Your man cave can be anywhere

A reader requested information on man caves quite some time ago. I wrote this on a wonderful snowy day while watching an abundance of hard-working men outside who would no doubt love a manly man cave inside. All the men in my world today—the half-frozen trash collectors, the exterminator who dealt with a snowstorm to pay me a visit, a snow plow driver hard at work, a bundled up Butler County Times Gazette delivery man, a lovely gentleman knocking at the door to ask if he might shovel my drive and, of course, my gentleman from the United States Postal Service—well, gentlemen, this is for you!

Your man cave can be anywhere. Maybe you like to hang out in the garage as Doug did on “The King of Queens” or a room in the basement, a shed in the backyard, or even a reclaimed bedroom from a college bound child. No matter where the cave is, the space will be defined by a variety of undeniable items.

Here is my Top 10 list of man cave necessities.

TV. The most important feature of a man cave is the TV. The bigger the better, and multiples if space is available—oh yea! Place the TV for a huge impact. Consider recessing it into the wall for a clean, sleek appearance, hang it from the ceiling or stack multiples.

Sound system. The sound system puts you right into the moment! Bose has some amazing technology that allows the sound without all of the unsightliness. But then again some of you guys like the speakers to make their presence known!

Sound proofing. Block out the sounds of the system and the men with sound proofing. Terrific!

Recliners. Select recliners or a huge sectional, primarily for comfort. In this world, leather or vegan leather (manmade leather that is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing) is a good choice and forgiving of greasy pizza and wing fingers. Add some pillows and polar fleece throws for winter and lighter cotton throws for summer—just make sure they’re manly. Trust me, I’ve seen plenty of men laying down to watch a game or two and relaxation is important.

Coffee table. You need a coffee table not for coffee but for feet. Lots of feet. It also needs to hold the remote controls, so look for drawers on all four sides to keep them handy.

Fridge. A refrigerator for beverages is an absolute must. If space is an issue, get an under-the-counter model to keep counters free for pizzas and snacks. Or, make the fridge part of the room design. While searching on Google, I even found a fridge decked out as Darth Vader! So the mascot of choice is conceivable as a refrigerator. Toss in a microwave to heat up the nacho cheese, and everyone will be in heaven.

Bar. Aside from bartending space, you need an area for serving up that giant row of pizzas and apps. Stow a large trashcan under the counter for the all those paper plates and napkins. You don’t have to be a pig to have a great guy space. Find a big cool silver trash can to match your manly space.

Black-out shades. It’s called a cave for a reason! Block out the glare with black-out shades. For movies and sports, the darker the better.

Man stuff. Toys, collectibles, sports memorabilia, neon lights, personal trophies, jerseys and other manly stuff are crucial to a man cave. You know what I’m talking about! The touchdown football from high school, the golf ball from the hole in one, the medals and all that other stuff you guys love reminiscing about.

A pile of bacon. I really did find this in my research. You men! I guess bacon can top just about anything in the junk food category!

Now that you know the basics, you can start in on the cave itself by selecting flooring, wall coverings and lighting. You might go with your favorite team’s colors or your favorite sport.


Forgiving Flooring

Select flooring that is forgiving—you know why. For a football, soccer or golf fan, green turf-like flooring gives you a feel of being at the event. If basketball is your sport of choice, try a wooden floor with a high-gloss finish for the genuine court appearance. Ice hockey? Paint the floor the gray of frozen ice and finish with a very high acrylic gloss; it will look like ice and even give you a slight chill. Hockey jerseys welcome!

Walls That Work

The Owen Corning Basement finishing system offers a wonderful wall product. It offers dust-free installation, sound proofing and insulation. (I am touting this product with full knowledge that nobody in the Kansas area does this installation. But somebody should!) Another option is the masculine approach of paneling. Men do love wood.

Another acceptable option for man caves is painted walls. If your working with low 8’ basement ceilings, try vertical stripes in team colors to visually raise the height of the room. Or, circle the room with horizontal stripes just for fun. Huge wall murals can place you in the event. Check out for great murals featuring football, hunting, racing, golfing and more!

Man Cave Lighting

Your final consideration is lighting, an element that is often overlooked. Well-planned lighting can really showcase your room and give it a fantastic feeling.

A few tips:

Recessed can lighting offers the cleanest noninvasive lighting.

Try chandeliers if the ceilings are high, this will assist with bringing the ceiling down into cave form. You can become quite creative with custom chandeliers. Oh yea just check out "beverage" chandeliers on Google!

Add lamps to side tables and the bar area for the mid-point lighting.

A pendant lighting over the bar area is always a great idea.

A light fixture over the pool table- is a necessity.

Use dimmer switches—remember, it’s a cave.

If you want to see the extremes some men go to, search “man cave” on Google Images and let your imagination run wild! I did find during my research a site that claimed to be the official "man cave" site ( Do something nice for the man in your life—your husband, dad, grandchild or even a favorite dog—and start in on that man cave!

Have an amazing week. Wahoo spring is on its way! I will be working on a new project out of state, so look for Through the Front Door to return on March 22, 2014!