A viewing room often acts as the hub of a barn – it’s a place for riders and others to gather and relax while watching friends or family ride. Your viewing room may also double as a lounge or meeting place. Whatever its purpose, these tips for creating an ideal viewing room can ensure that the room is welcoming and functional.
Don't Underestimate the Room's Size
When planning out your viewing room, think about the largest events that your farm is likely to host. Will shows be fairly small, or do you anticipate significant attendance? Will you host popular clinicians?
It’s important not to underestimate the size of the viewing room that you will need. It’s best to build a spacious room that can accommodate a large audience. Remember, your viewing room may become the hub for parties and meetings. It never hurts to have extra space.
Select a Floor That Is Easy to Clean
Your viewing room is sure to receive lots of traffic, meaning that you will want a floor that is easy to clean. Wooden flooring offers a luxurious appearance, but it requires upkeep and cleaning to keep it looking great. Laminate flooring designed to resemble wood offers a lower-cost flooring alternative with easier maintenance.
While area rugs can warm up a viewing room considerably, remember that they will need regular vacuuming and cleaning, too. It’s wise to select a darker colored rug, which will not show dirt and stains as readily as a lighter colored rug will. Don’t forget to include doormats at both entrances to the viewing room.
Choose the Glass Carefully
If your viewing room is located at the same level as your indoor arena, it’s vital to carefully choose the glass panels that will be used. You should absolutely install a kickboard, and set the viewing room back from the arena, if possible. Using safety glass can help to minimize the risk of a horse kicking the glass. Lexan is another excellent option.
Include a Small Fridge
Having a fridge – even a small one – in your viewing room will be well appreciated, especially on hot summer days. The fridge can also be used to keep cold packs and cooling vests and wraps at the ready.
If you can afford it, add a microwave as well for warm drinks, hot lunches and popcorn!
Build in Bookcases and Display Areas
No viewing room is complete without some horse books and a place to display trophies and awards. Consider incorporating bookshelves and display areas into the room’s construction for a cohesive and stylish finish.
Again, depending on your budget, consider adding a TV for watching live events or videoed instruction.
With a little planning, your viewing room can be a comfortable gathering place in your barn.