We all want a space to call our own, and if your house is full, that space may be relegated to the garage. If you’re working out of a small garage, you know how difficult it can be to set up your space just how you like it. You don’t have a lot of room to work with, and that can be frustrating.
Today, we’re going to run through some ideas that should help you maximise your space. Working from the floor up, we’ll talk about a variety of things you can do to make the garage really feel like your man cave. Using your space efficiently is critical to getting your man cave right, and we’re going to help you use it the best you can.
Idea 1: Clean Up and Seal Your Floors
With this man cave being in the garage, you’re most likely going to be working with concrete floors. And those floors are probably going to be pretty crusty. While some guys are ok with nasty, gross floors, if you want to take pride in your space, you need to clean things up.
Thankfully, with the help of commercial products, cleaning up concrete floors is pretty simple. This process can take anywhere from 5-10 days, and you’ll need to clear off the floor to do it. Make sure you can take the time to clean them up, and make sure you have a place for the things that usually live in your garage.
This is a three-step process, and for each step, you’ll need a different agent. First up, you’ll need a degreaser to clean off the floors. After that, you’ll need an etching solution to open up the pores of the concrete. Finally, you’ll use paint, epoxy, or clearcoat to seal the concrete and protect it against further damage.
So, let’s run through this process in a little more detail.
Step 1: Degrease And Scrub The Floors
If your garage has been used as a garage before you decided to make it a man cave, there’s probably a lot of oil, grease, and various other stains on your floor. This is where the degreaser comes in. It’s a solvent designed to break down and clean off any type of stain that you would typically find on a concrete floor.
You should be able to find a concrete-specific degreaser at your local hardware store; if you can’t, they should be able to order one for you. I would recommend an environmentally friendly one, not only for the environment but also for you.
They aren’t that expensive, and you won’t be in as much danger using the product.
Regardless of the product, you’ll need to read and follow the instructions on the back. Those instructions should include mixing ratios, wait time between coats, and scrubbing instructions. Apply your first coat, scrub your floors, wash it off, and check your results.
If you’re not happy with the results, try a second scrub. If you’re still not satisfied with the results, contact the product manufacturer and see if they can help. However, if you are happy with the results, you’re ready to move on to step two.
Step 2: Prep The Floors For Finish
To paint or seal concrete, you need to prep the concrete for the finish. This used to involve using dangerous chemicals to open the concrete’s pores, making it ready for paint. However, thanks to Rustoleum’s Clean and Etch, you can now use a much safer and equally effective product.
Rustoleum’s Clean and Etch is a perfect solution for prepping concrete floors. Of course, you will still need to wear safety gear and have ventilation in the space you are working in. However, it is not nearly as harmful as other etching products, such as muriatic acid. Just follow the instructions on the container, and you’ll be good to go!
Step 3: Finish The Floors
There are several ways you can go when finishing your concrete floors, and I just want to do a quick overview here. You can go with a clear concrete sealer, paint, or epoxy on the floors. There a couple things to consider here, namely the look you’re going for in your man cave and the humidity of the area you live in.
A concrete sealer is going to give you just a protective clear coat over the whole floor. You’ll see the floor as it is, which will leave you with an industrial look. If the industrial look is not what you’re going for, I’d go with paint or epoxy.
Both paint and epoxy are applied similarly, even though they are chemically different products. If you want a particularly vibrant color, I would go with paint. You can get any color you like in any finish you like; however, use something designed for concrete. Regular paints will chip and won’t last very long on concrete.
If you are ok with a limited range of colors and finishes, I would go with an epoxy. It should be more durable than paint, and it will look very nice on the floor. While the range of finishes is smaller than paint, some epoxies come with aggregates that add some color and pattern to the floor. If you want to learn more about applying epoxy to a concrete floor, check out this article from hunker here.
The final thing to consider is the humidity of the area you live in. If you live in a high-humidity area, you’re going to need to be extra patient. The humidity will extend the dry time of whatever finish you use. Be strategic and try to pick low-humidity times to apply the finish.
Whatever method you decide to go with, just remember, be patient. This is a process that will take a little bit of time, but it is worth it. Do the proper research for whatever method you decide to go with, take your time in doing it, and you will have a man cave with great looking floors that will last a long time.
Idea 2: Keep Your Man Cave Cool In The Summer and Hot In The Winter
No matter where you are, garages are not known for a moderate climate. They’re ovens in the summer, freezers in the winter, and only usable in the spring and fall. But you don’t want to limit your ability to enjoy your man cave to just two seasons!
So, consider picking up a small air conditioner/heater/dehumidifier combo. Most hardware stores have units like these, and they are perfect for small garages. They are designed for small rooms that aren’t hooked up to central A/C, and they’ll keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
I won’t recommend a brand, simply because there are many different features designed for different spaces. You’ll need to do a little research, but I am sure there is one out there that is perfect for your small garage man cave.
Idea 3: Seating Corner
Even though you’re in a small garage, you’re still going to need some seating. Your best bet will probably be having a central seating area on one end of your garage. You can have some couches and some benches around a table, with a TV up against the wall.
This begs the question, what’s going to be the best kind of seating? Some smaller couches and a couple armchairs should do the trick. You’ll be able to fit 4-6 guys in the same area, and you all should still be comfortable.
Idea 4: Mobile Bar For A Small Garage
In a small garage, space is a premium. You may not have room for a bar, and that can be disappointing. So, rather than trying to cram a bar into your small man cave, consider another option.
A bar cart is an excellent alternative to a standard bar in a small man cave. You can still store and serve drinks, and you can easily tuck this into a corner when you’re done using it. It’s cheaper, faster, and smaller than building a bar.
This bar cart looks perfect for a man cave, with a clean but rustic design. It’s black metal and rustic wood finish fit right in with any man cave style. It has more than enough space for your drinks and glasses, and at $79.99, you can’t beat the price for what you’re getting. If you’re interested in picking one up, you can get one here.
Idea 5: Intelligent TV and Sound Setup
With this being a small garage, you have to be conscious of how much space your things take up. Whether they are built into the wall or free-floating, TV cabinets take up a lot of space. So, rather than having a space-consuming set up, consider mounting them directly to the wall.
Having them on the wall limits how much space they take up, and it’s relatively easy to do. Most TVs come with mounting hardware and installation instructions. And most sound systems either come with installation hardware, or you can buy aftermarket hardware that will work just as well. This helps you use your garage more efficiently when space is at a premium.
Idea 6: Workshop Corner
Setting up your man cave in a small garage requires efficient use of space, especially if the garage is multi-purpose. If you’re a craftsman and a beer aficionado, you’re not going to want to sacrifice either of those activities. Assuming you already have half your garage set up for hanging out and drinking beer, you’re going to want to set the other half up for using your tools.
Divide The Space With A Curtain
Whatever you do in the trades, it’s going to make a mess. Woodworking kicks up a lot of dust, working on cars is full of grease and oil, and any other craft in between makes some kind of mess. So, to help contain that mess to the workshop side of your garage, hang a curtain on a rail wherever you want to divide the space.
The curtain helps contain the dust, and the rail allows you to slide it back and forth as you want it open or closed. Doing something like this would be pretty straightforward. Sliding rail kits are pretty easy to find online, and all you have to do is screw it into a rafter. Find a curtain you like for the height of your garage, attach it to the rail, and you’re good to go.
Utilize Your Vertical Space
In America, most garages are somewhere between 9’-12’ tall. This means you have more than enough vertical space to store your tools and infrequently used household items. You can purchase garage-oriented vertical storage at your local home center.
Using your vertical space well is essential to getting the most out of your garage. You’ll have to use a ladder to access your storage, but that’s a small price to pay for getting the most out of your small garage.
Buy Jobsite Tools and Use A Workbench
This applies more to building things out of wood than other trades, but I think it is still worth saying. Rather than buying large, heavy, professional tools, buy smaller jobsite tools designed for the contractor and hobbyist.
These tools have a lot of benefits, especially for the small garage. First, they’re a lot cheaper than professional tools, giving you more cash to put into your man cave. Second, they a lot smaller and can be easily stored on shelves rather than needing a dedicated spot on the floor. Finally, they are usually pretty light (for a tool) and can be set up on your workbench with ease.
Speaking of the workbench, it’s worth having one in your shop. Whether you have a store-bought one or make your own, it’s key to making the most of your small garage. Your tools can be stored on one side of your garage, and your workbench/workspace can be on the other.
This helps you keep your space clean by separating the storage and working areas. It allows you to have a dedicated spot for working on projects. Workbenches keep your projects and tools up off the ground, which is a lot better for your back, regardless of your age.
Setting up a corner in your garage for working on projects and storing your tools is a great way to fully utilise your small garage. It leaves half your space for hanging out with your friends and the other half for working on any projects you like. Remember, just be smart about the way your store your tools and work on your projects, and you’ll have more than enough space in your small garage to work on whatever you like.
Idea 7: Soundproof the Garage Door
Hanging out in the man cave can get pretty loud sometimes. Whether it’s you and your buddies having a good time, watching a football game, or just enjoying some music, it can get pretty raucous. While that’s not a bad thing if you’re the one in the man cave, your neighbor might not appreciate it so much.
So, if you want to avoid having the cops called on you in the middle of the night, you may want to take some steps to soundproof your garage door. Most of what I’m telling you I learned from Rollaway Garage Doors here, and I’m going to run through the highlights.
There are a few ways you can go about it, but one thing to note is that you are going to lose the ability to open and close your garage door. So, if it’s important that you can still open that door easily, you won’t be able to do much to soundproof. But, if your garage is going to be a dedicated man cave, it’s worth taking the time to soundproof it.
Option 1: Seal The Gaps Around The Door
Garage doors often have gaps around the edges where it contacts your house. This lets sound and air in and out, which isn’t good for climate control or soundproofing. Use tape to seal them off, and this will help not only with sound but also with climate control. This will help some with sound, but you will need to do more if you really want to soundproof.
Option 2: Moving Blankets or Curtains
The garage door itself is pretty thin, and sound passes through it with ease. To slow or stop this transfer of sound, you can hang moving blankets or heavy curtains in front of the door. The moving blankets will be the more economical option, but they won’t look as good. If you are willing to spend a little more, you can use heavy curtains and pick some that will fit your man cave well.
Option 3: Acoustic Panels
Rather than curtains or moving blankets, acoustic panels are designed for soundproofing and improving the acoustics in a room. Acoustic panels are a more expensive option, but they offer some of the best soundproofing you can find if you are willing to spend the money. More than that, they will improve the sound of your room far better than the alternatives.
Regardless of the method you choose, soundproofing is an essential part of making your man cave usable. It allows you to enjoy the space without bothering your neighbors, and it improves the experience from within the man.
Setting up a man cave in a small garage can be difficult, but you can make the most of your space if you do it intelligently. There’s plenty on this list to get you started, working from the floors up. If you’re patient, use your space wisely, and cater it to the style you like, you’ll have a great man cave you can enjoy with your friends in no time.