19 Man Cave Ideas to Avoid

January 7, 2018
Robert Manziel

(Last modified on May 28th, 2020)

19 Man Cave Ideas to Avoid

Now that you know everything you want to keep in your man cave, let’s check out things you want to keep out. Every man has their own preferences, but if you put one of these in your cave, then prepare yourself to hear your friends call it a ‘she-shed.’ Vanity mirrors, curvy furniture, zany craft decorations, and lacy curtains top the list of things to keep out of your cave. However, some things—like family photos—aren’t quite as obvious. These 19 man cave ideas to avoid serve as a warning to men everywhere! Keep reading for a list of things to keep out of your man cave and the reason you need to keep them out!

Vanity Mirrors

Large vanity mirrors highlight the arrogance of all who use them on a daily basis. Normal mirrors function just fine for reasonable people, so why take up a lot of space in your cave just to put in a mirror? Replacing a wall with a mirror doesn’t count—and actually adds a lot of space to the room! Plus, mirrors look great in garage or bar settings. A bathroom area also needs a mirror, at least for when you shave! When you see the fancy plastic, metal, or wooden border of a large mirror, that’s where you need to draw the line.

More Than Four Colors

A room usually uses two major colors and one minor color. In example, the typical home uses white or eggshell-colored paint on their walls and any color carpet to complement it. What you put in the home matches those colors. The same applies in a man cave. If you want your room to look coherent, then carefully limit the amount of colors you put in your main fixtures. Obviously decorations and art will bring you over the four color limit, but your permanent furniture should fit within the limitations. Beyond your first three colors, a fourth lets you squeeze in an odd design here and there, so long as it only colors small buttons or portions of the furniture.

Anything Abstract

Art looks great—especially paintings! Use art, posters, and unique designs to complement the theme of your man cave and populate the wall. Little statues or figurines also help the room feel cozy. However, not any art works for a man cave. Abstract art and figures use abnormal shapes, materials, colors, and subject material to draw all attention towards them. Standing in a museum, they look great. But standing in a man cave? Not so much. It takes some serious work to pull off an abstract design in a man cave, especially since the normally outlandish colors of abstract statues clashes with the normal color schemes of man caves. Avoid using these figures, if possible! For art that works great in man caves, read this page.

Cushions Galore

Women put cushions in their room to fill up space with something to look at. Little sayings like ‘home is where the heart is’ make them good conversation points and they knit the room together. However, they serve no other function and clutter up a conventional man cave. Anyone who uses your couch throws them on the ground anyways. If you need something to decorate unused chairs or couches, stick with practical things like body pillows, back pillows, or bean bags. That way, they actually serve a purpose and look like they fit the room at the same time.

Flowery Wallpaper

Your wall needs as many things as possible to keep the walls covered. Unless you want to show off some cool woodwork or brick patterns, any empty space becomes wasted. With that in mind, why would wallpaper matter? You still see the wall paper behind the decorations and furniture—especially furniture like drawers or fridges that may need a little more wall space than usual. If you choose wallpaper over paint or textured walls, then pick something basic, modern, or something to go with your theme. Please skip the flowers.

Family Photos

Pictures of your dear family and friends serve as immortal reminders of a good moment in our life. I would never downplay their importance or significance. However, a man cave is called a man cave for a reason. The mantuary exists to keep a single man separate from the rest of the world, and sometimes, that means keeping out family portraits. To incorporate your family into the cave, ask them personally how they would like to change your man cave wall decor. This provides the best way to bond with your family while keeping your space yours. Very rarely will they ask for photos of themselves in there. I give a lot more advice on man cave decor here.

Curly Furniture

Curvy objects represent femininity. I don’t care of you like hour glasses, pears, apples, or any other body shape—everyone knows that curves belong to women! Similarly, curves in architecture and design represent female characteristics. For a more manly aesthetic, stick to sharper corners on your furniture and avoid the curved metal flourishes that plague a lot of metal furniture. Large curves, such as a curved sofa that points towards the center of the room, make sense to put in a man cave. For anything else, leave it out!

Lacy Curtains

Anything that resembles a doily, lace, or ribbon belongs in a nursery, not in a man cave. Curtains perform worse than blinds aesthetically speaking, at least where mantuaries are concerned. I contemplated banning curtains outright, but some curtains actually manage to provide utility to mancaves. Blackout curtains keep out light and make projection-based entertainment systems easier to see. On top of that, some colored curtains fit right in with man cave themes, if you pick a simple design. Ultimately, stay away from anything translucent or lacy, and your curtains should look fine.

Persian Rugs

Rugs help bring together a room without taking away space. A room without a rug or other floor decoration looks empty and lacking, so obviously you need to consider rugs. However, keep Persian rugs out of your consideration. Their beautiful flowers, vines, and ornaments look great in a living room and sometimes in the lobby of a building…but not in a man cave. With so many other options for your man space, try to broaden your horizons and find something that fits better! Cow hides work great with rustic man caves, while custom galaxy designs suit Star Wars themed caves. For sports lovers, plenty of licensed carpets exist to fill the empty space.

Creamers, Sugar, or Drink Syrup

Okay, drinks taste great with added flavors. I’m not going to go on a rant about how men should drink bitter beer or black coffee or anything like that, but there is a limit to the amount of sweeteners a man cave should house. If you dislike bitter flavors in your drinks, go ahead and create mixes using fresh fruit or grab some pre-mixed drinks instead. For better tasting coffee, seek out a better brand than whatever you currently drink. I promise something out there matches your palate!

Anything ‘Chic’

This one’s a no-brainer. Anything marketed towards women or girls probably looks out of place in a man cave. On top of that, anything labeled specifically as a girly product probably has a gender neutral or even masculine counterpart. A chic object usually contains a lot of contrasting colors, curves, and extra textures that clash with the idea of a modern man cave. I realize none of you go looking for chic things when you plan your man cave, but if you feel yourself tempted by something in Ross or Hobby Lobby…resist!

Crystals, Sequins, or Glitter

Despite the phrase, not everything that glitters is gold. Flashy objects like crystals, jewels, glass chandeliers, and so on might look pretty in the light, but they hardly stand out as manly. The only things that should glisten in your cave are metal objects and maybe the fish in an aquarium. Glitter just gets everywhere, so skip that as well.

Craft Supplies…in Plain View

Look, some men like crafting. I get that. Even I own a collection of colorful markers that helps me distinguish things when I cut wood. However, putting them up on a wall for everyone to see, along with string, lace, and scissors to match…hardly gives the impression of a man cave. When you need to organize your tools in your man cave, go to home depot and find yourself a tool chest or tool shelves. Shelves in particular keep things organized.

String Lights

Yeah…no. String lights have their time and place, but it’s not in a man cave. For frat rooms, work parties, children sleepovers, baby rooms, and Christmas spectacles, string lights work spectacularly. But for a man cave? Stick to more conventional lighting that goes with your theme. The string part of the string lights looks cheap and gaudy, so if you want a similar effect, install permanent lights spaced evenly throughout the wall. Plus, putting in your own lighting allows you to easily fit the theme of your man cave!

Fabric on the Wall

I don’t necessarily mean curtains. We already covered those. Rather, some women absolutely love to use sheets as decorations for the ceiling or walls. What might look great for a classy living room or princess-style bedroom has no place in a man cave. If you want different textures for the wall or ceiling beyond what art can offer you, then use bricks, wood panels, textured paint, or wallpaper to pull off the effect.

Too Many Windows

The cave is called a cave for a reason. It isn’t a greenhouse or atrium. It serves as a secluded place meant for you to spend some alone time. Just like a regular cave, entrances and exits are sparse. Open windows help lift the mood and air out the cave, but they also break down the sense of a special space. Instead of feeling like a mantuary, it just feels like an open room. Stick to a normal amount of windows for your wall space and maybe one or two skylights, if possible. Nothing too dramatic, but also nothing too minimal.

Ban on Signs or Posters

Some ladies like to keep their she caves minimal. Instead of using posters or art, they use zany paint jobs, wall-mounted dishes, or fabric to decorate the walls. Sometimes they even convert walls into crafting stations! However—and this goes for people of both sexes, to be honest—forgoing signs takes away a lot of potential from your cave. Signs help distinguish your man cave from other space, something critical for a man cave. For more reasons on why you need signs, check the whole man cave signs info and recommendations page.


This mainly goes towards people with shed man caves. In case you don’t know what a pergola is, it provides the framework for vines and flowers to create a tunnel of leaves. Gardens look great and all, but pergolas take it a little far. Use vertical garden techniques or custom landscaping to achieve a similar effect without making the entrance to your man cave look like a dream wedding venue. Plus, custom watering systems help your plants grow and keep out pests. For more man cave shed ideas, browse my dedicated page on the matter.

Straw Anything

Look, I don’t care if your man cave is supposed to look rustic. Straw anything belongs in a barn, not in a man cave. Wooden chairs work better than straw chairs, cow skins work better than straw rugs, and anything works better than straw decorations! If you built your man shed with a thatch roof, then do yourself a favor and replace it with any other type of roofing. And if your wife gives you one of those rustic straw poofs? Just throw it outside where it belongs, for the love of all things holy!

At the end of the day, your man cave reflects your inner self. Sometimes, that means squeezing in a pergola at the entrance of your man shed or throwing in that weird abstract figure your great aunt sent you just to give it a place. However, if you want to achieve the idea of a modern man cave, this list helps you achieve that by telling you where you can go wrong. I also wrote a large list of things you do want to add in, so check that list to round out your man cave plans! Whether you listen to this advice or not, always do what you think is right for your man cave. After all, that space belongs to you and you alone!

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