“Man Caves” for Compact Spaces


Is your ultimate dream to have a “man cave” in your home? Man caves aren’t necessarily a new idea, but their popularity in the DIY media room corner has been a hot topic in the recent past. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a man cave, the idea of it is to be designed as an escape for a man of a household to sneak away to and pursue their hobbies, watch sports with friends, and engage in other interests and activities. It really can have anything you want—some entertainment room recliners and a wide-screen television, a ping-pong table, an area to work with tools, or a bar space. You name it, and it’s probably been incorporated by someone. 

As experts in luxury home comfort and theater seating here at Valencia, we make your dream space become a reality no matter the size. Live in a small space? While smaller areas can present some initial challenges—you might not be able to fit media seating for 6 of your best buds, for instance—most rooms that are low on the square footage just require some additional thinking outside the box. Since it’s kind of what we’re all about, we have DIY home theater seating solutions for any size room; you don’t need a huge space for your man cave to be functional and engaging. Read on to find some of our best tips on how to make a small space have a big impact.

What Kind of Man Cave are You Trying to Create?

When you begin to think about designing and putting a room together, especially a smaller one, the first thing to figure out is what type of room are you creating. Is the goal to have a room to kick back and watch sports in, to play or listen to music, or to get together with friends and enjoy movies or TV?  Knowing the end goal will shape how you plan your room and will give you a good baseline for the essentials you’ll need. 

Like we mentioned above, a man cave is something that’s personal to you—it’s meant to be an escape or a sanctuary of sorts to have some alone time in, or to have some friends over for hangout time. When you’re planning the room design, keep in mind it’s a place to relax or tinker away at hobbies and projects.

Obviously, with small spaces, you’ve got to decide your priorities. Maybe you won’t be able to have your multi-hyphenate gaming-sports-center-bar-parlor-lounge setup, but if you settle for a “less is more” mindset, you can easily fit an upscale leather entertainment couch, a singular gaming table of some sort, and a smaller-scale fridge to dole out brews for you and your friends. Essentially, with some smart layout planning, you’ll probably be able to get more out of your small space than you think.

Layout will Determine what Kind of Man Cave Seating is Best in the Space

The key to making the biggest impact in your home media room is to plan the layout. Take a few minutes and measure out your space—this will be your biggest help when you begin to think about entertainment room furniture ideas for your man cave, and it’ll give you some delineated dimensions to work with. 

Once you have the dimensions of your space handy, and you’re ready to start looking at furniture and other décor pieces, take your time to size out all the media room furniture and items you want to include in the room. If you’re shopping online, most retailers will give you the dimensions of their products to help you visualize it in your space. If you’re more of an in-person shopper, head on out, but don’t forget to bring a tape measure with you for when you spot a piece of furniture you have to have. Taking the extra time to measure items will make things easier for you in the long run, and it’ll save you a headache if that espresso-colored entertainment couch you didn’t measure doesn’t end up fitting, and you have to haul it back.

Even in a small space, you can have the best in home theater furniture, like the Valencia Verona model. A 2-seat entertainment room recliner of this model is only about 5 feet wide with a depth of 3 feet—perfect for you and a good friend to hang out, and it’s small-space friendly. With a wall hugging reclining design, top grain leather, LCD lighting and USB charging port, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort or luxury due to lack of space. 

Obviously, hanging out—either alone or with friends—is the main purpose of any man cave. But what kind of hang space you intend your room to be will affect what kind of media room furniture you choose. 

If your man cave is intended for sports-watching and kicking back, you might only need a couple pieces of seating, a television, and a good table to set some drinks, snacks, and you past issues of Sports Illustrated on. If you go for more of a parlor lounge type space, an entertainment room couch, a pool table, and a small bar area to keep stock of you and your friends’ favorite drinks might be all you need. 

No matter what the purpose is, you’ll likely want to get some solid pieces of luxury media room furniture and seating to take advantage of the smaller space—after all, a smaller space means less furniture, meaning you might be able to afford to splurge a little more on upscale goods if there isn’t a ton of furniture to begin with. Home theater sectionals are really cool; they’re like a typical sectional on steroids, but your room might not have the space for that. No worries – go for something a little bit smaller that still screams “luxury,” like a home theater loveseat or two instead. 

Is your room kind of narrow? We’re not talking hallway-narrow, but maybe something that doesn’t offer the most width? A row of 4 seat curved home theater recliners can maximize seat numbers while still giving you ample walking space around the row because of the curvature, and visually it will open the room up a bit and give it a little, much-needed flow. Go with the flow and stay away from wall-hugger entertainment room seating. If you’ve got a narrower space to work with, seating that hits right up against the walls can make an already narrow room feel that much more boxy and corridor-like.

If you’ve got the headroom, home theater risers can give you that stadium theater seating vibe so many of us want while maximizing your use of floor space. You can even use a home theater riser platform to separate your game-watching space from your chilling-and-drinking-beer space. You don’t have to have a giant room for spacious and luxurious man cave seating – you just need to be space savvy.

Take a look online for interior design planning apps and tools to help you really visualize your space. Contacting a professional designer is a great way to get help for your space and receive quality suggestions for contractors, furniture, and decor.

What’s the Style and Theme of Your Man Cave?

Choosing a style and theme is an exciting part of the process when designing your man cave. Limited by space doesn’t mean you have to have limited style! From a modern, sleek look to a classic or old-world vibe, your options are wide open. Despite the term, “man caves” don’t have to be literal caves. Minimalism and clean lines still have a place in man cave design—or you could do a 180° and go for a swanky parlor lounge type vibe. Whatever your aesthetic is, make sure to not sacrifice style when building out your man cave. 

With a style in mind, you can now narrow down a theme. In a small space, it is best to stick to one theme. Whether you choose to feature a car theme, old Hollywood or sports in your home cinema, you can put your unique stamp on the space.

To complete a theme and style, finding the right home theater seating is key. As some of the best entertainment seating manufacturers out there, Valencia has a wide range of luxury home cinema furniture styles that are sure to fit your design. Don’t see the perfect color? Valencia has a whole line of customizable chairs and consoles. Choose two-tone media seating that matches your favorite sports team, or your modern interior design. The material of the seating is also fully customizable—from soft and supple leather seating, to the unparalleled coziness of fabric seating, there’s something for every space. Delivering maximum comfort to spaces big and small, Valencia’s media room furniture has you covered.

When looking to maximize a smaller space, choosing neutral and mid-range tones for your furniture, walls and flooring will open up the room. Stick with colors that are light and airy—think beiges, whites, pastels, or lighter shades of grey. These will all not only make your space warm and inviting, they’ll also work with your smaller space and help open up the room visually. While dark colors like brown leather theater seating often hide spills and wear and are chic and stylish in their own right, they can make a small space feel tight and heavy, weighing the room down visually. Trust us when we say the darker ends of the color spectrum have their place and time—just not in smaller rooms. That being said, if you’re adamant and dead-set on having your favorite dark, cherry-red entertainment couch, go for it, but use that as an accent piece and style around that seating with lighter colors that match to help uplift the visuals in the room.

White theater seating is bright and modern—just make sure to add some pops of color in your room if you decide to choose a larger, stark-white piece of furniture to help offset it. Grey theater seats lend a clean and unique look, and will ensure that a man cave decorated with posters and signs on the walls doesn’t feel too busy. Gravitating towards neutral colors like white or grey, while decorating with other colors for smaller items and posters will give your eyes something easy to rest on and help tie things together visually. If something totally neutral or too visually light just isn’t what you’ve envisioned for the space, we even make two-tone leather seats, which can lend a retro vibe or a sporty vibe to any dedicated man cave. 

Another important factor when designing your DIY home theater is flooring. When choosing flooring for a man cave in a small or mixed-use media space, carpet can help control sound.  On the opposite end, a nice laminate floor with accent rugs can be easy to maintain and lend more style to the home media room. The warm, wood tones of laminate would also pair well with more neutral colors, and keep your space looking warm and hospitable.

Getting into the Technical Stuff

The perfect man cave features fun technology and sound and visual gadgets—think radiating and pulsating neon light signs, state of the art sound systems to deliver high-definition sound for sports matches and movies, and smart refrigerators capable of delivering pertinent information to you at the touch of a finger. However, fitting all of that tech into a small space can be challenging sometimes. The best idea is to mount and build in as many tech gadgets possible into walls, cabinetry and ceiling units. 

Compact sound systems such as Eastporters Denon D-T1 packs a punch and delivers crisp, clean audio every single time.  And rather than having a large screen taking up space on a wall, try a projector system with a retractable screen like the Optoma CinemaX. Retractable projector screens give you the added benefit of having additional wall space when they’re not in use. Trying using that extra area for hanging up posters or prints to give your man cave some added flair.

Lighting can play a large part to open up a compact space.  Using track lighting and daylight bulbs brighten up a room and create a light and open feeling in a home media room. Track lighting is an excellent choice from a design perspective, because it gives you the ability to twist, tilt, and turn the lighting to point down and shine on certain features or areas of your man cave that you literally want to highlight. Dimmable can lights are also great because they take up zero overhead space, light the room effectively, and imitate movie theater lighting perfectly, allowing you to set the ambiance for the occasion. Avoid using things like floor lamps, as they take up valuable floor space that you could otherwise use for furniture that has more of a dedicated purpose.

Other Top Tips for a Perfect Man Cave in a Small Space

In a compact space, choose one feature furniture piece for the room. Valencia’s signature home theater seats are the perfect centerpiece for your dream media room. With a wide swath of entertainment room seats for sale, ranging from leather to fabric in an array of colors, there’s something for everyone.

Using mirrors and reflective surfaces in a room provides a spacious illusion. Mounting larger decorative mirrors on a wall gives you an easy way to make your space look larger than it is. With light bouncing back from the mirror and an image of your entire room reflecting back, mirrors can actually trick your eyes into thinking a space is bigger than it actually is—pretty neat, right? 

And one more thing – make sure you find a way to get that mini-fridge in there for the snacks and beer we all know are integral to watching those Sunday football games with your best friends.