While we at Gentleman’s Journal aren’t particularly fond of the term ‘man cave’, exclusionary as it is to the fairer sex and evocative of those whose greatest desire is to remove themselves from polite society for the sake of watching sport, it is undeniable that we all need a bit of personal space from time to time.
And it’s never been more crucial to make sure that our personal spaces are up to scratch, given how much time we’re all been spending in our own homes. If we’ve got to isolate, we may as well isolate in style; and so man cave ideas for the ultimate congenial space are more sought after than ever.
And you’re in luck. For the modern man lucky enough to have an entire room to dedicate to his passions and pleasures, man caves have evolved into chic spaces in which to show off your unique interior design style. Read on for our top tips for creating your own oasis…
Balance your space
Many men design their room around a central games table – be it table football, pool or even air hockey – and that’s certainly a great starting point. But whatever you do, don’t let that overwhelm the room. Balance is key in a man cave: after all, it should be a room of plentiful activities. Throw in a bar, a cinema, a sound system – you want options.
Yes, neon is acceptable
For the most part, we’d advise steering well clear of neon. From garish 80s cocktail clubs to seedy table-dancing bars, the connotations generally tend to be of sleaze, rather than stylish sophistication. But even we’ll admit that man caves are exempt from the neon ban. This is the one occasion when we’ll encourage you to go as fluorescent as you want – from your name, to your favourite drink.
Indulge your love for sports
Your passion for sports isn’t generally permitted to dictate interior decor. Put bluntly, football scarves and team posters are for teenagers, and rarely permissible for gentleman. But when it comes to man cave ideas, however, we will admit there’s an unprecedented level of freedom for those wishing to demonstrate their loyalty to their favourite team. All we ask is that you try to display your loyalty tastefully; framed vintage photographs and signed memorabilia are a far more aesthetic form of fandom.
Remember: themes aren’t compulsory
Framed photos of sportsmen and glowing neon signs are all well and good: but if you’d generally identify as an understated individual, don’t push your man cave to be something you’re not. After all, it’s a reflection of you; you’ve got to feel comfortable there. If you just want to indulge in a glass of your favourite whiskey, catch up on Devils and occasionally entertain (post-lockdown, of course), then our advice is to just keep it simple. There’s no shame in subtlety.
Don't be afraid of a gimmick or two
We’d never usually condone putting a full-size Pac-Man machine next to your sofa, or tucking a pinball machine in amongst your dining room silverware; but a man cave is a place where you really indulge all your wildest dreams when it comes to gimmicks. So if all you’ve ever wanted in a living space is a full-wall virtual reality golf simulator, now is the perfect time.
Go big or go home
Of course, man cave ideas will ultimately be restricted to what money will allow. But if you’ve got the funds to have some fun, don’t hold back. Installing a full bowling alley – complete with wet bar – into your basement is far more impressive than simply moving a sofa and flat screen television into your cellar. This is the time to have some ambition: you won’t regret it.
Do your research
Those world-famous bars and clubs are famous for good reason – so don’t be afraid to borrow ideas and designs from establishments you’ve always admired. Whether it’s the colour scheme, furniture or simply hanging a huge picture of Winston Churchill on the wall, your man cave can’t go wrong if you follow in the footsteps of the experts. After all, those guys at Soho House know what they’re doing.
Cinema screens are best when hidden
Harking back to our very first point: if you do decide to install a cinema (a great idea, if we say so ourselves), try to hide the screen as best as possible. You don’t want your man cave to look like a cinema when you’re trying to entertain, or when you’re hunkering down with the latest Ben Aaronovitch novel: so it’s time to invest in a projector and a plain wall. Multipurpose is best.
Pick a style, and stick to it
As it’s just one room, your man cave should make sense to the average eye. If your existing furniture is made out of a light oak, don’t buy a mahogany desk to go in the corner. Your room should feel like a united space, so approach the design with a view to creating a space that is identifiably ‘you’ – and in which everything matches. Ultimately, if we’re suggesting man cave ideas then cohesion is – quite literally – the last word.
Seeking more interior design inspiration? Step inside Tom Cruise’s colossal Colorado estate…
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