As a teenager you probably longed for a room that catered to your every desire, a place you could escape to away from stern or judgmental eyes.
You may not have known the term man cave at the time, but you instinctively knew its meaning: it was a home away from home, created and inhabited by the one man who mattered.
Today the man cave is editorial-worthy subject matter, with the most elite of men’s magazines showing off the latest–and often most extravagant–designs. For the man who grew up wanting to be Batman but found himself settling into a Bruce Wayne existence, or likewise longed to join his sports idols on his own wall of fame; now is the time to make your move and make the man cave of your dreams.
Some gents go all the way and transform their spaces into something more akin to a movie set. That Irish pub you long to frequent can at once be brought to life with a distressed bar top, a Guinness keg, and battered tin signs. Maybe you plan to pick up the guitar again but don’t know when or how–now you can transform your cave into a private studio, where you can jam out or even record like the best of your rock gods. If themed decor isn’t your thing and you just want some room to shoot a few hoops or game of pool, go for it. Who’s going to stop you?
The perfect man cave is not only the epitome of cool, but the cool that makes you ‘you.’ The man cave is where indulgence meets comfort and creates the kind of space you deserve: your own and no one else’s.
Man Cave Ideas
Masculine grey hues gives this man cave a sleek handsome look. The lighting design is very effective and creates a soothing yet dynamic atmosphere.
Who can argue with this Coca Cola themed man cave? It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it works! Glass bricks expand the space and contrasts perfectly with the dark hued logoed carpeting.
Man caves can be eccentric too. Geometric shapes, bright daring hues, a steely grey accent wall impressed with wainscoting, and an entire motorcycle hanging from the ceiling. What can you say? It’s so badass in every way!
Let’s go back to a time when gents were gents and ladies well, they loved it. The wallpapered bookcase, trunk disguised as a coffee table or rather man table, and Chesterfield emerald green sofa provides a rich, handsome ambiance.
Industrial strength to the max. This man cave hits all the right spots. It’s cool, eclectic, made of steel, and rugged in every way.
Leather theater seats complemented by wood accents makes this cinema influenced man cave a comfortable oasis.
This beaming gable roofed mantuary proves that not all dugouts have to be dark or in the basement.
What Should You Put in Your Man Cave?
First and foremost let’s be clear, man caves are for alpha males. If you’re an alpha male. A man’s man, a leader, shall we say, a stand-up type of guy. If that’s you, then you’re probably already thinking about a man cave and looking for a few pointers. Congratulations!
According to most popular opinion, a man cave is a space, maybe a basement or unused garage, specifically designed as per the taste of the man of the house, that would be you, as his personal retreat for interests and leisure pursuits.
What those interests and leisure pursuits are will probably depend on a number of factors. A stripper pole or photos of an ex may not sit too well with the lady of the house. If you want an untroubled man cave, it’s probably best not to even go there. An alpha male is smarter than that anyway.
So, what should you put in your man cave? The actual décor will depend on your personal tastes and we’ll go into that in the next article How Do You Decorate a Man Cave? For now, we’ll start with the basics.
Before diving into building your refuge, make certain to include these basic amenities that all man caves SHOULD have.
1. LCD TV
An LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TV produces fantastic images, are thinner, and much lighter than the old style CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) televisions. In addition, flat screen TVs are available in much larger sizes than their older counterparts. Why not watch your favorite sport on the best TV your money can buy?
It’s not necessary to replicate an entire cinema in your man cave. Simply choose the television that gives you your money’s worth and one that offers the best up-to-date features.
2. Comfy Chair
Are you the type of man who prefers his mantuary to be a place of relaxation and peace like a library or home office? What you need is a comfy recliner chair. What you don’t need is to wake-up with a stiff neck due to falling asleep on a less than ergonomic chair design.
Back in the day, most advertisements for recliner chairs or “Lazy Boys” featured photos of men smoking a pipe relaxing and reading the newspaper. Today, recliners still offer that same seating comfort. If you decide to go the recliner route, search for the most stylish, manly one you can find.
Having a man cave means not having to go to the fridge upstairs to retrieve a cold drink. What’s the sense in having your own grotto but you can’t even fetch a beer from your own fridge?
Keeping a fridge, not a cooler, in your mantuary gives you the luxury, convenience, and instant access to the beverages you and your guests consume. Can you imagine calling upstairs “hey, can somebody bring me a beer?” Not cool. You have a man cave remember, you’ve got it all together, and you’re on top of your game. End of.
Determine your needs like size, volume, temperature adjustment, and of course price, before buying your fridge. Don’t forget additional features like an ice cube maker or sparkling water dispenser.
4. Bar and Bar Stools
When your male comrades come for a visit, they want to well…act like men. What can be more manlike than hanging out at the bar? Make your man cave libations more like frequenting an exclusive club.
Assuming that you’ve already decided on a bar for your manly digs, choosing a nice set of bar stools to match is a must. If you happened to find the ideal bar and bar stool set that completes your man cave concept, that’s even better.
5. Sports Collectables
It’s a given that mantuaries and sports are inseparable. And seeing that you’re probably a real sports fan anyway, your man cave should match your enthusiasm. Now you can place your 1994 FIFA World Cup souvenir where its meant to be, out of the family kitchen and in your manly digs!
6. Surround Sound System
Why not immerse yourself and your cave man friends in a rugby match, a classic manly movie like Gladiator, or some smooth jazz music by one of the jazz greats like Chuck Loeb with the ultimate in stereophonic sound for a more realistic experience? Be sure to employ a professional as they will know the best place for your speakers and other audio equipment.
How Do You Decorate a Man Cave?
Many believe that a man cave is nothing more than a basement with cheap drywall and indoor-outdoor carpet. This is simply not true. A mantuary gives a man the permission to go all out and be as creative, quirky, and offbeat as he wants.
What’s important is having a theme like a sports or movie theme for a focal point. A theme is a guide when making decisions about additional stuff like flooring, wall color, and furnishings. All decorative details should complement the overall theme to create a discriminating, yet individualistic, well thought out man cave nexus.
Let’s Get Real
Maybe it doesn’t matter to you what your man cave looks like. You simply want “your space.” If that’s the case, then you can simply throw in a beer barrel to keep your drinks cold, automobile floor mats – at least they’re waterproof, and an old chair with the itchy material you picked up from the goodwill store. Why not? You can cover it with the torn sheets the misses gave you. Then last but not least, a boob tube. You know the ones with the extended back that sticks out like a hemorrhoid?
But come on! You wouldn’t be reading this article if a mantuary meant nothing more to you than an escape from your household. If so, then you’re in therapy zone dude. Your man cave is about you and all that it entails. It’s part of your past, present, and future. It’s the life you’ve lived and shared with those you share it with. So make it special!
Decorating Your Man Cave
Much will depend upon how much time and money you want to invest in your mantuary. Your set up should feel instinctual. Every time you step into your man cave, a rush of satisfaction and fulfillment should captivate you.
Time For Play
If you’re a sports fanatic, your man cave provides you with the option to show loyalty to your favorite team and a space where you and your cronies can enjoy watching them play. There are a plethora of choices available to display your passion and enthusiasm from chalkboard game tables to recycled golf club coat racks.
A games table like pool or air hockey, is another way to decorate your space and make it interactive as well. Challenging your bros to a game of pool will keep the energy flowing. If you enjoy golfing, place an auto putt system for quick games of putting golf in your man cave. Then you can play year round.
Comic books are another way of creating a sportive theme. A great comic book collection is impressive and can be of incalculable value. Definitely worth showing off in your enclave of manfulness.
The type of floor you choose depends upon where your manspace is located. If your refuge is situated in the basement for example, have your favorite team’s logo etched into a concrete floor. The things they can do with concrete theses days is amazing. Tiles, wood, or carpeting are also good choices.
Center your lighting needs around the design of your space. A hobby type environment will probably do well with task lighting. Floor lamps will work best if you like to relax and read in your recliner.
Sitting in a too dark room would be kind of offbeat. Besides, it looks creepy and might make your bros feel paranoid.
Why not use a dimmer for your personal use and a suspended lamp or pendant lights for your pals. Forget eccentric lighting like day-glo or fluorescent lights. They’re more of a distraction and become maddening after a while.
You’ll need seating like accent chairs, sofa – modular sofas are great, and footrests. If your budget allows, go all out with Chesterfield leather chairs or go the contemporary route with theater seating which is usually designed with three chairs in a row. Swivel chairs are also cool. No beanbag chairs please. They look awkward in man caves.
Spending an exorbitant amount of money on your seating arrangements is not necessary, but give yourself a break. Go for the best your money can buy.
Entertaining the Clan
Other than a TV, incorporate additional activities to keep everyone entertained. Pool tables, PS TV systems, ping pong and/or poker tables are standards. Some man caves are equipped with actual cinemas. If you have the budget, why not!
Installing a kitchen is an option but a john is a must. If your home bathroom is a short distance away, maybe you can do without it. But after a few beers, you’d probably prefer to step into your private lavatory than running upstairs. A small bathroom can also be a great source for tap water.
Have an electrician check outlets and wiring to determine if any changes are needed to get your man cave up and functioning the way you want. Additional electrical work or an upgrade may be required.
The Ultimate Connoisseur
If you have a decent cigar collection, consider getting a humidor that harmonizes with your man cave décor. Speaking of temperatures, be sure to install proper air conditioning and heating to keep your mantuary zone comfortable throughout the year.
- If you want to put a muscle car billiard table, beer bong, or scent the room with masculine musk candles, go right ahead. Go for it!
- Top-ranking clubs and bars have amazing interiors. Whether it’s furniture, wall color, lighting, or a waterfall, get inspired by browsing their ideas.
- Don’t believe that concepts like feng shui are too feminine and will interfere with the mannish vibe of your enclave. Use all the avenues available to make your man cave unmistakably you.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Man Cave?
Asking much it cost to build a man cave is more like a trick question. Prices vary, but as a benchmark a mantuary can cost anywhere from $400 to $24,000 to build, depending upon how much you want to spend and how deep your pockets are.
If you’re just scraping by and struggling with your daily necessities, it’s probably best to leave out the man cave idea until you’re in a better position financially. A man cave is a luxury, not a necessity. If it is a necessity for you but you don’t have the funds to build it, just wait until you have the money. What’s the rush?
What’s in the Budget?
You need some type of budget to build your man cave. What’s that, you don’t have a budget and the sky is the limit? Well, good for you.
However, most blokes don’t have it like that and must adhere to a budget to keep things running smoothly. There are two things that must be considered:
- The theme of your man cave
- Whether or not it’s affordable
Keep in mind that the theme of your man cave is your starting point. There will be certain expenses unique to your specific theme or idea and will entail all the particulars required to bring your manspace to fruition.
If you plan on installing something as unique as a man spa, it’s going to cost you as you will need to hire a contractor to build it for you. However, a pool table can be purchased on the cheap. Even a decent second hand table is worth taking a look at, but try not to compromise on quality.
Standard costs for building a man cave include:
- Paint-per gallon
- Sound System
- Furnishings like seating and bar stools
- Devices and gadgets
- Hutch-if you plan to build your man cave outside from square one
- Special décor relative to your theme like a humidor for a cigar collection
- Additional building costs for a bathroom, bar, book shelves, hidden doorway, and more.
On the whole, the cost to build your man cave will depend on a variety of factors that only you can determine. Where you live, materials, labor costs, etc. Many of these things differ from place-to-place. Just make sure to do your research to find the best price going for the look you want in your dream man cave.