You’ve made peace with leaving your car outside at night, and you’ve found a home for all the other stuff that currently has a home in your garage. All for one reason, you want to build your own man cave. Congratulations!! You’ve probably come further than most people ever will and the garage is one of the best rooms in the house to convert into a man cave.
Building a man cave in your garage. How to do it?
In this article I will give you some information and ideas to make the most out of your garage man cave.
I’ll cover the following things:
- What to keep in mind
- Nice to have
- Floor plan
- Decoration ideas
Good to know
There are some things to think about when building a man cave in your garage. While the garage is a great room with lots of flexibility and options, there are some drawbacks as well.
- The insulation is probably not great. Even if all the walls are insulated the same as the rest of your house (often they aren’t), the garage door most likely isn’t. This means a lot of heat can come in during the summer and it gets cold in the winter.
- The usual garage floor is not insulated either. On top of that the floor is probably not the cleanest and nicest.
- Many people really want a garage. If you want to sell your house at some point in the future, keep this in mind. A garage might be more valuable to a buyer than an extra room. So think about how far you want to modify your garage.
- If you go so far as to remove the garage door, you might want to contact an architect to make it look good. Also keep in mind that you might need a permit, depending on your location.
- Depending on your location there might be tax implications when you change the purpose of your garage.
- Many garage floors are slightly sloped for drainage. This might or might not be a problem for you.
So there are some drawbacks of converting your garage into
an awesome man cave. I still think it’s one of the best rooms you can use. Why?
- A garage has a certain innate manly vibe. The presence of vehicles, fuel and oil smells just brings out something in you.
- You’ve got your own private entrance, which is great when you regularly want to have friends over. No need to disturb the rest of the family!
- It’s the only option if your man cave dreams include working on vehicles.
- It’s appropriately sized.
- It’s easy to get your privacy. The garage is a bit more separated from the rest of the house than other rooms.
Not all man caves are created equal. Not every man is the same and wants the same. That means that man caves are different.
Some common purposes for garage man caves:
- DIY space
- Home pub
- Space to work on car/motorcycle/other
- Home theater
All of these purposes have different requirements. For a DIY space or space to work on your vehicles, you don’t really need to change much. If you want to make a home pub or home theater in your garage, you’ll have to make some significant changes.
In my opinion the following things are absolute necessities when turning your garage into a man cave.
No matter what you want to do in your man cave, you need to clean up. The garage is usually a place where the whole family stores their stuff. That has to stop.
This is going to be YOUR space. Other peoples’ stuff has no place here.
The big door is great when you want to get your car inside. If you just need to get people inside it’s just a drawback. Garage doors are usually not insulated very well. If you don’t have your garage door weatherproofed and insulated yet, you really should. Unless you plan to replace the door of course.
Check out this article for more information about insulating your garage door.
The usual lighting in a garage isn’t exactly cozy. The standard is fluorescent or maybe bright LED. If you are just working on your cars or motorcycle that’s exactly what you need. In a home theater or pub setting that’s exactly the opposite of what you want.
What options you have depends on what your current ceiling looks like.
Items fit for purpose
Lastly, you need to fill you man cave with items that are fit for purpose. If you want to work on cars, you need tools and some workspace. For a home pub you need a bar, fridge, etc.
Nice to have
An en-suite toilet in your man cave can be a great addition. It’s not an easy job though and can get quite expensive. Besides that it takes up some space in your man cave. If you’re short on room it might not be worth the sacrifice.
For most people it isn’t really necessary to have a toilet so close by. But if you’re going to have a lot of friends over, think about this;
Friends will likely drink some beer. Beer means you need a toilet pretty often. Do you want all your friends going through your house every time, having to use the same bathroom as your family? Read more about adding a toilet to your garage here.
For most purposes like DIY/working on cars/pub, having a sink in your man cave is almost a necessity. Being able to wash some glasses or even your hands right in your man cave is great. It means you don’t have to walk through the house with oily hands.
How expensive it is to add a sink to your garage man cave, really depends on the layout of your house. If there is already a sink in your garage, it’s easier to replace/relocate than if there is nothing.
In most locations you either need heating or air conditioning in the rest of your house. So since the insulation in your garage is likely worse than the rest of your house, it’s needed even more.
The best option would be to include it in the houses’ HVAC system. That option is not practical or even possible for everyone.
Luckily there are plenty of standalone options for those situations.
After the necessary and nice to have changes, the other decorations really depend on what you want to do with the space. I’ll cover some things that are general ideas for the garage. For the more specific tastes and purposes I’ve put some links to other articles at the bottom.
Looking at an ugly, white garage door is not really something you want to do in your man cave. In some cases it might be possible to get something decorative to make things look a whole lot better.
There are a few options.
Painting – paint the inside of the door in a color that blends into the rest of the décor.
Curtain – Don’t want to see the door? Put a curtain in front of it. This might not be possible with all door mechanisms but is a good solution for others. You can pick something that will bring your man cave décor to the next level and has a few other small benefits. It’s one of the cheapest solutions and can provide a tiny bit of extra thermal and sound insulation.
The next step up is replacing the door. This is a halfway measure. You don’t want to turn it into a wall but you want to sacrifice some practicality for looks.
Some options include:
-Wooden doors for a more rustic décor. Check out this shop on Amazon for example.
The final option is to take out the whole door and construct a wall. It might actually not be more expensive than a nice looking garage door. It is more permanent though. When you replace the door, it’s still a garage. When you build a wall it’s hard to argue that it is.
Depending on your location this might have some permit and tax consequences.
On the other hand it’s the most flexible option that has a lot of potential.
You can also change the entrance to one that’s fit for cars to on that’s just for humans. Replacing the garage door with a normal door and filling up the rest of the space with wall.
Since the normal garage lighting isn’t really mood lighting, replacing/adding some lighting is in order.
If you can mount something on your garage’s ceiling that’s awesome. I’m personally a fan of height adjustable light fixtures like this one. (Amazon)
It creates some extra flexibility in your man cave and they look great.
Not all garage ceilings can safely support the heavier light fixtures. If that’s the case in your garage, a wall mounted fixture is a better option. This one, for example, looks cool and fits great in a home pub.
Other decorations like posters, signs, furniture, etc. really depend on the purpose of your man cave and your personal taste. I’ve written some other articles focusing on specific purposes and tastes. Check the links below to see if there’s something you like.
Car guys – Click!
Motorcycle guys – Click!
English pub – Click!
Rustic – Click!
Home theater – Click!
Sports bar – Click!
So what are some steps you should take when converting your garage into a man cave?
- Clean up. Get everything out of your garage and clean every surface of your garage.
- Measure. You should know what measurements you’re working with so you can make a plan.
- Think what you want from your man cave. What do you want to do in there. Which items are must-haves for you? What kind of décor do you like?
- Make a plan. Check online how much space your must-have items and activities need. Play around with a floor planner to see what’s possible.
- From there, follow these steps. I couldn’t say it any better than is described in this article. https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-renovate-a-house-1822429
- When you’re finished, invite some friends over for a nice cave warming party!
The garage is a great spot for a man cave. For people that want a space to work on their car/motorcycle/other, it’s pretty much perfect without many changes.
If you want to convert it into a man cave for hanging out with friends and watching movies, you need to change some more things. For good results you’ll have to spend some money and time. This has the benefit that you can really customize it how you like it.