(Last modified on March 26th, 2020)
A man cave is a type of sanctuary. It’s a den you can hang out and relax in without worrying about the outside world—at least for a little bit. It’s absolutely essential for every man to have a true man cave. However, not everyone has enough skills to build stuff on their own or the decorative talent to live up to the ideas in their head. On top of that, man caves cost a ton of money if you’re not careful about how you spend your cash. That’s where this page comes in. Even if you’re not the type of person to do big projects like this, this little guide should help you learn how to make a true man cave all on your own. I also go over how to make a man cave on a budget. No matter what sort of space you have, let’s learn how to use it today!
The first step to learning how to make a man cave is to learn how to find a man cave idea. For some people, ideas seem to flow out of their brain constantly. These people are few and far between. Unless you’re one of those miracle people, here are some quick man cave ideas and guidelines for designing a man cave ahead of time. First of all, think about your budget. If you have less than $1,000, you’ll definitely want to go with a rustic man cave. Decorations for these are cheap, plentiful, and look spectacular. If you have a more moderate amount, you can go ahead and make a game room. If you have lots to spend, throw in a fully functional wet bar and give it a classic style.
Another popular type of man cave involves fandoms. If you enjoy Star Wars (who doesn’t?), the Green Bay Packers, or Game of Thrones, you can find memorabilia and decorations that match that theme. Some of this specialty stuff can cost a pretty penny, which means it’s best to go to specialty stores to find stuff. Nerdy comic stores probably have Star Wars merchandise lying around, bookstores might have a couple cheap things for Game of Thrones, and your local supermart will have a variety of team colors when the sport’s in season. Other than those, Amazon is a good place for finding obscure stuff to match that fandom idea of yours.
If you’re still having trouble with ideas, look through home improvement magazines, browse the net for inspiration, or read my full discussion on finding or making your own man cave themes. A man cave theme is important in the long run and difficult to change once you’ve started purchasing the essentials. Take as much time as you need to think about what man cave idea you want to pursue.
If you want to know how to build a man cave shed, I’ve talked about it extensively already. However, it always helps to review the basics, and the basics in this case involve man cave building plans. Shed plans are an excellent place to start when you want to learn how to build a man cave in the backyard. You’ll want a simple shed, likely with just one spacious room. If you plan on spending a lot of time in this man cave or entertaining a lot of people, consider contracting a professional plumber and making a proper restroom. There’s one other big perk to having pipes installed—the ability to craft your own wet bar. A true man cave could always use a bar in the room.
It’s true that building a man cave shed in the backyard is more expensive than just decorating a garage, spare room, or basement, but it can be managed. Simply find local places to buy your wood (rather than the big home improvement stores). Keep your construction simple, but secure. Find yourself some affordable and reliable tools. Do as much work as you can by yourself.
There’s a huge advantage to building a backyard man cave that goes beyond just raising your property value. It separates the rest of the house from your man cave, which really emphasizes that it’s a different type of abode. It’s a sanctuary where men go to get away from their home life, even for a little bit. It’s not about escapism, but about having something personal and private. Basements, garages, and spare rooms do feel individual in their own right…but not to the extent of a man cave shed.
If a shed isn’t an option for you, you can always build one closer to home. That is to say…inside your home. A basement man cave is the next-best thing to a man cave shed. It’s separated from the home by an insurmountable barrier for the lazy—the stairs. Basements are generally unfinished and that gives you lots of room to work with as you build the man cave. There’s plenty of space to add piping and wiring for a wet bar and electronic setup. Oh, and yes, you’ll need some extra wiring down there. I’ve never encountered a basement with sufficient power for a man cave setup. If you don’t want to set up some extra electrical power, you need to grab some extension cords and pray that nothing sparks down there.
Speaking of safety, make sure there are two entrances and exits to the man cave. The stairs are one, while a little window or door to the yard can serve as a second. This is mostly for fire safety, but it also lets in natural lighting if you choose to go the window route. Make sure the window is big enough for you to fit through, of course.
Small rooms have to focus entirely on vertical space. In order to make your man cave look roomy and comfortable, you want to keep those vertical decorations thin and add in some extra lighting. Giving the room as much floor space as possible is also a must, since that’s the biggest contributing factor to making a room look…well, roomy. I talk about setting using vertical decor to get the most out of your small room man cave on this post, so feel free to peruse it if you want the full details on how to make a man cave in a small room.
Cheap man cave stuff doesn’t grow on trees…but it might as well! I talk more about how to save on cash while making your man cave in my post here, but I’ll go over a bit of it now. The major factor in building a man cave on a budget is to have a budget in the first place. I’ve seen too many dudes buy ‘cheap’ stuff without thinking, having it all add up to be over their budget, and then still have a bunch of essentials missing. No, you’ll need to have everything in writing before you begin stuff.
Figure out your essential furniture (a recliner, TV, and coffee table to start with) and then think about your crucial functions (for me, I use the man cave as a home for my game consoles). Grab your stuff from antique stores, thrift shops, places like Goodwill, and so on. Scour Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon for the best deals (I even go over a few on this site). Once your essentials are down, look for a feature to define the cave as yours and yours alone. Signs work great for this, and it’s easy enough to get one customized.
With those essentials out of the way, you can begin looking for stuff to fill the emptiness of your cave. Posters are the real MVPs of a man cave. Accent walls where you paint a single section of the room help that area look occupied without spending a fortune. Where possible, purchase stuff with a function. Don’t worry about filling up your man cave on the first go. A true man cave takes time to build.
It didn’t take long to learn how to make a man cave, now did it? It’s surprisingly simple, even for people on a budget. The tricky part is finding inspiration and a theme to stick with. Actual construction is a breeze once you know how much to spend and where to spend it. Man caves are a precious part of the household—whether or not they’re actually attached to your house. They give you a place where you can always get some peace and quiet on your own. They also serve as an excellent place to entertain guests. Every man really needs to know how to make a man cave. Now that you know, put this knowledge to good use and make your true man cave already!