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How big should your man cave be?

Man cave sizes. What’s best for you? [Spoiler: It depends]

In the last article we looked at which rooms are suited best to be converted into a man cave. One concern that may come up is; how much space do I need for my man cave? Maybe you’ve got a space available but you’re not sure if it’s big enough. Or maybe you’re afraid it’s too big to create a cozy space.

Suggested post: 5 Great Ideas for Mini Man Caves

Scroll down to see the list of minimum man cave size requirements.

The perfect size for your man cave


I’ll start of saying that you won’t find any strict size recommendations in this article. I cover the minimum size requirements of several popular man cave activities. I give the recommendation per activity. You’ll most likely want to combine more than one activity so you need a bigger space.

Since everyone has different interests and hobbies, I’ll leave it to you to add up the size recommendations for the room size you need.

Using a floor planner app can be very useful. This one seems to work well and is free.

Availability


I’ll start of by saying that most men won’t really have much of a choice. As seen in the last article, availability is one of the most important factors in deciding which room to use. So, if you can’t freely choose the room you have to use it’s only logical that you also can’t choose the size of this space.

It’s possible you’re in the lucky position where you can decide exactly how big you want your room to be. In that case how big do you want it to be? As always, it depends… It depends on what you want to do in this man cave.

Limits


Before we start off, let’s see if we can set some limits to the size first by answering the following questions.

How small is too small for a man cave?

Is it possible for a space to be too small? Again it depends on what you want to do in there. The good news is that many things people like to do in their man caves don’t need a whole lot of space.

Having some time alone, reading, watching movies, watching sports, playing video games and listening to music all have very minimal requirements for space. All you really need is a comfortable chair and a TV.

If we look at an average recliner, you’ll see that you need a width of at least 30”. Fully reclined it needs at least 70” of length. You’ll need a little bit more space than that to have somewhere to put your feet obviously so let’s say 80”

Getting enough distance from the TV won’t be an issue since you can’t fit a very big one in this space. The recommended distance from a TV is about 2 times the viewing diagonal. At a max width of 30” that’s pretty easy to accommodate.

What that leaves us with are minimum dimensions of 2.5 x 6.67 feet.

Yes, that’s ridiculously small and I wouldn’t recommend it. I can already feel my claustrophobia acting up just thinking about being in there. But if it’s the only option you have and it will make you happier to use it than have nothing, knock yourself out.

How big is too big for a man cave?

Can we do something similar for a maximum size? That’s a bit more difficult. People always want bigger and nothing is occupied as quickly as free space.

There are some famous examples of huge man caves, although I doubt their owners would call them that. Look at the places Joe Rogan and Jay Leno have for example. These places are the size of a warehouse or even multiple warehouses (122.000sq.ft) in Leno’s case.

It seems the upper limit is just limited by money. Many of us don’t have to worry about filling up several warehouses with cars etc. since we don’t have enough resources to buy all those things. At least I personally don’t.

Both extremes are extremes for a reason, not many people (want to) go there. Somewhere in between there should be something appropriate for everyone.

Deciding questions


To decide what size your man cave should be ask yourself these two questions;

  • What things do you want to put in your man cave?
  • What do you want to do in your man cave?

The answers to these two questions are the main deciding factor in deciding the size of your space.

There are quite a few common answers to those questions, so I can give you some practical guidance for those answers.

If your answer isn’t listed below, those two answers are still a great starting point to start your own research of off.

Common items and activities


What items and activities are common in man caves? How much space do they need? Let’s find out.

To find what man caves are for, read this article. It’ll tell you more about the purposes of man caves.

If you want more than one of these things in your man cave, keep in mind that you can overlap some of the free space since you probably won’t be playing poker and pool at the same time. The spaces size given below, are the minimum for that item/activity.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend having a space that’s only that size. Combine a few things you find interesting. Then see how much space you need in total. When you combine a few interests and the necessary space, it’ll feel much more spacious than if you only pick one and stick to the minimum space requirements.

Pub sports

Pub sports are a very common activity in man caves. They are common but also quite diverse. That means there is different equipment with different space requirements. Let’s take look at the most popular ones.

1. Darts

A dart board is easy to put in a room. The only thing you need is a free piece of wall. Just make sure you don’t have anything next or under the board that can’t handle some holes.

You need a little bit more room to play darts though. The official distance you have to be away from the dartboard is 7′ 9 1/4″ . Most people aren’t practicing for a tournament though so it’s not that big a deal if the distance is a bit shorter. If you want to practice for a real darts tournament, check out the official rules here.

2. Pool

Pool and billiards tables take up a whole lot more space than the dart board.

Check out this great chart at mancavestore.com to see how much space you need for different sized pool tables.

In short, the standard size for a table is 4’x8’. A standard que is 58 inches long. That means you need a room that has at least 13’4” by 17’ of free space.

3. Poker/card games

To play card games you can just use a normal table. If you want to have something more special, you can get a poker table.

A 48” poker table can up to fit 8 people. To be able to fit all those people and give them enough space to stand up and go to the toilet, you’ll want about another 30 inches around the table. That means you need at least 48”+30”+30”=108” or 9′ x 9′ for a decent size card table, chairs and a bit of space to maneuver. 

How much space do you need for a 48

4. Foosball

A full size foosball table is about 2.5 by 5 feet. To be able to properly play foosball you’ll need to account for some extra space around the table. Players need about 3.5 to 4 feet on each side of the table to be able to play comfortably. To play you only need that extra space around the long sides of the table but you’ll want about 1.5 feet on the shorts sides so you can walk around it.

Length: 5’+3.5’+3.5’ = 12’

Width: 2.5’+1.5’+1.5’= 5.5’

That means you need at least 12′ x 5.5′ of free space to play foosball comfortably.

Drinking

Many men like to enjoy the occasional beer/wine/scotch in their man cave. What do you need to properly enjoy your drink alone or with friends?

Unless you have a huge collection of bottles, a simple cabinet will suffice to store your precious liquids. There are a few other items that probably take up a little more space.

1. Fridge

Most beers and some wines have to be drunk cold. That means you’ll need a fridge. Fridges come in many different sizes but for just a couple of drinks, you don’t need a huge one. Even a mini fridge will hold enough liquids for quite a few people for one evening. A small fridge has a footprint of about 20×20 inches.

You’ll need to take into account that you need some space to open the door as well of course. Since the fridge is about 20 inches wide, the door will be a similar size so that’s how much space you need to keep free in front of it.

Another option is a wine cooler. These fridges can look quite a bit nicer than a cheap mini fridge. If you get a dual zone wine cooler, you can set different temperatures for the zones. That means your craft beers that need to be drunk at a different temperature can be perfect, while the wine is also at the best temperature.

Wine coolers are usually a bit bigger than a mini fridge but not by much. It should only be an issue for people that have very limited space. A decent wine cooler is about 20 by 25 inches.

Want to know which fridge is best for you? Read this article.

2. Table and chairs.

Drinking alcohol is often something social. Your friends will want to have a place to sit and put their drink down. That means you need some chairs and a table.

If you’ve already got a poker table, you’re in luck, it’s very easy to use it for other purposes. Even if your poker table is covered by felt or some other kind of fabric, most tables are easily converted into “real” tables.

A table for six measures 6′ x 2’6″ (183 x 76cm). Just like the poker table, you should leave about 1 meter/40 inch on at least three sides of the table for chairs and movement. That means you’ll need 9’3″ x 9″ (283 x 276cm).

3. Bar

The crown jewel of a man cave is the bar. But how much space do you need for one? that depends on how many people you want to seat.

For every person you want to comfortably seat, you’ll need 28″ (71cm)of bar length. That means that to have enough space for 4 people. you’ll need 28×4=112″ (285cm).

That covers the length, but how about the width? We need to add up some measurements to find out.

  • Counter: 25″
  • Space between counter and bar: 36″
  • Bar: 20″
  • Space for chairs and movement: 24″
  • Total: 105″ (267cm)

That means a bar for four people needs at least 112″ x 105″ (285 x 267cm).

Cigars

Like drinking alcohol, smoking cigars is obviously not the healthiest activity but nonetheless, many men like to indulge in it from time to time. It doesn’t take up much space, the only consideration is if you want the smoke in the room and possibly the rest of the house.

Humidor

One thing that takes up space is the Humidor. If you want to store your cigars the right way, you need it. Even if you don’t need it, it looks cool in the right environment.

Humidors come in all sizes. Most ones are small enough to just put on top of the wine cooler. Others might be as big as a wine cooler or even a walk in closet. The ones you can put on top of a fridge will be big enough for most casual cigar smokers though.

A small humidor is a nice addition to your man cave and doesn't take up much space.

Playing video games

Playing video games is one of those interests that doesn’t take up a lot of space. You don’t have to move around and a console or PC are pretty small. So let’s see how much space you need.

1. Console

Any console is small enough to put almost anywhere. If you’ve got 1 sq. ft. of free space to put something down anywhere, you’re good. For the TV you just have to have a free wall.

What takes up more space are the comfy chairs or sofa. These things come in many sizes. A decent sized Sofa for three people is 6-7 by about 3 feet.  If you’re playing on a console, it’s also nice to have a coffee table in front of the sofa to put your controllers, drinks and snacks on.

A normal coffee table is about 3 by 4 feet. On top of that, you want about 1 to 1.5 feet around the coffee table to be able to walk around it.

So how much space do you need for that basic console gaming setup?

The sofa is going to be the widest thing at 7 feet. For the depth you need: 3 feet for the sofa. 3 feet for the coffee table and 1.5=1.5 feet on both sides of the table. 3+3+1.5+1.5= 9 feet. This makes for a total of 7′ x 9′.

2. PC

If you’re a PC gamer, you’ll probably be alone. That means you can skip the sofa if you want although a sofa is still a great addition for most man caves. What you do need is a desk and a chair.

A desk sized 4.5 by 2.25 feet is going to be enough for just gaming. Bigger is nice of course. A decent sized chair is only 2 by 2 feet but you need to be able to get in and out so let’s say you need 2.5 feet of depth to be able to get in and out of the chair.

That means a space of 4.5′ x 4.75′ is enough for PC gaming.

Watching movies

Watching movies is pretty much the same as playing console games so see above. The only difference is that you might want a better sound system for watching movies. In that case you’ll need to add a couple of feet of space to the side of the TV. If you want surround you’ll need quite a few extra feet behind the sofa as well.

Working on cars/motorcycles/DIY projects

This is one of the harder categories to prescribe size requirements for. There is a lot of variation is sizes of vehicles and projects. A motorcycle takes up a whole lot less space than a full size truck.

There are a few things you need to take into account, I’m sure you will be able to figure it out from there.

1. Parking space

If you like working on your vehicles and maybe even have a car or bike just for hobby, you will want a space where you can park and work on it inside. Having a place inside makes sure that you can work on your project when it’s cold/raining/snowing/etc outside. Even if you live in a place with a perfect climate, you’ll not want to leave your precious project outside while it’s in pieces.

So you need to know how big the vehicle you want to work on is. The parking space should be a bit bigger than that since you have to get in/out or on/off it.

Of course you’ll want to account for some space to walk around it and work on it. Check out this graphic of common sizes of garages and what fits in there.

2. Tools

You need a good place for all your tools.  How many tools you have and how much space it takes up really depends on the type of projects you undertake. A table saw is a very different size than a screwdriver.

3. Workspace

To be able to use all these tools and work on whatever you want to work on, you need some workspace. How much space you need it depends on the type of project again.

How big should your man cave be?

Here are the recommended sizes per activity in a handy list.

  • Pool table: 13’4” x 17’
  • Darts: 7′ 9 1/4″ from the board
  • Foosball: 12′ x 5.5′
  • Poker/card games: 9′ x 9′
  • Bar area for 4 people: 112″ x 105″
  • Pc gaming: 4.5′ x 4.75′
  • Console gaming: 7′ x 9′
  • Working on motorcycles: Single garage 12′ x 22′
  • Working on cars: Single garage 12′ x 22′

These are the minimum space requirements for these activities. In most cases a little more space makes things more comfortable. If you’re planning for more than one of these activities, do some planning. You might be able to overlap some of the space requirements if you’re fitting more than one activity in your man cave.

Designing you man cave


Above you can find the minimum size requirements for a couple of the most popular items and activities in a man cave. If you’ve got enough space, feel free to toss everything you want into your man cave. If you don’t have all the space in the world, you have to think about what you can/want to do in the space you have.

Think about what you find most important and make sure that you have space for that in your man cave. If you run into other hobby and don’t have the space, you’ll have to get creative. Are there multiple uses for item’s you’ve already got? Can you move some things around or put them away when you’re not using them?

As said above, the sizes given here are what I think the minimum sizes are. Those sizes are not necessarily what will make you feel comfortable.  Combine a few things you find interesting. Then see how much space you need in total. When you combine a few interests and the necessary space, it’ll feel much more spacious than if you only pick one and stick to the minimum space requirements.

Need some inspiration for decorating your man cave? Check the articles here.

Floor plans

You might want to have some visual support for all these numbers. Check out some example man cave floor plans here.