35 Garage Man Cave Ideas on a Budget
You've been dreaming about having a man cave of your own for years, but the problem has always been finances. But, contrary to popular belief, a man cave doesn't necessarily have to break the bank. You'll have to be selective about what you put in there, but you can still afford it and make it awesome, even if it's a space you carve out in your garage. In this one, we'll give you a list of the best possible garage man cave ideas on a budget.
1) Use Your Laptop
A laptop is a great, all-purpose resource. You can connect it to your TV, and use it as a gaming system. With streaming services, you can have a functioning television and gaming setup for little more than the cost of a laptop. While this is a bit of an investment if you do not already own one, it pays off in the lack of monthly cable bills. This laptop is inexpensive and works well enough to stream on or play PC games. If you are on a tight budget to buy a new laptop, consider buying a refurbished one.
2) Indoor Football Field
One of the staples of a garage man cave on a budget is do-it-yourself projects. The materials are generally cheaper than the finished project, so you can save a lot of money this way. This video shows some projects you can do with pallet wood. Pallets are one of the best materials to use on a budget because you can get them free at many places that get bulk orders. After disassembling the pallet, you can use the wood for a table, as in the video, or for many other things.
3) Install Drywall
Your garage may have been used for living space before, but if you are on a low budget, it is likely an unfinished garage. To finish your garage, the most important element is to add drywall. Drywall helps keep out drafts, particularly if it is taped. It also creates a nicer space, since you will have flat walls instead of exposed studs and can add paint or hangings where you want them. If you need to add outlets or a jack for the TV, it is easier to put them in first. Make sure to cut out spaces for outlets.
A TV is a staple of man caves everywhere, and your budget man cave should not be an exception. Unfortunately, your cable or satellite may only cover the living room TV, or one or two others in bedrooms. If you do not want to pay extra for a cable box and you do not have the technology to cast images from your phone to your TV, this simple HDMI cord will be invaluable. Just plug it into your laptop when gaming or streaming and what is on your laptop screen will show on your TV.
5) DIY Convert Old Items
Look around your garage for a minute. Are there any old tools, boxes, or other things you want to get rid of? Do not throw them away. If you happen to have your old wooden toolbox, or one that came from your father, grandfather, or a flea market, this DIY project is for you. The simple project shows you how to clean and paint an old toolbox to make a drink caddy. You can also use furniture paint to change the color, or add a drink holder.
6) Add Insulation
If your garage is not insulated, this is the time to do it. It may seem like an extra expense, but having the space insulated will save a lot of money in the long run. In many areas, an insulated garage will not need any heat source, except on the coldest days. If you do need a heat source, the money spent on fuel will be greatly reduced. Insulation is also a good method for soundproofing an area, so you can watch a game with the volume turned up, work on a loud project, or play loud video games.
7) Floor Lamps
If your garage lighting is inadequate or too harsh for a man cave, consider replacing it or adding new lights. If you cannot afford a full renovation, this floor lamp will let you light only the man cave sections. You can move it wherever you need it without any installation, and it gives off a softer light than most shop lights. You do not need to remove or replace old lights, and can still use them if you have a project that needs light.
Your man cave needs entertainment. Ideally, you have a TV, computer, and some favored books. You probably use at least part of it for shop space and projects. When you have friends over, though, you want an interactive game. Instead of getting an expensive bar game, fall back to an old classic that everyone will love. With this dice set, all you need is a couple of dollars and some plastic cups to set up a game of Liar’s Dice, or another classic bar or table game.
9) Drinks and Snacks
Your garage man cave is a place to hang out alone or with friends, and a place to work on projects. For either of these things, you will need a snack break and a cold drink every so often. Unfortunately, refrigeration can be expensive. This fridge is just big enough for a six-pack, and it has the added benefit of either heating or cooling food as needed. Buy two of these for less than a typical mini fridge, and use one for drinks and the other for appetizers.
10) DIY Pegboard Storage
You are likely still using at least part of your garage for woodworking, mechanics, or other activities. In any case, you will need a place to store all the tools that were in your garage before it was a man cave. This do-it-yourself project lets you turn pegboard and wood into a modular storage book for any tools you need to hang up. This is cheaper than buying a similar book, and the style gives you more storage in a smaller space.
11) DIY ShopVac
When setting up this man cave, you want to get the most for your dollar. The biggest waste of money at this point would be to let your man cave lie unused. To keep it usable, you will need a way to keep it clean. After all, if you cannot relax there in your pajamas or work boots, is it really a man cave? This DIY project shows you how to make a cyclone dust cleaner at low cost so you can keep the area cleaner without spending hundreds of dollars on a vacuum.
12) All-In-One Games
To get the most for your dollar, try to get things with more than one purpose. Dice and playing cards are one option, but a convertible table is the best choice if you want to play billiard games that are typically more expensive. This table is a nearly full-sized pool table that converts to a ping pong or table tennis table. Buying one table for multiple games reduces the cost per game and gives you more variety than you could otherwise afford.
13) DIY Buy, Then Modify
Wheels are almost essential for a convenient garage space. That does not change when it doubles as a man cave. If your man cave has hard floors and desks or workbenches, nothing is better than the convenience of sliding from one work area to another. Unfortunately, many things are more expensive when you buy them with wheels. Instead, buy a cheaper version of something then add wheels yourself. This is as true for toolboxes as for any furniture you may want to move around.
14) Garage Hooks
Your garage will have items that need to be stored before you can turn it into a man cave. Wall storage is a good way to keep things off the floor, but it can be difficult if you have unfinished walls or if some of the items are heavy tools and ladders. This hook kit has a variety of hook shapes to get everything off the floor and create usable space. Buying a bigger kit like this reduces the price, so make sure to get a variety pack to use for tools, coats, and man cave decor.
15) DIY Customize Little Touches
If you have a theme in mind or want things to look less plain, you may be tempted to buy more expensive items for their appearance. Before you do that, consider buying the plainer item and adding smaller touches to customize it. For example, you could paint a Harley-Davidson or football team decal on a cabinet. This article by Performance Painting describes some ways to paint different textures on furniture or other items around your man cave.
16) Cheap Sofa
As with any man cave, you will need a place to sit. If this is an active man cave, you are likely resting between projects, or hanging out in front of the TV after work. While comfort is still important, it is not essential to have every bell and whistle a couch can offer. This simple and cheap couch is perfect for a garage man cave on a budget, with enough support, and square armrests to sit things on. This sofa also has storage to help clear garage space for your man cave.
17) Cover Furniture
Furniture covers are always a good idea for a man cave that could get dirty, but they can be expensive. That expense seems unnecessary when you are doing projects, but if you are lounging around in your pajamas, you want a clean space. Instead of buying an expensive cover, put these cheap bed sheets on your couch when you are working on a project or doing something that could get messy, and take them off when you want the couch to look nicer.
18) DIY Epoxy Floors
Your garage floor is likely concrete. While this is great for mechanic work or driving cars over, it is less than comfortable for your man cave and can hurt your feet if you walk on it a lot. Rather than installing flooring that will have to be removed if you convert the man cave back into a garage, use epoxy over the whole floor. Epoxy is a cheap floor choice and can be used on the whole garage. It is more comfortable than concrete, but you can drive a car over it. This video shows you how to install epoxy floors.
19) Dice Trays
Dice are one of the cheapest and most versatile entertainments available. They are great for parties and are a staple of bar games and casinos. If you want dice in your man cave but do not want the expense of a gaming area, get these small dice trays to roll your dice on. If your table gets cluttered with other stuff, you will still get your use out of the area since you can set these dice trays in your lap or on top of a pile of books on the table.
20) Adjustable Chair
Many budget garage man cave ideas are ways of getting more than one use from a single item. This low-cost chair is wheeled, so you can roll it from one space to another. It is also adjustable, so you can sit at a taller or shorter table comfortably. It is comfortable as a computer or desk chair but also lets you do any workshop projects comfortably You will still want a more comfortable couch, but this will cover all your desk or library chair needs.
21) DIY License Plate Signs
While your budget man cave will be practical, that does not mean it cannot have any decoration. Instead of buying decorations, make them yourself. Reuse old garage junk to make your decorations for the cost of some glue or a few nails to hold it together. This video shows you how to turn old license plates into signs. This project is great if you like cars or motorcycles and want that to be clear in your decor, and it costs almost nothing.
22) Buy in Bulk
You may think about buying in bulk when you go to the grocery store, if you are the primary grocery shopper in your household, but you may not have considered how you can do so in your man cave. Think about which items you will need a lot of, and buy them in bulk. This will lower the cost per item and ensure you have them on hand. Light bulbs like these are a good thing to buy in bulk because you will use them everywhere in your house, and you will likely have several of them around the man cave.
23) Renewed SMART TV
Television and game consoles are likely the most expensive items you want in your man cave, besides garage lifts and other accessories if it is also your workshop. To reduce the overall cost, buy a SMART TV. This may sound more expensive, but a SMART TV integrates streaming, so you will not need to pay for satellite or cable on an extra TV. In the long term, it will save a lot of money. This SMART TV is renewed, so it is cheaper than buying a brand new TV.
24) LED Lights
Lights are one of the most common things that you will need to change or fix in your man cave. If you add or change light fixtures, make sure to use LED light bulbs. They are similar in price to other bulbs, but they can be brighter, and last longer than any other bulb. This means you will not have to buy new ones as often. They are energy efficient, saving money on your electricity bill each month.
25) Puzzle and Storage Table
Your man cave will likely center around either the workshop, TV, or table. The table is a versatile place for any activity other than watching TV, but it can be difficult to keep it functional if you use it for multiple activities. This puzzle table can be used for many recreational activities. The shallow drawers give four places to store puzzle pieces and games or to roll dice. It is ideal for puzzles, dice, or tabletop RPGs that can be played for the cost of a dice set and the paper to print the ruleset.
26) Area Heating
If your garage does not have central heating, then heating is likely an intimidating subject. It can be expensive to install and expensive to maintain. This heater and fan combination can heat or cool a small area. While it will not heat the entire garage, it can be moved to heat whichever section you have your man cave in, and will cost less than adding your garage to your house’s heating system. Amazon also has larger space heaters at higher cost.
27) DIY Recycled Tire Table
If you have a lot of junk around, you may think you need to get it out of the garage. You know how to repurpose some items, but an old tire is basically landfill. This instructable shows you how to use that old tire as furniture. While it shows you how to make a nice, car-themed table, you can also do a simpler version. If you are not planning to move the table, cut a round piece of plywood and sit it on top of the old tire. You can even use the center for storage.
A refrigerator or mini fridge is nice, but it may not be an option on a budget. If you need an inexpensive option, try this cooler. It is portable so can be used in multiple areas. You can use ice packs or simply put drinks that are already cold inside. For beer, ice packs are likely best. Nobody wants to drink a warm beer. This does require you to go back to the house for drinks every so often, but you will not have to go as often as you would without the cooler.
29) DIY Crates
You already know that crates are a good way to store things; however, they are more versatile than they seem. If you do not have old crates lying around, get these crates from The Home Depot. They can be turned sideways to create shelving, either by nailing them to studs, or by stacking them and nailing them to each other. You can even add wheels underneath to make a garage-themed rolling bookshelf. Make sure crates are more than 16 inches long, like these, if you are going to use them as wall shelving.
30) Cover Lights
If you are on a budget, you cannot afford for things to go wrong. This means you do not want anything to break or get damaged. If you are doing woodwork with long boards, playing active games, or moving furniture into your house through the attached garage, you run the risk of hitting the ceiling with furniture. To keep light bulbs from breaking, use this durable light bulb fixture. The fixture keeps light bulbs safe, looks nice, and is inexpensive.
31) Remote Door Opener
Your garage probably has a garage door opener, but it may be designed to open from your house or car. Now that the garage is a man cave, you will likely go in and out during the warm months, and you will need a quicker and more convenient way to open and close the doors. Use this low-cost garage door opener to open your garage doors remotely, so you can have the convenience of an automatic door for your man cave as well as for parking cars.
32) DIY Build Your Workbench
If you chose the garage for a man cave, you likely spend some time there doing projects. At the least, you want to have the ability to work on projects there. After all, you still need somewhere to work on garage projects. This do-it-yourself article shows you how to build a workbench yourself for a much lower cost than buying one in the store. Since you are making it yourself, you can customize it for your space and needs, too.
33) Clean Air
Unless you have a second garage available, you will have car parts, cars, or woodworking projects in your man cave. You will also have to deal with years of motor oil stains and other chemicals. Since you will spend a lot of time there, this air purifier will help keep the air you breathe clean. This way, you can play a video game without the smell of wood stain and transmission fluid permeating the air.
34) Mini Games
Every man wants to have a home arcade, or at least one or two of his favorite games. Unfortunately, full-sized arcade games cost a lot. If these games are beyond your budget, consider mini versions of them. This portable foosball table is smaller than most, but still allows you the enjoyment of beating your friends at foosball. The small size makes it easy to move if you are limited in space as well as finances.
35) DIY Accent Wall
If you have drywall up but do not want to spend a lot on purely decorative wall hangings, consider adding an accent wall or unique paint pattern. This is more interesting to look at than a blank wall and needs little decoration. This tutorial shows you how to make sponge painting look professional. The texture the sponge creates adds a nice mix of color for an area that likely had little decoration before becoming a man cave.
What type of garage are you converting? Did our tips help? Let us know in the comments below.