03 November 2008


My husband will leave the room if I turn on a TV design show. But he totally enjoys DIY’s Man Caves, a program about men getting personalized rooms created just for them. In fact, he likes the show so much, he records each episode. So when my future cave dweller suggested that I write a “Man Caves” blog entry this week, I decided to take him up on the challenge. (Who knows, maybe it'll boost my male readership!)

So, what is a man cave, you ask? In short, it’s a room that showcases a man’s hobbies and allows him to relax and enjoy them by himself or with his buddies. In other words, it’s a no-potpourri zone where a guy can put his feet up anywhere he darn well pleases. The episodes I’ve watched crafted a private putting green and a baseball-inspired rec room.

If you’re inspired to create a man cave for yourself or a loved one, here’s how to make it happen if DIY hosts Tony Siragusa and Jason Cameron aren’t around to help.


Find the right room for the purpose at hand. It needs to be the proper size for the main activity – be it billiards or home theatre – and properly insulated if noise and vibrations are likely to impact neighbors or other family members. Potential rooms include unused bedrooms, finished basements, garages, even oversized sheds with windows.

If there is to be equipment or large furniture moved into the space, like a billiards table or sectional sofa, for example, make sure that this is achievable given current access to that space. There also has to be sufficient room to maneuver around large objects.

I highly recommend creating a scale drawing of the space and moving paper furniture around to ensure everything – and everyone – will fit, as desired. (Your back and buddies will thank you later.) Also, if an extremely heavy item, like a billiard table, will be moving into a second floor room, be sure that your floor joists will handle the extra weight.


Having the right lighting will ensure that the cave men will be able to enjoy their space. You’ll need task lighting for most activities, as well as ambient room lighting, probably dimmable. Work with a professional to make sure that the lighting plan will love up to the room’s planned activities.


Make sure that the flooring is appropriate to the room's main function. Home theatre spaces benefit from easy-to-clean carpeting or area rugs. An exercise room’s ideal flooring is rubber. Consider the room's purpose and find a flooring option that will provide the best look with the easiest maintenance.


What goes into the man cave will depend entirely on the cave man's preferences. A few generalities apply, though. One, if the space will be used for lengthy social visits or strenuous physical activities, it’s ideal to have a beverage source within or very near the room.

Additional electrical outlets may be needed to handle the demands of a repurposed space. These may accommodate a beverage cooler, a fan or a new television. Additional plumbing or internet access may also be called for, depending on the room’s function. Be sure to plan for these in your budget and space planning.


The best part of a man cave is its personalization. Posters of the owner's favorite films will greatly enhance a home theatre cave. Sports memorabilia will make time spent in a sports bar cave that much more special. This is where the man gets to show off and enjoy his sentimental stuff – the stuff Mrs. Cave couldn’t stand cluttering up the master bedroom or kitchen.


If you’re a DIY type, you’ll love DIY Network’s Man Caves section with full-length episodes and project pages. If you’re a 'hire a pro' kind of guy or gal, consider a professional designer and contractor for your project.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Not fond of the "man cave" concept in the least, and DH finds it demeaning.

    ALL my house is a potpourri-free zone. I am an adult, and so I live like an adult, not like a five-year-old girl living out pink and frilly fantasies. DH, similarly, has no desire to pretend to be an 18-year-old frat boy for the rest of his life. Instead, we choose tasteful design for the entire house that no man or woman should feel out of place in because of their gender.


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