In a lot of the old homes that Andy and I renovate together, there are a lot more rooms than you’d find in modern homes. Instead of just a living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedrooms, there might also be a family room, sitting room, drawing room, or parlor. The other day, as we were looking at a huge, gorgeous house that I’ve had my eye on, we started talking about all the ways a modern family might use some of these rooms. Andy mentioned a man cave, of course. I started to laugh, but apparently scientific studies have shown that men really do need a space of their own at home.
As you work on your next renovation, you might not be deciding which room will be your buyers’ man cave or if they’ll have one at all. However, I found this information really interesting, and I think it might affect how I approach renovation designs on some of our houses. Check out a few of the reasons that scientists and other experts have found that men really do need their “caves.”
A Space to Regulate Emotions
According to psychology professor Sam Gosling of the University of Texas, having a space of your own that you govern completely—including all décor—is incredibly good for your mental and emotional well-being. So, whether a man has a say in the décor of the rest of the house or not, having his own space where he has full control over it, and spending time in that space, will help him, as Gosling puts it, “regulate his emotions.”
The key to this emotional regulation, according to Gosling, is in the design of the space. While a man may love his family and all of the décor in the house, he doesn’t have control over the spaces in the rest of the house. And, if decorating his man cave is a joint effort or involves a bunch of compromises, he won’t feel like he has control there, either.
If he’s allowed to set up a space for relaxation and emotional regulation on his own, he’ll create the space he needs to improve his mental and emotional health with just a little bit of time away from it all on a regular basis.
Different Kinds of Man Caves
As a result, every effective man cave you see will be completely different from every other man cave. Some men prefer to surround themselves with old leather-bound books, a classic billiards table, and a couple of smoking chairs by a roaring fire. For others, it’s all about a gaming console and their favorite football team’s banner hung across the wall. Others will have a completely different design in mind.
Women Need Personal Space Too
Men aren’t the only ones who need personal space that represents them, either. Women sometimes call them craft rooms or some other name, but it’s just as important for women to design some personal space into their homes, as well.
Basically, everyone needs their own man cave. Kids get theirs in their bedrooms, but parents and couples who share a bedroom don’t have a built-in sanctuary. So, while I agree with Professor Gosling about the man cave, I think the key lesson is to design homes where each member of the household can find and create their own personal space.