How To: Design a Man-Cave
Life is hard for the modern man. No longer is it acceptable to strive for sustenance; we are driven by culture, habits, and work environment to maximize efficiency and output. Each week, modern man goes to his job, works himself to death, and comes home exhausted. While the home may be a sanctuary, I have always felt that a little more is necessary. I need a place where it is allowed to do whatever I want to do, decorate it any way, and not worry about breaking anything expensive. This is the man-cave; a place where the man actually rules the house, and does what he wants.
Creating a comprehensive list for the proper man-cave is impossible. The very essence of a man-cave is that it conforms to the hobbies and personalities of the man it supports. Personally, I love woodworking, so my man-cave is sparse, with plenty of space for my workbenches, tools, and materials. I also don’t cover the concrete floors or walls of my basement, since they would get covered in sawdust anyway. This tutorial is to create a working man-cave like mine; if you want a place to build a bar and watch the game with the guys, you’ll have to be a man and figure that one out on your own.
Read on for an essential checklist for the workshop man-cave.
1) If you MUST Cover the Walls, use Wallpaper.
This is something I preach to everyone regarding a workshop: There is absolutely no way to predict what you will do in there.
No matter how hard you wish to just use the workshop for turning pens and bowls, or stamping metal, or soldering, something else will get done. Either a friend of yours will come over and wish to use the space for something you normally don’t, or you’ll decide to try something different. In my case, it usually works out that when I get drunk off of the beers I keep in my man-cave’s fridge, I attempt increasingly risky and/or messy things in the space.
Whether you feel like throwing around wood, spray painting on the wall, or get frustrated; wallpaper is cheap enough and plain enough to take a beating. You’ll destroy your wallpaper at least once a year, when I found out that my measurements were off and a would-be coffee table had a short leg, I ripped off the wallpaper in rage; I can do that because it was only $40 to paper the entire basement.
If you choose to go this route, use plain wallpaper. I personally chose white, so that if I need to write down calculations or measurements, and can’t find the pad of paper, I just write it on the wall.
2) Build Your Own Workbench
I’m always amazed at the prices that you see online for a workbench. Sure, they come with a lot of bells and whistles, and may even have a specialized part you need, but they all come unassembled. I ask you: If you have to put the bench together anyway if you get it offline or from a store, why not build it from scratch?
If you take the time to truly plan out what you’ll need, and get to a lumber yard, you’ll be surprised to find that the cost of your workbench is much less than you might have bought it for online. Take all of the tools that you are going to use on the bench, and lay them out on the floor. Give them the amount of space you want them to have, as if they were on a bench. Then measure that rectangle necessary with a tape measure, add 6 inches on all sides, and you know how wide it needs to be.
Then, figure out the height you want the workbench to be. Stand straight, with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, palms up, in front of you, as if you were creating a platform to hold a long board. Have a friend measure the distance between the ground, and the point of your elbow, and subtract 6 inches; now you know how tall it needs to be.
Take these measurements to a store, tell them what you’re doing, and usually they will cut the wood you need to the length you need. Then you put it together just as if you had purchased a specialty one. For an extra 30 minutes of time, you can save half of your cash.
3) Forgive Yourself
This final point is the most important. You will mess up your man-cave more than once. You might forget to put the cap back on the epoxy and find it stuck to the floor permanently. I personally always forget to leave tools alone when I’m drinking, and break a lot of saw blades.
No matter what the issue may be, remember that this space is yours, and you left it sparse so you don’t feel guilty when things go wrong. Your life is stressful enough as it is, leave this one space as the place where you can go and destroy everything if you wish to. This is your domain; the Man-Cave.
Pete Wise is a Content Creation Feind and White-Hat SEO Jedi. This article was researched in his basement, and written for Discount Decorating. They are a wallpaper retailer with an especially impressive selection of wallpaper borders. If you liked the article, follow Pete on Twitter: @MySEOHeadache