Plan Your Man Cave [Text]
Your wife would probably never share her living room with “the guys”, especially if they want to crank up the sound until you can hear it next door. But she’ll probably be fine with converting the garage or an unused bedroom to a guys-only retreat furnished with a big-screen TV and a pool table.
You can stake out your space on the cheap—by parking the cars in the driveway and gluing down some carpet to cover the oil stains on the garage floor. But if you really want to entertain your pals in your man cave, consider going a little—or a lot—further. You could even build a secret room with doors hidden behind bookcases, like in a spy movie.
In fact, there are no rules when you design/furnish/build your man cave. Here are some ideas that you can adapt as you create yours:
- Decide how you want to use the room: Do you need a game room, home gym, a place to play poker, a gathering spot for friends and neighbors to watch the Saints? Make a plan before you call a contractor or a designer so you can explain exactly what you want.
- Know exactly what kind of furniture and equipment you want in the room before you buy anything. Measure the space to make sure that sofa, flat-screen TV, pool table, card table—or whatever you want—will all fit through the door and fit comfortably in the room. Measure everything before you buy tables or cabinets to store it all on. And consult a TV expert—perhaps at the store where you buy yours—about how big the screen should be for the size of your room. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a TV that’s too big.
- Team up with a designer. Consulting with a designer who has worked with others on their man caves can greatly expand your options. Make your man cave as big as possible, especially if you’re adding a room onto your house for it. If you think too small, you’ll probably regret it later.
- Choose durable surfaces. Granite counters and commercial-grade carpet will hold up under tough treatment. Good carpeting also helps with soundproofing so your cheering won’t disturb the rest of the family. Tough PVC mats under home gym equipment will protect the floor and cut down on noise.
- Think about both comfort and function. A room that’s cool enough to store your wine collection might be too cold for a poker game. Your solution: a wine refrigerator. And if you’re planning to smoke cigars in your man cave, ventilate it.
- Upgrade the electricity. Any room worthy of the label “man cave” will be home to tons of electronics: stuff like a big TV, surround sound, a computer, a game console and a treadmill. If you plug all of that stuff into a power strip and plug the strip into a single outlet, you’ll probably overload your circuit. An electrician can add capacity in the room, along with extra outlets. While the pro is there, ask for dimmer switches for overhead lights.
- Make room for refreshments. You’re not going to want to walk to the kitchen every time you need a cold one or a fresh bag of chips. A wet bar with cabinets is a great convenience, but shelves for storing bottles and glasses plus a small refrigerator backed up flat against a mirrored wall are good options, too.
- If you’re converting your garage or attic, think about adding windows, reinforcing the floor and insulating the walls so you’ll be comfortable in your new man cave year-round.
- Choose one contractor who can take care of finding the experts like a designer, electrician, a structural engineer if you’re building in the attic, and any other subcontractors you’ll need for the room so you don’t have to spend your time coordinating the renovation yourself.
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