Decorating Dilemma: Steve’s Man Room

Decorating a man room

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Dear How to Decorate,

I’m buying a new house which has a great basement area that I’m turning into a ‘man room.’ I don’t have a lot of experience decorating rooms, but I would like this space to be somewhere I can hang out, read, and of course, watch TV. First and foremost, I want it to be comfortable, but I don’t want it to be the eyesore of the house either!

I don’t have any before photos, but it’s a fairly large space with four blank walls. It gets very little sunlight too.



Dear Steve,

Thank you so much for your decorating dilemma. We’ve never done a man cave in this series!

First, let’s start with a color palette. Typically, you see man caves decorated with browns and reds and oranges, but we wanted to go a different route this time. For a modern feel, we chose a cool but moody palette of charcoal and navy with touches of chocolate.

We started with a dark navy herringbone pattern on the sofa. In a space that gets a lot of wear and tear, choose a fabric with a weave or texture (like a herringbone) — this will help disguise stains! We chose our Eton sofa because the rolled arms are super comfy and great for napping or catching a game on TV. Next, we chose our Emerson chair in a dark gray fabric, our Clare Gray. We love the classic shape of this chair, plus it’s super comfortable for reading. To bring in some pattern, we chose the Emerson ottoman, but in a navy plaid.

For the media cabinet, we decided to mix it up from the typical wooden armoire, and instead, we chose a long, low metal media cabinet. Our Louis Metal Media Cabinet has masculine details and the a worn, industrial finish. Just for fun, we brought in some of those ‘man cave’ feeling details, like the Antler Art prints, as well as Suzanne Kasler’s Atelier Antlers in Natural Gray.

In any basement, lighting is very important, so we’ve used a combination of task lighting, the Julian Floor Lamp, for reading, as well as a pair of Voltaire Sconces over the couch. If you don’t have recessed lighting in your basement, you might also look into those!

Finally, you’ll need a few comfy throw pillows for when you decide to take a nap. We chose a pair of plush velvet pillows.

We hope you like your new man cave!

The How to Decorate Team

Decorating a man room

Do you have a decorating dilemma? Send us your own questions here.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    January 26, 2015

    I love the plaid ottoman! But, I don’t see it as a fabric choice in the side menu on the Emerson ottoman page, am I missing something? It’s really beautiful!! Thanks!

  2. Reply


    November 30, 2014

    Who manufactures the brown leather swivel chair?

  3. Reply


    November 26, 2014

    The Design Dilemma Solutions are my favorite posts. I am always so impressed with the team’s ideas and reasons for their choices–from how to emphasize 12′ walls to designing the basement “man room.” I learn a lot from y’all!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      November 26, 2014

      Wow, thanks Sindy!! We love to hear that you enjoy reading How to Decorate and that our posts are helpful! That’s why we do it 🙂