How to design your very own fan cave

From furniture choices to colour palettes, Shai DeLuca-Tamasi teaches us how to create a great space in your home for watching the game.

Over the past decade or so, the term man cave has become synonymous with men being shunned to a dark corner of the home to enjoy male camaraderie and sports-centric TV watching.

As Canadians, our love for sports transcends genders and a dedicated or multi-purpose space for everyone to enjoy the game is a great addition to your home. However, in order to reintegrate the often overtly literal interpretation of sport-themed décor into our rooms, we need to move away from the team logos and bright colours which usually aren’t conducive to a well designed space. In short, the space should really be an extension of our home, depicting a figurative love for the sport rather than a literal one. Welcome to the fan cave.

  1. Choosing the right furniture for the space is key, as in any well designed space. Comfort and easy to care for pieces are key, but that does not mean we should automatically fill our Fan Cave with the quintessential hand-me-downs that man caves are known for. Look for a sofa in fabrics such as microfibres with small weaves. Leather is great too, if budget permits. The leather sofa I chose had a linear channel sewn across it which reminded me of a baseball glove. I chose to pair my room with animal hide side chairs, which are often considered masculine in design, but in this case the hides were white, which adds a bit of feminine flair to the space. I re-purposed two side tables with a raw reclaimed look in place of a larger coffee table and accessorized with cushions inspired by team colours. Finally, I grounded the space using an industrial light fixture which is reminiscent of a locker room. Each detail is a figurative take on the literal sports motif.
  2. When choosing a rug for the room, keep in mind that a lot of entertaining will take place here. Choose a rug with a low pile and a geometric pattern which tends to be more forgiving when a spill takes place after jumping up and cheering for the team. Second-life rugs are a huge trend in 2015 and are the perfect fit for the fan cave, not to mention being environmentally friendly!
  3. Artwork choice often leads to a poorly designed fan cave as many people would instinctively hang team logos and/or posters. Instead, I recommend adding team books and literature, strategically placed in the room, whether it be on the coffee table or shelves. This will keep the design looking professional while allowing team pride to shine.
  4. No fan cave is complete without a state of the art television; every designers worst nightmare. Luckily, the profiles of modern televisions are smaller and slimmer. Consider the lowest profile television that budget permits for the room, so that it is the least intrusive.
  5. No game is complete without a drink or two. Not all spaces have the footprint to allow for a proper bar area, so I recommend an industrial style cabinet, as was shown in the segment. Consider one that has both glass and opaque panels so that the pieces we want hidden are behind closed doors while being able to display stemware through the glass.
  6. Finally, when considering a colour palette for your fan cave, fight the urge to paint your room in team colours that are not a design fit. Team colours tend to be bright and overstated, and that’s not always the best fit for a home. So, instead, choose your team colour, but ask your paint technician to add black to darken the hue. This will give you a richer palette that is easier to work with, and you’ll be less likely to become bored with it over time.

Go team! For more of Shai’s ideas for designing your own fan cave, watch the video below: