If you’re interested in converting your garage into a man cave, you have the opportunity to transform it into a highly personalized space where you can relax, hang out with friends, work on personal projects, and more. Because garages are generally unfinished spaces, you have a blank canvas that can become whatever kind of man cave you want.
For some, a man cave is the go-to spot to host fun nights with friends watching a game on TV or playing poker, while others might want to use it to indulge personal hobbies and pastimes. Whatever way you want to use your man cave, if you make sure to plan your set-up and purchases wisely, you’ll be able to stay within budget and get the man cave of your dreams.
Choosing a Finished Vs. Unfinished Garage
When designing your man cave, you’ll first need to determine if you want it to be a finished or unfinished space because that will have a big impact on your final budget. Having your garage professionally finished can significantly improve the look of your man cave, but it can leave you with less to spend on other amenities.
Many people choose to add things like a kitchenette and bar to their finished man cave, so if you’re worried about the final cost, you cut down on expenses by getting your garage professionally finished without these more expensive additions. Instead, you can comparison shop online to find similar features in a less costly way.
You can get a standalone bar and a mini-fridge, which will provide virtually the same function as a custom kitchenette but with a lot less cost and hassle. You’ll also need to take into account where you living when making your choice between finished and unfinished. Based on the climate and weather, you might have to finish your garage, especially if you’re determined to use your new man cave year-round.
You’ll also need to decide what kind of flooring you want in the space. If the industrial look appeals to you, a great way to save money would be to leave your garage floor as-is or simply add an epoxy floor coating. If you decide to add flooring options like hardwood, certain types of tile, vinyl, or laminate, you’ll likely need professional help to install the required subfloor and then the flooring itself.
Setting Up Entertainment and Furniture
The second thing you need to think about is the entertainment and/or electronics you’ll need in your man cave. While this might seem like an out-of-order approach, addressing this aspect of your plan before choosing furniture will save you time, money, and frustration during your garage conversion.
Whether your garage is finished or not, there will be limited pre-made power outlets, so the placement of any electronic devices can have a big effect on where large items will go in the final design. If you want to save money on any professional work done in your garage, you’ll need to make sure you add items like a TV or sound system as close to existing power sources as possible.
This will affect where certain pieces of furniture can be placed, as you’ll generally want to center any sofas, coffee tables, and recliners around the main entertainment system. Planning in this order before choosing your final furnishings will help you figure out if you need to purchase any extension cords or cord management accessories to make your layout work better.
Once you have at least a rough idea of where the main pieces will go, you’ll know how much space you have left for additional furniture like stools, side tables, floor lamps, rugs, or storage furniture.
Adding Storage to Make Your Man Cave Multifunctional
While most man caves’ primary function is to serve as an entertainment space, many times you might also need to use it to work on personal projects or to act as overflow storage for the rest of the home.
To keep those miscellaneous items and activities organized, you’ll need to incorporate storage that can help maintain the look and function of your man cave so it doesn’t turn into a giant, cluttered mess you can’t enjoy.
Using vertical storage like a garage locker, storage rack, or stackable utility shelving will prevent the stored items from taking up more square footage than necessary. If you have a lot of things to store, you should consider using an overhead ceiling rack. While not the most attractive option, it will certainly keep stored items well out of your way and leave you more space for your actual man cave.
You can also use wall-mounted storage options like a pegboard, wall hooks or tool organizers to keep these items flush to the perimeter of the room and not invading your recreational space. If your outdoor tools take up too much space, you can always get a small outdoor shed to store things for yard and garden care, which will minimize how much needs to be kept in your man cave.
Personalizing Your Man Cave with Lighting & Decor
Once you have the main components of your man cave planned, you can start to choose how you’ll design a space that reflects your interest and personality. How you choose to make your man cave stand out will depend on your budget, but if you get creative, there are always ways for you to individualize your man cave without breaking the bank.
To make sure that your space is functional and usable, you’ll likely need to replace the standard garage lighting that came with your home. You need to choose lighting that will complement the other design choices you’ve made.
If you’re looking for the most economical, bare-bones option, you can always just get LED garage lights, which will be brighter than your standard fluorescent garage lights. However, if you’re really looking to elevate the style of your man cave, you can coordinate industrial or modern lighting with the overall theme of your decor and furniture to create a cohesive look.
To add more personal touches, try adding movie or sports posters or adding display cases for your most treasured memorabilia or collectors’ items. By placing these unique touches throughout your man cave, you’ll create a space you’ll be excited to use as well as show and share with others, which will ensure the money and time you put into this conversion don’t go to waste.
Upgrading and Perfecting Your Man Cave
Beyond the basic furnishings, and decor, you still might be looking for what you can add to put your man cave over the top and make it a show-stopping place that you’ll be proud of. A man cave can often be a luxury that people want to really indulge in their interests and hobbies as well as set up space to bond with friends.
If you’re interested in higher-end upgrades, there are several popular trends in man cave design that you can try out for your own. Many people love to replace or supplement an entertainment center with a projection system. If you want it in addition to your normal TV, you can mount a pull-down screen above and slightly in front of where the TV sits.
When you’re ready to use the ceiling-mounted projector, you can simply pull down the screen. Another popular option is to reserve an entire wall for a permanent projection screen that you use in place of a TV.
Whichever one you might choose, don’t forget to add extra fun amenities like a popcorn machine, movie theater seats, a surround sound system, acoustic tiles for the walls to improve the sound quality, and ambient lighting to improve the viewing experience.
If you’re more into gaming over watching TV or movies, you might be better off reserving your budget for luxuries like a TV with higher picture quality, a gaming chair, a large, height-adjustable computer desk, or a high-powered gaming PC. Whatever luxuries you decide to incorporate, focus on what you enjoy doing most, and you’ll end up with a man cave you love.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether or not you need insulation in your garage man cave depends on how frequently you plan on using the space, what time of the year you’re most likely to use it, and how much you’re willing to spend on the overall conversion.
If you live in an area with extremely high or low temperatures and plan on using your man cave year-round, insulation is a must. Otherwise, you can save your money, although, even when this isn’t a priority, some people prefer to insulate because it can help isolate sounds coming from your garage that might bother the neighbors.
To transform your unfinished garage, the walls and ceiling will need to have insulation added between the studs and then drywall will need to be installed. After that, the walls will need to be painted, and depending on your plans, flooring will need to be installed.
Depending on what you’re looking for in your final result, you can potentially DIY these tasks, but they’ll potentially take you much longer than they would for a professional, and the hassle might not be worth the money you’re saving.
Certain types of flooring changes, such as adding carpet and certain other types of flooring, and adding insulation are potential DIY projects. Both of these tasks have countless tutorials online, and although they might take some time to get the hang of, they’re fairly straightforward.
You should definitely avoid making any electrical, lighting additions, or plumbing changes/additions on your own if you don’t have any experience. The last thing you want is for your conversion’s entire budget to have to go towards repairing a rookie mistake you’ve made while trying to DIY.
If it’s a complex or difficult project, you’d be better off finding an alternative solution, or simply paying the cost of what you want, instead rather than being stuck throwing good money after bad trying to undo any damage you’ve done.
If you want to change the flooring by adding tile, carpet, hardwood, or laminate, you first need a plywood subfloor laid down, as those flooring options can’t be secured to a concrete floor. Engineered hardwood planks and rubber or ceramic tiles can be installed directly onto a concrete floor.
On the other hand, if you want to decide you want to keep things simpler, you can get an outdoor (easily cleanable) rug to cover some floor space. You also always have the option of leaving the floor as is or adding a new epoxy coating, but this may make the space cold or uncomfortable to walk on for you and your guests to enjoy.
Once you have your garage set up, you’ll need to add at the minimum and keypad lock to the entrance to your garage, including any side doors or the garage door installed. Another option is to get a garage door slide lock that will help keep your man cave and your family safe from would-be burglars
People often design their man caves with entertainment and being able to host gathering in mind, which means there are a lot of ways that you can upgrade the experience you and your friends have while using yours.
If you’re interested in creating a sports or movie watching experience your social circle will love, consider adding things like a projection system, surround sound speakers, a popcorn machine, a portable bar, or a mini-fridge. If your and your friends’ favorite hobbies lean more towards the competitive side, consider purchasing a pool table, foosball table, poker table, or dartboard to your man cave.
Since your man cave will be converted from your garage, make sure that your space isn’t vulnerable to moisture damage, especially if you leave your garage unfinished and/or live in a region with high humidity levels.
Make sure to always take care of any spills that occur in your garage, as liquids can seep into and damage a concrete floor over time. This is true even if you’ve laid down the flooring on top of your original garage floor since the plywood subfloor can absorb and hold moisture.
In the long run, it will be a lot easier to identify and address moisture issues that have only reached the subfloor than those that have progressively caused structural damage concrete. Also, if your man cave isn’t insulated, you’ll need to make sure to remove any valuables that could be damaged by excessive heat, cold, or humidity when there’s extreme weather.