Like previous “console exclusives”. god of war Coming to PC, and consoles like the PlayStation 5 still hard to find, you might be wondering about diving into the huge, terrifying world of PC gaming. But it can be hard to get away from console gaming, because it’s always had one big advantage over PC: comfort. Consoles are built for beds and living rooms; PCs are made for offices.
No one can be blamed for not wanting to sit at a desk for leisure time—especially in this age of increased remote work. So how do you combine the world of comfort with PC gaming? You create your own computer lab for your living room.
Lucky for you, I have quite a bit of experience turning my living room into a dedicated gaming setup. Let’s take a look at what items you’ll need if you want to put a PC in your living room and how each fits into your project.
The most important thing you need in your setup is, of course, the PC itself. You can get a mini PC, which will take up less space in your living room and look like a router (AMD Ryzen should work 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 choice for your living space, but I recommend placing a desktop tower in your living room and telling your esteemed guests that it’s a fancy looking subwoofer. For my living room PC, I use an old work desktop that I replaced last year and that does the trick. But, if you want to go all out, you can either build a PC using a resource like PCpartPicker, or you can buy a pre-built one from a website like iBuyPower.
I’ve gone both ways in the past and recommend the pre-made option. It’s simple, it only works when you plug the PC in, and you can pay for it in monthly or yearly payments.
TV and display
You’ll need some sort of display to run your PC, which is the second most important purchase on this list. You can use any old HDMI-capable TV you have lying around — I, for example, use an old 55′ 4K TCL display from 2017 and it usually works fine — you just need to consider potential latency issues when playing. Using my setup, I’ve run into some issues with some games, which can make them difficult to control and take a lot of fun out of the experience.
If you want to do this right, you’ll want to find a TV with low latency. LG Class C1 Series OLED and Samsung Class QN90A Neo QLED are two common recommendations. Both of these are expensive but the latency is very low.
Even with a great TV, you will experience some input lag. Consider messing with your in-game settings — consider turning off vsync — to help ease your experience.
Laptop and keyboard
One of the biggest problems with PC gaming in the living room is figuring out where to put the keyboard and mouse, as using both traditionally requires a flat surface. That’s where a lapboard comes in handy.
A lapboard is just that: a piece of furniture that sits comfortably on your lap and provides a flat surface to put things on. When using a laptop for PC gaming, you have two main options: one with a built-in keyboard and one without.
The more versatile of those two options is a simple lapboard. The LapGear BamBoard has a built-in mouse pad and room for a keyboard or laptop. You can only use this for PC gaming, but you’ll need a wireless keyboard. Your mileage may vary depending on what kind of switches you like, but the Corsair K57 will do the job just fine.
While less versatile, the simplest option is a lapboard with a built-in keyboard. I use a Corsair K63 wireless keyboard and lapboard combo. (The combo I have is discontinued, but you can buy a lapboard shell and a companion keyboard on Corsair’s website.) It’s easy to charge and turn on or off, and the built-in mouse pad is a great size. It’s also cushioned on the bottom, so it’s comfortable to sit on my lap for hours at a time.
Regardless of the surface you use for your keyboard, you’ll need a mouse to control your PC. And unless you have a desktop sitting next to you, you’ll want a wireless mouse with a USB dongle.
For my setup, I use a Corsair Harpoon RGB wireless mouse. This thing can be either wired or wireless depending on your needs. And, crucially, it does an excellent job of turning itself off when I forget, conserving battery power for when I really need it.
If you play PC games in your living room, chances are you want a controller. It’s no more comfortable than using a mouse and keyboard on the couch (even with a lapboard), but many games these days play better with just a controller.
Here’s the ideal Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, but it can be a bit pricey. If that’s too much, consider a normal Xbox Series X controller or a custom one. (Most PC games use Xbox button prompts.)
Alternatively, try Steam Deck
Steam Deck is the best non-desktop option and you should seriously consider it before pulling the trigger on the item above. Not only is this a handheld PC capable of running some pretty demanding games, but you can plug it into your TV and connect multiple devices.
Steam Deck won’t help you 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 a great option for as little as $399. (If you’re using the cheapest Steam deck, we recommend picking up an SD card for extra storage.)