10 Tips for Building a Small Man Cave

We know that not everyone lives in a mansion with loads of space to spare (we certainly don’t). But does that mean that you aren’t going to be able to build a man cave? Hell no! Small man caves can actually be cooler than huge rooms. They give a real sense of security and are easier to create. Oh, and they are also easier to sell to your other half. Small room? No problem, today we will look at 10 top tips for building a small man cave.

Decide on a Purpose for Your Man Cave

Ok, first thing’s first.

Before you sit down with a shopping list, start making floor plans, or getting into an argument with your partner, it’s worth asking the following question…

“What do you need a man cave for?”

Just having a room that’s uniquely yours isn’t going to give you any answers. Look at why you need a man cave. What’s it going to be used for? Will it be: –

  • An office?
  • A place to relax?
  • Somewhere to party?
  • Somewhere to watch TV or a film?
  • Somewhere to listen to music?
  • A place to play games?

Why is this important? The answer to this question will ultimately decide the next few courses of action that you are going to take.

Here’s what we mean…

Let’s say you decide that you want your man cave to be a room to play games… If you haven’t got the space, then it is unlikely that you will fit a full-size ping pong table in the room. So, you’ll have to change your ideas or change locations…

Speaking of which…

Decide on a Location

The location of your man cave is vital for a few reasons.

First, think of our questions above. If you are going for a room where you can blast out those old school classics, it will not go down well if it is above the living room.

Likewise, if your man cave will be a room for work or chilling out and contemplating, having it next door to a room full of shouty kids isn’t going to work.

Aside from the considerations of others, you’ve also got to think about what’s going to fit. If you want to set up a man cave for a movie room, you’ll need a decent-sized wall to put the TV on.

If you plan to use your man cave for a few drinks, you could always consider an outdoor area.

Stuck for Ideas? Here are some areas that can easily be converted into a man cave.

The Garage

This one will be an easy sell as it is traditionally a space considered ‘the man’s world’.

The downside is that you might have to do a bit of cleaning and organizing. But trust us, it will be worth it.

The Loft

This is an often-overlooked area. The loft is prime real estate for a man cave. First of all, in 90% of cases, it is ‘dead space’ in your house, used as a space to store Christmas decorations and kids toys (even though they left 10 years ago).

This might take a bit of work, but it is one of the best areas in the house to establish a smaller man cave.

If you want to see what you can achieve, take a look at our guide to attic man caves.

A Shed

In a similar vein to the garage, the shed is already considered the ‘man’s world’. If you haven’t got one and are struggling to find a room in your house, you could consider buying one. A shed man cave doesn’t need to be massive.

If you get it decked out right, it can be a super refuge and a real cosy space.

Alcoves and Cupboards?

Wait, hear us out.

Loads of houses have fitted alcoves and cupboards that are used to store junk.

Get a computer or gaming system in there, a small screen and a couple of cool lights, and you’ve got a space that you can call your own… After you’ve decided where you are going to put the hoover and washing basket.

The Spare Room

This should be the obvious choice. Spare rooms are prime man cave territory. If you are anything like us, this will be the ‘box room’. You’ve got the benefit that it already has heating and electricity, which is a big plus.

So, do yourself a favour.

Get rid of that exercise bike (the one with clothes hanging off it)

Put the suitcases elsewhere

Find a home for the permanently erected ironing board

Get your man cave planned out…


Work with What You’ve Got


Do you want a man cave or not? Don’t be put off by the fact that you haven’t got tons of space.

Here’s the secret…

Work with what you’ve got. Ok, so you haven’t got the space to install a coffee table with integrated arcade games

But what you might have is a nice wall that is ripe for a high-quality LCD TV and a sweet gaming setup.

Another great way to make the most of a smaller man cave is to use integration. We’re talking about things like multifunctional furniture, clever storage solutions and overall neatness.

Examples could be: –

  • A sofa bed
  • Folding tables or nests
  • A chest that doubles as a coffee table
  • Under chair or under sofa storage
  • Hanging storage for the backs of doors

Be Realistic

The counterpoint to the above is this.

You need to keep it real.

Nothing looks more ridiculous than someone setting up a ‘cinema room’, and then finding that you’ve got to turn your head to follow the action on screen.

A beer fridge is super cool, but if it means that you haven’t got room for other things, like nice lights or a decent chair, then you need to rethink your priorities.

Come Up with a Plan

So, how do we avoid all of the above?

We do what men do best… Come up with a plan.

Using a piece of paper (or a computer if you are under the age of 60), draw a floorplan of the room to scale.

Have a think about what you are going to want in the room and the dimensions of each item. This will quickly and easily allow you to see what works and what doesn’t without actually spending a penny.

Don’t forget when planning that some things will need extra room around them. Let us say you go for a super comfy chair… It makes little sense to invest in something with a swing out foot rest when you haven’t got the space to enjoy it.

By planning in advance, you’ll be able to easily identify areas that might need some more thought.

Avoid Clutter

There’s one sure-fire way to get someone to call you a caveman… And it isn’t about the cave.

We are talking about mess and clutter.

Want to make a room feel small (and look rubbish)? Leave it untidy.

This is one of our top tips for small man caves. Keep it clean and simple. You’ll be amazed at how spacious a room becomes when it is tidy. Try your best to avoid too much clutter.


Keep it Light!

This is a super tip.

While you might want your man cave to be all dark and cosy, there is a limit.


Darker colours make a room appear and feel much smaller.

To get your space looking and feeling bigger, be sure to be selective in your choice of colours.

White, off white’s, light blues and greys are all good at creating a feeling of space in a room.

Your choice of flooring {LINK REQD} can also go a long way to making your man cave feel more spacious.

Make More Space

Ok, we aren’t asking you to start banging through walls or kicking the kids out of their playroom.

There are a few easy techniques you can use to make a man cave feel more spacious, even if it isn’t: –


Mirrors reflect light, so make the room feel more bright. They also create the illusion of a window. While entirely false, it tricks your brain into thinking there is more space. If your man cave is feeling a little ‘enclosed’, this is a great option


When choosing furniture and accessories, such as tables, try and choose items with glass surfaces. Because you can see through them, they take up less ‘eye room’ and can make your man cave feel much more open.

Furniture choices

Don’t be boxed in by your furniture. Chairs and sofas with open arms avoid making you feel claustrophobic.

Focal points

Try and draw the eye towards the room’s highlight. If it’s a movie style man cave, arrange items and furniture to lead a visitor in towards its standout feature.

Go Low Slung

A great way to give the impression of the room is to use low profile furniture.

By low profile, we mean ‘close to the floor’. If you can’t find the couch to fit, a great choice is giant bean bags. They are super comfy and can be rearranged easily.

Avoid the Rug

If you’ve read our article on man cave flooring, you’ll know that a rug can be used to break up large areas of bare floor. In the case of small man caves, this is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve.

Simply put, adding a rug makes a room look much smaller, so if you are looking for light and bright, leave the rug out.

Go Vertical

Regardless of the size of your room, we are willing to bet that it is the same height as every other room in the house?

There’s no reason why this needs to be wasted space.

You’ll also find that when choosing things like tables and units, by going taller, you’ll also create valuable storage space underneath

Small Man Cave, Big Picture

We are all guilty of focusing on the little things and ignoring the obvious.

So let us tell you this…

Start with the big items in the room first, and once you’ve got it 80% of the way there, then focus on the finer details.

What do we mean by ‘big things’? Well, here’s a very quick list of the essentials for you to focus on: –

  • The floor: Carpet, vinyl, rugs?
  • The wall decoration: Pick an overall general colour scheme
  • ‘Big’ lighting: The main light source in the room
  • Somewhere to sit: Chair, stool, sofa bed?

Once you’ve got the overall layout down, you can then work on weaving in smaller, more personalized elements around it.


Personalizing Your Man Cave

Bearing in mind what we said about clutter above… You can still implement a few touches to make your man cave yours and put your own personal stamp or ‘theme’ on the place.

Things that add character (without taking up too much space):


Take Action!

Here’s what real men do. After they’ve made a plan…

They act!

Don’t procrastinate, and don’t put it off. If you want a man cave, then you are going to have to build one. It might take a little time and probably a lot of effort, but the end result will be worth it.

As we said before, don’t be put off by not having a lot of space. There’s plenty of solutions above that should give you some great ideas, even if you’ve got a smaller room. Hopefully, you’ve found our 10 tips for building a small man cave useful?

Where are you going to put yours? Let us know in the comments!



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