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A man cave is a getaway area, usually built in a garage or basement. The room was originally designed for men who wanted a place to put their stuff and hang out with their friends away from the family.
However, when the word mancave is used, people tend to put up walls. They have strong feelings about them, one way or another. But it’s time to halt the judgment and take a look at what a garage man cave really is.
The first known use of the phrase “man cave” was on March 21, 1992. The Toronto Star states, “With his cave of solitude secured against wife intrusion by cold floors, musty smells, and a few strategic cobwebs, he will stay down there for hours nestled in very manly magazines and open boxes of tools. Let’s call the basement, man cave.”
From there, the term was used on a regular basis, gaining more popularity when Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray was released the following year. Historically, women chose decor, while men handled finances.
A garage man cave was a man’s place to decorate and behave the way he wanted to without fear of upsetting his wife. Which seemed like a good idea at the time. Today, the use of a man cave has changed, as has its meaning.
The short answer is “no.” Man caves were originally for hetero males, but today, things are different. Although stereotypically, they are designed for those who identify as a man, they can be built for anyone.
The name “man cave” is a little misleading. It doesn’t mean that you have to work on your motorcycle or even be into sports. They call it a cave because it’s usually dark, and closed off from the rest of the world.
The term “she shed” is a relatively new term that was first used by the general population no earlier than 2015. It arrived along with the gender equality movement of the 2010s and it appears to be here to stay.
Generally, a she shed is built in a shed, but it can be built in a garage if you don’t have a shed available.
If you’re wondering whether you should use the term “man cave” or “she shed”, then don’t worry, many have the same struggle. But the bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter. Use whatever makes you feel comfortable.
If you don’t want to label it, which is most common, then don’t! However, when working with a contractor or looking for ideas online, you may need to bend your rules and use the terms. But in your own life, it’s all up to you and your creative brain.
Now that we’ve gone over the semantics, let’s get to the fun part. Here are plenty of ideas for you to work with for your garage man cave or she shed. Let your own creative juices flow as you put each piece together.
This is the most important part of the job. You probably want a personal shed or garage so that you have your own space to do your hobby. But what is that hobby? This hobby will help you decide what you need and how to decorate.
A theme is nearly a must when it comes to man caves and she sheds. You want a space that is uniquely you. A space that makes you feel good. So find a hobby that really makes you feel good.
When renovating a garage or a shed, you have to remember that they are usually initially just shells. You will have to add flooring over the concrete floors if you want to keep it cooled in the summer and warm in the winter.
The same goes for flooring in sheds. Sheds usually have wood flooring, most likely plywood. So you will want to add something over this to avoid an unfinished look and to keep the room well insulated.
Speaking of insulating, it’s important to make sure you have good insulation or you won’t be able to use your garage man cave or she shed year-round. Get good insulation and put it up before choosing what to use on your walls.
This is where creativity starts. You will want to add something over that insulation as insulation is unsafe to be around for long and really isn’t all that appealing. Choose any wall covering you want, just make sure it has personality.
Before actually covering your walls, you need to add wiring. Most garages have poor wiring and most sheds don’t have any at all. So plan your layout so you know how many outlets you need. Then add two more to be safe.
Lighting can make or break an aesthetic. If you want soft lighting, add fairy lights. If you want harsh lighting, add overhead lights with high wattage bulbs. There are many options, but you’d be surprised to know that the lighting is more important than the light covers.
If you plan on spending much time in your she shed or man cave, then maybe you should add a small kitchen. A mini-fridge should do it. You can even add a bar, a griddle, a microwave, and more. Just don’t forget a tiny sink!
Before we begin with specific man caves to inspire you, let’s list a few things that every man cave should have. Although you don’t absolutely have to have everything on this list, you probably should.
A TV is a must. Whether you use it to watch movies, sports games, or play video games is up to you. Set it up to suit you and your friends, but have one nevertheless. A TV is necessary for your man cave.
The exact games don’t matter, what matters is that you are making an effort. Video games are important but so are things like pinball or foosball tables. Something to really engage everyone, compatible for both small or large groups.
Comfortable seating is absolutely necessary. This is usually a nice sectional so there is room for everyone, but anything works. Just beware that you will find people crashed on it taking a nap and enjoying the quiet.
This table is a game table. It should be something similar to either a billiard table or a poker table. This is where everyone sits together, facing each other, for some together time not just to eat but to play.
Display everything that makes you feel like you. This can be anything from guns to Star Wars memorabilia to unicorns! It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it brings you peace, serenity, and makes you smile.
A kitchenette and bar are very similar, so choose a bar if you and your friends are drinkers and a kitchenette if you aren’t. Make sure that there is a fridge, a bar, and somewhere to store dishes and dry food.
The end result is up to you.
Every year we get new ideas from new participants and we all try different things. There are hundreds of appetizer ideas. Just Google away, find some inspiration, invite a few friends over and have fun. that’s the most important thing. Have fun!
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