pool table in a modern home

Pop culture aficionados might find it interesting to learn that the first official reference to a “man cave” occurred in a best-selling book in 1992. In the extremely popular “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” author, John Gray casually references a man retreating to his “cave” to unwind and relax. The term captured the imagination of both genders and catapulted the cave into home design glory! 
Of course, the concept of a male sanctuary within the home goes back a much longer time, perhaps thousands of years. According to this design source, “The specific concept of having an area for men to retreat to has existed even since ancient times. The ancient Greeks and Romans had rooms in their homes specifically for men to hang out and drink wine as they discussed philosophy and politics. While they might not have had modern amenities like luxury entertainment chairs that recline, pool tables, and fully stocked bars, the main idea hasn’t changed much over the course of history.”
What This Means for You — From its early days when it consisted of a broken lawn chair in the garage with an old TV on the workbench, the modern-day man cave has moved uptown—way uptown! Men are just boys with more expensive toys, and home builders and interior designers are meeting this demand with style and high-tech gadgets of all descriptions. 

Looking for home improvement products to upgrade your place? There are hundreds of ideas!

Wine bar for man cave

Interior Designers to the Rescue

Nothing suggests a home concept has “arrived” better than having interior designers show up with fabric samples, paint swatches, and furniture/entertainment product catalogs in tow. That’s exactly what has occurred with the current-day man cave. This space has come a long way from the garage!
According to a report from CNN, “It’s also important to note that man caves aren’t supposed to appeal to the rest of the family (or guests) like a living room should. By contrast, a man cave, like a “she shed” or child’s bedroom, is all about individual expression and capturing the client’s personality,” says New York-based designer Mariaina Teich.  
“One only has to scroll the #mancave hashtag on social media (e.g. Pinterest) to quickly realize that not all man caves are created alike. Whereas some man caves look extremely expensive and are large enough to incorporate several sports cars, others are cozy basement dwellings with neon signs and poker tables. Here’s the thing, though: There’s no ‘right’ man cave. Each one is utterly bespoke and should be conceived of for the man, or men, who plan to use it.”

The Basics of Man Cave Design

“Designing a man cave begins with considering the activities the client enjoys and the way he wants to feel while in the space,” Teich told CNN. “Then, we identify elements that would stand out in communal areas of the home but hold significance to the client, offering them a dedicated space.”
Let’s face it. Guys will be guys, and they tend to go overboard in an out-of-control cave! Items such as sports memorabilia, kitschy “antiques” from some college bars or old posters featuring who-knows-what kind of testosterone-charged scene might SEEM like a good idea, but it will likely become tired very quickly. Having professional guidance from a designer who understands men and their caves is worth every nickel it costs.
The CNN report notes that another key thing to consider is comfort. “Given that a man cave is meant for relaxing, you want to choose furnishings that are soft, cozy, and have deeper seats to encourage lounging.”
The layout is also important to consider. “Like any room in your house, a man cave needs to be planned out,” San Francisco-based interior designer Tineke Triggs notes. “Of the utmost importance here is flow. There is no rule about the size of a man cave; you just need to make sure you can fit all the toys. A pool table needs a certain amount of space around it. A big-screen TV needs a certain amount of distance from the seating area. Are you including a bar? You need to look at function—furniture placement needs to make sense.”

A Dozen Great Ideas to Make Your Cave More Manly

As we have done with previous posts on “What’s Hot” for home design, insights from interior designers, architects, builders, and social media were taken into consideration for each of these man cave ideas. The “Dude abides” in each of them.


Nothing says man cave like a roaring fire, and premanufactured fireplace systems are an easy, durable option. Some of the best include Mason-Lite, Isokern-Earthcore, and (apropos of a man cave) Stone Age Manufacturing. All are available from Acme Brick.

Fireplace with 2 chairs in front


A Neon Champ custom sign

Custom options from Neon Champ can include your own words and graphics. They’re lightweight and easy to install, and the sign has 36 fonts and 12 colors to choose from. Available from Neon Champ from about $40.

An Uncommon Goods baseball stadium end table

Buy it, and they will come. This handmade table pays tribute to your beloved baseball stadium. It features a sunken 3D replica of your field of dreams, complete with LED lights. $500 from Uncommon Goods.

A thinBRIK accent wall

Warming up an interior wall is easy with Acme’s thinBRIK. It’s real brick only thinner, making it easy to install. It’s perfect for an accent wall. 

An August-Grove Swavar wine bar

No built-in bar? No problem. This affordable alternative is a customer favorite. It can accommodate nine bottles, in addition to glasses, spirits, and all your bar tools, with its two drawers and two cabinets. Available from Wayfair for $240.

Glass block walls and windows

Dark man caves are so prehistoric. Glass block from Seves lets the light in. The benefits include: visibility and light transmission; sustainability (inert make-up is 100% recyclable, highly durable, and solar reflective); impact resistance; and reduced noise transmission.
Modern apartment featuring glass block from Seves

The Xbox Series X 1TB

For the gaming man cave, only the fastest, most powerful Xbox will do, and that is the Series X. Boasting incredibly realistic graphics, the Series X is multifunctional because it is also an entertainment hub, with the ability to stream content from YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, Netflix, and Disney+. Available from Best Buy or GameStop for $450.

An Arhaus reclaimed wood poker table

Handcrafted by artisans in Mexico, the stunning yucca wood table is sculptural in design and features slots for poker chips and cup holders. It’s available from Arhaus for about $5,000.

Durable luxury vinyl plank flooring

Put a few guys in a room, beverages in hand, and there’s a good possibility that some of those drinks will end up on the floor. Doh! This calls for some of the most durable man-cave flooring on the market. Step right this way to see more.

A Barrington Billiards Foosball Table

No man cave is complete without a foosball table. The quality and craftsmanship of the Barrington Billiards table are top-notch. It’s a durable piece that will stand the test of time, and it’s nice to look at too. Find it at Amazon or Wayfair for about $740.

A Dax Dartboard cabinet

The Dax from Frontgate will up the gaming ante with its ash-veneered cabinet and its old-school bristle board playing surface. The set comes ready to hang and includes six steel-tipped darts, chalk, and an eraser. It’s available from Frontgate for about $270.

The Sonos Immersive Sound set with Ray

With the Sonos Speakers, you get the brand’s new “Sub Mini,” which will produce the rumbling bass you demand, plus two powerful Era 100 bookshelf speakers and Ray, the brand’s most affordable soundbar. They’re available from Sonos for $1,015.

Your Man Cave Is Waiting

Whether it's a monthly card game, college or professional sports watching, listening to tunes that defined your mis-spent youth, or just taking a well-earned nap, there’s nothing better than having your own spot in the house. With a little planning and a few bucks for some new toys, a man cave can be in your future. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Whether it’s a man cave or she shed, Acme has home improvement products to make them special. For more ideas, click here, and let the fun begin!