The Ten ComMANdments for Man Caves

Creating and setting up a man cave, on the surface, should be a simple process: pick a room, throw a recliner and television in it, and allow only men to enter. A space set up in such a fashion may be functional, but it is certainly not how the ultimate man cave is created. In fact, it can turn out in horrific fashion. Consider the following parable.

In an effort to save time and money, I had been getting my hair cut at a large, well-known, one-size-fits-all haircutting franchise. The waits were agonizingly long with screaming children and the smell of women’s perms; the florescent lights, stained waiting room furniture, and top 40 radio station playing in the background strained my eyes, back, and nerves; and the turnover of hairstylists was high, so I never knew with whom I would be having a twenty-minute, awkward, chit-chatty conversation. It was a miserable experience

I had finally had enough of subjecting myself to this unnecessary torture, and through some research, found a local barbershop called The Clubhouse. As soon as I walked in the door of this barbershop, I felt at home. The waiting area had leather couches and sports magazines. The sound of screaming children and the smell of perms were absent, and in their place, the sight and sound of a college football game on the big screen television and the familiar smell of shaving cream. The dark, solid-wood walls were covered with golf memorabilia, and busy behind the chair, the barber worked away clipping hair.

As you you may have guessed, I now go exclusively to The Clubhouse for haircuts, and the one-size-fits-all hair franchise is a distant memory. As it turns out, the barber was the proprietor of the shop. Walking into his establishment was a much more comfortable experience, and it dawned on me that the barber had essentially turned his business into a mancave. Everything in the shop was carefully picked to ensure every man who entered felt welcome and knew exactly who the man of the cave was.

The one-size-fits-all hair franchise and The Clubhouse both cut hair, but my experience between the two was drastically different. The golf memorabilia and sports on television and the rest of well-thought-out details are how the barber welcomes his guests as they walk in the door. The same thing can be accomplished at home, but it does require careful planning or else it may just become another one-size-fits-all room. To avoid the heresy of the one-size-fits-all room, commit yourself to the follow the 10 Com-MAN-dments of the man cave.

1. Make It About You

Man Cave Ideas

This is your space, and you need to claim it. After all, you do not want just anyone walking into the cave without knowing who the man is! You can accomplish this in a number of ways.  You can decorate the walls with framed golf scorecards from courses you’ve played. You could have personalized man cave signs made. You could even pull in your favorite chair that no one else would ever dream of sitting in (think Martin Crane’s chair on “Frasier”). You might even paint the walls in your favorite team’s colors. The point is that whoever walks into the room should have a sense of who you are and what you like.

2.  Do Not Disturb Hours

The point of having a man cave is to give you a space where you can unwind. You work hard, and you deserve a quiet moment to watch sports, drink a beer, or play a video games. Make sure there are clear boundaries on when others may or may not disturb you in the cave.

3. Stock Your Home Bar

Home Wet Bar

You will inevitably have friends over to share in (and to show off) your space. Part of being a good host is to have an appropriately stocked home bar, and ultimate man caves have a reasonable selection of alcohol available for friends and guests. And while most guests generally abide by the BYOB rule, a good host is prepared for the friend who shows up empty handed.

4. Provide Plenty of Snacks


Have you ever been a guest at someone’s house and thought, “I’m really glad they didn’t serve some delicious snacks. What great hosts!”? Probably not. If you have guests over, and they will be there longer than an hour, you need to serve some form of manly food – typically wings or nachos or pizza. For some man cave ideas for food, check out these great recipes from

5. Tune the Big Screen to Football on Sunday (and Saturday and Monday)

Football is the new American pastime (sorry, baseball!), and while tuning the big screen to any sport is generally a good idea, having your friends over for football on Sunday (or Saturday or Monday) is a sacred tradition of the man cave. There may be other televised sports, but they will drive friends away from your space to find a better place to watch football.

6. Don’t Skimp on HD

Remember comMANdment #4? Well, if you skimp on HD with your cable or dish provider, the sports on your big screen will be lacking. No one likes a fuzzy picture or motion blur. If you have a big screen in your mancave, you should have HD technology, so use it!

7. Silence is Golden (During the Game)

We’ve all been to a Superbowl party where someone talks throughout the entire game. That someone could be the know-it-all, the wannabe play-by-play analyst, or even the ex-athlete. In any case, someone talking throughout the entire game can ruin the ultimate mancave experience for everyone. As the man of the cave, it is your duty to make sure there are some talking guidelines set for watching the big game. Your other guests will thank you.

8. Play Great Music

ipod vintage jukeboxWhen you’re sitting around the man cave bar and there is not a game on, it is good idea to have some great music playing in the background. While musical tastes vary, there are some definite no-nos for your playlist. Compiled by, the bands on the worst bands of all time list  should never, ever make it into the song rotation.

9. Seating Now Available

As you invite your friends over for the big game or any celebration, it is critical that you have enough seating in your room. The ultimate man cave is all about comfort, so it is unacceptable for your guests to sit on the floor or on the arm of a couch. If you have a home bar in the cave, make sure you have plenty of bar stools. If you have the space for it, a couch or two are ideal. Folding chairs are acceptable for a large gathering, and bean bags are fine in a pinch.

10. Invite Your Neighbors

So your man cave is all set up. There is plenty to drink and eat, and there is a great game on that all of your friends are there to watch. Since you have the place to hang out, there will be times that there are a number of cars parked on the street or the noise from the cave is loud. Make sure to invite your neighbors to the celebration. Not only is it the neighborly thing to do, it may prevent problems in the future, such as complaints about the parking or the noise.


Remember that this space is about comfort and celebrations, so put some time and effort into planning your man cave decor. Your guests will appreciate it, and by following the ten comMANdments of man caves, you will be well on your way to hosting great gatherings and avoiding the one-size-fits-all room.