The Man Cave. It's every guy's dream space: that magical All-Man's Land where the annoyances of work can be shaken off, the wife and kids can be escaped from, and fellow dudes can congregate to watch a game, work out, or just kick back and enjoy a beer.
Whether you're into sports, movies, music, or constructing things like woodwork and kit cars with your own bare hands, remember that it's the man who makes the Man Cave. Make it your own from top to bottom with whatever revs your engine, be it memorabilia, movies, gaming systems or just plain power tools. We'll leave the finishing touches up to you, but for now, let's get down to business with some basics.
It's time to build the Ultimate Man Cave.
Step 1: Scout Out the Perfect Location
Even if you don't have the mega bucks for a residential lair like Bruce Wayne's or Tony Stark's, that doesn't mean you can't pull together the perfect Man Cave space in your own home. Have an otherwise unused basement or guest room? Maybe a garage where no one else in the family wants to hang out? That's all you need.
Even if your potential Man Cave looks rough now, it's amazing what some paint, insulation and the right electronics and entertainment can do. With a little creativity and some DIY skills, pretty much any space can be transformed into an awesome hang-out spot over the course of a weekend or two.
Step 2: Temperature and Volume Control
After you've found the perfect location for your soon-to-be Man Cave, check out the insulation factor, for both temperature and sound. If you're going to be setting up shop in or above a home garage, you may need to add some insulation to help keep things cool in summer and warm in the winter. On a related note, if you're thinking of taking over the basement, make sure that it stays dry in all weather, so that you don't end up with wet carpet or ruined electronics after a heavy rain. When in doubt, drylock.
And then for the sound insulation. Keep in mind that audio systems, home theater speakers and power tools all make noise, so if you want to be able to engage in manly pursuits at all hours without complaints from everyone else in the house, try putting up some acoustical drywall or other sound-deadening room treatments. And remember: sound insulation not only seals your noise in, but also locks unwanted sounds out.
Step 3: Power Up
Whether your Man Cave is all about video games or building stuff, one thing's for sure: you're going to need power, and lots of it. Make sure that your home theater equipment, gaming consoles and power tools have a clean, convenient and protected source of energy by choosing the right surge protector or power strip to suit your needs or environment.
Want to max out the manliness of your garage or workbench? We suggest the Plugmold Tough Power Strip: it's 4 feet long to stretch down the length of your workbench, has 10 outlets, and is covered in the ultimate man-bling: Diamond Plate. But if you're more geared toward A/V and gaming, go for an audio/video PDU like the Tripp Lite Home Theater Surge Suppressor, which protects up to 10 electronic devices and 3 coax lines from power surges and spikes.
Step 4: So, Where's the TV Going to Go?
Regardless of theme or style, the one Man Cave non-negotiable is a TV, preferably of the flat panel, high-def variety. So that leaves only one question: where are you going to put it? You could hang it over a fireplace or stand it on a designer entertainment console, but that might be a little too close to something that your wife, girlfriend or mom would do. You need something masculine. Something gravity-defying. Something that says "sports bar."
Suspending your HDTV from above on a ceiling mount not only makes you feel like you're hanging out at your favorite neighborhood sports bar, but gives you tons of extra space for kick-back furniture and wall décor. And your TV only has to be the center of attention when you want it to be. Feel like concentrating on poker game or your latest project instead? Keep the tube on in the background, and just glance up to check the score when you want to.
Step 5: Don't Forget the Snacks
They say that men are natural hunters, and it's true that a dude's gotta eat, but sometimes you just won't feel like leaving your manly domain in search of food and beverage. That's why it's always smart to plan a Man Cave snack stash for times when the boys come over, or you just feel like a little prolonged solitude.