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Make room for Dad! 5 tips for an attractive man cave

Is Dad desperate for a room of his own? Give the man what he wants — as long as he follows a few simple rules. Man caves don't have to be dark spaces filled with neon beer signs and furniture rejects. An elegantly designed room fit for a king is easily attainable with some guidelines. Check out these tips to get the project started.1. Don’t devalue the space just because it’s a basement. “
Norm Lecuyer
Norm Lecuyer
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Is Dad desperate for a room of his own? Give the man what he wants — as long as he follows a few simple rules. Man caves don't have to be dark spaces filled with neon beer signs and furniture rejects. An elegantly designed room fit for a king is easily attainable with some guidelines. Check out these tips to get the project started.

1. Don’t devalue the space just because it’s a basement. “Put the same effort into the design as you would a renovation to other areas of your home, both for Dad and the resale value,” says Norm Lecuyer, president of Just Basements, an interior design and construction company in Ottawa, Ontario, that specializes in renovating basements. “Gone are the days when it was fine for Dad to throw up some wood paneling and call it a day,” he says. Instead, install good quality finishes and materials to create an attractive space.

2. Be prepared to consult a pro. “Basements are difficult to design because there are so many posts, beams, ducts and furnaces,” Lecuyer says. “All these things get in the way and it is so easy for the space to become awkward and weird.” If you’re not comfortable working around them, an architect or designer can help make the space work.

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3. Create a well-designed lighting plan. “An opportunity for good lighting will make the space more comfortable,” Lecuyer says. “You can always dim the lights while watching the game, but you can’t suddenly add more lamps.” For important areas like the family room or game rooms, Lecuyer suggests creating multiple light sources, like recessed pot lighting plus a ceiling light or wall sconces. “It allows for different light settings depending on the activity,” he says. “Add dimmer switches to control individual lighting zones.”

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4. Have some fun with wall color. “I don’t subscribe to painting it white because it’s a basement,” Lecuyer says. “Most of our customers have a little more fun with color than they might upstairs. The basement is a fun place to go, so you can be less formal with your paint colors. Also, add some texture with a stone wall, fireplace surround or wood wall details.”

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5. Consider themes carefully. “Themes can be fine, but only if you’re staying in the home for a long time,” Lecuyer says. “If you’re selling the house in three years, the potential buyers may not want a bat cave.” If other family members will be using the space, zone your areas so Dad’s chosen theme is strongest in areas he’ll use most, like around the pool table, and tone it down in common areas, like the big-screen TV used for family movie night. This way the space appeals to mom and kids as well. “Most man caves eventually become where teenagers hang out,” Lecuyer adds,” so that will solve the issue of transitioning the space then, too.”

Ellen Sturm Niz is an editor and writer living, parenting, and working in New York City. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.