The starting point for planning the best “man cave” finished basement (or garage conversion) is to come up with a design theme.
For many people, home decor isn’t that important except for rec rooms, finished basements, bars and other rooms that will serve as a “man cave” style room (or suite).
What’s the look you want? What features do you want?
Have fun with planning your man cave. Themed rooms, especially for kids and basements is a growing trend. To help you get the ball rolling, consider the following man cave theme ideas.
Man Cave Theme Ideas
- Classic Study
- Game Room
- Ski Lodge
- Hot Rod
- Train culture
- Old Ship’s Captain’s Quarters
- Rock n’ Roll
- Log Cabin
- Race Car
- Other: Any interest you have or period in history you like can become a great theme.
Examples of themed man caves:
Western-themed Man Cave:
Once you decide upon an overall theme, it’s time to plan out the features you’d like to include.
Man Cave Layout and Features
You can approach this 2 ways:
1. If working with an existing layout, pick and choose the main features you’d like to have and assign them to your existing spaces.
2. If you’re renovating or design a custom layout, choose the features you’d like to have and design a layout around them.
My preferred layout generally: Open concept with designated areas (TV room, bar, games, etc.) – but all sections are in view of one another.
The following is an extensive list of man cave feature ideas:
TV Viewing Area(s)
Most finished basements and man caves include a TV viewing area. You can opt for the full home theater room or a more traditional television viewing section. Or if you have a limitless budget, do both.
Designing your TV viewing area requires you to choose:
TV: Size, type and location(s). You may opt for multiple televisions throughout the space (not a bad idea if your budget permits).
Size of TV:
For the main TV, don’t go with anything smaller than 55″. Additional televisions can be 32″ or bigger.
Type of TV:
I like large flat screens, but you may prefer a projector. Both are good options for any man cave.
Mounted up on the wall is best. Plan the placement so that you and your guests enjoy optimal viewing of the TV. You don’t want the television set to the side or in a location that’s not ideal for watching (or that requires moving furniture in order to view it properly).
Stereo/sound: You definitely want a great sound system – likely plugged into your TV system for the ultimate multi-media experience. Use wireless technology for placing speakers throughout the space.
Man cave furniture is an important aspect of design and of course comfort. Sectional sofas, plush recliners, and/or theater seating? If you’ll include a video game feature, think about seating for gaming.
Sectional sofa: Great for smaller rooms because theater seating takes up a lot of space. Sofas are also a better option to watch movies with family. If you have the space, get a 5 piece sectional sofa so that you can set it up in multiple configurations (some even transform into a bed). Learn more about sectionals (35 types) here.
Plush recliners: Even if you opt for a sectional sofa, if you have the space and budget, buy one or two plush chairs because sometimes you just want to kick back in a chair seemingly made for you.
Alternatively, you could do one row of theater seating with recliners designed for theater seating.
Stadium seating: The ultimate man cave showpiece. It looks cool. Is a fun way to watch movies… but not the most practical. It’s also not all that great for chatting with other people.
Ottomans: Don’t forget ottomans for your man cave to put your feet up. I can’t remember the last time I relaxed without an ottoman.
Tiered flooring for stadium seating effect? Consider this if you have rows of seating.
Coffee table: I use the coffee table term for lack of better alternatives. You need places to set down your drinks in a convenient manner.
Flooring: Carpet or rugs help with sound quality. Even if you want hard wood floor (which is great) consider a large rug in the TV area to improve sound quality.
Lighting: You definitely want a dimming feature in the TV area.
Video games: Video games aren’t just for kids. The games these days are incredible and there are games for everyone. If you’re going through the effort of creating the ultimate man cave, be sure to budget a few hundred bucks for a video game set up.
Bar Area (Beverage Area)
You can be creative here. Even if the traditional mini-bar isn’t for you, consider a coffee bar or wine cellar/tasting room.
Essentially you want to create a “beverage area” in a way that is comfortable for people to enjoy whatever beverages you serve.
Mini-bar designs vary tremendously. You could go with wood, steel, concrete. It can be tucked away in a corner or be large and center of the space. Whatever you do, offering bar stool seating is a must-have touch.
Must-have bar features:
- keg, refrigerator, plenty of glasses and a decent liquor selection.
- bar stools… preferably within view of the TV.
- Mini bar TV – why not mount a flat screen TV in the bar for your “guest”
Elaborate bar in finished basement:
Example of a finished basement with a simple bar:
- Billiard table is the standard game for most man caves, but why stop at a pool table when there are so many game options. Consider:
- Arcade video games
- Ping Pong
- Air Hockey
- Bowling Alley
- Golf putting green
Here’s an example of a game-room focused man cave:
The only cards I really enjoy is poker. If you play cards at all, a cards table is a great feature to include. It doesn’t take up much space and it’s a fun way to watch the game.
Golf Putting Green
A golf putting green is a great addition to any man cave. Here’s an example of one you can get:
Sports (to play)
If you have plenty of space, why not incorporate some sports in the basement space. You could play:
- Floor hockey
- Basketball (make a mini-basketball court)
- Rock climbing wall
- Boxing ring
Check out this indoor basketball court:
Of course a home gym is always a good addition:
Indoor Rock Climbing Wall
I confess I’m a relaxation junkie. Relaxation features you could include are:
- Hot tub
- Steam room
- Massage table (invite your masseuse over for your weekly massage and watch the game at the same time).
- Music listening area
- Meditation space
- Swimming pool
Finished basement with hot tub and sauna
If books are your thing, create a library space with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and comfortable reading chairs.
If you subscribe to magazines, get a magazine rack to display your magazines. This is great for guests – everyone likes flipping through popular magazines.
The reading area could be in an alcove or be larger. If you enjoy reading the paper, magazines or books – a dedicated reading area is ideal.
Luxurious reading room and study ideal as an extension to a man cave
Computers are a big part of our work and leisure life. I love surfing the web and playing around with software. Today’s best man caves should include a space for a computer. It need not be a full-out office, but can be.
Of course if you prefer using an iPad or laptop, you can easily do so on your comfortable man cave furniture.
Models, Collectibles and Hobbies
For the hobbyist, collector or model builder, a man cave is a great place to set up shop.
Collections: Create elaborate shelving or display cases to show off your collections.
Hobbies: Create work spaces to engage in your hobbies.
Models: If you like model trains, cars or you’re creating a miniature city or landscape, why not incorporate it as part of your man cave.
If your basement is currently dedicated to your models, collections and/or hobbies, why not expand the space turning it into a customized man cave basement.
Additional rooms are often overlooked, but they should be considered. The following are some additional rooms you could easily add to your finished basement for enhancing your man cave:
Bathroom: a must-have room for obvious reasons (especially if there’s a lot of drinking going on).
TIP: spring for a urinal or two. To this day I can’t figure out why home bathrooms don’t come with urinals.
Home bathroom with urinal:
Guest suite: If the party gets out-of-hand, it’s nice to offer guests a place to stay… it’s also the responsible thing to do.
Wine cellar with tasting room: I’ve already mentioned this, but if you’re a wine enthusiast, why not create a wine cellar with tasting room.
Home theater: An obvious room to create. It could be closed off or an extension of the greater space. Click here for more great home theater design ideas!
Music room: If you love playing instruments or like listening to music in a private setting, a music room could be the perfect additional room to your finished basement.
Cigar Room: If you like smoking cigars, create a cigar room like the one below.
Man Cave Flooring
Carpeting is commonly used in basements because it’s warmer and good for reducing sound echo.
Consider hard wood and either include heated flooring and/or rugs. This looks better than carpeting and it’s cleaner.
Laminate: a less expensive alternative to hard wood. Again, rugs are a must and/or heated flooring.
Concrete: We have concrete flooring in our lower room. It’s heated, which is nice. It’s also great because we don’t have to worry about protecting it. However, it’s very hard and when it’s not heated, it’s cold.
Other design elements (random stuff):
Built-Ins: Built-in shelving and display spaces is perfect for any basement.
Trophies: Show off your accomplishments.
Display cases: If you’re a collector, won awards or trophies, display cases are a nice way to dress up the space. A man cave is a better place for trophies than a living room.
- Wood paneling on the walls: Just as built-in shelving can dress up a room, so too can wood paneling on the walls. In fact, how you decorate your walls will contribute significantly to fulfilling the theme of your man cave.
- Brick: I love brick; it’s perfect for any room including basements.
- Rock wall: Not for climbing, but instead for aesthetics.
Art & Prints: If you’re an art collector or have print collection, use them to decorate your basement. Invest in quality lighting that shows off the art.
Sports memorabilia: Hang signed jerseys display sporting equipment to create a real sports environment.
Fireplace: Fireplaces enhance any room. If possible, include a gas fireplace in the space.
Wall-mounted bottle opener: In fact, place a few around the room for convenient access.
Garbage & recycling requirements: You’ll want a disposal system set up on your man cave – whether it’s for conveniently removing garbage from the space or to dispose of without stinking up the place.
Aquarium: Are you into fish? Get a huge aquarium or a few of them to add depth, color and a splash of style to your basement. Just don’t forget to care for the fish!
Also, don’t miss Next Luxury’s 50 Ultimate Man Cave Bars! Super cool ideas here.