Your man cave is your sanctuary. It’s your place to get away from it all.
A man cave allows you to decompress from the stress of work and everyday life. But that’s far from their only benefits. According to Men’s Health, a personal hangout space is hugely beneficial to your overall mental health.
Rather than build a man cave from scratch, it’s far easier and more cost-effective to transform an existing structure. Although a basement or garage man cave is most common, fixing up your shed into a suitable hangout space is another brilliant option.
Today, we’re going to show you how to turn a shed into a man cave in ten simple steps.
Set Your Budget
It’s wise to set a budget before you start your man cave project.
In reality, you can comfortably outfit a shed for just a few hundred dollars. But, it’s just as easy to pour thousands into the project, especially if your sights are set on a full remodel.
To keep costs low, look around for budget materials. You can even find building materials like insulation, drywall, and paint for cheap. You might even find someone with spare materials from past DIY projects that’s willing to give them to you for free. Another idea is to contact contractors you know about leftover materials.
Buying second-hand furniture and décor likewise keeps costs lower. For example, you can find refrigerators for cheap online. Even used pool tables, a staple of man caves everywhere, are often given away for free due to how difficult they are to move.
If money is tight, focus on the remodel first. Slowly finish weatherproofing, install plumbing and wiring, and take care of any other necessary repairs or upgrades. Once finished with these basics, slowly outfit your space with furniture, décor, and entertainment items.
Of course, the opposite approach is also acceptable. Turning a shed into a man cave doesn’t have to be a budget project. If money is no object or you’ve been saving up, complete the project all at once and outfit your man cave with all the luxuries you desire.
Man Cave Interior Ideas
Your options are nearly limitless when you build a man cave in a shed.
However, the size of your shed somewhat limits your design. Here are a few ideas that work well in small spaces:
- Mini Bars
- Home Theaters
- Recording Studios
- Private Libraries
- Home Offices
If you have a larger shed, then it’s easy to expand upon the above ideas, add several themes into the same man cave, or consider the following ideas:
- Full Bar
- Pool Room
- Sports Room
- Poker Room
Remember that the options for your man cave’s interior are limited only by you. Use your imagination, decorate, and furnish according to your interests, and let your personality shine through to create the ultimate man cave shed in your backyard.
DIY vs. Professional
You have two main options when it comes to turning your shed into a man cave: doing it yourself or hiring a professional.
The DIY route is what we focus on in our step-by-step guide below. Not only is it the most affordable, but building a DIY man cave forces you to learn new things, gives you a chance to hang out with your buddies (if you can convince anyone to help!), and provides a sense of pride in the finished project.
This guide assumes you already have a shed, but if you don’t you can build one yourself with a shed kit.
Luckily, building a DIY man cave in your shed isn’t as difficult as it was in the past. In addition to resources like this one, YouTube is filled with helpful how-to videos. You’ll find videos breaking down the finer points of a shed conversion into bite-sized pieces. There are even tutorials aimed at true beginners, such as learning how to safely use circular saws, finish nailers, and other common tools.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if taking the DIY route. Enlist the help of friends, especially those with DIY or building experience. Know that you don’t need to do everything by yourself. Certain steps of the project, particularly any electrical wiring, are likely best left to professionals.
If you prefer to finish the project quickly and without breaking a sweat, hiring a professional is the way to go. Although it costs more, your new man cave will be finished in record time and with an expert touch.
Even the most experienced DIYers should hire a professional for wiring and plumbing. These two utilities are difficult and dangerous for non-experts to install. Improper installation can also lead to costly repairs in the future.
10 Steps to Turn Your Shed Into a Man Cave
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, it’s finally time to dive into the project. Here’s our step-by-step guide to turning your shed into a man cave if you go the DIY route.
1. Develop a Plan
What do you want in your new man cave?
In addition to setting a budget, developing a plan is an essential starting step. Your plan should take your wants and needs into consideration, especially your man cave’s primary uses.
Take a good, hard look at your shed. Another aspect of developing a plan is figuring out what is needed to turn your shed into a livable space. Most sheds will require a full remodel or build-out that starts with weatherproofing.
2. Clean Out Your Shed
Start by cleaning everything out of your shed. If you’re lucky, you’ll only need to clean out things like your lawnmower, weed whacker, and other yard tools.
But, if you’re like most of us, you’re in for a more intense shed cleanout. For instance, my shed’s become something of a storage space where I store anything and everything I don’t want in my house or my garage. All of this needs to go.
Your shed will no longer be a shed once your man cave makeover is complete. Get rid of as much junk as possible. Store the rest of the items that were in your shed elsewhere. You can store them in your home or garage, although a storage unit—or even another shed—is a better option.
3. Make Any Necessary Repairs
Take care of the basics first. Once your shed is cleared and cleaned of debris, take stock of the shed’s structural integrity. Make any necessary repairs. You might even need to replace the entire shed if it’s in bad condition.
Most important is focusing on weatherproofing. Creating a livable man cave inside a shed hinges on keeping the weather out. Although this process is more complicated than we’ll dive into here, it consists of these basics:
- Keeping Groundwater Out
- Waterproofing the Roof
- Waterproofing the Walls
- Mold-proofing the Interior
Don’t skimp on weatherproofing. For starters, your shed must be off the ground. Cinder blocks are an effective option, although pouring a concrete foundation is perhaps the most effective.
4. Install Plumbing and Wiring
Installing utilities is the next step to building a man cave in your shed. Of course, not every man cave needs plumbing, but electrical wiring is pretty much a given.
Both plumbing and wiring are difficult and potentially dangerous for DIYers to install alone. And, if you mess up, you’re in for costly repairs down the road. It’s usually best to hire an expert for a professional install of any utilities you need in your new man cave.
5. Install Insulation and Drywall
The best type of insulation to use in your man cave shed is dependent on climate. At the very least, you need a barrier that prevents moisture build-up. For very hot and very cold climates, additional insulation for heating and/or cooling is essential.
Once the insulation is installed, it’s time to hang the drywall. The goal of drywall is to cover the insulation as well as utility connections for a finished look.
6. Install Flooring
Your shed already has some type of a floor, likely bare wood. But, to make the interior more appealing, you probably want something fancier. Vinyl plank flooring is easy to install, even for beginners. It also looks great, lasts for a long time, and won’t break the bank.
7. Add Climate Control Systems
Think of your shed man cave like a miniature house or a small cabin. You wouldn’t want to live in a home without heating or air conditioning (depending on your climate), so why leave your man cave without these essentials. Add climate control systems to regulate the temperature within your new hangout space.
Because sheds are much smaller than a house, adding air conditioning and heating doesn’t require any type of HVAC work. You can just get an Air Conditioner Heat Pump Installation Kit from Amazon and do it yourself.
8. Invest in Quality Lighting
Lighting is everything when it comes to building a comfortable space. Select lighting based on the intended use of your new man cave, whether that’s for work, hanging out with friends, or watching movies.
9. Decorate, Furnish, and Add Character
Your man cave is almost complete! Now that the basics are finished, it’s time to outfit the interior with your favorite furnishings and decorations. Add in your bar area, pool table, television, and anything else that helps add character and make the space yours. And yes, you can fit a pool table into your shed man cave. Check out our reviews of the best multi-game tables that will help you save on space.
10. Consider a Security System
You invested a lot of money in your new man cave! And, likely, you’re storing at least a few valuables inside (even if only a television). Consider extending your home security system to your man cave to keep it safe from those with malicious intent. Even a sturdy door and windows with secure latches work wonders.
Enjoy Your New Man Cave!
Turning a shed into a man cave is a big project—but it’s a project that anyone can accomplish. With a little time and effort (and, of course, a little money), you’ll finally have the perfect place to hang out, unwind, and enjoy laughs with friends.