The man cave is a term that every guy knows. It’s his home within a home and a secluded escape from the pressures of civilized responsibility. Call it a salon, a parlor room or any other synonym that sounds more elegant, but the fact remains that for men with families, the man cave is exactly that; a cave he can hide in and be at peace with himself.
For every man, his cave is different. Some use it as a study for reading and working whereas others use it as a hobby room for model airplanes, video games or playing snooker and having a drink. For those men with children, the room is hands off without an invitation, and it serves as a fortress of solitude for any man lucky enough to have one.
For my grandfather, his was a work room. A skilled carpenter, he made various pieces of furniture in it. I still have fond memories building a toolbox and a bird house with him in the small workshop he called home. For my father, his cave consisted of an art room. A talented artist, as children we used to sneak into his study to see all the paints and markers he had on his easel. Of course, we never dared touch them without permission.
For me, my office is my man cave. Since I work alone with no employees, having an ‘off-site’ office proves to be the perfect retreat for me. Of course, I work at it, but I also relax and listen to my jazz records, enjoy a dram of Scotch and even watch Netflix when I just need a break from the rigors of the world.
In this installment on masculine decor, we’re going to focus on the man cave and how you can decorate yours in the most masculine of fashions.
Type of Cave
The first thing you need to take into consideration is the purpose of the man cave and its size. Is the goal to give you and your friends a place to play poker, shoot pool and drink? Or is it a more private domain like Frank Underwood has in the hit show House of Cards, where he plays first person shooters on his Playstation. Of course, the goal of a man cave is relaxation, but every man has his own way of kicking back.
When designing your man cave, it’s important to pay homage to your interests. If you plan on watching old movies and playing xBox all day, you’ll want to focus the cave on a large theater or big screen TV. If your goal is to have an at-home library, bookshelves and comfy seating with good lighting are necessities. If it’s a workshop, going with a more rugged appearance with space for all your tools and equipment is a must.
Depending on what you plan on doing in your man cave, you’re going to want to focus on being comfortable while you do it. If your goal is to play video games and watch action movies consider investing in home theater chairs or specialty video game chairs. Position them strategically for the best possible angles at the right distance to see everything. Chairs with built-in remote holders, charging stations and even small fridges for your cold drinks can prove handy when you’re right in the middle of a game or movie.
For those who use their man cave as a games room or a place for entertaining friends, consider more traditional forms of seating such as leather couches, deep chairs, and comfortable bar stools. If you’re offering a drink or cigar, it’s a wise idea to make sure you have a spot for everyone to sit comfortably in. Even if your room is centered around a billiards table or bar, offering some secluded seating on the side is a wise idea for those not playing or in the middle of a more private discussion.
Seating is one area that can be used to express personality. From fabric choices and styles, you have many options when it comes to layout and design. One tip is to showcase some personality by adding unique seats. An old seat from Yankee Stadium for example or a vintage barber chair can be a great conversation. There’s a bar in New Orleans that has a vintage barber chair, and they use it as a focal point having people sit in it and down shots. By incorporating unique seating elements, you can distinguish your cave from other rooms in the house.
The whole purpose of a man cave is to keep you relaxed and entertained. Therefore regardless of what your cave is designed around, there are a few integral pieces of technology that you might want to consider. At some point, most people are going to want to listen to music. Having a good quality sound system is useful for any kind of room be it a library or a lounge. While you could certainly use a built-in system with wall and ceiling speakers, another idea is to consider buying a modern jukebox that is iPod compatible. It adds a unique touch and doubles as an accessory. For me, I have an old fashioned Crosley record player since I enjoy listening to vinyl records.
Another tip regardless of what kind of man cave you have is to make sure you have a television set up. Whether it be to check the news, sports highlights or watch the occasional movie in the confines of your den, a TV is a great addition to make sure you don’t have to move into another room when you just want to be alone.
Other Furniture and Appliances
Of course, at Gentleman’s Gazette we always recommend having a well-stocked bar in any man cave. Be it a bar cart with two bottles of Scotch or a full built-in wet bar with more booze than your local nightclub, being able to have or offer a drink without leaving the room can be a great way to maintain a relaxed state. No one wants to be in the middle of their favorite song, game or a good conversation when the mood for a drink pops up, and you have to leave to get it.
It’s also wise to have a couple of side tables and storage units. These can come in various forms but having a spot to put down a drink and to store your collection of records, video games or movies is a great way to keep things organized. Just like your living room wouldn’t be without a coffee or side table, neither should your man cave.
Having a small bar fridge is a solid investment. Sure you could go to the kitchen and grab a beer, but it’s much easier just to walk a few feet while still in the confines of your cave. Keeping a stocked refrigerator in your man cave is a sure fire way to stay comfortable.
Art and Accessories
Decorating your man cave with art and accessories is one method to really add some sophistication and personality to your room. Whether it be vintage film posters or fine art, having the walls framed with art is a wise way to really step up your game. For sports enthusiasts, consider autographed jerseys, footballs or baseball bats. For movie goers, showcase rare tickets, playbills and accessorize with a popcorn machine. For libraries consider elevating your room with a globe, vintage typewriter or model ships. The options are limitless but having a room that’s well decorated is one way to really inspire yourself and set the mood. It’s also wise to take the advice that every wife seems to offer and use window treatments, throw pillows and area rugs. While it may seem slightly feminine, trust me when I say that an exquisitely decorated room is far superior to cement flooring, white walls and furniture made from pizza boxes.
A fresh paint job is one of the least expensive and most impressive ways to elevate the room. Consider using masculine colors like greyish-blues, deep reds, and creams. Pair them with woods, stones, and other natural elements, finishing them off with accessories that blend well with their appearance.
The room should ideally be themed, and while nothing has to match, it should effortlessly harmonize with every other part of the room. Pairing the woods from your bar and your billiards table adds a touch of class and consistency to the room. Using accessories that match the color palette makes the room cohesive. The way the room looks can affect your mood and how relaxed you’ll get. Even if the room was once a dingy furnace room in basement, by incorporating inexpensive window treatments, carpeting and a fresh coat of paint, you can make it look like it deserves to be featured in the home section of your local newspaper. Paired exquisitely with the right furniture and your man cave will become a room you’ll be proud to host friends in.
No one is saying you need to spend a ton of money. Your activities in the cave should cost the most. A big screen television if your a movie or video game buff, a collection of rare books if you love to read or a bar stocked with premium spirits if you enjoy a drink at the end of the day. In time, your room will come together. Shopping at vintage stores, on eBay and at stores like Ikea can provide you with furniture and accessories to hold you over until you’re ready to buy what you really want. Regardless of how your room looks, it’s your cave and only your comfort and decisions matter.