By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer

Just over a week ago, we celebrated the fathers in our lives.

Today, in honor of the manly men, we thought we would write about a remodeling anomaly known as the “man cave.”

While some males would prefer to just call their man cave simply “the garage” or “the basement,” they are generally just happy to have a room — or even a closet — of their own.

Man Cave

Remodeling the man cave is about balancing solitude and entertainment possibilities. This one has a wet bar for serving refreshments.

The concept of a man cave is a private refuge for one, which may be occasionally extended to a select group. Therefore, the design needs to be well thought out to accommodate both types of use.

To bring cohesiveness to the room, a theme helps. Choose something you like and can live with for a long time. It could be your favorite sports team or your favorite activity, such as golf, hunting, airplanes, surfing, motorcycles, NASCAR, etc. You get the idea — your options are limitless.

Design the rest of the room based on your entertaining style. Are you going to be playing games or watching games?

Playing games

Think pool table, card table, darts, pingpong, foosball or pinball. One of the newest trends is a home skeeball machine. Try online stores such as The Man Cave Outlet Store or Game Tables 4 Less for an assortment of game-room accessories.

Watching games

Watching the big game becomes “cave approved” with a big-screen, high-definition television.

Thanks to technological advances, the digital home theater experience has become more affordable and accessible. If you want the television to be the focus of your room, it works well to find a space with no windows, or at least make sure you can eliminate all glare from the area.

Naturally, basements lend themselves quite well to such conditions. However, other areas of the house can be modified to accommodate a media room if needed. Ideally, you want the cinema feeling without blasting the rest of the house to kingdom come. This means employing an architectural design that will provide the proper room size and shape for the best acoustics and insisting on construction methods that will isolate sound transmission.

Tip: Make sure your family has a TV of comparable quality in another part of the house so you can keep the cave to yourself and invited guests.

The refreshments

Whether you decide to watch or play the games, there is nothing cooler than your own wet bar, or at the very least, your own refrigerator, even if it is just a dorm-size one.

A wet bar is a fairly simple project to construct. The finished height of a bar should be 42 inches. Try not to deviate from this too much. The front overhang for the patron side of the bar should be 12 inches if you intend to have bar stools. If it is just a standing only bar, a 6- or 9-inch overhang will work fine.

Don’t forget to plan for electrical appliances, mixers, refrigerators, phones, etc. Make sure you have outlets at the right places for anything you intend to have behind the bar. Creative lighting can really enhance a wet bar. Indirect lighting, hanging fixtures, recessed lights, etc. are all possibilities.

Visit a true lighting showroom, not a big-box store, and get some suggestions from the salespeople.


Go for comfort when it comes to the furniture. No man can pass up a recliner, but a sectional (if you have the space) would be good, too.

Whatever style of furniture you include, have at a minimum enough seating for four. Skip the beanbag chairs. They only encourage the kids, and that’s not the point of a man cave, is it?

Overall, your retreat should be designed with the cool factor, and that just doesn’t happen by accident. It takes some thought and planning. Take time to decide how you want your room to look and to function. Remember, a good man cave is set up so you almost never have to leave. (The wives are going to hate us for that one!) As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at as*@re*******************.com.

Consider a guy’s interests when designing a ‘man cave’