Do you ever wonder what the first man cave was like? Was it a place where a caveman kept all the sticks and pebbles he’d collected throughout his journeys? Did he have a nice little fire on display? Very trendy as it had just been discovered, right?
I guess we’ll never know for sure how it looked like, but one thing’s for certain: it was his. It reflected who he was as a man, the things that made him happy, and the things that keep him going.
In building your own man cave, take a page from his book. It should reflect your own brand of masculinity–all kinds welcome, except those that are toxic and fragile. You define it. You build it.
Man Cave: The Origins
Certainly, the origins of the term are very heteronormative and traditional. It springs from the idea that, in a home, there is a wife and a husband, and the wife calls the shots when it comes to creating the home, except for the basement or den, which is the only space the husband can call his own.
The man cave has thankfully evolved to encompass different kinds of families and homes and acknowledge the healthy equality between spouses. Ultimately, the definition of a man cave is a space where any man can feel truly like himself.
Find a cave
In building your man cave, you must first find a space. Traditionally, it’s been the basement or garage, but the choice is ultimately yours. It could be the attic, a shed in your backyard, or even a tree house. It’s really up to you, but generally, you’re looking for a relatively isolated space or can be closed off, with enough room for the activities that you would want your space to host.
After finding the space, you’ll need to make it livable. If it’s just another room in your house, this shouldn’t be a big deal; however, if you’ve chosen a makeshift space, you’ll need to ensure that it has basic structural and safety features.
Whether you create a man cave from a container van or an actual cave (!), you’ll need proper ventilation. It’s best to hire a window installation service because airflow is probably the most important feature your man cave should have.
You’ll also need a clear emergency exit and maybe a fire hydrant. Again, a man cave should be about fun, not putting your life at risk.
Fill your cave. Fill your life.
Now onto the fun part. Building a man cave is ultimately all about creating a safe space for you–a place where you are free to be yourself and find comfort in your passions. But where do you start? With the big stuff.
Are you looking to place a pool table in the middle of the room? Or maybe you’ll need space for your yoga practice. Are you going to fill it with arcade and pinball machines? Or maybe you’re thinking of having it function primarily as a laboratory or band studio. These activities that require bigger spaces will dictate the overall layout and design of your man cave.
Once you have that in place, you can add the smaller but equally meaningful gear and knickknacks. These things can also double as cool decor for your space. You can fill your walls with your toy collection, vinyl records, or vintage guitars. Hang a dartboard in one corner, or maybe a painting that you yourself made. Decorate it with your favorite houseplants. It’s these final touches that will really make your space your own.
A space for others
Your man cave is all about you, but wouldn’t it be nice to also invite people in occasionally? Maybe your man cave is also your home office, so you’ll need room to entertain.
As you go ahead and fill your man cave with things for yourself, you could also choose to leave room for guests. Place a couch or a set of lounge chairs somewhere in the room. Purchase a bar cart and fill it with the whiskeys you’ve collected. Have a stash of pretzels or fruit chips in the corner. Even though this space for you, it doesn’t mean others can’t feel welcome in it, too.
The modern man cave isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. Your brand of masculinity is unique, so embrace it by filling your man cave with things that spark joy. It’s an escape, but not to conceal but to reveal your authentic self.