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A billiard room (also billiards room, or more specifically pool room, snooker room) is a recreation room, such as in a house or recreation center, with a billiards, pool or snooker table. (The term is sometimes also used as synonymous with "billiard hall" i.e., a business providing public access to hourly-rental or coin-operated billiard tables.)
A one-table billiard room requires enough space around the table to accommodate the range of a stroke of the cue from all angles, while also accounting for chairs, the storage rack and any other furniture that is or will be present. Optimally, there should be at least 5 ft (1.5 m) of clearance between the table and any walls, furniture or other objects, on all sides and at all corners of the table. The table size is really a measure of the bed of the table, and does not include the rails and sides of the table, which are often 6 inches (15 cm) or more wide. The typical cue is a bit shorter than 5 ft (1.5 m) long (snooker cues, however, are often longer), and it is impossible to retract the cue more than its length during a shot; otherwise, the cue would slide off the bridge hand. Examples of optimum minimum free space dimensions for common table sizes, using this logic:
- For a 7 ft (2.1 m) by 3.5 ft (1.1 m) bar/tavern-style table for pool, the space needed to enclose the table is approximately 17 ft (5.2 m) by 13.5 ft (4.1 m).
- For an 8 ft (2.4 m) by 4 ft (1.2 m) home-market pool table, the space needed is approx. 18 ft (5.5 m) x 14 ft (4.3 m).
- For a 9 ft (2.7 m) by 4.5 ft (1.4 m) regulation pool table, approx. 14.5 feet (4.4 m) by 16.5 ft (5.0 m).
- For a 10 ft (3.0 m) by 5 ft (1.5 m) carom table, approx. 20 ft (6.1 m) by 15 ft (4.6 m); for an American snooker table of this size, 24 ft (7.3 m) by 19 ft (5.8 m) in space (to account for longer cues)
- For a full-size 12 ft (3.7 m) by 6 ft (1.8 m) regulation snooker table, the longer cues may call for up to 26 ft (7.9 m) by 20 ft (6.1 m).
Many table manufacturers' brochures suggest considerably smaller spaces as acceptable minimums, but these numbers do not agree with simple and obvious measurements like the ones above, while they could be skewed by the desire to sell as many tables as possible, and as large (i.e. most expensive and profitable) as possible. Such smaller rooms may be marginally acceptable to some players, but will render frozen-to-the-cushion shots much more difficult than they should be, due to cramping the player's space and requiring that the cue be significantly raised at the butt end (greatly reducing accuracy) to avoid running into obstructions behind the player. Insufficient space may also thwart powerful break shots. However, special shortened but weight- and balance-adjusted cues are available, in lengths such as 52 in (1.3 m) or 48 in (120 cm), and even smaller, rather than the typical 58 in (1.5 m) pool cue or 55 in (1.4 m) carom cue.
Billiard rooms need overhead lighting, and a multi-bulb light fixture specifically designed for illuminating a billiard table is most often used. Such fixtures are available in both incandescent and fluorescent models, and range from crude to highly ornate. Billiard rooms with windows usually employ curtains or blinds during daytime use, to prevent excessive glare.
- How to Equip and Decorate Your Home Billiard Room. North Palm Beach, Florida: Billiard and Bowling Institute of America. 2006. p. 2. Just one example: The publisher is a trade association composed in substantial part of retailers. Their stated 'minimum room with 57" cue' dimensions are 16'×12'9" for a 7' table, 16'10"×13'2" for an 8' table, and 17'10"×13'8" for a 9' table. The numbers appear to just be semi-random, as the space is increased 10" per foot gained length-wise but only a minuscule3" per half-foot width-wise, going from a 7' to an 8' table; this changes radically with the next step up – despite it being the same 1'×0.5' increment as last time – with an additional 12" length-wise yet a doubled (but still ridiculously small) 6" width-wise, moving from an 8' to a 9' table! Despite a move from 7' to 9' taking up 2'×1', the BBIA numbers try to convince the reader that only an additional 1'8"×9" of space is required to compensate!