If you’re like most men, you have a lot on your plate. In fact, between your family, your job and the minutiae of daily life, you may feel at times like there’s little room for anything else. However, in order to be your best at caring for these crucial responsibilities, you also need to take care of yourself. How? By feeding your inner child—you know, the part of you that has passionate interests, craves self-expression and just needs to hang loose once in a while.
Most men need a little space to reconnect with the things that excite and inspire them. While this space we’re referring to may be figurative, a great way to be proactive about inhabiting it is by creating a literal space, also known as a “man cave.” Despite the term’s pejorative tone, a man cave is nonetheless a great way for a guy to get the space he needs without the expense of going out or the quarrels that can arise from occupying a shared area.
You can create a man cave out of almost any space, whether a spare bedroom or office, a garage, or a shed. After all, the size or location of your man cave isn’t its most important feature: what matters most is that it’s a place where you can be yourself.
That is, as long as you keep it to a reasonable volume…after all, there are children sleeping upstairs.
Here are some key factors to think about when building your man cave:
The most essential part of creating a man cave is determining what you want to use it for. After all, despite the common stereotype, man caves aren’t only for watching sports and drinking beer. For example, you might want yours to be a space for recording music, playing video games with friends or simply a place where you can read quietly. Ultimately, your man cave’s purpose will dictate its design and amenities, so figure this out at the outset.
The first step in making your man cave a relaxing and inviting space is to make sure there are plenty of places to sit. Start with the centerpiece: your recliner. From there, you can add couches, bean bag chairs, gaming chairs or bar stools—whatever best fits the space. Just remember, the key word here is “comfort”…in other words, no folding chairs.
Whether you plan on having boisterous poker games or watching movies with the “surround sound” on, soundproofing should be a top priority when designing your man cave. If you’re looking for an inexpensive solution, a couple of bookshelves or some thick blankets attached to the wall will work. If you want to invest a little more time and money, you might consider opening up the walls and adding more insulation in between the wall studs. Another simple yet effective soundproofing measure is putting weather stripping and a vinyl threshold around the door.
If you plan to have common man cave amenities like a television, stereo and mini-fridge, you’ll need to make sure you have enough juice to power them. Look around and make sure there are enough outlets to handle your power needs. If not, you may need to install additional ones. After all, having extension cords running through your cave not only looks tacky, it can also overload your circuits, which can be a real buzzkill on movie night.
Even if your man cave has a big TV and a mini bar, if it’s not you, you’re going to feel like something’s missing. So, above all, express yourself. Whether it’s a Golden State Warriors poster or an M.C. Escher print, a trophy case or a vinyl record collection, or a cardboard standup of Buster Posey or Darth Vader, let your man cave echo your personality. Don’t feel like you have to go by the book—that way, like Frank Sinatra, you can say with pride, “I did it my way.”
Don’t miss our companion piece for the ladies: “A Room of One’s Own: How to Create Your Own She Shed.”