Transform Your Basement into a Masculine Retreat

Basement with fireplace and barHistorically, basements are a place to hide clunky utilities such as water heaters and furnaces. But thanks to modern technology, basements are more than just a hole in the ground. With the help of backhoes and front loaders, architects are designing basements to be a part of the living space. Transforming this unfinished room into a useful space increases the living area and value of a home. According to the experts at This Old House, building out your basement is a more cost-effective option than adding on to the structure—especially if you’re looking to stake a claim for a manly space of your own. Turn your basement into a personal retreat with these inspirations.

Start Smart

Basements are often full of structural obstacles and other challenges. Take time first to plan the space and identify areas that need repair. The recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to install a fire detector in the basement and test for radon gas, as well. Room Design from MagicHour enables you to use your iPhone to plan the layout of the basement while taking into account structural anomalies, utilities and the workable living space. The app is available for $3.99 for iPhones and $7.99 for iPads.

Photo by PseudoGil via Flickr

Go Back in Time

When you’re ready to create a vibe for the room, consider picking a decor theme that transports you to the good ol’ days—whatever that might mean to you. How about a speakeasy, complete with a mahogany bar, fedoras on the walls, a humidor and a poker table? Or, consider a 50s diner theme with black-and-white checkered floor, red window shades, a chrome bar and bubble jukebox. If you’re a car buff, consider an old-style garage complete with a chrome counter for a desk and an old wall clock. Website Instructables shows you how to recycle old tires into a table to complete the room.

Photo by PanoramaTowers via Wikimedia Commons

Get Wired

Bring on the high-tech entertainment—a must for any man cave. Dedicate one wall to a flat-screen TV and home theater setup. You can line the wall on each side of the television with shelves to hold collectibles or sports memorabilia. Pick window treatments from the that match your favorite team colors. Coordinate the furniture to match the window treatments or go with dark leather theater chairs. Don’t forget a few game consoles to complete the geek appeal.

Photo by jheffryswid d e s i g n via Flickr

Raise a Glass

If you’re a sports nut, dedicate the space to enjoying a game and lifting a beer mug to your favorite team. The focal point of the room should be the bar complete with a Kegorator or beer cooler. If space is a challenge, build a small counter bar with just a few stools to make the most out of the room. DIY Network offers a tutorial on how to build a simple wood bar. Embed sports posters, flyers, tickets and other flat team memorabilia into the surface of the bar. Place a flat screen on the wall behind the counter for a real sports bar feel.

Paint the walls an earthy color and decorate them with bar lights, posters or even musical instruments. If room allows, add a pool or foosball table to finish it off.


Kyle Richardson

Landlord, DIY expert, father