Unused basements, attics, and garages in homes across the world are being converted into man caves. While man caves have always existed in theory, the term itself is relatively new. It refers to the room in the house a man spends his spare time, and is typically appointed with his aspects of his favorite hobbies, interests, and activities.
The majority of a house tends to be a woman’s domain. Feminine touches tend to make a house feel like a home, even if it is primarily inhabited by men (who often love potpourri just as much as the next person – though they’ll never admit it). Because of this, a man cave can be just as much a creative outlet as it is a relaxing escape. And, while you want your man cave to embody your personality, you also want it to be aesthetically appealing.
There are a number of tips for creating a man cave that is both cool and cozy, and all of them involve staying true to your own personal style and tastes.
1. Select a theme
Start with one object, and work your way out. But first, what is that object going to be? A pool table, a jukebox, a 75-inch flat screen TV? This object is the focal point in your man cave, and will dictate all that goes around it. So, you must decide on what the theme of your man cave will be, whether it be: sports, gaming, recreation, entertainment, music, and so and so forth.
Pick something that speaks to you – and never design a man cave strictly based on manliness. A man cave should be true to you (and your craft, if you have one). It should also be a place you envision spending time alone and with friends.
2. Furnish it with novelty items
Man caves are a great way to show off those unique objects that don’t necessarily match the décor of the rest of your home. Any collectibles you have, such as comic books or action figurines, should absolutely be displayed in your man cave. Invest in a glass display case for your treasured items.
Vintage jukeboxes also make a nice touch – as well as vintage arcade games. There are tons of refurbished pinball machines that sell at a well-discounted price. If you’re having your buddies over, you can easily kill an afternoon beating each other’s high scores. A classic Pac-Man or Galaga machine is always a popular man cave choice.
3. Let your walls do the talking
Don’t neglect your walls while you’re furnishing your man cave. In fact, your walls do most of the talking. For a snappy and urban man cave, you may consider doing some exposed brick on one wall. Exposed brick surrounded by wallpaper on the remaining walls always makes for an edgy look.
Typically, man caves go for a loungier vibe, so dark wallpapers are the best option. Avoid black as that can make a room look smaller, but consider some dark blues and grays. Consider also putting up some neon signs to give the room personality, and a little bit of an underground bar feel to it.
Make sure any artwork you place on the walls matches the overall color palette of the room – and always keep it in a frame. Putting posters up without frames will look tacky, and destroy the sophisticated look of your man cave. Also consider throwing up a unique or unusual clock as a final decorative touch. After all, it can be easy to lose track of time in the man cave.
4. Make it lounge-able
The main purpose of the man cave is to serve as a place for relaxation and escape from the outside world. So, take no liberties when it comes to your comfort. Make sure to furnish it with a comfortable sectional sofa or some plush La-Z-Boy reclining lounge chairs.
Throw a large ottoman in front of your couch to double as a coffee table and footrest. Dark brown and black leather furnishings are best for man caves. Pro tip: Seek out worn-looking, rustic armchairs and sofas to emphasize the rugged vibe.
5. Make room for snacks & refreshments
If you foresee spending a lot of time in your man cave, then a snack/refreshment bar is mandatory. Use some reclaimed wood to make one yourself, or buy one already made, and stock it. Invest in some comfy bar stools that match the décor of the rest of your man cave, and throw in a mini fridge for the perishables.
Accessorize your snack/refreshment bar too by placing a decanter set with your favorite liquor on the bartop, and perhaps throwing in some greenery around it (plants, succulents, etc.) No matter how you go about decorating your man cave, however, just be sure to make it your own. If you don’t buy into the traditional macho appearance of the man cave, you don’t have to. The most important man cave qualities are consistency, cohesiveness, and color-coordination.
Ellie Batchiyska is a writer for The Pinball Company, a major online retailer for new and refurbished pinball machines, arcade games, and more.