What’s the deal with “man caves”?


Home owning trends come and go, but some have more longevity than others. The Man Cave is a concept that has come into style in the last few decades and seems to be here to stay. After all, what’s not to like about a whole room dedicated to your recreational interests?

But as with any other construction or remodeling project, building your perfect Man Cave can get complicated very quickly. Depending on what kinds of elements you want to include in your sanctuary, things can get costly and there is a lot of potential for the build to go wrong. That’s why we asked our experts for their advice on making sure your Man Cave doesn’t turn into an expensive disaster. Here are some important things to keep in mind when you’re building that dream space.

Plan Ahead

The biggest mistake homeowners make when planning a Man Cave is lack of foresight. When you have a space with a lot of complicated elements like surround sound television or a wet bar, you have to plan for wiring, plumbing, and any number of other elements ahead of time. As expert Mark Puglisi says,

“I would suggest that you make a list of Man Cave uses and review not only what you will be doing, but when, before you start any construction or remodeling. … Having plenty of outlets is very important as well as convenient. Will you be needing water? If you’re going to install a sink, you need drains. These are the things that can add up the cost of your project, especially if you try to add these things later, such as a bathroom.”

Any construction you do on your house should be carefully planned ahead of time. That way, there are no nasty surprises down the line, and you know exactly what you are paying for.

Check All the Boxes

Getting together all of the necessary paperwork for doing a construction project can be a real pain. You might be tempted to bypass all that red tape and do the work yourself, permit-free, but that is always a mistake. As experts Rainbow Plumbing & Heating Inc explain,

“Anything you do in your house, if you cant do it yourself, then get a pro who is licensed for the trade required to perform the task. Don’t let that pro cross over into another trade, because their insurance is not going to cover it if a mistake is made, or if something is later to be not up to code. GET A PERMIT for all the work performed. The permit protects the contractor, so that all work is covered by the contractor’s insurance, and it gets you an inspection, giving you an extra set of professional eyes on the work performed.”

All of those rules and regulations exist for a reason: to protect you and your home. When in doubt, always hire a professional, and ask to see their credentials. Working off-book is dangerous and leaves you unprotected if things go wrong.

Budget for Aesthetics

When people think about Man Caves, a very specific image comes to mind. Leather couches. Pool tables. Maybe a poster of dogs playing poker. Unfortunately, all of these elements can add up quickly and end up costing you just as much as the electrical work or plumbing. That’s why it is important to leave room in your budget for finishing touches, as expert Nancy Keenholts Dalton explains:

“Man caves should represent a passion: wine collecting, playing pool or poker, or the latest theater or gaming room. They shouldn’t be ugly or have furniture that’s way too large for the space. The wiring should be done professionally so you don’t see a mass of tangled cords. Decorating a room tastefully is really important so budget to do the room well. I think a pitfall would be to do a room that looks like a garage and is unfinished.”

You could put all the fancy electronics you want in a room, but if it feels like a basement, people won’t be impressed. Plan to spend on aesthetics, and your Man Cave will be sure to wow.

Consider Alternatives

As much as the idea may appeal, a Man Cave is not the right choice for everybody. You might need that extra room for a nursery, or an office, or any number of other necessary things. But just because you can’t spare the space doesn’t mean you have to forgo your Man Cave entirely. Experts Grand View Builders remind us that there are other options:

“If having a “man cave” isn’t financially an option, or your dream home is without that space, couples can compromise to still have the “man cave” effect in their home. The leather couch or large TV for the living area with plenty of spacing for his games or DVDs is a great alternative.”

After all, a Man Cave is less about the room itself, and more about remembering to save time for what relaxes you. You don’t have to use a lot of space to create the feeling of fun luxury in your home.

Personalizing your home so that it fits your taste is an important step toward making it into a home. If you want to install a room that reflects your personal hobbies, go for it–but make sure you take all the necessary precautions. So long as you follow these easy tips, your dream room should be a probable reality, and not turn into a nightmare.