It wasn't so long ago that many men chose the garage as a place of personal sanctuary-at-home, regardless of their interest in anything automotive. Often cramped and dimly lit, these makeshift hideaways were the stuff of folding-table poker and football games on the spare TV. Today the need for guys to carve out their own space at home is more widely acknowledged. As a result, more and more homeowners are converting their finished basements, attic spaces or spare rooms into masculine refuges. With a little bit of planning (and some savvy negotiation with the lady of the house), you too can create your own customized "man cave".
The Many Styles of Dude Dens
While man caves often revolve around the time-honored rite of male bonding that is spectator sports, there is no single blueprint to a successful male refuge. Some guys turn their basements into full scale game rooms where pool, air hockey and arcade games rule the day. Movie buffs have been known to turn spare rooms into home theaters replete with surround sound and recliners on stadium risers. And a good many men aim to convert their extra space at home into their very own pub, outfitted in their own image.
The last thing you want is a room overly crammed full of anything and everything you can jam into it. Before you begin, start thinking exactly what kind of activities you want to plan around. Is your main goal to have a perfect place to watch the big game? Looking for a permanent home to poker night? Perhaps you want a place to work out in comfort, or even a workshop space. By figuring out the focus of your man cave, you'll be able to tailor furniture, décor and space to match.
It may help to pick one element (home theater system, a pool table, jukebox, etc.) as both the centerpiece and inspiration for your man cave.
Space it Out
Carefully measure all dimensions of the space you have available, and do the same when considering the purchase of any furniture, hardware or stand-alone game systems. Maintain open walking paths throughout the room. If you're centering the room around a home theater system, keep in mind that you'll want to keep clear sightlines for the main seating areas in the room.
Chances are your man sanctuary is going to go through its share of bumps, spills and accidents during game days, poker parties and guy's nights. Choose granite, sturdy laminate or durable wood surfaces for bar countertops, end tables and coffee tables. Pick thicker commercial-grade carpet to withstand tough treatment, and stick with darker colors that won't show every little spill. Thicker carpeting also helps with soundproofing, which will help keep the rest of the household happy.
Most man caves will in some way involve three key elements - comfortable seating, a big TV and refreshments just a few steps away.
Seating - Wrap-around couches are a great way to welcome your buddies in style. And there's no going wrong with the classic man cave throne: the recliner.
Theater-Style TV's - Large flat screen televisions have become much more affordable in recent years, and with the expansion of HD sports broadcasts, blue ray and high def gaming systems, the technology is tailor-made for a guy's paradise.
Beverages - With refreshments nearby, you won't be forced to step away from the big game or fold that hand just to get another beverage or grab some more snacks. If you're not able to swing a full enclosed bar, you can purchase smaller portable bars in a variety of styles, or just go with shelving or built-in cabinets to store snacks. Either way, you'll absolutely want to include a small refrigerator in the plans.
While you're dreaming big, why not consider a few extras to put your man cave over the top:
- Sports Memorabilia
- Big Screen TV
- Bar area
- Neon signs
- Bar games: Pool, Darts, Air hockey, Shuffleboard, Foosball
- Vintage signs
- Poker table