For those who share their houses or apartments with a spouse, kids, pets, or all of those college pals who still come over to raid your fridge and watch football every weekend, it can often feel difficult to find a place in your home that’s 100 percent yours. For many men, the solution to those space issues has come in a somewhat inelegant form: the so-called “man cave.” The very words “man cave” conjure images of wood paneling, oversized TVs, mini-fridges full of beer, and sectional recliners that bear the remnants of past buffalo wing eating competitions and the nap drool of current pets. Fortunately, just because you’re eager to create a space in your house that’s uniquely yours, a spot where you can relax and catch up with old friends, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the rest of your family’s desire to have a livable house. If you want to create a man cave that’s fit for a real adult, follow these tips:
Create a consistent tonal palette: Yes, white walls are easy to touch up and scrub down, but relying on basic white can also make a room look boring. To keep your man cave looking like something out of the pages of Dwell, create a unified tonal palette, starting with the walls. If you opt for color on your walls, try choosing curtains or lamp shades that have a similar tone in them, even if that’s just a single stripe in a plaid pattern. Choose some accent pieces, whether that’s a cool ottoman or cozy throw, in complementary colors, or try using similar hues in the matting on pictures you hang on your walls.
Don’t make the TV the only decoration: The television may be the main event in many man caves, but that doesn’t often make for an elegant room. While you may still want to buy a TV or projector that takes up the better part of a wall, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of the space. Whether you’re hanging framed posters, sports memorabilia, or photos of your family, having more than one wall decorated will make a more cohesive room.
Choose low-maintenance furniture: While a man cave right out of the pages of a Pottery Barn catalogue may seem nice in theory, in practice, it will look messy the first time you spill a beer a drink. Instead, opt for low-maintenance fabrics for both furniture and floor coverings, like cotton, jute, or bonded leather, and choose dark colors that will hide stains.
Opt for stylish storage: Keep your clutter hidden and your space neat by choosing furniture that does double duty as storage. Whether you add a great wooden bench with room for your fishing gear in its seat or keep your remotes hidden in a storage ottoman, you’ll keep your room looking sharp when clutter is out of sight and out of mind.
Automate your cleaning: Sure, we’d all love to have a cleaning service drop by a few times a week, but if your budget doesn’t allow for that kind of luxury, a robot vacuum can help. Let your Roomba pick up the crumbs you drop while watching the game or the pet hair from your floor and your man cave will continue to look clean and put-together with minimal effort.
While “elegant” and “man cave” are rarely used in the same sentence, you can carve out a space in your home that speaks to you without making it an eyesore for everyone else. With a little preparation and the right pieces, your man cave will be the envy of the whole family.