Maybe you’re looking for a little retreat away from the wife’s tedious tidying rules. Maybe you want to make sessions with the bros a little more conducive. Or maybe you just want to have a place that’s all yours, away from the prying eyes of nosy family members and friends. Whatever the case, you’re reading this because you want to turn that drab, damp, dark garage into the ultimate man cave.
We can help out with that.
It’s time to pull out that tool belt and work up that elbow grease, because this process will require quite a bit of your manly brawn. Now, just read on through to find out how to convert your garage into a man cave that any Tom, Dick, or Harry would be happy to call home.
What’s the Plan, Stan?
First things first – what are you hoping to achieve here? Do you want to take your garage and turn it into a room within your home? Do you want it to be a place where you can spend most of your waking hours? Or are you simply trying to make a little more functional for those rare occasions when you have guests over?
I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years when it comes to designing man caves. Read about them in this article.
Depending on the extent of use you expect to get out of your man cave, and the variety of items you intend to keep there, you may want to consider the preparations you’d need to guarantee the safety of the space.
For instance, garages tend to be prone to moisture, humidity, and mold. So if you’re planning to use it as a living space with furniture and electronics, it may be important to waterproof your space on top of installing HVAC systems.
Working Out Your Budget
So, how much are you willing to throw on this thing? A full on garage renovation for something that can fit 2 cars might cost you anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 USD. Of course, that ultimately depends on how much you want to change.
If anything, the floors will probably cost you the most, since you may have to raise the height of the flooring to accommodate some form of insulation. Again, if you’re working within a budget, really think about the amount of time you’d be spending in this space and the kind of stuff you want to be able to keep in it.
The more fragile the things you want to have in your man cave (like entertainment systems, fabric upholstered furniture, and your expensive big boy toys) then installing some form of insulation becomes less of a choice and more of a requirement.
Fine Tuning Your Floor
Adding insulation to cement garage floors can be pretty costly, but it’s a vital part of the renovation process if you want to be able to use your man cave like a standard bedroom. Insulation will make it a lot more comfortable to spend time in this new space, and it should help keep your stuff safe from heat and cold damage.
It’s important to refinish the concrete by sealing it to make it look more polished and clean. From there, it really depends on the kind of finish you want. Granite epoxy, acid stain, and even tiles are just some of the materials you can choose to finish up the look of your floors.
Insulation, Insulation, Insulation
Ask yourself first – is my garage already attached to the house? Is it already insulated? Before you go ahead and say that insulation is for wimps, remember that rain, snow, and the heat of the summer sun can all easily come creeping in on an uninsulated space, making it either too uncomfortable to spend time in, or too dangerous to keep valuable things in.
If you’re working with a garage that doesn’t have insulation yet, you will have to throw up some wall studs, stuff in some insulation, and then cover it up with drywall. After that, painting everything is a question of whether or not you want a space that looks clean and polished or you want a dressed down man cave.
The Ceiling Situation
Here’s a step you can easily skip. Most garage ceiling have a single fluorescent tube light which works just fine for most guys. But if you want to install a low hanging pendant lamp to dangle over your poker table, or a ceiling fan to add that classic God Father vibe to your man cave, then you may need a little more drywall and paint.
Remember though – some garages are built pretty low. If you’re adding drywall with insulation underneath, then you might eat up a significant amount of vertical space. Always remember to measure things beforehand so you don’t end up with a cramped space that you can barely stand in.
Adding That Man Cave Appeal
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you may want to ask yourself again whether you plan to spend your waking hours in this man cave, or if you simply want to have it at the ready when the wife throws a fit. Knowing the extent of time you plan to spend in this space will make it easier to see what kind of stuff you should have in it, and what stuff will end up just eating what limited space you have.
Generally when it comes to furniture, you’ll want pieces that aren’t quite as susceptible to damage from humidity and temperature. Sure, you probably covered that bad boy up in insulation, but if you DIY’d the whole thing, you should anticipate some errors.
So make sure to choose items that don’t have as much fabric or soft material that could absorb moisture from humidity, or that could encourage the development of things like mold. Hardwood and leather are always good choices since they’re easier to keep clean.
When it comes to electronics, make sure you have the right kind of storage. For instance, it would be ideal to have a closing entertainment system cabinet that you can shut when not in use to add an extra barrier of protection to your electronics. You may also want to consider keeping a mini fridge within arm’s reach so you can crack open a cold one without having to make your way into the kitchen.
Finally, decor is really all up to you. Dart boards, neon lights, mounted animals and stuff like that all scream ‘man cave’, so they really do help make it feel more authentic. But if you’re a laid back kind of guy that likes the effortless appeal of a stripped down cave, then that could work too.
While it’s absolutely possible to make the switch with nothing more than your dusty power tools and the stuff you learned off of YouTube, you should consider hiring someone to make those renovations for you. That is of course, unless you’re fully capable of getting it done yourself.
Whatever the case, a cozy, comfortable man cave to relax, unwind, and to just get away from it all every now and then can be empowering for your masculinity. So make sure to keep these pointers in mind when you get started on transforming that old garage into a sweet, swanky bro abode just for yourself.