What is a man cave? It is, essentially, a private room reserved solely for the men of a household. It might surprise you to know that these rooms have been around since the 1800s. Even literary icon Mark Twain had one for himself! Its purpose is to provide them with a personal space where they can enjoy their hobbies in solitude.
Over the years, it has been called a variety of different names, and of course, with the rise of feminism, there is even a female version called she shed. Man caves were previously called “studoilo” in Italian, a den, a cabinet, a study, and a shed. These rooms are typically decorated according to the man’s needs. For example, Mark Twain’s served as his writing room, but also had a pool table in the middle of it.
Unique man cave designs are going through a renaissance lately. Just check out all of the DIYs being shared on Reddit and you’d be surprised at how imaginative these rooms have gotten over the years. If you’re among those who are interested in building the ultimate man cave for yourself, here’s what you need to know.
The Purpose of a Man Cave
First off, it must be noted that man caves don’t just serve one purpose. It all depends on who owns it, but these rooms can be used for spending time with friends, watching sports, playing video games, building furniture, and just general tinkering around. After all, there are certain things men cannot do in the main rooms of the house. Will your partner allow you to scatter your Lego pieces all over the living room floor so you can work on your newest Star Wars build? Perhaps not.
This is no different from married women needing their personal space, the men often look to their “caves” as a recreation of their bachelor pad or college dorm room. Except, now that they have the means to, they would be able to set it up to meet their ideals. They can turn it into a bar or even an arcade—there are many man cave ideas to choose from.
Man Cave Ideas
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s talk design. The best bit about the man cave is that it can be anything a guy could want. It can be as basic as your average living room or follow a particular theme. At the very heart of things, the design will reflect their personality and imagination. Fortunately, there are all sorts of man cave decor available that will cater to these needs. You just have to settle on a design first.
The Garage Man Cave
Location is of importance when it comes to finding room for your space. If there’s enough room in the garage then this is a great place to start. It’s detached enough from the main house so you wouldn’t have to worry about noise, but with ample proximity in case you’re needed back in the “real world”.
How to turn a garage into a man cave? Among the foremost design considerations to think about are the flooring and walls. Most garages are not suited for being used as a living space, so start by fixing the concrete. Wooden boards or carpets are both simple and affordable solutions. These will keep the garage well-insulated too.
As for the walls, you can go for paint, but the more convenient option is using wallpaper. It’s budget-friendly, goes on quickly, and you can easily pick one to fit your man cave theme. Check out these examples below!
Rogue Engineer – Man Cave Bar Ideas
This design from Rogue Engineer is simple, but classy. It incorporates the vehicles into the overall theme of the room, which complements the industrial man cave style. The classic cars are eye-catching, but we think the bar is the real highlight here.
EPIC FIX with Nardos – Man Cave Furniture
This man cave design from EPIC FIX with Nardos makes the most of the space available. As you can see, it serves more than one purpose. He even managed to fit his gym equipment in there. While this is more basic in terms of décor, it has everything he might need. The overall look is utilitarian yet cozy!
Small Man Cave Ideas
No space is too small with a little bit of smart design and ample storage units. When it comes to smaller spaces, such as a spare bedroom, you’ll have to focus more on the essential man cave furniture. Next, think about the primary activities you’ll be using it for.
Will it be for gaming or are you planning on doing some woodworking in there too? What about using it as a small music studio? Delegating different areas of the room to one particular hobby will help you divide up the space more effectively. Here are some examples:
Hiker J – Simple Man Cave Design
This Tiny House-inspired design by Hiker J hits all the right notes when it comes to small man cave ideas. All of their storage units are off the floor and stacked high, making use of the vertical space. You might also want to consider using “hidden” compartments or multi-purpose furnishings if you have limited space available. Hiker J also chose a neutral color scheme, which makes the interiors look and feel less cramped.
Man Cave Shed
If you have the space, you might want to consider turning an old shed into your own outdoors man cave. Some men even go the extra mile and build something from scratch, considering all the easy DIY shed kits currently available online. You can go big or small with this project since you’ll only be limited by the available space, and your budget.
If you’re opting to build from scratch, one key thing to remember is choosing a shed kit that’s right for your skill level. The last thing you want is to give up half-way through because you’re unable to complete the shed itself. Of course, safety is an important consideration as well. Your shed has to hold up to wear and tear. How to build a man cave? Here are some DIY shed kits you can check out:
It might look basic on the outside, but this shed kit will provide you with ample space on the inside. There’s enough head room to keep it from feeling cramped and because it’s got a sliding door, you have the option of leaving it open should you need a bit more moving room. We think this one would work just fine for a man cave game room!
This is the same price as the previous model, but provides just a bit more headroom and storage space. If you’re looking to build a shed for use as a home office or arcade, consider this one. The overhead space can be used for extra storage, but if you really need more floor area, there is also a 10-by-12-feet option you can get for a few hundred dollars more.
Things to Remember:
- Before purchasing a kit, familiarize yourself with the permits needed to build one.
- Make sure the kit you’re purchasing meets all the size requirements given by your city or neighborhood.
Once you have all your permits sorted, you can get on with building. What can you do with such little space? You’d be surprised at how these sheds can transform once you add a bit of creativity and work into it. Here are some examples to give you an idea:
VYB – Shed to Man Cave Bar Ideas
In this small garden shed conversion, the guys from VYB took an old storage building and turned it into a home bar. The best bit about this build is that it only took them a day to get it done. The decor they used might be simple, but it certainly is effective in this setting. While it could use a bit more man cave signs and posters, we can’t deny that they made the interior and exterior look very cool.
Did You Know? – Rustic Man Cave
If creative is what you’re after, then this hunting cabin-inspired man cave design might be the thing for you. What’s even more surprising is the total cost of this build only amounting to $107. Ask your friends if they have spare furniture lying around or try your luck on Craigslist. You might be surprised at what treasures you’ll find there.
Pro-tip: make use of salvaged wood and other furnishings to construct your man cave. Use the money you’ll save to purchase more essential items such as a fridge, bar stools, a pool table, and so on.
Basement Man Cave Ideas
In most households, basements are often left untouched or relegated as a catch-call storage space. Needless to say, there’s a lot of untapped potential there that ultimately goes to waste. You can remedy that by turning that space into a livable area. Here are some great man cave ideas for your basement.
UAVisuals – Man Cave Game Room
Gamers and movie bingers, you’re in for a visual treat. This home theatre and gaming room design from UAVisuals is not only practical but also gives you a futuristic vibe with its lighting. Also, because of the small space, they really focus on the essentials: a comfortable couch and a big screen for immersive viewing. The fact that they added soundproofing material to the room is a nice, and considerate, touch. There’s not much man cave decor here, but the lighting really brings everything together.
Avery Gessner – Basement Man Cave Ideas
Here we see another great example of what other purpose a man cave can serve. This time, the interior design might be simple but it works perfectly as a memorabilia room. Ever dreamt about having your own Star Wars man cave? Well, this is a great opportunity to make that a reality. Here, everything can be displayed for your own enjoyment and also kept safe from prying fingers! This is especially useful in households with small children. What better way to keep these precious (and often expensive) collectibles than in its own room?
Why Are Man Caves so Popular?
The man cave is popular largely due to the fact that it provides some degree of escapism. It can be done without the need to travel far or put any responsibilities on hold. Think of it as a form of self-care, a way of unwinding and resetting the mind, and body after a long work week.
You might be surprised that a lot of celebrities have their own man caves, too. Just take these guys for example:
Man Cave Arcade Design
SHAZAM! Star Zachary Levi’s garage man cave would make for a great blueprint for anyone just starting out with theirs. It’s simple, but with ample quirk to keep it from becoming too boring. From the unique vivid red walls to the checkerboard flooring and big boy toys—it is the perfect place to just hang out. The best bit? It’s supposedly zombie-proof, according to the actor himself.
Ultimate Man Cave
Popstar Kevin Jonas might be enjoying married life, but this certainly didn’t stop him from setting up his own man cave. With the help of the team from the show Man Caves, he turned the entirety of his basement into own little neighborhood, complete with a faux façade for a vintage cigar shop and barbershop. It might have been meant for the man of this household, but it’s clear that everyone will get a kick out of this space.
What Every Man Cave Needs
So now that you have a number of great design ideas, let’s talk about the essentials. These are the things you’ll need to create a comfortable and fun space for you, as well as your guests.
- A Classic “Dad Recliner”
- Bar stools or extra seating
- Dart board, Poker table, Billiards table
- Gaming Console
- Flat Screen Television
- Sound System
Of course, “basics” can vary in meaning from one person to another. However, think of the above list as a must-have to maximize the man cave experience. Remember, it need not be expensive or even brand new. Look around at home, you might find everything you need just sitting there unused.
How to Decorate a Man Cave
Man Cave Signs
Think of these as the cherry on top of the cake. It’s laying claim to your own space, while also adding a bit of humor to it. There are plenty of different types available, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that suits your style. Just take this classic sign for example. Its simplicity means it will fit most man cave themes, but still remain eye-catching. You can even DIY your own sign for something personalized!
Man Cave Wallpaper
If you don’t want to paint your walls, but want to add more character to your personal living room then wallpapers are your next best bet. These should allow you to play with color and pattern, without having to commit permanently. Whether you’re going for something minimalist, industrial, colorful, or a rustic man cave, there’s plenty to choose from. Check out this whimsical cabin-inspired design that will add plenty of visual interest to any wall.
Man Cave Decor
When decorating, consider aesthetic value and practicality. Your décor has to serve some purpose to make it worth the purchase. This is especially true for smaller spaces, where there’s limited room for you to really play with accents. For instance, this whiskey decanter set will add character to your coffee table when you’re looking to kick back and relax with a couple of drinks. Such small practical items make for great man cave gifts, too!
Ready to Build Your Own Man Cave?
The task isn’t as daunting as it seems. Of course, it’s best to avoid biting off more than you can chew. To avoid this, do your research and plan as much as you can. This should also help keep costs to a minimum because you won’t end up wasting money on unnecessary purchases.
Lastly, keep your expectations realistic. Work with the real estate you have and maximize its potential. Remember, the best man cave isn’t a carbon copy of someone else’s. It has to have your personality and interests incorporated into it. Only then will it be truly enjoyable for you!