That first rec room is SO stark I would rather not go there. Looks like the godforsaken break room of the supermarket I worked at in 1986. Bleak.
Well, when screens were very small and black and white and there was lots of over-the-air transmission snow, making things fairly stark is understandable and appropriate, since details were going to get lost anyway. When transmission gets better and brighter and clearer and more colorful on larger screens, greater detail males more sense. And even more so in a large, digital, wide-screen, flat screen era
But yes, it was stark--just appropriately so.