Once seen as a bit of a blokey escape from the domestic sphere, the man cave is now understood as something that is good for men’s mental health, providing them with a space either to be alone or spend time in the company of mates. Similar to the ‘Men’s Shed’ phenomenon, the man cave movement encourages men to spend time doing things that make them happy, which in turn has a positive impact on their relationships and their work lives.
In the following, we’ve come up with 5 tips for carving out some space in your garage and turning it into a place where you can relax and enjoy some of your favourite pastimes.
1. Decide what kind of space you want
Before you start throwing stuff out of the garage and hammering nails into the walls, make a list of priorities in terms of what you want to do in your space. If it’s simply a matter of a couch, screen and sound system, then you’ll need to think about things like convenient electrical outlets and ensuring the space is waterproof. If it’s something a bit more complicated — a couch, screen and sound system PLUS a bar PLUS a workshop — then you’ll really need to start doing some detailed sketches of where everything is going to fit. After all, you might want to leave room for the car … or maybe not …
2. Organise & de-clutter the garage
This is a crucial first step to claiming your space, and an excellent opportunity to get rid of some of the unused stuff cluttering up your garage. It might be a good time to install some storage systems, have a garage sale or take a load to the op-shop. Check out our post on organising your garage for some great tips on how to get your excess stuff in order to make room for your man cave.
3. Insulate the floor & walls
If your garage is insulated, you’re very lucky, as most aren’t. But in order to make your man cave comfortable in both hot and cold weather, it will need some kind of insulation. Now, whether you want to go the whole hog and insulate and line the walls properly — well, that depends on your budget. You can also retrofit insulation into your garage door, however this only works for panel doors, not roller doors. Regardless of what you decide, insulation needs to be sorted out before you add anything else to your cave.
One of the cheapest insulation options is using wool carpet offcuts and/or rugs on the walls and floor, which also adds to the ambiance of your space. And, of course, insulating is useful in terms of acoustics and sound-proofing, so you can pump up the volume of the new entertainment system without bursting your eardrums, or annoying your neighbours.
4. Make sure you have the right tools for the job
Once you’ve decided on what kind of space you want, and how and where it’s going to fit into your garage, make sure you have the right tools to construct your man cave. That is, don’t skimp on materials, unless you want those expensive speakers to fall off the wall, or the dart board to come crashing down the first time you get a bulls-eye.
If you’re not a natural handyman, get some advice from someone who is, as to the right tools and attachments for the kind of wall or surfaces you’re dealing with. And see this as a good opportunity to become a bit handier, so the next time you need to add something to your cave, you’ll know how to do it without asking for help.
5. Furnish your cave without breaking the bank
You might have splashed out on the entertainment system, on a pool table or on stocking the bar, which means the budget might be limited for furnishing the rest of your cave. But finding great furniture for your cave doesn’t have to be expensive given the variety of free or cheap options available to you. There’s the local op-shop for starters, or Freecycle, Gumtree or EBay, just to mention a few. Or spend a weekend going around to the garage sales in your area. And don’t think you have to furnish it all at once — collect things as you identify the need for them. A couple of cushions for the couch or some quirky 70s posters for the walls, for example. Whatever your style, be creative, and before you know it you’ll have a man cave that is the envy of all your mates.