It’s well-documented that men don’t just want their own space, they need it. A sad fact is that not all of us have an extra room in our house, as it’s already been claimed by the wife’s shoe collection or the tiny humans that run around and make everything sticky. If you’re lucky, part of the garage can be dedicated to your cause, but that’s not the same as having a space that’s totally your own.
Well, fear not! Your man cave is much closer than you think – it’s just waiting beyond the four walls of your house. The humble garden shed has been underestimated for too long, and it’s time for you to reclaim the territory as your own. Here are the 6 steps to building your kingdom:
1. Sort out your junk
The stuff in the shed, that is. Empty out everything that’s in there – gardening tools, old tins of paint, the kids’ bicycles, patio chairs… Everything. You need to start building your man cave from a clean slate, so sell, donate or chuck anything that you really don’t need, and relocate what’s left to the garage, cupboard under the stairs or loft. Once everything is rehomed give your shed a thorough scrub and remove dust, dirt and spiders.
2. Toasty like a Tauntaun
Assuming you want your man cave to be a year-round retreat, you’ll want to install some basic comforts. Insulation in the roof and walls will keep you warm over winter, but make sure you don’t block any air vents when you put it in (these are good for oxygen and stuff). Cold will also come up through the floor, so depending on how much time and money you’re willing (allowed) to invest in your cave, either grab a couple of old rugs or think about adding a layer of insulation under floorboards or carpet that you’re going to lay.
3. Plug it in, baby
The next most important thing is a power supply – even if you already have one, make sure it can safely handle everything you’re planning to plug in, like the minifridge, TV, space heater and sound system. If you don’t have power already going out to the garden then it’s only a day or so of work, but if you’re not familiar with electrics then see if there’s a local sparky to give you a hand and get it done quicker. Don’t forget to do a quick WiFi test – if the signal isn’t strong enough then get yourself a booster or risk the look of “I told you so” when you have to slink back indoors to get online.
4. Decorating: Man Style
Start putting your stamp on things, and don’t take anyone else’s opinions on how to decorate your man cave – including your mates, missus or little ones. If you’re happy to use up all the half-tins of magnolia lying around then crack on. If you’d rather paint the whole thing bright orange then don’t let anyone stop you. The point is that it’s your space, and you get to make the calls. If you don’t know where to begin, take inspiration from fellow man-cavers and think about styles you’re usually drawn to.
5. Defend your Castle
You don’t want any opportunist thieves to take a shine to your man-cave treasures, so it’s time to tighten security. Start with the basics – shut the curtains when you leave and make sure standby lights don’t attract unwanted attention. Invest in a quality deadbolt and padlock for the shed door (although avoid going overboard and giving strangers a clue that you keep more than a lawnmower lawnmower inside). Remember that your garden should be as secure as possible too. Keep gates in good repair, and use quality hardware to keep unwanted visitors out, like Yale locks, keypads and Signet locks.
6. Score the Touchdown
Here’s the awesome part – kitting out your man cave with everything you need to escape for a few hours. Start with somewhere comfy to kick back. Do you want the king of all reclining chairs, or a squashy sofa so you can fit some mates in? Then decide on the focal point of your den – is it going to be a master gaming set up, your epic vinyl collection or a bar to show off your whiskey stash? It’s your den and your rules.
Once your main bits of furniture are set up, add the finishing touches with a handful of pictures or accessories. Strictly no candles or flower arrangements (unless that’s your thing; we’re not here to judge), you have undisputed reign to hang your football memorabilia, movie posters and the manliest light fittings ever.
And you’re done! Now sit back, admire all your work, and enjoy your five minutes of peace and quiet before everyone you know comes knocking to “have a quick look”… and you retreat back into the house and leave them to it.