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How to get the most out of your small man cave

Make the most of your small man cave [Tips & Tricks]

Sometimes you’ve got to deal with what you’ve got. If you’ve got a small man cave, here is how you deal with that to make the most of it. And to be clear, I don’t mean man caves for small men but, man caves in a small room. Here are the 6 things that are important to get the best out of your small space.

  1. Measure your space
  2. What’s the purpose?
  3. Plan ahead
  4. Optimizing your room
  5. Space saving items
  6. Set up the man cave

1.    Measure your space

You already know you’re a bit low on space in your man cave. That makes it especially important to know how much space you’ve got exactly.

Break out the tape measure and measure away!! Be precise! Buying a sofa that is just an inch too long to fit between your walls is no fun. You can prevent mishaps like that by knowing exactly how much space you’ve got.

It also helps you to discover which activities will be possible in the space you’ve got available. It’s important that you find out something is impossible before you spend money on something.

Need some help with correctly measuring your room’s dimensions? Here is a guide that will help you out.

Make the best of your small man cave guide.
Make the best of your small man cave. A guide.

2.    What’s the purpose?

When space is limited you have to be very precise in your goals. You can’t just expect to fit anything and everything in a small room. Think about what the main purpose of your man cave is going to be.

Want to know what man caves are often used for? Read this article.

Some things are just not going to be possible. You can’t have a car collection is a 100sq. ft. room. That’s an extreme example but I think you catch my drift. Be realistic. A pool table is cool but if having a pool table means you can’t have anything else in there, is it worth it? That’s going to be different for everyone.

If you play pool every night, it might be worth it to use a lot of space for a pool table. But if you only play once a month, there are probably better uses of the space.

Wondering how much space you need for your purpose? This article will help; How big should my man cave be?

3.    Plan ahead

Before you buy or install anything, make a plan. You now know how much space you’ve got and what the main purpose is going to be. Now how are you going to make everything work?

Realized you don’t have a lot of space? This post will help you: 5 Mini Man Cave Ideas

I suggest taking the following steps;

  • Look up the dimensions of the items you need for your intended purpose.
  • Make a floor plan of your available space.
  • See if/how you can best fit the items in that space.
  • The free version of www.floorplanner.com is great for projects like this.

Once you’ve figured out how to fit everything you want in your available space, you can move on to the more practical steps.

For inspiration, I’ve got some free floor plan examples here.

4.    Optimize your room

Making sure everything fits is one thing. Another tactic you can apply is optimizing the room so it looks and/or feels bigger than it actually is. Implementing some of the following tips can make a huge difference in how big your man cave feels.

a.      Pick light colors

Painting a room in light colors has a massive impact on how big a room feels. You might be tempted to pick dark colors for a cooler look in your man cave. And I agree, with dark colors you can create a really awesome atmosphere in your man cave.

The problem is that dark colors make a space feel smaller. Since you’ve already got a small space, you don’t want it to feel even smaller than it already is. Painting your man cave in bright colors will make it feel more inviting and bigger.

Another trick is to paint wall trim and moldings in a brighter color than the rest of the wall. This will trick the mind into thinking the wall is further away.

b.     Maximize natural light

Remove as much obstructions for natural light as possible. More light and brightness in a room makes it look bigger and more open. Also, having a connection with the outside will make a room feel less claustrophobic.

Maybe you don’t want people to look in or the view out is terrible. In that case you can use light colored sheer or curtains. You’re probably not going to sleep in your man cave so stopping light shouldn’t be a concern anyways.

c.      Use mirrors to your advantage

Putting a big mirror on a wall can make room look like it is much bigger than it actually is. It creates the illusion of the room continuing where there’s actually a wall. It also reflects light which brightens the space. A brighter space looks bigger the same way light colors do.

If your man cave doesn’t have a window, making a mirror look like a window frame can greatly relieve the claustrophobic feeling some people get in windowless spaces.

5.    Space saving items

Besides using optical illusions to make a space look roomier, you can also use physically smaller furniture and other space saving solutions. Here are some of the best suggestions.

a.      Smaller furniture

A simple way to preserve the little space you’ve got is to get smaller furniture. This might not always be possible but try wherever you can. If you do this for all the furniture that goes into your man cave, it’ll ad up.

Visible floor space also matters; getting furniture with more ground clearance will expose more of the floor. More visible floor space equals a roomier feel.

b.     Wall mounted shelves

Mounting shelves on the wall has several benefits for a small man cave;

  • More visible floor space
  • More flexibility to fit in the available space

c.      Projector

While TV’s are pretty thin nowadays, it will still protrude into a room when mounted on a wall. On top of that, a TV is black when turned off. It will feel like a black hole that sucks the roominess out of a small man cave. 

The solution is a projector. The projector mounts on the ceiling, this means it’s out of sight and less clutter in the room. Projector screens are retractable and white. So it has a brighter color and you can get it out of the way when not using it. On top of that your screen diagonal will likely be bigger than with a TV. Win win!!

d.     Mini fridge

While no man cave should go without cold drinks, fridges tend to take up a lot of space. Solution: A mini fridge that can double as a table. Mini fridges will hold more than enough beer for the amount of people that can fit in a small man cave. A mini fridge can also double as a small table. Two flies with one stone!

Here is a post with good information about picking a fridge for your man cave.

e.      Furniture with built in storage

Some sofas, armchairs and tables come with storage space built in. This means you’ll need fewer/no shelves. This saves floor and wall space you can use for something else.

Another option is to get a sofa or armchair with more ground clearance so you can put things under them.

f.       Lights

Again, the idea is to preserve as much floor space as possible. Mount lights on the wall and ceiling so you don’t have to put any lights on the floor. This might not always be the prettiest solution but floor standing lights can take up a lot of space.

6.    Set up the man cave

Now it’s time to set up everything and actually bring your man cave to life. You might already have a floor plan ready. Try to stick to that but be realistic, if it doesn’t work how you had in mind, change it up.

a.      What’s the focus?

What’s the purpose of your man cave? What’s the most important item? Start by putting that item in the perfect spot. After that, start adding the other furniture in a way that “serves” the purpose. Point your chairs towards the TV for example.

You want to make sure that your man cave can still serve the purpose you had in mind in the planning phase.

b.     Set up good lighting

Without any light the brightest room will still look dark. Lighting a room the right way, will help in this regard.

You don’t want dark corners and recesses in your man cave. While you need lighting that shines downwards for practicality, some well-placed lights directing light UP can create more air in a room by lighting up dark corners.

This article gives some good tips on lighting.

c.      Keep clutter to a minimum

Clutter distracts your eyes and mind and doesn’t do any good for a small room. Keep the clutter to a minimum so your mind has more processing power for all the other things you’ve done to make the best of your space.


All of the tips and tricks in this article can be summarized pretty quickly. Don’t try to fit in more than you can. Keep things small. Preserve as much visible floor space as you can and keep the space as bright as possible through picking bright colors and lighting. That’s it. That’s how you make the most out of your small man cave or any small space for that matter. Good luck!!