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May 28, 2021

Man Cave Mania: 10 tips for creating a guy’s getaway at home

Cheryl Ricer

Photography By

Every guy deserves a dedicated space at home to be himself, relax, entertain his buddies with billiards or TV, or pursue some other passion. Plus, it seems that when it comes to stress recovery, men benefit from withdrawing a bit more than women do. A recent university study found that men’s cortisol levels dropped significantly when they had more solo leisure time in their own homes. Also, a poll conducted by revealed that more than one-third of homes have a dedicated man cave, so it seems to be a sound investment of space and money.

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There’s not really one thing that defines a man space. Sometimes it’s the collection of sports or hobby memorabilia; at other times, it may be the noise and mess level. Space-wise, a basement, garage, or even an attic is each well-suited. Any large footprint that may have been used for sporadic storage can be transformed to a masculine, sleek room. Regardless, your man cave should be inviting, modern, comfortable, and well-thought out. Here are some great ideas to help you get started:

Check space and electrical requirement
In the initial planning stage, be sure to measure your space carefully while planning on furniture, TVs, tables, and other accessories. Know the space before you buy and check the wiring and outlets to establish whether you need an upgrade or addition. This is particularly important in rooms you are finishing (e.g., a basement).

Plan for plumbing
If your bathroom or kitchen is nearby, you may not need additional plumbing. But for other areas, plumbing may be necessary. A closet bathroom can prove particularly useful in basements, and if you want a full bar, then a water source will be a useful addition. Plan for plumbing early on if you need it.

Choose a theme
The industrial look is a popular modern theme, defined by heavy-duty hardwoods and metal. These materials look great and are durable and flexible enough to accommodate many needs. Avoid using a lot of glass, which can be too reflective, especially in a small space, and may be too fragile.

Add games
Whether your game is pool, poker, foosball, or another table-based sport, make it a center attraction in your man cave and perhaps base the rest of your theme/decorations around it. Just make sure there is enough space leftover for seating and displays, and don’t forget good lighting above. An arcade corner is also a fun addition. It may be easier than you think to find your old favorites and set them up. It’s worth a try if you want something truly special. And for a modern upgrade, set aside a VR gaming space instead.

Plan carefully for audio and video
When installing your TV, length from the screen is probably your most important consideration. Find the display size you want, but make sure there is enough space between it and the seating to appreciate all those pixels. And if you are using a projector, you need to consider projector installation, wiring, and distance as well. As for sound, your man cave is an ideal place to install a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system. However, take time to plan out speaker positioning and (if your speakers are wireless) how you will run speaker wires. A little time and consideration here will pay off for years of enjoyment down the road.

Provide comfortable, open seating
Seats in the middle of the space can create dead zones, so wherever possible, put seating against the walls instead, or use the space behind your gaming chairs for storage or display tables. Find the perfect chair, too. Consider upgrading to a massage chair to maximize relaxation. Every guy needs that one spot where he can kick back and root for his team, watch a movie, sip on a glass of scotch or soda, or just take a nap.

Include a built-in bar or refrigeration area
If you want an ultimate man cave upgrade, include a bar section with several stools for seating or a refrigeration cabinet/closet for storing your favorite beverages and dips. There are many fun ways to set up these areas, and they’ll save on trips to the kitchen.

Treat yourself with a humidor
A humidor will keep your cigars in prime condition for as long possible. If you and your friends don’t prefer cigars, consider a luxury display case or refrigeration unit for your after-snack activities.

Keep cool
Especially in small spaces, electronics and human bodies will create a lot of heat, so install quality air conditioning to keep the room cool. You can easily tie the space in with your house HVAC, but for extra cooling you might want to add another air conditioner unit. Also, any connection to the outdoors, even if it’s just a small window, will be particularly useful (especially if you are using that humidor).

Light the way
There are tons of options for lighting, but we recommend sticking to traditional ceiling and bar-style pendant lights (no fluorescents) for your primary lighting source. Then you can select accent lights using LED strings and bulbs to add some light color variations. While lighting with day-glo LEDs everywhere may seem cool at first, it can quickly get old, so it’s important to have traditional lighting to fall back on.

Once you have the basics in place, tie everything together with some personal touches that appeal to your own sense of style and interests. Just be careful not to get lost in your man cave. Remember watching sports for nine hours straight or hosting a marathon Xbox tournament on occasion is great for those cortisol levels. But a man cave is only special if it’s an escape, not a destination. Enjoy yourselves, guys, but don’t forget to get up and stretch occasionally.

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