Man Cave Must Haves

Make the Most of Your Space

man_cave-headEveryone needs a place to call their own. It might be a garage full of tools and projects, a relaxing and quiet area in the corner or even the backyard. For more and more men, however, it’s a special room deemed “The Man Cave”: a room full of gadgets and games and gizmos that help guys feel (or, more often, act) younger.

What goes into a Man Cave depends on a lot of factors, including the theme and size of the room. There are a few items that are pretty much a given, even for those who are on tight budgets.

Television—That little 27” flat screen you got 10 years ago just won’t cut it in a Man Cave. If you have the budget, getting a new 3D-capable model is the way to go. If you’re pinching pennies, you can get plasma TVs for good discounts. They are quite heavy and don’t last as long as LED-based models, but they have great color depth and are the best when it comes to displaying motion (e.g., sports).

Stereo—It seems as though a great movie or show is even better when you can feel it. But how much sound you need depends on things like where you live (a townhouse setup will be limited) and if you tend to watch after the kids go to bed. While you can certainly spend several thousands of dollars on a complete system, technology has made it so that affordable systems do a great job. Everything from simple soundbars to full systems can be had for just a few hundred dollars.

Super remote—Having all your gadgets is great. Keeping tabs of all the different remotes is not. Thankfully, there are a number of products and even a few smartphone and tablet apps that can help you take full control. Some require a base unit to receive wifi signals and transfer them into infrared, such as Logitech’s Harmony remote  that hardly ever sees action. Jusbut others don’t. If you’re smartphone free, no worries! Your local electronics retailer will have a more “standard” universal remote, usually between $20 and $50.

Games—There are numerous ways to get your game on. From consoles to computers to pinball machines to old arcade games to air hockey to pool tables, the choices really do span every taste, style and budget. The only catch? Get something that will be used! There’s no sense in spending hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on a fancy pool table that hardly ever sees action. Just something to consider when choosing.


Art and knickknacks—Decorating your Man Cave in your chosen theme is where you can have a lot of fun. You could line your walls with images and mementos from your favorite sports team, or go big with a Fathead. You could do full-size figurines of classic movie characters, honor your love of beer with a beer bottle chandelier, or pay tribute to past aviators with a unique ceiling fan. The only limitation is your budget. And keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive for it to look good. For example, record sleeves put into nice frames and hung in a group are an easy, affordable and fast way to class up your place while still keeping it manly. 

Drinks and eats—Games and movies are always better with a tasty snack and cold beverage, and your options in this area are quite extensive. A lot, however, depends on how you plan to use the space. If it’s mainly just you and a friend or spouse, a simple dorm fridge and inexpensive microwave could work fine. If it’s a family affair, a popcorn or soda machine can make movie nights a blast. And if you’re the type who likes to party, a kegerator or full-service bar might be worth the expense.

Comfy seats—None of these cool things will ever get used if you don’t have a comfortable place to enjoy them. While there are options for every budget and style, your seating selections should take into account the size of the room and its intended purpose. For movies, theater seating or a big comfy couch would work, while oversized beanbag chairs would be great for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Over the top extras—Have a large wall, the ability to pad the floor a bit and a love of climbing things? A rock climbing wall can set your Man Cave apart from the rest. More of the secretive, super-agent type? You can get (or even make, if you’re handy enough) a bookcase that opens to reveal a secret room. 

All of these show that, when it comes to your Man Cave, the only rule is to make it as unique as you are.

Mark Dye

About the author: Mark Dye

Mark Dye has been writing articles, recording podcasts, and putting together books on personal finance for nearly a decade. His work has been recognized by the American Bankers Association and the Institute for Financial Literacy, and received an 2011 APEX Grand Award for Writing. Follow Mark on Google+.

Contact: Mark Dye


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