Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: A Man Cave Makeover

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A Man Cave Makeover

Do you have a room in your house that you avoid because it is just blah...?  Like it's not really ugly but it is not really pretty either... it just has nothing going for it so you don't want to be in it.  That is how our basement family room/pitiful excuse of a man cave (according to Mr. Chic ;) has been since we moved in. 

The decorator in me can usually not stand a space like this for longer than 10 minutes... how did I let this one go for over a year?

Easy.  I just ignored it.  Since it's in the basement I didn't have to look at it much... out of sight out of mind.
Another reason was that we had moved into our new house and I had the whole place to decorate, the basement was low on the priority list.  
But after a year I was still putting it off mainly because it includes very ugly recliners (that Mr. Chic insisted on keeping when we moved)plus it is supposed to be Mr. Chic's man cave.  "Man Cave" means I have to decorate it with airplane pictures and memorabilia that are in all kinds of mismatched frames...but I guess this is better than beer signs or life size cardboard cut-outs of Star Wars characters so I can't really complain.

Last weekend while organizing toys (stealing my kids old toys and making huge garage sale/throw away pile unbeknowst to them) in the basement I had finally had enough.  I thought to myself, self, you are a decorator, don't be scared of the random picture frames, weird placement of the basement window and ugly recliners, just do it.

Here is the before (after I had decided on my pictures and added some throw pillows):

Note: weirdly placed window, ugly recliner, crooked lampshade.
I busted out all of the airplane pictures and coordinated them by style and color.  I liked the black and whites the best so grouped some of those together.  I had to do some frame swapping to get them all somewhat matching. 

I started trying to figure out a configuration to go behind the loveseat which is near one of the windows.  It isn't centered which makes it really awkward to work with (one of the biggest reasons why I had been putting it off, what to do with that crazy window!)

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating TIP: Lay out your wall art collage on the floor before you hang them to get an idea of fit and spacing. 

I laid my airplane pics out on the floor, measured out where the window was and the opposite end of the couch (my 2 ends of hanging space), then configured them until I got it looking the best I could with that crazy window.

I ended up with this (and a few too many extra nail holes but no one can see them so who cares...)

I added some accessories that I already had...


A cute basketweave lumbar pillow to dress up the frumpy recliner...

Also added some lamps and a cute black pedastal table that I got for a song for my still unfinished mom cave...

Sorry for the crummy lighting, basement photography without a flash = crummy dark pics.
  • Chic on a Shoestring Decorating TIP:  Stack a lamp on some hardback books when using different height end tables on each end of a sofa.
  The finished product...

I'm so happy to have it finished and Mr. Chic even likes it! 

What's your "blah" room?  Can a few easy changes make it better?  Just do it!

The Girl Creative


  1. i love the way you hung the pictures. my hubby would love a man cave, i can't wait to have one. thanks for sharing.

  2. The room looks fab, and I just love those pictures, great work!

  3. That looks awesome! The lamps, woven pieces & pictures are perfect. My blah room should be taped off!! JenT

  4. Very warm feeling. It's amazing what grouping some accessories well does for a space!

  5. Love the picture arrangement and the end tables, lamps and pillows are just perfect. It looks very inviting. You did a great job. Now, want to come do the guest bedroom, that's exactly how I feel about it and yes, I just ignore it. lol Hugs, Marty

  6. It looks great! Love the airplane pictures - they look so cool.

  7. Really nice, I love how you arranged the frames, now nothing looks off-centered. It's just pretty, heck it can even pass as a mom cave! (minus the recliner of course)


  8. Looks terrific; wish that my hubby would let me frou frou up his man cave!

  9. How awesome!
    I love the placement of the frames the best I think.
    Then that cool basketweave pillow!
    I'll bet you got taken to dinner or some flowers or.... for finishing this for your man, hmmm?
    I am finishing up my beefcake's space this week.
    Why do we leave their spaces till last, anyway?
    Proud of you ;)

  10. Mine is my guest room, I just keep on walking by it:)
    Love what you did with the pictures the placement with the window is really attractive above the couch...really looks nice!

  11. Kate - The man cave looks fabulous! The pictures above the couch look fantastic. I really like that basketweave pillow - very cool! Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase - I greatly appreciate it. I'll be featuring this today - stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Hope you have a wonderful week ~ Stephanie Lynn

  12. It's much too nice looking to be a man cave. ;) Love the basketweave pillow, and I love how you raised the one lamp so they were symmetrical around the sofa. Nice touch.

  13. You did a great job with this. The man cave looks wonderful. Love the pillow and your other little touches!

  14. Beautiful and inspiring. I am getting ready to embark on a Family Room makeover. I call it the pine coffin if that gives you any idea of how pretty it is!

  15. Really cute "man cave"... wow!

    See you at your party this week (as always) :D

    Very inspiring :D
    Visiting from HomeStories A To Z party tonight,
    Smiles, Suzanne from WhyCuzICan in NW Illinois

  16. Your man cave looks so refreshed! Are you sure it wouldn't make a better reading nook instead ;)


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