Turning Your Garage Into an Inviting and Productive Man Cave

by Linden on November 19, 2009

Front of GarageSo, you have a garage. It may be empty with a concrete slab floor and unfinished walls. Or, it could be laden with boxes and stored items, bicycles, car parts, and barely enough room for you to maneuver through on your way somewhere else. Whatever the current state of your garage, it can be resurrected into your ultimate cave – your very own space in which to escape household activity or to create something of mechanical genius.

Below are six steps for creating your perfect lair:

  1. Dream the dream:
    Decide if you want to park your car inside the garage, or if the garage will become more of a living and work space. Determine what your ultimate lair will offer: Will you build things, and “tinker” with your toys? Do you want to have a social place for kicking back with a few buds and brews? Or, will you need both – and room to park the minivan?
  2. Remove all of the junk and get down to business:
    After clearing out your future cave, finish the surfaces. If you need to finish the walls (drywall), install flooring, and insulate your garage, make it happen. You will want to be comfortable in your garage whatever the weather, being warm in the winter and cool in the summer. So, really think this part through. Flooring, finished walls, and insulation are not just better looking, they add to energy efficiency and will make your space more inviting, easy-to-clean, and enjoyable in the long run.
  3. Light ‘er up:
    You probably will not want to stick with the basic lighting of a typical garage, particularly if you intend to spend time doing engine rebuilds or even playing poker alongside the glow of a flat screen television. Whether you prefer industrial or homey lighting, now is the time to upgrade beyond the exposed 60-watt with the pull string.
  4. Get organized:
    According to what you will be doing in your lair, map out your storage and mechanical structure needs. Do you intend to be working on your vintage car and need a mechanical lift? Or, are workbenches, tool boxes on wheels, or plastic storage bins and shelves more your style? Plan for the storage you need now, along with room for expansion.
  5. Have fun now and later:
    Whether you intend to use your garage for engine tinkering or more social reasons, shouldn’t you design the space so you feel more at home in your cave? Splurge on a great plasma t.v. or sound system, to help coax yourself off the living room sofa on NFL Sundays by enabling game watching while changing the oil. Add an easy to clean sofa or chairs for taking breaks (or a short nap at half time). If you frequently use the Internet to order parts or for schematics, set up a stable place for your computer.
  6. Satisfy your cravings:
    No man cave is complete without some form of refreshment. Whatever your “vice,” having a refrigerator or refreshment area will make your time in the garage much more enjoyable and convenient.

Whether you intend to use your garage productively or as a quiet area for you to lounge while watching baseball and exercising full control over your very own remote, just remember to craft your space into a comfortable, organized, well-lit and inspiring place. Have fun with it, and whatever your cave dreams might be, you can create a place that is suitable for much more than just parking the car.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick February 7, 2011 at 10:49 am

Some tips on making a garage livable. Temperature extremes, poor lighting, bugs and ugly floors are the norm in a garage, so here’s a way to help that.

1) Attic insulation above garage
2) Radiant barrier in attic
3) Large tubular skylight 18-20″
4) Insulated garage door (if steel)
5) Foam insulation in walls that are external
6) Coax drop (TV, FM), RJ-45 (Computer Networking)
7) Electric plugin radiator
8) Large ceiling light(s) (48-96″ strip or multi-fixture tracklights)
9) VCT tile on floor
10) Seal cracks/gaps
11) Paint walls with gloss paint. Flat paint shows scuffs easily and is hard to clean.

Mike October 20, 2011 at 10:49 am

Awesome write up!

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