For bowling enthusiasts, home bowling alleys are a dream come true. Rather than rounding up your whole family and taking them to a crowded, loud bowling alley on a Friday night, you can put together an in-home family night on your own individual lane (or two) and simply relax.

And while a bowling center building requires a major investment to get the ball rolling, you can create a home bowling alley with a bit of proper planning and much less money. In truth, it’s still a fairly large investment — a price tag that will vary based on how many square feet you’re trying to cover.

So, how much does it cost to create a ten-pin bowling alley in your house? Is one or two bowling lanes enough? Do you need to talk real estate to make this happen, or can you build a home bowling alley in the space you have?

You don’t need the backing of a national company to make this happen. Whether you want new equipment or refurbished equipment, you can live your dream with a home bowling alley just steps away from your bedroom.

How much does it cost to install bowling lanes in your house?

In all honesty, it all depends on the bowling alley experience you’re trying to pull off. Do you want all of the nuances of your local bowling entertainment center including a complex lighting system, a billiard table, arcade games, and the newest bowling machine you can find? Do you want wooden alleys for a retro feel or new synthetic lanes? How many lanes are you trying to build and how many square feet are you using?

A new bowling lane will cost you anywhere from $18,000 to $45,000. With all the accouterments factored in from bowling ball prices to automatic bumpers, you will end up spending anywhere from $65,000 to $100,000 for a one-lane alley in your house. On average, most home bowling alleys cost around $130,000 to $200,000 for a two-lane setup.

What bowling equipment do you need for bowling center building at home?

Bowling Lane Equipment & Surface

Here’s the biggest investment you’ll need to make when building a home bowling alley. There’s no use skimping and creating a bowling lane by cutting corners. Each lane will cost you five figures to install, from laying down the surface to getting the pin deck and gutters in order. Plan for around 1000 to 1200 square feet for each lane.

Modern Scoring Equipment (?)

This is one of your first big decisions when building a home bowling alley. Do you want to cut costs significantly and keep score with pen and paper scorecards? Or do you want to spring for the best scoring monitors and systems you can possibly buy?

Or do you want to split the difference and find a used scoring system from a reseller? Keeping score of bowling on paper is fun enough, but nothing beats a responsive high-tech bowling score system.

Bowling Ball Return

Bowling ball returns are an essential addition when replicating the bowling center experience at your home. They can be pretty costly with a price tag in the four figures, but they’re a much better option than retrieving your ball from behind the pin deck after every shot. Look for bowling equipment resellers if you’re building on a budget. You might be able to strike a deal.

Bowling Shoes

Do you just need a couple of pairs of shoes for you and your wife or a dozen pairs for friends and family that might play too? You can secure very comfortable, very smart pairs of bowling shoes for around $50 to $70 a pair. If you want more stylish options or ones that are built to provide ample arch support, you might end up spending upwards of $200 for a standard pair.

Bowling Balls

If you have a family with young kids, you’ll need smaller ball options for the little ones. You’ll also need to find the right strike ball and spare balls for you and other members of your family and close friend circle. Most new bowling balls cost anywhere from $120-$190, custom drilling and add-ons not included.

Bowling Pins

Custom pins with added photos or logos will cost you more than a cheap bundle of 20 Winsome pins purchased from a bowling accessory reseller. And if you want glow-in-the-dark pins that work for a home cosmic bowling experience, that will cost you extra. It all depends on the look and feel you’re envisioning. A new set of ten bowling pins will cost you anywhere from $150 to $200 on average.

Bowling Lane Bumpers

Automatic bumpers cost more, but manual bumpers do work just as well. Before you install bumpers, make sure that you need them. Do you have young kids? Do you plan to play with people who need bumpers to have a good time? It makes sense to plan and install bumpers, but it’s something you can scratch in the right situation.

Bowling Furniture

Are you installing chairs similar to a local bowling alley, or are you just using fold-up chairs from your garage? Do you want some couches and recliners for extra comfort? The better furniture you choose, the higher cost you’re looking at. You can go thrifting and get most of your furniture for a few hundred bucks, or end up spending four figures or more on the true bowling alley furniture experience.

Additional Accessories

Maybe you want a legal ball cleaner to keep your prize reactive resin bowling ball clean after repeated use. And creating space for a billiard table takes ingenuity and maybe some building costs for a standalone riser. From adding a high-tech ball sorter to your home bowling alley to finding a few old arcade games to recapture the days of your youth, it’s up to you how to pull this off.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I run an independent bowling alley out of my house?

If you’re planning to run a bowling center business out of your house, you will need to consult with your city planning department and secure the proper licensing to do so. If you’re serving liquor, your initial investment figure includes getting all of the licenses to sell alcohol in your state. And you also need to keep your neighbors in mind and make sure parking is accessible for anyone visiting your alley. It’ll take a lot for you to pull this off, which makes finding a commercial building for an alley a more viable business proposition.

How much does the average bowling alley cost to build?

According to recent figures, renovating an existing bowling alley will cost you anywhere from $1 million to $2 million depending on the number of lanes. Building a bowling alley from scratch could cost you upwards of $3 million or more.

Is the bowling industry profitable enough for me to open a commercial alley?

The bowling industry has taken a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. And this is after experiencing diminished total profits for decades. If you want to run a successful bowling alley, you need to know your customer demographic and diversify your cash flow. This includes providing food options, arcade games, and other entertainment such as karaoke rooms.

How much does it cost to build a duckpin bowling or mini-bowling alley?

Building a non-regulation bowling lane isn’t as costly, but it can still set you back a pretty penny. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, you can spend anywhere from a few thousand dollars to five figures on a mini-bowling or duckpin bowling lane in your home.

Closing Thoughts

For many, bowling equipment costs can feel prohibitive when considering the installation of a home bowling alley. However, you can install an alley for a lower cost than you might think! With smart planning, you can install everything you need from a lane machine to a pin deck for under $100,000 out the door. Heck, you might even have some leftover money to get a ball ramp for your little ones or aging parents! So, how much does a home bowling alley cost? To be honest, the joy you get out of home bowling alleys will offset all of the monetary expenditures considerably.