My Renovation Magazine Special Feature
Everyone wants a space to call their own and over the years the concept of a ‘man cave’ has evolved. Research* shows that most men spend an average of 24 days a year tinkering and pottering in a shed or garage – or even more (26 days!) if you’re aged between 45 to 55.
‘Man caves’ no longer contain the stereotypical beer fridge, barbells and basic décor – they are now just as likely to be highly versatile and carefully designed spaces.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, for example, carrying out messy repair projects on the kitchen table is usually frowned upon by the rest of the family but if you do have your own bit of space, transforming it into a DIY haven for you to escape to is easier than you might think.
Start by taking a look at the size and shape of the available area, your aim is to create a well-organised workshop with plenty of storage and work space for all your projects. You might find it useful to separate the room into different zones and design the space accordingly. This will also help you decide if you need to rearrange any of the electrics.
In a shed or garage, you may also need to consider installing insulation and heating. A forced air heater – either gas or electric – which uses a fan to push warm air throughout the room – can be put on a time control to keep the space warm during the colder months. Make sure you think about ventilation too as garages and sheds are prone to condensation, which can cause problems with rot and mildew. Windows are most effective but fans or natural ventilation systems are also worth looking into.
Keep it clean
If you want to keep your workshop extra tidy and keep dust and debris away from your electronics, a dust extractor is a great way to keep surfaces clear.
Recycled PVC floor tiles also make cleaning much easier and are a good option as they are more comfortable than a concrete floor and provide more insulation. The tiles lock together easily and come in different colours, so you can customise them to suit your own style.
You don’t need a gigantic workshop to make the most of your projects. You just need to use your existing space wisely. A workbench with storage space is low cost and will help you keep your most frequently used tools at the ready. Organise your garage shelving by storing smaller items such as nails in small storage bins. Use a multi-tool holder to store all the small shop tools and accessories such as screwdrivers which can end up cluttering your workbench. Clear bins and baskets, mounted on our ‘FlexiTrack’ wall storage system, make it easy to quickly identify what’s inside.
Using storage space on your walls and ceiling with a specialised storage system will allow you to squeeze the most storage space out of a small room.
Light it up
Good lighting is essential and luckily, it’s not too difficult or costly to upgrade your lighting with ceiling-mounted fluorescent light fixtures. Remember, fluorescent lights are temperature dependent. If it’s cold enough in the garage, they may never come up to temperature and might not be as bright as you might want. You can solve that problem by using a reflector which will trap hot air and make them warm up. If you have a bigger budget, you could install a few long strips of adhesive-backed LED light strips throughout the area. They are temperature stable, won’t be affected by vibrations and will last for a very long time.
Just because your ‘man cave’ happens to be outside the main part of the house and it’s dedicated to DIY work doesn’t mean it should look bare. Pick a colour scheme for your space in order to reflect your style and how you use the space. Natural colours, especially grey are ideal for creating a more industrial, uncluttered vibe. However, if you fancy a touch of colour, then going bold is a good option. If your ‘cave’ is in a shed, use stains and varnishes to liven up the walls.
You could mount a TV on the wall if you like background noise while you’re tinkering and ensure all cables are hidden away by using a cable tidy.
There is no need to stick to basics with your ‘man cave’. Don’t be afraid to customise the space to add character.
Your cave, your rules!