When I recently asked a friend, who had just completed his 60th birthday, for his opinion on writing an article about the ultimate man cave designs, it was as if I could see his eyes light up. We were talking on the phone! For the next 20 minutes he went on describing the man cave of his dreams in great detail. So this article is for you, gentlemen.
Masculine interior design and man cave design ideas
Having worked with many male clients over the years, has helped me gain a better understanding of what makes men tick when it comes to interior design and home decorating. I quickly realised that the word ‘man cave’ is the magic word. Whether you’re single, married, with kids at home, like the above mentioned friend or an empty nester (and it’s now time to spoil yourself), I’m confident you have thought about having your own man cave. If you haven’t, then maybe now’s the time.
Just a heads up, this article isn’t about how to DIY a dark and gloomy gaming room in the basement filled with mismatched furniture that has been banned from the rest of the house. Instead, it’s about designing a sophisticated masculine space aka stylish man cave. A luxury leisure space where you can lose yourself for hours on end and proudly invite your friends and business associates over to. A cool man cave that will even impress your (female) significant other.
How to design a man cave
Space and Purpose of a Man Cave
First you need to decide where you’ll want your man cave to be. This obviously depends on the size of your home and the available space or spare rooms you might have. At the same time, much like when designing any other room in your house, you need to define the purpose of your man cave. Who will be using the space (other than yourself) and what will you use it for?
Here are some popular types of man caves:
- The garage man cave: this is quite a popular one, but it does come with its challenges, such as insulation/ heating (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere), spotty internet connection and little or no daylight.
- The basement man cave: another popular location for man caves, which can come with similar challenges as the man cave in the garage, unless it is insulated and heated.
- The attic man cave: the attic can be a great place for a man cave, but in most cases will also need additional insulation and heating. Noise might be another factor to consider, especially if you plan on listening to loud music.
- The spare room man cave: This can be a great choice for empty nesters who are suddenly faced with a lot of empty rooms.Turning the kid’s room into a man cave can also be a great project to beat the empty nester syndrome. The same goes for retirees, who don’t really need a separate home office anymore, but instead finally want to realise their dream of having a man cave.
- The garden shed man cave: Converting an existing garden shed into a man cave or building one for that purpose can be another great way of making your dream come true. A man cave garden shed is somewhat nostalgic and reminiscent of a cabin in the woods. Heating and insulation will again play a major factor here, as in most cases you will need building permissions for this type of project.
Once you’re clear on where and why, you can then decide on your man cave ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’. Depending on the size and shape of the room or space, as well as your man cave budget, you’ll want to look into creating different zones.
The key zones for your man cave
Since your man cave is likely to have multiple functions, it’s important to have a dedicated area for each activity. You’ll want to consider the following:
- Entertainment Zone
- Bar Zone
- Table Games Zone
- Work out Zone
Man Cave Entertainment Ideas
‘Boys and their toys’ may be a bit of a cliché, but as the saying goes: ‘Where there’s smoke, there is fire.’ Of course there are exceptions, but I’ve yet to come across a man or a male client, who doesn’t have or want the biggest possible flat screen TV with surround sound or even dreams of his own home cinema. Needless to say, every man cave or bachelor pad for that matter needs at least some of the latest gadgets. This could be an old fashioned vinyl record player with a high end sound system for the music enthusiast aka melophiles amongst you, a video games console for gamers or any other cool gadgets you’ll want for your man cave.
First consider the main functions of your entertainment zone. Do you like watching sports, the latest action movie or do you play video games? Maybe you’re the nostalgic type and like to indulge in old black and white movies? Do you love listening to music or maybe still dream of becoming a rock star or rapper?
The type of gadgets and whether or not you need professional soundproofing strongly depends on your preferences (AND your neighbours or the lack thereof). A basement man cave might be the most suited if you’re concerned about noise. If you’re going for a concert hall experience, then you might still need to sound proof your space though. Otherwise some general acoustic elements will suffice. But more on acoustics later.
Whilst most of my (male) clients happily scour the internet and browse dozens of stores for the perfect TV and HIFI system, shopping for furniture usually gets them less excited. However, in order to maximise your space and to really enjoy your entertainment area and your man cave in general, the right furniture, appropriate lighting and acoustics are crucial.
If you have sufficient space, then you might want to consider a proper home cinema customised to your needs. There are numerous home cinema specialists out there, but I found the custom designed home cinema pods by CIPOD rather unique. These standalone private home entertainment spaces can be set up in your home, yacht or garden (next to your man cave shed 😉 These ultra-luxurious home cinema pods are sure to provide an unrivalled experience.
Man Cave Bar Ideas
Every man cave needs a man cave bar. Depending on your preferred beverage(s), the equipment and bar design of your man cave will vary. If you’re a hobby mixologist, a rum connoisseur or whisky collector, you’ll want lots of shelving or display boxes for your favourite bottles as well as sufficient storage for a selection of glassware. If you’re a sport enthusiast, you might have proper beer glasses from around the world that you’ll love to flash out to your friends.
For the wine enthusiasts amongst you, you’ll need a proper wine fridge as well as adequate storage for wine glasses. Maybe you’re a hobbyist barista and a simple hotel style coffee station just doesn’t cut it for you, then you’ll need sufficient counter top space in width and depth for your pro espresso machine.
You get the gist. It’s all about making it work for you based on your personal preferences and your favourite poison 😉 Needless to say, every man cave bar should have a fridge, some countertop space, some storage and man cave bar stools.
Man Cave Games Tables
Space permitting, a game table of some kind is yet another must-have in the ultimate man cave design. When designing a luxury man cave you may want to consider some uber stylish glass billiard table, stainless steel ping pong table or wood and glass table football. These luxury game tables are made to impress and will surely make a statement. Frankly speaking, they would even look great in a living room.
If you prefer board games or simply don’t have the space for a game table, then you can always add a (small) round table and some chairs for a game of chess or for playing cards.
Man Cave Work out Room Ideas
Having a dedicated work out area surely helps to keep you motivated. Since we’re talking about a stylish man cave here, you’ll obviously want to work out in style. There is a wide range of beautiful luxury work out equipment made of wood, stainless steel, brass and even marble. Should you still lack motivation sometime, at least you’ll have sexy work out equipment to look at. Worst case, you can use the dumbbells as book holders…
Man Cave Decorating Styles
The most popular masculine decorating styles for man caves and other manly spaces are minimalistic interior design, industrial interior design, rustic style and as of late African inspired interior design. Then there’s the all time classic Chesterfield man cave. The Chesterfield style taking its name from the famous English Chesterfield sofa. This truly British design classic is reminiscent of traditional London pubs, Gentlemen clubs and cigar lounges.
Depending on the overall interior design style of your man cave, you might want to consider a concrete wall or an exposed brick wall. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, you could also use wallpaper with these same finishes. Metal paint finishes are another great way to add a masculine touch to the walls as are dark coloured organic wallpapers or dark painted walls.
Best Man Cave Colours
Of course there are men who like bold and bright colours, however, based on my experience as an interior designer, most men prefer neutral and often dark colours. Think cigar lounge. These are usually designed in typical masculine colour schemes featuring dark woods, brown leather, metals and black elements. Neutral colours, such as shades of grey, beiges, taupes and browns can easily be combined with cool colours like blues and greens. In fact, this was the colour scheme I used for this New York themed bachelor pad I had designed for one of my clients.
Man Cave Furniture
Famed early 20th century interior decorator Billy Baldwin already knew that ‘comfort is the ultimate luxury’. Whilst this should apply to any room in the house, it should definitely be a top priority when planning your man cave design. Once you’ve established your needs, you can then choose your man cave furniture accordingly.
Depending on your personal preference and the number of people using the space, you’ll need different type of furniture. You might want to consider the following man cave furniture:
- An extra deep sofa: Regular sofas have a seating depth of 80 – 100cm, but there are some with 100 – 120 cm that might be more suitable for a man cave.
- Poufs or ottomans: If you’r opting for a sofa rather than individual armchairs, then something to put your feet up is a must.
- Loungers: Modern man cave furniture should include loungers. The ones that are like an armchair, but longer to rest your legs are perfect for watching movies.
- Armchairs and reclining chairs: Personally, I always recommend at least one single seater. This could be an armchair or a reclining chair (aka lazy boy). These are also great for those who like to read. If you’re old school and enjoy reading paper books, then a dedicated reading lamp is also a must.
- Side tables: You can never have enough side tables for drinks, snacks, remote controls etc. A cluster of side tables is far more flexible than one large coffee table.
- Bar cart: For some added comfort and convenience I also recommend a bar cart, so you always have your essentials at arm’s length and you’ll never miss an important moment of a live game again.
- Bar stools: For the bar area you’ll probably want a few bar stools. Your man cave bar stools should match the overall decor of your man cave.
When choosing the materials and finishes of your furniture always keep the acoustics in mind. The same applies to the floor, walls and window treatments (if applicable). Textiles and soft furnishing such as area rugs, curtains, cushions and decorative acoustic panels also help in creating a pleasant environment. Even if you don’t need soundproofing, you do have to consider your overall man cave acoustics. Simply put, a room with an echo is not very relaxing, let alone suitable as an entertainment zone.
Man Cave Lighting
Lighting is crucial in any design project. It can be particularly challenging in a basement man cave or a garage man cave. I won’t go into too much detail about lighting here, as it would go beyond the scope of this article. However, the most important thing to remember is that you can never have enough light sources (nor electrical outlets). This will help you create pools of light for a cozy ambiance. Dimmable lights are also great because they offer lots of flexibility. Accent lighting in the form of spot lights or picture lights are a great way to highlight your most treasured items and collections.
Man Cave Decor
This probably goes without saying, but no man cave design is complete without some kind of collection or wall of fame. Most guys love to collect things. Whether it’s beer bottles from around the world, comic books, sports trophies, guitars or watches. These items must be integrated into the design of your man cave. They tell your story and they also serve as great conversation starters when inviting over friends and colleagues.
Some of these collectables and memorabilia, such as autographed sports shirt or a picture with your favourite celebrity, can make a great gallery wall. Sports trophies can be displayed between your favourite liquor bottles and bulkier items could be put inside a glass coffee table. There are plenty of man cave design ideas out there on man cave trophy display. It strongly depends on the type of collection you have. It’s important to first decide on what you would like to display and then come up with a plan.
Another typical feature that works well in an industrial style man cave is the good old neon sign. You can use it to mark the different zones of your man cave or simply choose a sign that is meaningful to you. As a bonus it adds some mood lighting to your man cave.
In summary, the key elements of the ultimate man cave design are: entertainment, booze, gadgets and stuff on the walls. Then again, you probably already knew that. However, I hope you got inspired by these man cave design ideas and are ready to take action.
As for me, I’m bursting with ideas and I’m ready to design the ultimate man cave. Could it be yours? Book a complimentary Discovery Call and let’s have a chat on how I could help you design your dream man cave.
P.S. Clients have asked me about integrating a home office into their man cave. Personally, I don’t recommend a home office man cave. In my opinion it defeats the purpose of having a manly leisure space. However, if absolutely necessary, follow through with the same decorating style and ensure you have sufficient lighting. If you work from home regularly or even daily, I recommend opting for a lighter colour scheme, unless your space has plenty of daylight. For more tips on home office interior design you can hop over to my article A Home Office Design You will Love.