You’ll need some sort of display to run your PC, which is the second most important purchase on this list. While you can use any old HDMI-capable TV you have laying around – I use an old 55-inch 4K TCL display from 2017, for example, and it usually works fine – you have to consider potential latency issues when gaming. I’ve encountered some issues with my setup on certain games that can make controls difficult and take a lot of fun out of the experience.

If you want to get this right, you should look for a TV with low latency. Two common recommendations are the LG Class C1 series OLED and the Samsung Class QN90A Neo QLED. Both are expensive but have very low latency.

Even a great TV can experience some input lag. Consider playing around with your in-game settings – I usually start by disabling vsync – to improve your experience.

laptops and keyboards

A Corsair lapboard sits on a wooden table

Photo: Ryan Gilliam/Polygon

One of the big problems with playing PC games in the living room is figuring out where to place the keyboard and mouse, since both typically require a flat surface. This is where a lapboard comes in.

A lapboard is exactly what it sounds like: a piece of furniture that sits comfortably on your lap and provides a flat surface to put things on. When using a lapboard for PC gaming, you have two main options: one with a built-in keyboard and one without.

The more versatile of these two options is a simple lapboard. The LapGear BamBoard has an integrated mouse pad and space for a keyboard or laptop. You can use this for more than just PC gaming, but you’ll need a wireless keyboard. Your mileage will vary there depending on the type of switches you like, but the Corsair K57 will do the job just fine.

While less versatile, a lapboard with an integrated keyboard is the simplest option. I’m using the Corsair K63 wireless keyboard and lapboard combo. (The combo I have has been discontinued, but you can purchase the lapboard’s shell and a companion keyboard from Corsair’s website.) It’s easy to charge and turn on or off, and the built-in mouse pad is generously sized. It’s also padded on the bottom so it’s comfortable to have on my lap for hours.


A Corsair Harpoon mouse sits on a wooden table

Photo: Ryan Gilliam/Polygon

Regardless of the surface you use for your keyboard, you need a mouse to control your PC. And if your desktop isn’t sitting next to you, you probably want a wireless mouse with a USB dongle.

For my setup, I use the Corsair Harpoon RGB wireless mouse. This thing can be both wired and wireless depending on your needs. And, crucially, it turns off great if I forget and conserves battery power when I actually need it.


An Xbox Elite Controller Series 1 sits on a wooden floor

Photo: Ryan Gilliam/Polygon

If you play PC games in your living room, you probably want a controller. Not only is it more convenient than using a mouse and keyboard on the couch (even with a lapboard), but many games these days just play better with a controller.

The ideal here is the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, but it can be a bit pricey. If it’s too much, consider a regular Xbox Series X controller or a custom one. (Most PC games use Xbox button prompts.)

Alternatively, try Steam deck

A steam deck sits on a wooden floor

Photo: Ryan Gilliam/Polygon

The Steam Deck is the best non-desktop option out there, and you should seriously consider it before pulling the trigger on the above items. Not only is it a handheld PC capable of running some pretty demanding games, but you can also connect it to your TV and connect a range of devices to it.

The Steam Deck won’t help transform your living room (a bonus for some), but if you’re just looking for a way to play PC games on the couch, it’s an excellent option at just $399. (If you go for the cheapest Steam deck, we recommend buying an SD card for more storage.)

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