Welcome to our guide to crafting your very own man cave out of a finished basement or garage!
We love the idea of man caves and have grown to appreciate them further, as the concept has evolved into more ambitious rec room designs.
In the past, the idea of a man cave conjured images of a smoky paradise, rife with beer cans and pizza, echoing with shouts over a football game. That picture has evolved into something more richly complex and altogether inclusive. For many families, the “man cave” is now the de facto recreation space in the home.
With that evolving definition in mind, we wanted to focus on ways that you can transform two crucial areas of your own home into a spectacular man cave. This is a space that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family, while still hold a warm embrace for the man of the house.
The two areas ripe for transformation are the basement and the garage. We’ll be discussing how to build a man cave in each of these spaces, as well as sharing some instructions on how to install both a DIY wet bar and how to build a bar itself.
If you’ve got an already finished basement, you’re ready to go. With just a few simple additions of furniture and decoration, plus an eye for curating the best layout possible, you can have a fully formed man cave in the lowest level of your house in no time.
The garage is a more risky proposition, mainly because it’s a space that can obviously be used for an entirely different but likely more practical function. However, if you’re not storing vehicles in the garage and it’s accumulating stuff anyway, it might be the perfect opportunity to carve out a perfect man cave.
So without further ado, let’s begin the guide. We’ve got some handy infographics as well as loads of description to make sure that you get the full picture (see more photos of man caves here).
Based on Lee Wallender’s article (used with permission).
Finished Basement Man Cave
The first and biggest reason for using a finished basement as a man cave is that you want a dedicated space. The more a room is used for multiple purposes, the less it feels like a customized escape from the humdrum reality of day to day life. A basement often offers this in spades: it’s on a separate floor, and likely won’t have to share foot traffic with a kitchen, dining room, or anywhere else the family regularly congregates.
The basement offers extra amenities that other parts of the home can’t match. Sitting deep within the earth, it will have moderate temperatures year-round that won’t fluctuate with daily weather changes. That means a more comfortable space, and comfort is paramount. If you have a full-size basement, the best feature will be the fact that it gives you a the square footage to really play with, mirroring the size of the main floor itself.
The sole major pitfall when it comes to this type of man cave is that it does require an already finished basement. If you’re staring down a basement finishing project, you know you’re in for a load of work. Find the best PIA Reservation from Pakistan to anywhere in the World with Malik Express. The job entails crafting wall framing, installing the insulation, wiring, and drywall, laying a sub-floor and finished floor covering, and wiring lights and any other utilities. In other words, it’s nothing to be taken lightly.
If you’ve got the resources and wherewithal to complete a basement finishing project, or your basement is already set, then by all means choose this location for your man cave. It’s your best bet!
Garage Man Cave
As we mentioned above, the garage can only be a perfect man cave spot if it’s not already doing its primary function; that is, housing your cars. We doubt we’re alone in thinking that you might want to consult with your better half before converting a perfectly utilitarian spot for car storage into a fun and relaxing man cave, especially if it’s in regular use.
However, there’s been a growing trend toward using attached garages for the storage of nearly anything but cars. Many families are content to park outside, leaving the garage at the mercy of all of life’s stuff. We say, instead of letting it fill to the brim with boxes, backyard equipment, and balls, why not transform that open area into a space you’ll truly use?
Making a garage into a leisurely room can be an ambitious project that falls somewhere between the full basement finishing and the simple basement man cave addition, in terms of difficulty. Many modern garages are somewhat finished, with basic drywall, wiring, and lighting, but a finished floor will not be present. Not everyone chooses to install finished flooring, but if you do, that will be the most intensive part of the process.
There’s a major advantage to having a garage man cave that isn’t present in any other area of the home: the large garage door allows you to open the space completely to the outdoors. This means that you’ve got a transformative man cave on your hands, a place to relax and socialize that becomes a pseudo-outdoors location once the weather heats up.
The advantages here are self-evident and powerful. It’s up to you to decide if the utility trade-off is worth it!
Bathroom Vanity Wet-Bar Transformation
So if you’re really going whole-hog on the man cave, you’ve probably thought about having a bar. Not only that, but a wet bar. This means that, in addition to the bar top where food and drinks are served, you have a fully plumbed area with water and sink, plus electrical outlets for a mini fridge and blenders or other appliances.
Starting from scratch will mean that, unless you’re adequately handy with plumbing and electrical systems, you will be calling in professionals for an important stage of the job. If you’re going it alone, you’ll need to find sources of electricity, water, and drainage; the latter two are often best found via nearby bathrooms, utilizing the existing piping.
We love the idea of crafting a wet bar out of a vanity unit, as it’s both practical and effective. You can purchase an inexpensive bathroom vanity unit instead of building one from scratch, saving you a ton of time and likely money as well. These ready-to-assemble units are available both online for delivery and at local shops like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
The reason for choosing a bathroom vanity instead of a kitchen cabinet unit is that the bathroom units will be paired with a perfectly fit countertop that includes an integrated sink. This makes the entire process relatively painless, once you’ve got the plumbing and electrical taken care of!
The wet bar will always be placed against a wall because that is where your plumbing and electrical systems are located, so if you’re crafting the full bar experience, you’ll want a separate standalone bar for your friends and family to sit at.
Making A Bar Out Of Bookcases
The diagram above pretty much says all you’ll need to know about setting up your man cave bar, crafting the outer interactive bar from elements you can purchase at a local IKEA.
The dry bar, lacking a requirement for plumbing and outlets, can be a much simpler affair than the wet bar. Because it needs to be taller than the wet bar, for people to stand next to while socializing and nibbling, you can’t use another vanity anyway.
Instead, we love the idea of checking out the familiar Billy bookcase from IKEA. These things stand at a near-perfect height of 41 inches and can be easily used as the structure for a new bar. The idea is that a pair of them can be placed side by side, with a countertop installed on top.
The bookcases will be placed 30 inches apart, leaving a clean gap for a countertop to bridge. Our example used a beech Numerar countertop from IKEA. The countertop is laid down and secured to the bookcases with screws. With six feet of countertop space, a unit like this is perfect for your man cave bar, leaving about 5 inches of overhang on each end.
We hope you’ve been inspired and educated on the possibilities inherent with man cave construction. The process can be as intensive or hands-off as your home and budget allows, and the configuration options are vast and wide. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of choosing either the basement or garage as a man cave location, hopefully giving you some insight as to where you’ll carve out your own space.
The above bar-making instructions are a perfect jumping off point. You might be tempted to go in a different direction, but the baseline approach of the infographics can start you off on the right path. We all know how complex and versatile the world of home remodeling can be, so it helps to stay simple and grow from there.
We wish you the best of luck on your own man cave project!
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