The Dapper Den: A Gentleman’s Guide to Styling the Modern Man Cave
You, Sir, have evolved. Gone are the days of drinking milk from the carton, eating week-old burritos, and doing keg-stands (well, except for that one time at Bob’s. That was crazy.) You now stock your fridge with craft beer and kale and scoff at any peers who know not the difference between Woodford Reserve and Jim Beam. The hard work has paid off, my friend, and ladies are enjoying your potential. Heck, one may have even married you. And although she may appreciate your newfound refinement, it doesn’t mean you’ve earned the run of the house. If you’re lucky, you get a room; and if so, don’t revert to bad habits. Keep up the good work with Lofty’s Guide to Styling the Modern Man Cave.
It’s all about the function
A modern man cave should feel comfortable and industrious without sacrificing style. If you’re renovating an existing space, install a soft, but durable, carpet. Add a touch of class by layering it with a large, traditional oriental rug such as this one at 14 x 10 feet. For the walls, consider burlap-wrapped panels trimmed with bronze or warm wood paneling and hang some art. It could be cool vintage prints like this lithograph by Adolph Friedlander or either of these silkscreens by Ken Price – here and here. Burlap and durable carpet can clean up nicely after a rowdy sports night or an ill-fated beer pong reunion.
When choosing furniture, consider the scale of your room and be sure to choose pieces that not only fit the space, but are also multi-purpose. Invest in a simple, solid wood dining table that could easily serve as a workspace, a gaming table, or even an impromptu bar. Style the top with minimal, but useful objects such as this sleek mid-century clock or an architect’s lamp. This small beer stein could even double as a pen and pencil holder. For seating, bring in the leather: club chairs or a sofa, lounge chairs or stools. The pieces should be comfortable, and with time, the leather will distress nicely if properly cared for.
Elevate the play
Whether you’re a card shark, Bobby Fischer’s protègé, or an online gamer, cultivate your man cave with conversation-worthy games. Stock up on a few of your favorite board games and don’t shy away from the classics, such as Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. An antique chess or backgammon set are also nice additions. If you’re feeling particularly flush (pun intended!), these playing cards by Jean Dubuffet are a great investment. A well-styled man cave will also feature a high quality sound system. There’s no fun jamming to 90’s hip hop on speakers from the same generation – Naughty by Nature, anyone? Anyone?!
Honor the happy hour
While we may mourn the end of Mad Men and the antics of Don Draper, let’s not forget the show’s classy culture of personal office bars and cocktail hour. Set up your own bar with a classic bar cabinet and stock it with your favorite liquor, bitters, and tonics. Any self-respecting gentleman will invest in a high-quality decanter, cocktail shaker, ice bucket, and glassware, as well as a book or two on the art of traditional cocktail-making.
You may wish to cap off that stiff drink with a pipe or cigar. Only in the man cave is this habit tolerated, so keep it classy with an old-fashioned American Smoking Collection such as this one with pieces ranging from 1830 to 1930.
Rethink the library
If the man cave is a relatively small space, consider transforming one of the walls into a built-in library unit. Leave a section open for a wall-mounted TV, where the shelves can be used as storage for barware, board games, stereo equipment, and, of course, books. We’re partial to adding in antique books, like these Mark Twain classics, printed in 1937 and illustrated by Norman Rockwell.
You can also use the shelves to display sports trophies and medals, as well as smaller works of art. Depending on your taste, you may prefer contemporary sculpture such as this one by Joseph Beuys or a more traditional bronze like this one of the huntress Diana. Small, framed paintings work as well. We love this mixed media piece by A. George Miller from 1970, measuring only 8.5 x 10 inches.
Keep it tidy
You may be in a man cave, but you are not a caveman. Don’t be afraid to add a few plants into the room to help circulate the air naturally. Disguise trash in a fun container, and if your space is lucky enough to have an adjoining bathroom, stock it with high quality grooming products.