Top 10 Man Cave Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

I’ve built and designed many man caves over the years. Some, I’ve been able to use my expertise right from the start of the build, while others I’ve only been involved at the very end to advise on furniture and accessories. Either way, I’ve learnt from plenty of mistakes. Here is the list of the top man cave mistakes that I see all too often and hope you can avoid:


Not Having a Plan

Failing to plan means you plan to fail. So, so cheesy but so true.

These are the questions that I always ask when first planning a man cave:

  1. How do you want to use the man cave?
  2. What needs to be in the man cave?
  3. What’s the theme?
  4. What can I build myself and what will I need contractors for?
  5. What’s my budget?
  6. How many of my buddies will I be having in the man cave?

Executing your plan means that you are also planning these things (if building from scratch or renovating):

  1. Pre-wiring

This includes both electrical and AV. Check your electrical wiring to see if they need changing or upgrading. Every man cave TV should be on the wall so think about what audio visual cables you will need to hide in the walls.

  1. Acoustics

Not only will there be ruckus in your man cave when your buddies are over but watching TV or listening to music will be muted with the proper acoustics. For new builds or renovations, think about acoustic padding in your walls and ceiling. If that is not an option then adding carpet or rugs will also help reduce noise coming from your cave.

Tip: Think about both comfort and how the man cave will function



You’ve run out of money and your man cave is not finished. Oh, the agony! Creating a realistic budget for your man cave will ensure it gets designed and built how you planned. Games and other activities can always be added later so I always tell everyone that it’s important to get all of your flooring and fixtures right to start with.

I always choose installing a nice bar over buying a pool table. A bar will be used a lot more than a pool table will.

Tip: Comfort is important in a man cave, but it should not come at the cost of losing all your money


Buying Something You Won’t Use

The solution is this… if you don’t want it in your man cave don’t buy it. Having said this, a mistake like this one happens all the time. It’s usually your significant other who tries to persuade you into these purchases.

Tip: Make out a list of items “before” you go shopping, it will help take away any emotional purchases



Too Much Clutter / Not Enough Storage

This is one of the easiest mistakes to fix but I see it all too often. Only store things that will be used in your man cave. Remember, this is not a garage or basement, it’s a functioning room. Nobody likes clutter so keep your space tidy.

Tip: Install shelves or glass displays to get your memorabilia away or add a few storage ottomans that can double up as extra seats


Too Small Bar Space / Refrigerator

Boy, this is a big one to get wrong!

Not everyone likes to drink “your” type of beer so at least have extra space in your beer fridge to keep your buddies beer cold too.

Remember your bar doesn’t have to take up all of your man cave but it still needs room for beer, snacks or even that special whiskey that you only bring out for your close buddies.

Tip: It helps to plan your bar space around the size of the fridge you’ll be buying


Too Small TV

Every man cave needs a big TV. Whether you watch Sport, Movies or TV shows, everyone will benefit from a big screen TV. If your budget allows, buy a 4K set. Before buying a TV, think about how far your couch or recliners will be away from it. Even though everyone hates a small TV, it is possible to buy a set that’s too big. In the case of projectors, they have to be installed within a certain distance from their screen.

Tip: Before you buy a TV, think about pre-wiring electrical and AV cables


Too Big Pool Table

As a general rule for most man caves, you should add “2 times” the length of the cue stick to all sides of the pool table. We have in in-depth article on how much space is required for almost every size pool table available. We have suggestions for minimum space required as well as comfortable space required.

You don’t want to be swapping out your favorite pool cue to use a “short” one for every second shot. If your pool table is too big for your room size it will always be noticeable without even playing a game.

Tip: You can always buy a smaller table and use the extra space for other games


Uncomfortable Seating

If you buy uncomfortable sofas, couches or recliners for your man cave, this mistake will remind you over and over again. You and your buddies want to be able to relax, not go home with back problems.

This is an area of your budget that should get a higher priority than items like pool tables. It’s acceptable to have a small couch in your man cave but an uncomfortable couch is not acceptable.

Tip: Comfort should be a higher priority over EYE appeal


Creating a Showroom Instead of a Man Cave

Let’s face it, if you have memorabilia you should show it off in your man cave, but it can get to a point where you have that much in the way of collectibles that your cave ends up being a showroom. Not good.

First of all, you want your man cave to feel warm and welcoming. That starts with appropriate decor. Sure, install shelving or even some glass display cabinets but don’t deck out entire walls with it.

You want your buddies to want to hang out in your cave, not leave says something like “Man he’s a bit too obsessed with Star Wars”.

Put your “best” stuff on display, not “all” of your stuff.

Tip: You can always break up the look and feel by having some memorabilia on shelves and others on the wall


Letting Someone Else Define Your Cave

This mistake always starts with something like…

I think you should put “x” here…. Or why don’t you buy “x”?

See the above point on “Buying Something You Won’t Use” because this is the result of letting someone else define your cave.

If you don’t play pool then don’t buy a pool table. Simple!

Tip: At the end of the day it’s your cave so deck it out how you want (You want a place where you can chill and entertain)


Avoiding these common mistakes will give you a better chance of getting your man cave set up just to way you want it. There are several sources for more information on man cave design.

You built it… you enjoy it!