24 Hours to Improv Your Man Cave
Improv (short for improvisation) simply means making something out of nothing. It challenges you to work with what you already have to get the best result. Lots of people postpone the construction of their man cave due to a lack of budget, lack of time, or both. If you count yourself among them, I want to challenge you and a friend to take 24 hours to improv your man cave.
With a hard time limit and a friendly dose of rivalry, you’ll be absolutely surprised at how quickly your man cave falls together! Simply follow these quick steps to get the basic skeleton of your man cave going and even flesh it out a little. At the end of the exercise, compare man caves and see who wins! Before you begin, make sure you have a proper location. A simple shed works, and you can see some further info on making a man cave shed here. Otherwise, a basement, attic, garage, and guest room work great. As long as you don’t take over a bedroom or living room, it works!
Step One – Pick a Theme (TIME: 1 HOUR)
Once you start with your improv man cave, the first thing you should do is pick out the theme. What do you want to use your man cave for? What sort of things do you like? Some common themes include rustic or western themes, gaming themes, sports themes, and steampunk themes. With an ideal location, you may also consider man cave workshops, garages, and studio retreats. Rather than prioritize work and how productive your room is, think about how you enjoy rooms.
Your theme determines what sort of furniture you acquire, colors you focus on, and what sort of decor you choose. If this is your first time messing with interior design (which happens with a lot of men), don’t sweat it. This guide covers all the basics you need to know!
Step Two – Acquire Furniture (TIME: 5 HOURS)
You only have 24 hours to create your man cave, so furniture shopping is not usually an option. Plus, you probably want to keep your budget as low as possible. For this, I recommend asking family what sort of furniture they have laying around that they want out of their homes. Trolling around neighborhoods for garage sales and abandoned furniture also works on a low budget, and timing your challenge to coincide with a large disposal day further assists. Lastly, visit antique shops and see what they offer that might fit your theme. Your essentials include a fridge, couch, entertainment system, and recliner. Paint and rugs also help.
Again, avoid actual furniture stores, since the employees will upsale their already expensive products and insist you check out them all. You don’t have time for that when every other method I described also helps cut down time on your decor. As with all old or used furniture, check for signs of pests before bringing it into your home. The worst offenders include lice and bedbugs. Roaches and fleas can be dealt with using a tiny amount of pest control, but lice and bedbugs take a lot of work. Look for empty egg cases throughout. Sometimes the bugs also hang out in margins of the cushions. Keep infested material far, far away from your home—preferably where you found it!
Step Three – Acquire Decor (TIME: 3 HOURS)
You probably picked up a little bit of material while searching for furniture. Now, look at the gaps in your room and see what needs to be filled. Your decor should match your theme, of course, but also include things that you enjoy. Rather than focus on ‘manly’ things, look for things that serve a personal function for you. Little pieces of decor like wall-mounted bottle openers, neon signs, or one of your favorite posters make the room feel much more cozy. If it doesn’t match, don’t worry. That’s what the next step is for.
Step Four – Reunify Theme (TIME: 3 HOURS)
Your room contains all the basics, but chances are, everything looks mismatched. When you look for furniture on such short notice, of course they belong to different sets! To make your furniture match, look into some furniture covers. This is when you’re allowed to visit a furniture or home improvement store. I highly doubt your local supermarket will carry what you need.
Along with making furniture match, you want to match your decor to the room. Take note of the most dominant colors in the room. Usually, black stands out the most. While choosing your unifying decor and furniture covers, take your main colors into account. Lastly, if you find something that matches your theme and your colors, purchase it!
Step Five – Throw in Essentials (TIME: 2 HOURS)
It’s time to make a checklist and make sure you have everything! As I already explained, you need four essential pieces of furniture—your couch, recliner, fridge, and entertainment system. However, with only that small bit of stuff, your room looks rather empty. You also want to throw in wall decor, a place for warm (non-refrigerated) snacks, a rug, a coffee table, and a sign on the entrance of your cave to distinguish it from the rest of your home. Do you have everything? Then congrats, you created a fully-functional man cave!
Step Six – Test Everything (UP UNTIL ONE HOUR BEFORE DEADLINE)
Now that you put everything in place, you should have enough extra time to enjoy your man cave for a bit. Set up all of your electronics, make sure the fridge works, make sure your couch is comfortable, and so on. The main purpose of a man cave is to help you relax, and after all the scrambling you did today, you need relaxation more than anything! While sitting and enjoying your new room, you may find little things that bother you. Use this time to fix any of these small problems that crop up. Again, you take plenty of time during the day for this task, so running late should be no issue! This step helps ensure that your man cave is up to snuff in terms of functionality, so don’t skip it!
Step Seven – Clean and Organize (ONE HOUR)
The last step to improvising your man cave includes organizing and cleaning. While a man cave works just fine with everything put wherever you want, that’s no way to win your little competition! Instead, all of your decor should look deliberately placed. An easy way to do this is to place smaller objects in groups of odd numbers and to the side of your tables and surfaces. Books are an easy example—put three on one side of your coffee table, stacked from largest to smallest.
With art, vary your sizes, but make sure at least some of their corners meet. For a little bit of inspiration, look at how artists lay out their comic book panels. Organizing your images works the same way! Another fun way to organize things is by color. Whether you group your DVDs in a rainbow pattern or stick blocks of colors together, it looks nice and organized!
Wrapping Up the 24 Hours to Improv Your Man Cave
Although I set this up as a competition, all of these steps help found every man cave in the world. Sure, it starts off looking a little mismatched, but time will help you sort out the unwanted clutter from the things that belong in your man cave. By taking such a limited amount of time to build, you also know that it takes a mere day to drastically improve your man cave if you desire!
Ultimately, I hope these 24 hours to improv your man cave helped you learn the foundations of interior design and why—in this day and age—every man deserves his own ma n cave. This little 24 hour venture is truly worth it, and you feel that as soon as you finish! Whether you won this little contest or not, enjoy the fruits of your labor and chill out in your new cave for many more years!