Ever since mankind emerged from, well, caves, men have longed after a space of their own. A treehouse. A local pub. A shed. But, the sign of a life truly well lived is a man cave all of your own, in your own home no less. A place to go and think. Or drink. To house and watch a needlessly big TV. Indulge a hobby. But where to begin?
Building a man cave takes creativity – there’s more to it than sticking a sofa and the old TV in the spare room. Nor do you have to be Bruce Wayne with enough money and space to build a full-scale suburban Bat Cave. Our guide to some of the coolest man cave ideas will help you upgrade whatever space you’ve got to work with, complete with expert tips on how to get the look.
The Bar: Man Cave Ideas For The Drinks Lover
A man’s taste in bars is as unique as he is. Otherwise, we’d all be happy drinking at TGI Fridays. For some men, it’s all about high-end IPAs. For others, carefully matured whisky. Others still might opt for tequila, no matter what night of the week it is.
What most drinkers do have in common is appreciating the communal aspect of getting together with friends to put the world to rights over a few jars. Which is why we’re big fans of the set-up in the image above – circular seating is a great way to maximize space in a social area. With inviting oversized loungers in brown leather, it’s clear that comfort comes first.
“A natural focal point can be a circular table surrounded by chairs, which is great since you can alter the tables and chairs in a way that suits the room,” says furniture designer Vanessa Arbuthnott.
“Leather is softening and contemporary, rugs keep the heat longer, and cushions make it feel cosy and warm. A man cave doesn’t need much in terms of accessories, but a few items make a long-lasting difference to the overall ambience,” she adds.
If you want to add more decorative touches, individual ashtrays as above are an option, especially if cigars are your thing. The bottle display along the wall is a great way to celebrate your favorite tipples – wine in this case, but it could just as easily be craft beer. To make the space as flexible as possible, it’d be a good idea to add a sink and ice bucket into the alcove at the back, and a hidden fridge inside those cupboards to store your limes, mixers and soda water.
Add a few special bottles on either side of the alcove, and you’re good to go.
The Garage: Man Cave Ideas For The Petrolhead
For anyone who has one, the garage is a go-to getaway (see Weezer’s In The Garage). Often annexed from the main house, it means you have somewhere to go and kick back, be that fiddling with motorcycles, writing a book or working on your breakdancing in private.
If your garage space has to compete with an actual vehicle, you could make your ride the main feature, and stick with that theme. Note the race track graffiti on the computer games console and the pool table above.
Because garages are typically dingy places filled with spiders and two-bar heaters, painting the walls a loud color creates the impression of heat and energy. “An accent wall is a good way to introduce a splash of color without overwhelming a space,” says Arbuthnott. “But avoid dark contrasting features like beams as this can create a confined and oppressive atmosphere.”
Be warned of furniture clash, though: if you opt for stainless steel stools and tables don’t choose wooden picture frames or a plush rug as this will create an uneven look. The vibe here is more pitstop than old man’s escape. Pick your theme and lean into it.
Small Spaces: Man Cave Ideas For The Shed
No, you won’t get a pool table or bowling lane in your shed, but by focusing on what you can achieve, you can make a small space the bitter focus of your friends’ envy.
“Empty rooms actually look smaller than a room full of furniture,” says Arbuthnott. “But play around with the scale and try not to put tiny furniture in small spaces.”
The example above is clearly going for a rustic hillbilly aesthetic, but it’s absolutely fine not to cover every single surface in wood.
No matter your vibe, spotlights are a good option for highlighting various parts of a room or, as seen above, wall art. Make them “at least three times brighter than the rest of the light in the room in order to be effective,” says Arbuthnott.
Of course, a small window wherever possible will create the illusion of space by providing natural light. If that’s not an option, all the more excuse to pack the walls with all the posters you loved as a teen. “A variety of small picture sizes will create an illusion of space due to the gaps in between the pictures,” says Arbuthnott.
The Sports Den: Man Cave Ideas For The Football Fan
For some reason, the idea of a sports den seems like a uniquely American preoccupation. In Britain, you go to the pub to watch the football, and that’s that. Sure, you might binge the snooker or the rugby from your armchair, or the tennis once a year.
But, in the States, there are all sorts of televised goodness from Nascar to basketball to the NFL to ice hockey to wrestling to rodeo riding to… well, the list goes on. Did we mention baseball?
Anyway, whether you’re a fully paid up US sports fan, or a Brit with a good cable TV connection, you’ll need a sports den. Naturally, nothing screams SPORTS like sporting games and memorabilia. Hence the framed jerseys and baseball poster above. Add a few glass cases with sporting memorabilia in them and have your mates guess: is it Babe Ruth’s baseball? Maybe it’s Kevin Keegan’s shin pads. Who knows?
What is important is having somewhere extremely comfortable to cheer your team to glory. See the leather lounge chairs (British English for La-Z-Boys), and yeah, you’ve got the right idea.
The Basement: Man Cave Ideas For The Home Owner
The thing about basements is that how much room you have below ground is largely dependent on how large the space above ground is. The key to making a room look good? “It’s best to find a bold statement piece of furniture such as a sofa, plant or wardrobe to tie the room together,” recommends Arbuthnott. Or, in the case of man caves, a pool table will never tire.
On the walls, Arbuthnott suggests, rather than one large piece of art or blown-up photograph, placing three rectangular frames adjacent to each other. “This is because with one large picture the eye tends to focus on the entire wall as there is no space to see anything else.”
Likewise, the pool cue rack is bright, which draws the eye in its direction thereby opening up the space even more, and is a neat way to store excess clutter. Having a seating area and fireplace up against the other walls is a good way to make use of normally overlooked spaces.
“In a small room it is beneficial for the storage rack to be placed vertically on the wall as it takes up hardly any space while still looking sleek,” enthuses Arbuthnott. Or, as in the case above, the bookshelves provide plenty of storage.
The Music Den: Man Cave Ideas To Turn Up The Volume
One of the few legitimate reasons to construct a man cave is to have a quiet place to go and practice music, whether that’s the guitar, violin, drums or flute.
Ideally, you’d clear some clutter from the example pictured above (especially if you’re fitting in a drum kit), but the overall message is good: this is about fandom and celebrating the music you love.
The space isn’t overly large, but there’s plentiful space and storage for your records, use the walls to hang guitars and pictures, and try a mix of lighting so you can always set it to match the mood, whether you’re trying to pen a dark and gloomy Nick Cave tribute or a Barry White-esque mood setter.
Add a comfy and large sofa for sitting on/staring at the ceiling while you try to write the perfect riff.
The Home Cinema: Man Cave Ideas For Film Lovers
When is there ever a better option than lounging back in a plush chair and watching a classic film? When you start to feel a bit claustrophobic, that’s when. In the image below, the ceiling is quite high, so doesn’t cause much of a problem; however, the room is fairly boxy, so creating a sense of space is important.
The most effective home cinemas are those where the film is the main event. So divert as much of your budget towards your screen and don’t worry about accessories you don’t see when the lights go out.
Instead of choosing dark furniture they’ve gone with light-coloured loungers and a tan rug, and only painted the accent walls purple, leaving the ceiling white. “Painting the entire room a dark color would make it seem oppressive and smaller, but only painting a small section improves the dynamics of the space,” says Arbuthnott.
“An accent wall is a good way to introduce a splash of color without overwhelming a tiny space. It’s also worth keeping furniture light in color to prevent your room from feeling overwhelming. You can add a pop of color through accents like pillows and decorative items.”
Add a few bowls of popcorn and a screen/projector combo and hit play.