(Last modified on April 3rd, 2020)
It’s our instinct to look up guides from so-called experts and take their word for it when they tell us something we’re not sure on. However, a little bit of critical thinking peels away the façade of some of these bad tips and tricks. It’s always important to look through various resources, which is why I recommend reading up on some shed plans and information on other amazing sites, but learning to distinguish between the good and bad sites is just as important. Today, I want to point out some common advice that is either flat-out wrong or only applies in certain situations. Without further ado, here is the worst advice we’ve ever heard about man caves!
A lot of designers focus on amazing and impressing people with their appearance. It’s always fun to show off your skill and dedication to your project, but that doesn’t always mean you have to go overboard. The room should not be overwhelming to your guests, and certainly not overwhelming to you! The man cave serves various functions, so the best thing you can do for your man cave is not create a unified and impressive design, but instead split your focus.
By implementing multiple ways to use your man cave, you cut down on the “wow” factor, but greatly increase its personal value. Which one is more important to you—using your man cave, or showing it off? Let that be an indicator of whether or not you should take this advice.
We like big rooms, big houses, big beds, tall ceilings…the list goes on forever. Big is nice for all sorts of reasons. However, that doesn’t mean you need to make every room you design as big as possible. What matters is that you have room to breathe in your man cave. The perception that you need a huge room to make it look nice is just misguided. You need enough space to walk comfortably and place all of your belongings. Many men cover their walls in posters, art, and trinkets to make the room look smaller! With a small room, it feels much cozier—sort of like a little hideout just for you! You be the decisive factor in how big you want your room—not whomever gave you this bad advice! For more information on working with space, check out my post on small man caves.
In a similar vein, lots of people suggest cutting down on decorations and furniture to exaggerate the space of the room. As long as all of the man cave essentials are covered, there’s no need for more stuff, is there? Wrong. While less is more applies in many places, man cave designing is not one them. The more services your man cave provides for you, the better! The more decorations you include, the more it reflects your inner self. See a pattern here? There are only a few situations where I recommend toning down your man cave decorations.
First, a modern environment accentuates the space of the room and minimizes the amount of stuff you see. You should still get the same use out of it, but all of your movies and decorations are hidden within some shelves or cabinets. With a study, you want a lot of space to work, so you also want to hide most of your materials with that. Nonetheless, both of these types of rooms can benefit from more art or books or something of that nature. Don’t let this advice rule your decisions.
A central object in the room that stands out from everything else is called an eye piece or focal point. These objects contribute to the “wow” factor I mentioned above. They help give your guests something to fixate on and talk about as they get used to the room. While it’s nice to have these, and I recommend them in most situations, you hardly need them. A man cave that hosts several smaller attention-grabbers—such as a shelf of books, movies, games, or any other collection—serves just as well to entertain guests. Furthermore, a man cave should never focus on how you entertain your guests. It’s all about you! Put things you like looking at in the cave. I wrote quite a bit about the decor you need in a man cave, so check that out when you can.
Electronics dominate our lives. Hell, you’re reading this on a phone or computer somewhere! Instinct tells us to incorporate this into our man caves, but I find that many men like skipping out on this. After all, connecting to the outside world in a time of political strife and scandal takes its toll on the mind. By limiting our interaction with news, video games, and the internet to outside the man cave, we create a more habitable space.
Beyond just that, affordability should always come first. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest television to enjoy things properly. While I could never dream of leaving out a TV from my man cave, I also find a smaller television quite satisfactory for my needs. Smaller screens also help you fill more of the room with decorations and support your man cave theme. If it is enough for you, it is enough for your man cave.
This is, by far, the worst advice anyone could ever give you. Especially with basement man caves, this just makes your cave a huge fire trap. With one entrance to an enclosed space where you may or may not enjoy a smoke, any sort of heat or fire will head straight for that entrance and cut off any chance of escape. Furthermore, if any firefighters run in, they’ll have no idea how to get to you. It’s nice to emulate the secret entrances of superhero hideouts, but in practice, they’re a horrible practice.
Make sure you have two clear entrances and exits, even if they are small. If you want to make a hidden entrance after that, be my guest! Update the blueprints for your house whenever you make structural changes like that—the city uses them for tracking more than just building codes!
Now that you’ve read the worst advice we’ve ever heard about man caves, think about how this bad advice might affect your man cave design. Do you really need that big TV? Could your wall use more decorations? What sort of functions can you add to the man cave that make it more useful to you? In the end, advice only works when it’s given on the individual level. Many of you will actually find this advice useful, despite it being bad in most situations!
The point of this article is less to highlight the worst advice we’ve ever heard and more to ensure you think critically about the advice you listen to on the internet. Even some of the tips I write about on this site may not apply to you. Check through all sorts of resources (this one works quite well) and see what works for you. Your man cave is all about what you want, so find out what that is and stick to it, no matter what bad advice comes your way!