What comes to mind when you think of a man cave?

If it’s a dark corner of a basement with a couple of couches and a big screen TV, it’s time to evolve. After all, even cavemen painted their stone walls to make the place a little more homey.

Modern man caves are much less about the cave and much more about the man. It can be a space where you watch movies with the guys, of course, but it should also be so much more. Today’s ideal man cave will offer you a place to enjoy your passions and express your personality in ways you often can’t when you share a home or office with other people.

It’s your space, and there’s no wrong way to do it.

But there are plenty of ways to get it really, really right.

Choose Your Theme

Your man cave has one purpose: to make you happy. Build it around the things that you love. When you surround yourself with your favorite things, you create a space where you can fully be yourself.

Though of course you’re unique, many of the best man caves fall into a few archetypes. Which one sounds the most like you?

The Super Fan

Whether you love all sports equally or have a love affair with just one, building a man cave around your love of the game creates a place where you can sink into a couch and root, root, root for the home team. Obviously the biggest, sharpest TV you can fit into the room is important so you don’t miss a minute of the action, but there’s so much more you can do to build the sports den of your dreams:

  • Display Memorabilia: Got a bobblehead collection the size of a small child? Autographed balls? These things belong out in full view, so hang some shelves along the walls and bring your beloved items out into the open for all to see.
  • Decorate with Equipment: If you play sports as well, you can store your equipment and add some decor at the same time by hanging your items on the wall. It’s easy to find specialty brackets for hockey sticks and baseball bats, and you can easily mount a mesh bag or milk crate on the wall to hold all of the balls and gloves you need.
  • Recycle Those Jerseys: All of your old jerseys and favorite t-shirts can be turned into decorative pillows to make your couch stand out — you don’t even need to know how to sew.

The Music Man

If you write your own songs or play an instrument, your man cave should function like a music studio. Instead of a TV, invest in an incredible sound system and set up a corner for recording your stuff. You can also make the space look great with some carefully selected décor:

  • Turn Concert Tees into Artwork: All of your old favorite band t-shirts can function like museum pieces. Just stretch your old t-shirt around a 12″ x 12″ canvas and staple in place. Hang the collection and rock on.
  • Take a Stand: Instead of keeping instruments in their cases, invest in the right stand for each and keep them on full display. It’s more convenient, and it serves as an instant conversation starter.
  • Add Floor Cushions: Use floor pillows to create lots of extra seating for your impromptu concerts.

The DIYer

Hobbyists of all types need plenty of space to hone their crafts. Your man cave might be better placed in the garage if you need access to automotive equipment or in your workshop if you have big power tools, but most people can create a workspace in a corner of the cave.

  • Add a Work Table: You need space to spread out, so the biggest, toughest workbench you can fit in the room should be your main feature. Make sure it’s something you don’t mind getting dirty — consider dings, dents, and paint splatters an evolving work of art.
  • Light It Up: Good lighting is crucial when you work with your hands, so consider adding bright track lights over your main work areas. Add a dimmer switch if your room will double as a place to watch movies when you’re done tinkering.
  • Display Those Tools: Cover a wall in pegboard and hang your tools for all to see. They’ll be organized and convenient for you, and it will look like a work of art to visitors.

The Sci-Fi Guy

Self-proclaimed geeks of all stripes need a place to show off their collections. Whether you love Star Wars or comic books, you need a place to let your geek flag fly.

  • Frame It Up: Take an afternoon to get all those old movie posters into frames and hang them up properly. They’ll last longer and look better.
  • Share Your Passion: If you’ve got an enormous collection of books that you don’t mind other people flipping through, add some spinning literature racks filled with your favorite titles.
  • Protect the Good Stuff: When your collectibles are valuable (or might be some day!), keep them behind glass so your friends can enjoy them without giving you a heart attack. Invest in some retail-worthy display cases to show off all your favorite things.

The Outdoorsman

If you love the great outdoors, make your man cave feel like a remote cabin in the woods. This type of man cave should focus on having a very natural look.

  • Show Off Your Game Collection: Maybe you’re an avid fisherman or perhaps the occasional hunter. This is your space to show off your prized game trophy and any pictures you might have from your adventures.
  • Make it Cozy: Wooden stools, tables and accents are an absolute must. As for seating, big brown leather couches are perfect for sinking into to watch TV or read after a long day.
  • Light it Up: Lanterns or a chandelier adorned with faux antlers will create ideal mood lighting. This will really give your man cave that rustic feel that you’ve grown to love.

Add a Shot of Hospitality

No man cave is complete without a bar. If you’re handy, you can build your own custom bar in a weekend or two. If you’re not one with the woodworking tools, it’s easier to purchase a bar and customize it to fit your theme with some great accessories. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Customize Your Bar Stools: Buy unfinished wood stools and paint them in colors that match your theme. You can also choose a bar stool with a padded seat and recover them with fabric or your favorite player’s jersey.
  2. Personalize the Glassware: A quick Google search will reveal drink glasses that look like planetsbeer glasses that look like footballs, and marching band beer steins. You can also put together an eclectic collection of souvenir cups from stadiums you’ve visited around the country. Need a cheaper alternative? Mason jars work perfectly.
  3. Make Your Own Coasters: Use 4″ x 4″ stone tiles to make coasters to match your theme. All you need is a great picture, which could come from an old program cover, a comic book page, or even six-pack cartons. Cut the picture to fit the tile, use spray adhesive to attach the photo to the top and felt to the bottom, and spray lacquer to waterproof the paper.
  4. Install a Bottle Opener: The finishing touch? Mount a cool bottle opener on the wall so your friends can always have a cold one in hand.

When your man cave is complete, all that’s left to do is enjoy it. Stock the bar with your favorite libations, grab some snacks, and invite the guys over for the grand opening celebration — and be prepared for compliments.

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