A man cave is traditionally a sanctuary husbands use when they need a break from being a husband and dad. It could be in a garage, an extra bedroom, or somewhere else in the house. But while some spare no expense, here are the best tips on building a man cave on a budget.
To build a man cave on a budget, repurpose old furniture and fixtures from thrift stores, estate sales, and clearance shelves. Use inexpensive LED rope lights for lighting and an Echo Dot for music. An inexpensive mini fridge can complete the room.
Understandably, your budget might be small in building your man cave, but hey! Small does not mean it shouldn’t be awesome.
You can transform an empty room or space, shed, or basement, and even create your corner of the house to bring your man cave to life. The most important thing is deriving a sense of purpose, adventure, and fulfillment at your sanctuary.
There are so many ideas you can use to execute this transformation and build your man cave where you can have a great time with your buddies.
These 31 ideas contain DIY guides that keep your budget in mind yet deliver a solid man cave.
Thinking of building a man cave? Always start with the theme you want, it can be a video game room, sports fan room, a movie room, or a mix of everything!
— Penguin Basements (@PenguinBasement) July 15, 2020
Where to get man cave resources on a budget
From rustic look to making the best out of existing resources, this DIY guide shares ideas that you can choose from to make your man cave come alive without breaking the bank.
You can get your man cave décor at flea markets by rummaging through junkyards, checking out clearance sales, yard sales, hardware stores, and second-hand stores.
Also, to build your man cave on a very tight budget, you would be better off repurposing your old furniture and existing decor. You can make the old table a suitable coffee table and use old tires to make chairs and shelves. It all depends on how innovative you want to get with it.
Here are some great DIY man cave ideas you can execute on a budget:
1. Sports Themed Idea
You will love the idea of a sports-themed man cave where you can make small nets for soccer and get a football, dodgeball, basketball, and affordable sports equipment that will not break the bank.
For the design, your can repurpose your old jerseys into pillow covers, use the pictures of your favorite sports stars for posters, and get innovative with a baseball bat, hockey stick, tennis racket, and soccer nets; all of which you can get at Goodwill.
2. Rustic-themed Man Cave
You can create a rustic man cave from vintage belongings, old tires, ropes, and other resources accessible at thrift stores, yard sales, or second-hand markets. Stain or paint, wall art you already own that matches the theme, wooden pallets, side tables, and woody-toned colors of décor will do.
If you are doing it yourself (DIY), you should paint, carve the wood and get creative about the posters and wallpapers.
3. Workshop Man Cave
Whether your workshop seems noisy sometimes or you have made it all about work, it can still make the perfect man cave. First, you need to prioritize what you want and do not want since you are combining two things you love in one space.
You can achieve this by redesigning each theme (workshop and man cave) with their own side of the space and adding new furniture, video games, and essentials to bring your man cave to life.
4. Lightning up Your Man Cave
Get creative in building your man cave by considering lights. If you are a fan, you can create bottle lights (a Jack Daniels bottle with light) and use shotguns, or candles.
LED lights are a popular choice you can use to achieve the lighting effect.
Not only that they are aesthetically pleasing, but they have a way of redefining the atmosphere. The lights add color to the game nights, bar, and sports sessions.
These LED strip lights on Amazon, tape to your walls in seconds, and switch to any color of your choosing with a remote control. One set is 60 feet long, but you can get multiple sets if needed.
Over 14,000 near-perfect reviews!
5. The Gym Man Cave Idea
Bring the gymnasium home to your own space, shed, basement or garage using inexpensive creativity by assembling the gym equipment for your man cave.
To make a Bulgarian training bag, you can use wood pellets or rubber mulch to fill up a tractor or a truck tire’s inner tube. You can use a similar step to create a sandbag and buy heavy-duty ropes to use as battle ropes. Your man cave will be equipped, and you can train with your buddies as much as you like.
But your man cave could also be a great place to workout!
If you are interested in getting a treadmill for that man cave, in a recent article, I revealed the best treadmills you can get for under $300.
Click on the link to read it on my site.
6. The Man Cave Game Room (board games)
A good board game is excellent for bonding and relaxation. Monopoly and scrabble are the most accessible, and playing on a clean carpet or side table does not cost much. You can get a good carpet at a nearby store and make the side table yourself from treated wood.
As for the board games, they are affordable, so you can secure any one or a variety for game night. Plus, you can buy a bunch of board games at thrift stores and use the boards as wall art.
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— Marco Rufo (@marcorufo) October 14, 2021
7. The Home Theatre Idea
Nothing grand, just innovative.
Even the old tv set could do, but you want to create a cinema experience (that’s the idea). For just a tad over $250, you can get a 50″ Sceptre Ultra HD TV on Amazon, and you can find some others in the category a bit higher that will support Netflix, Disney+, and streaming platforms.
You can spice things up with cozy cushions or sofas from thrift stores or any affordable place. The man cave will look even better with good lighting and ambiance.
8. Sneaky Hideout Idea
Why leave all the fun to children when you could create your own fun for less? Turn the door or wall of the house into a secret passage that leads to your man cave. Building this is not difficult.
Behind the door, you can transform it into a bookshelf or a storage rack to disguise it. You can also use an amazing wallpaper design to disguise the entrance of your man cave to keep everyone away and guessing.
9. The Reclining Sofa and Furniture Idea
Remember your grandma’s rock chair? Or grandpa’s relaxing couch? They are suitable for your man cave if you still have them.
Add them to the necessary items and keep your man cave alive with relaxing furniture. You can also carve out wood to add beneath the chair to get that rocking effect.
Overall, just go with furniture that is simple, holds memories, and suits what you want. You can get cheap furniture from garage sales.
10. Wine Cellar Idea
Surely there are some bottles of wine saved for grand occasions.
But what occasion is more elegant than the idea of having your own man cave? Absolutely none. You can display cases of wine in a good way. The wine cellar can be created with treated wood using tools you can hire from a neighborhood store for a small fee.
Make the wine cellar classy by putting your best foot forward with the wine displayed.
Get this bag of 250 wine corks for cheap on Amazon and glue them to the walls or furniture for decor, or glue 12 of them together in a square to make coasters.
11. Outdoor Shed
You can pull off the garden shed idea depending on your budget and what type of shed you are looking for. In a recent article, I covered the best sheds you can get for under $250 and more under $1000. You can fit a shed into your man cave and go for affordable furnishing.
Old baseball bats, hockey sticks, old furniture, and new stuff you get at a lower price will make a good cave, and depending on the size of your shed, you can accommodate friends for sleepovers.
12. The Garage Idea
On a good day, people hide away from their garage because that’s where they park/fix their cars, or it is a place with no appeal. You can actually build the ultimate man cave in the garage since it is one of the cheap man cave ideas.
To have a garage man cave, sanitize the environment thoroughly, clear it out, possibly fumigate and ensure there are no leaking pipes or electrical malfunctions.
Then you choose a suitable side of it; if you are not using all, create a boundary with cinder blocks and transform it into whatever you have in mind for your man cave.
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— Improovy (@improovy) August 9, 2021
13. The Corporate Man Cave Idea
The assignment is a man cave but gives it a touch of the office.
Combining your study or home office with your man cave is okay. You can simply source for old office racks you can get creative with, repurpose old car seats for comfort, get a coffee table alongside a tabletop to make coffee and serve snacks, and add other pieces of furniture and décor that go with your idea:
- a bookshelf
- nice wall art
- man cave signage
- and a fridge or a cooler
14. The spa-like man cave
Women do not get to have all the fun—save some for yourself too. While this idea might seem pricey, it can be executed under budget. Keep in mind that the goal is to recreate something like a jacuzzi, sauna, or sunbed.
For a man cave outside the house, you can build a wood-fired cedar hot tub.
It can be made from repurposed material like an old bathtub and then generate heat from wood-burning stoves. You can also get sunbeds at a cheaper rate and steam towels in the house for the feeling of doing your facials.
15. Have a Media Room
The stereo, the radio, and old music players you have lying around can be a part of your man cave. You can decorate with album artwork and get nice furniture that lets you enjoy each moment spent there. You can also create a mini music studio.
16. Have fun with an Arcade
Arcades bring out the fun and competitive side of you.
Despite being on a budget, arcade machines don’t have to cost thousands. You can choose to anchor your man cave on the idea of playing games and channel the competitiveness it brings into bonding and unwinding.
If you seek a DIY recommendation, you can use a wooden pallet and basketball net easily gotten at a store or junkyard to create your version of the arcade game of steady-flowing basketballs.
17. The Club Man Cave Idea
Bring the club to your man cave with dim lights, disco balls, and loudspeakers.
You can build your own bar with treated wood and rented tools. Then paint with the tools you bought from the local store.
Making a bar to match your club idea is great as it gives it just the right complement to the dance floor. You can build it as an elevated platform with thoroughly reinforced wood or add a pole.
18. The Comic/Animation Man Cave Idea
Still in your Rick and Morty or Anime feelings? Or do you love superheroes? You can build your very own man cave with close to nothing.
Using your old magazines, comic books, and collectibles, you will have an inexpensive and incredibly-looking man cave that displays the things you love. You are bringing your animations to life, and it’s a great way to showcase this fun side of you.
19. Oldies Man Cave Idea
The guy who still lives in the retro era should have a man cave to match that fantasy.
Reinvent the lifestyle and décor of the 20th century and centuries before with wall art, vintage details, and equipment that screams “oldies”. Getting access to these decorations on a budget is not difficult. Flea markets, junkyard sales, exhibitions, and clearance sales could get you good stuff for your cave.
As you might have figured, you can set it up yourself in your assigned cave space, so embrace this idea to relax in familiar terrain.
This red retro mini fridge on Amazon will go great in your man cave!
— Roger Osborne (@Roger180Osborne) January 5, 2022
20. Dartboard Man Cave
Throwing darts after a long day is a good idea.
You can hit targets you have not hit yet, and now you see the need to make it a part of your small man cave. Your dartboard can be crafted from a wooden pallet, match sticks gathered together, a glue gun, and circular objects to get the design right.
Darts bring everyone together, which makes it the perfect man cave item.
Get this awesome LinkVisions Dartboard with Staple-Free Bullseye on Amazon for well under $50 bucks and you’ll have a pro-level dart set up in your man cave.
21. The Attic Cave
The attic, basement, and garage share a few similarities: their disposition towards being suitable for man caves.
The attic can be used to build a great man cave, and to start, it must be cleaned properly and fumigated to get rid of rodents or any unpleasantness, and then it can be painted and furnished to suit any theme you have in mind.
22. Include a Mini Fridge
You should consider getting a second-hand mini fridge for your man cave, as chilled drinks will definitely hit the spot. A DIY Cooler can be created by turning an old fridge into one and adding ice cubes to cool your drinks. You can paint it or decorate it to suit your aesthetic.
This stainless steel mini fridge with freezer on Amazon is the top-rated mini fridge on Amazon, and currently right around $200 bucks.
23. Poker Man Cave idea
A poker table in your man cave is the perfect way to unwind and relax. The good thing is you can get one on a budget at a junkyard, during sales, and at a yard sale without going for casino prices.
A poker table would transport you to a casino in your own man cave. This is a great idea, especially if you have friends who come around often.
24. The Gamers Cave
If you already have a PlayStation, you can add that here.
If not, you could buy a fairly used version to blow off steam from time to time. You can also invest in a pool table/billiard table, card games, puzzles, and other games.
Going for the man cave idea simply means you are on board with the adventure hence, the need to stack up on affordable game supplies, including scoreboards.
25. The Bar Idea
If you are looking for creative ways to assemble your man cave, try building a bar.
You can spend as low as $500, and the typical bar needs a bar counter, stools, bar top, bar wall, rail, and drip edge. Assembling the bar is relatively easy when you have good wood, iron bars, and the right tools.
The bar is the meeting point where everyone talks about their day, shares experiences, and makes plans. You should put some effort into creating yours or at least making something that serves the purpose.
This upright bar cabinet from Amazon is well under $150, has over 1,000 near-perfect reviews, and has plenty of room for wine and liquor bottles in addition to a holder for glasses.
— Dariusz Ski (@dskiuk2) October 5, 2022
26. The Basement Man Cave Idea
Your basement is a great place to convert into a man cave. Even if it is stuffy due to a lack of proper ventilation (one window or none), you can easily fix that yourself.
Rent all the tools you would need at a fair price, and buy the resources you would need, like concrete or wood, to improve the ventilation. If the ventilation is not an issue, even better. Clean up your basement properly, fix and repair all malfunctions, and decorate as you wish.
27. The Bedroom Man Cave
The idea of a man cave is for you to find peace, and calm and do something fun. That being said, you can use some of the space in your room to achieve this.
Make sure to create space that does not include your bed space and the closet. You can use the walls in your man cave region to demonstrate through posters, pictures, and paintings that this is the fun side of the room. You could add LED lights to give it a different look and buy an inexpensive chair from a flea market or use the one you have.
28. The Surf Cave Idea
People who live at the beach would love this idea. Instead of making a beach shack that houses so much even junk, make your man cave based on the surfing idea. Use old surfboards to decorate, and get creative with beach themes and designs. Sunbeds and beachwear can form part of your aesthetic too.
You can relax and enjoy your surf cave even more when you upgrade it from a shack to a proper cave.
29. Ping-Pong Idea
Get a ping-pong table for almost no cost that can fold to adjust to your man cave space and energize yourself by playing friendly games with pals.
While some ping pong tables cost several hundred, if not thousands of dollars, you can still get a pro-level foldable ping pong table for cheap like this one on Amazon.
It has almost 7,000 reviews and most are 5-star, and it currently is priced well under $300. Comes with the net, but not a paddle and ball set, so click that link to add that to your Amazon cart.
Pickleball is a fun sport that requires a paddle to serve and return.
However, certain paddles are superior to others, and the price range can be rather vast. In a recent article, I wrote about the best pickleball paddle under $50. Click on the link to take you straight to the article.
30. The Musical Theme
Music is a travel in time, and your man cave could be too.
You can achieve a musical theme for your cave with platinum album covers, posters of your favorite stars, timeless records, collectibles from music videos, and repurposed materials. Splash a few musical instruments while you are at it.
But buying a bunch of old 12″ vinyl albums from Goodwill for a buck each can be a very inexpensive way to add wall art; either the covers or the vinyl itself.
Or put down a bunch of vinyl albums on a concrete floor and cover with clear epoxy for a super-cool look.
31. The Book Nook Idea
Make your cave reflect your love for literature by designing it with book themes and timeless excerpts on wooden pallets surrounded by rope lights, then print out some of your favorite covers for designs.
Put some thought into the shelf and invest in quality resources (books, encyclopedias).
These are some of the small man cave ideas you would come across in 2022 for your man cave.
As you do this DIY project on a budget, be careful not to cut costs on things like electricity, so you do not have problems later on.
Nonetheless, you should stick to your budget yet find a way around building your man cave perfectly with a spare room from this plethora of wonderful ideas.
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