When thinking about building a man cave, most men want to use either the garage or the basement. I’ve covered the garage in another article. Now it’s time to hit the basement. What do you have to keep in mind, pitfalls, advantages, tips, and decoration ideas.
Need some other inspiration? Here are some example floor plans you can implement in your basement.
Advantages and disadvantages of building a man cave in your basement
Why is the basement good for man caves?
To start off on a positive note, why do many people like to build a man cave in their basement? There are a couple of good reasons for this.
- It’s a bit more separate from the rest of the house than other rooms. This means more privacy and fewer other people having to walk through your precious man cave. A man cave is the place where many men go to be alone or with friends, so this is a big advantage.
- Compared to the garage, most people have to give up less. Building a man cave in your garage usually means that you have to leave your car(s) outside. Most people don’t want to do this. If the basement isn’t in use as living space already, you don’t have to give up much.
- A basement is underground. That means less noise will escape from the room to bother the neighbors. So if you’re looking to make some noise through band practice or maybe a loud home cinema, the basement is a good choice.
- Since you effectively increase the living space in your home, a conversion from bare basement into living space can increase the value of your home.
- When you convert your basement into a man cave, you will most likely add insulation to it. This means it will stay warmer in the winter. That means the rest of your house will also stay warmer which will save energy.
- Probably the most important point and why many men choose the basement: It’s available. All the other rooms are in use so the basement is the only option.
What are the drawbacks of a man cave in your basement?
Are there any drawbacks of using the basement as a location for your man cave? There are a few.
- The basement being underground means that the climate in the room is often not as good as above ground. It’s a bit cooler which could be a benefit or drawback, depending on where you live. But it’s also more humid, which most people don’t like.
- Many basements will have some moisture issues.
- Most basements don’t have windows. And if they have them, they’re very small. This means that there is also no natural light. Luckily we live in an age where there is electricity, so this is easily fixed.
- No windows also mean difficult ventilation. This is a bit more tricky to fix than light but not impossible in most basements.
- The basement is often home to many of the installations in the house. They might have to move or you have to cover them up to make it look nicer.
- You’ll have to add plumbing and wiring.
- The finish of the wall, ceiling and floor is not very nice in a standard basement.
- In some places the local building codes might force you to make a second entry/exit when you convert a basement into living space.
- Is your location prone to flooding? The basement is obviously the most vulnerable to this.
- Check your local codes (US) here.
Should you build a man cave in your basement?
There are a lot of benefits and drawbacks of building a man cave in your basement. It’s certainly not going to be a small project and there are lots of things to think about and plan. If you’ve already converted your basement into living space but not a man cave, it’s a lot easier.
If you’re starting with a bare basement, be prepared to invest some time and money. On the other hand, when you’re starting from the ground up, you can make things exactly how you want. If you do it right, you’ll have amazing results.
If you should do it is up to you to decide.
Before you can build your man cave
Before you can even think about building your man cave, you’ll have to prepare your basement. Here are some steps to take and other things to keep in mind.
10 Must do’s when turning your basement into a man cave.
If you’re not the best DIYer in the world, you should probably hire a contractor since this is a big project.
- Measure everything and consult local building codes to know what you can and can’t do.
- Make a plan. What do you want to do in your man cave. Which items do you really want? Make sure you can achieve these things before doing anything. It would be a big waste if you discover you can’t do the things you want after you’re finished.
- Make sure your foundation and the structure is in good condition. You don’t want to remodel the whole basement and then pull everything apart again to fix something.
- If you’ve got any windows, make sure they can open. If they can’t already, changing this will solve a lot of ventilation problems.
- Moisture proof the basement so you don’t run into problems later. Check out this article for a complete guide. https://www.familyhandyman.com/basement/how-to-waterproof-a-basement/
- You don’t want to look at your water heater and other appliances while enjoying your man cave. See if you can safely partition them off. Some appliances might need a bit of space to prevent overheating.
- Paint or install the ceiling. If you’re going for a drop ceiling. Make sure to get proper lighting installed at the same time.
- Add insulation to the walls and floor. This helps with the temperature and moisture levels. Another benefit is that insulation will help with sound deadening in the basement. If the basement has a lot of echo, this doesn’t help getting the warm, cozy man cave atmosphere.
- Install wiring and plumbing if necessary.
- Install walls and floor. If you have moisture issues, drywall and wooden floors are probably not a good option since they will degrade quickly with too much moisture.
What’s nice to have?
- Basement stairs are often not very nice. They’re small and dark. See if you can upgrade them a little bit. Even a bit of paint and a nice handrail can make a big difference.
- If you’ve got a big enough basement, consider adding a toilet if possible. It’s not cheap but a nice luxury to have especially if you’re planning on having some friends over.
- Is it possible to hook your basement up to the house HVAC system? If so, that is the best solution for your basement by far. For many people this might be too complicated or expensive though. If that’s you, keep reading for other solutions.
- If you don’t have any windows in your basement. You’ll need a ventilation system. For small to medium basements, a simple intake fan on one side of the basement and an exhaust at the other end should be sufficient. Either connected to a simple switch or connected to a humidity sensor.
- Since the temperature is often different in the basement, you might still have some humidity issues. This can cause funky smells and mildew problems. If this is the case, you might want a dehumidifier. Choose on that has a hose so you don’t have to drain the tray every time. If you go for a dehumidifier with HEPA filter, this will also filter the air of pollutants and allergens at the same time.
- For people that live in hot climates, the basement might still be too hot for comfort in the summer. In that case, go for an A/C unit that fits your basement. Air conditioners can both cool and dehumidify at the same time.
Turning your basement into a man cave
Now with all necessary basics out of the way we’re getting to the good part; the building of the actual man cave. There are several parts of a man cave that are going to be the same for everyone. Different people have different interests and have different goals for their man caves.
If you already know what you want to do in your man cave and what you want it to look like? Great, start planning. If you still need some inspiration, keep reading.
What makes a man cave a man cave?
Man caves are places where men can be men. Whatever that means to that person. If you want to know more, check out one of the other articles on man caves on this site. This one about the purpose of man caves for example.
For most men it means that they have things, toys and decorations that their partner wouldn’t like in the rest of the house. It’s a place where they can do things they enjoy and meet with friends.
There is not one item or decoration that makes a room into a man cave. It has to be the owner doing man things.
That said there are some things many men like and have in common. That’s what I will focus on here.
Create something you can enjoy
Focusing too much on which things would look perfect won’t necessarily make you enjoy your man cave more. Create a space you can use and enjoy.
Really think about what you want out of your man cave and what you enjoy. Get those things in order first. Create a place where you can be who you want to be. Not a place you want to show off to your friends.
Essentials for your man cave basement
There are a few items that you can consider essential equipment for man caves.
Since most basements get no natural light, good lighting is very important. Normal lights will be perfectly fine, but if you want to take your man cave to a higher level, Philips Hue lights are awesome. Philips Hue lights are controlled by your smartphone or other smart home hub.
Not only can you turn the lights on and off but if you get the right bulbs, you can control the color as well.
You’ve got to sit somewhere. If it’s mainly a DIY room you’ll need a different kind of seating than for a home theater but you need a place to sit either way.
Want to have your friends over to watch the game? Want to watch a movie by yourself? You need a screen. A TV works for most people. If you want to go really big, look into a projector.
No matter what you do in your man cave, sooner or later you’ll want a drink. Whatever your preferred beverage is, it’s usually better when it’s cold. When the closest fridge is in the kitchen that means that you have to climb up the stairs every time you want a drink. That’s going to get frustrating after a while.
You want to have a place to put your drink, snacks and other things down. There are tons of different tables. What’s best for you depends on what you’re doing. A high bar table for standing close to the pool table, a coffee table for in front of the sofa, etc.
Cool things for your man cave
Then there are the items that can’t be considered essential but are surely very cool to have.
Need more beer than you can stash in the fridge? A kegerator is your answer. It cools a whole keg and there is a tap on top. Draught beer at home in one easy package! This thing will certainly score some points with your friends.
To complete the man cave stereotype you can get a pool/billiards table. Most basements are big enough to fit a pool table and the space you need to play. It will be good for countless hours of entertainment. In my experience pool tables are also great at creating an atmosphere that’s great for man caves.
If your basement isn’t big enough for a pool table, a fussball table is a great alternative. Fussball tables are quite a bit smaller and need less space around them for the players.
Full size bar
Instead of a separate kegerator, you can also go for a full size bar with taps. Complete with wall of bottles behind the bar. It takes up quite a lot of space and isn’t cheap to set up however. A basement is a great place for a home bar though.
Some forms of entertainment are already mentioned but there are plenty more options of course. Board games, card games, video games, etc. A man cave is a great place for any of those.
Maybe it’s just me but I’m always searching for a bottle opener. Well, I was. A wall mounted bottle opener can’t suddenly run away and go missing. A wall mounted bottle opener can be decent decoration as well.
The finishing touches that can really get your man cave to the next level are the decorations.
Decorations that are seen in many man caves are;
Posters, paintings, signs, sports memorabilia, license plates, personal pictures and cool looking vehicle parts.
What decorations you like is very personal and depends greatly on your interests. On this website you can find quite a few articles about decorations for different interests. Check out if you see anything you’re interested in.
Decorations per theme;
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Hi there. I’m BetterDaily. I’m a man in his early thirties that likes to travel, ride motorcycles, work out and write. Usually I write about men, things related to masculinity and things men like. Teacher by day, blogger by night.