Over the past decade, the concept of devoting a room in the home to the “man of the house” has become increasingly popular and typically referred to as a “man cave.” As a place to house unique items such as pool tables, hobby collections, or large media centers, a man cave also gives the occupant space to create a unique interior design theme that may not match the overall design of the main home.
While countless man cave design ideas exist on the internet, very little information is available regarding the more practical ideas and challenges that should be carefully considered before construction begins on this type of space.
Hopefully, the following tips will help you to make informed decisions as you plan the ultimate man cave, whether you’re contemplating different new home layout options offered by builders or working directly with an architect on a custom home.
Whether you intend to play a late-night game of pool with friends or crank up the big game on your state-of-the-art media center, noise levels can present a challenge. After all, a man cave should be a space where you can unwind and cut loose without worrying if you are waking up the rest of the family! Be certain to select a floor plan with your builder that will isolate the man cave as far away from the bedrooms as possible.
Strategic Man Cave Placement
Many builders offer a bonus room located over a two-car garage, which can be an excellent location for this type of space. Since you are purchasing a new home, the room will meet all local and federal electrical and insulation codes. With that in mind, you may want to discuss the option of additional noise-cancelling insulation options with your builder to ensure your man cave will not disturb your family in the main house—or vice versa!
Start with Square Feet
How you intend to use your man cave will dictate the square footage you’ll need. Many man cave owners intend on installing gaming tables such as billiards or Ping-Pong. It’s important to not only allow enough square footage to house the physical tables, but also to allow sufficient space on all sides of the table so players will not be encumbered by walls or other furniture. If your main focus is a media/theater center, allot space for your main seating area away from the TV screen to ensure optimal viewing.
Media Center Considerations
Most man caves include extensive media centers consisting of a large TV (mounted to the wall or positioned on a media center table) and various configurations of a surround sound audio system. Be sure to mention this to your builder before the room is fully dry-walled and finished out so any audio or internet cables you may require can be easily run. This will allow cables to reach any section of the room without being visible and enhance the overall functionality and look of the space. Also, determine the number of electrical outlets you’ll require to run all media center devices so your builder can plan accordingly.
Speaking of the Internet…
With most media devices connected to streaming services these days, it’s never been more important to have a fast and reliable internet feed available in all rooms of your home, including your new man cave. Much like audio cables, you should run CAT5/6 Ethernet cables to your man cave before the dry wall is completed. If you plan to run everything via Wi-Fi, you may need to include a Wi-Fi extender system in your plans to ensure a reliable signal is received from the home’s central modem. That being said, a hard-wired internet connection option isn’t a bad idea and one you should consider.
Lighting and Air Flow
One of the best lighting choices you can include in your man cave is recessed ceiling lights. Properly spaced and coupled with a dimmer control, recessed lighting will create the perfect theater environment. As with most built-in items, the best time to mention recessed lighting to your builder is before construction begins. Since your man cave will be part of a new home purchase and not a conversion of an existing room or garage, odds are your space will be part of the main HVAC cooling/heating system. If additional HVAC requirements are necessary, discuss this matter with your builder before construction. Additional HVAC may be as simple as a ceiling fan or as complex as a through-the-wall/window AC unit.
Wet Bar and Specialty Appliances
It’s not uncommon for man caves to include a wet bar area for drinks and other refreshments. Make certain your builder knows if you want a wet bar to ensure proper plumbing will be installed during construction. Beer lovers frequently add a free-standing Kegerator unit to dispense cold, fresh beer at all times. As self-contained units, Kegerators only require a standard electrical outlet to operate—no plumbing required! You may also wish to consider a glass door beverage cooler for cans and bottles to save trips to the main kitchen fridge. If you’re a coffee lover, you can now purchase Kegerator units designed to dispense cold brew coffee instead of beer.
Don’t Forget a Bathroom
After all those beverages, you and your guest will need easy access to a bathroom! A great addition to any man cave is a half bath. This ensures your guests will not disturb your family in the main house during late-night gatherings. Remember, a successful man cave experience involves meeting the needs of its occupants without having to regularly visit the main sections of the home. Discuss half bath options with your builder so they can walk you through what will be required before construction commences.
- Begin your man cave building process by estimating the amount of square footage you’ll require based on the size of items you’ll be placing within it and the space needed to use them. This includes proper viewing distance with larger TVs.
- Typically, the further away from the main house and the better insulated a man cave is, the happier your family members will be! No man cave owner wants to hear “keep it down!”
- Run media and internet-related wiring before drywall is installed. It’s always best to err on the side of too many wiring options, as it can be challenging to add more after the man cave construction is complete. This advice applies to lighting and additional HVAC options, too.
- Wet bars, Kegerators, and other beverage-related appliances will take your man cave to the next level.
- Easy access to a bathroom is always a good idea. Discuss all plumbing requirements with your builder before construction if you want a bathroom or wet bar.
What would you include in the your ultimate man cave?
Brian Ford spent more than a decade in the specialty appliance retail industry and now devotes his time to freelance print and video content creation. Brian is also a contract consultant within the call center industry. In his free time, he operates a YouTube channel specializing in instructional guitar videos that he composes and produces at his home studio in Austin, Texas.