If you have a house and live with your significant other, chances are you have nowhere to just be a man in the house. If you’ve been married for a while, it may even feel the walls are starting to close in. Now is the time to turn to your beloved garage. The space might be cluttered with boxes of junk and your kids’ toys right now, but that’s exactly what the attic is for. Start this weekend by clearing out that garage and claiming it as your own. You are going to trick this puppy out the way other men only dream of. And we’re here to help.
An essential part of building a man garage is the floor. Some men choose cement with a nice finish, but come on. Live a little. Garages already have cement, so we prefer tile or hardwood flooring. It gives your garage a basketball gym feel — which will go well when you hang your mini-basketball hoop in the corner.
What to get: The choice of what color or style you get is up to you, but Home Depot has some great selections here to choose from.
Other things: You will need trimming for the base of the walls to make the floor look nice, which you can also get at Home Depot or other hardware stores. Hammer and nails take care of that element. You can use adhesive from the flooring department to secure the tiles or hardwood properly, just make sure not to cut corners on the cost. Make sure to read the instructions properly, prepare, and take your time when distributing the stuff. Laying it down wrong can cause cracking, buckling, bubbling, and other problems very soon.
Key item: Knee pads specially made for flooring. Like these.
If you love to work with your hands, you will want a nice workbench or counter top on which to operate. Even if you don’t like working on things and would rather just chill, the counter is a great addition to the garage. It’s a nice place to toss your keys or make a pyramid out of empty beer cans.
What to get: A counter that fits comfortably in your space and allows for all your other gadgets. We suggest to purchase a counter top that can be attached to the wall and then be supported by triangle supports. The length and width of the supports will be determined by the size of the counter you get. So, yes, there will be some measuring involved. Meaning, pick up a measuring tape.
Other things: Bolt the supports to the bottom of counter top first with screws, then flip over and anchor into the wall. You probably want to use the plastic anchors for the screws in the wall since most counter tops are heavy. Just drill holes for them and shove them in before you start to screw the supports to the wall.
Key item: Pole supports to hold the top in place while you screw it into the wall.
Cabinets are a necessity and can go on the wall or under your workbench. Both are space savers and can house tools, sports equipment, corpses of rival neighbors, or other guy stuff. Cabinets these days are easy to find in the fabricated furniture world. It’s like snapping together legos, but it makes your life easier.
What to get: Decide which cabinets are right for you: wall, or floor. Or both. Then shop around for a solid wood cabinet that you can finish with whatever stain and lacquer you decide to use. (hint: that means get some paint brushes) If you want to save some dough, the white cabinets filled with pressed wood will be sturdy enough for your needs. Make sure to pick up some strips of wood to be nailed to the wall behind the cabinets in order to anchor them properly.
Other things: A thing to remember when checking out cabinets to buy, is they were not intended to be in a garage. You will likely see them in a showroom or book, decking the walls of a kitchen or bathroom. If you can work them into your garage, go for it. Just don’t have a lot of beveled wood and brass knobs. We can’t endorse that.
Key item: Shelf options inside the cabinets. At least up to three shelf options in each.
It’s obvious you are going to have tools in your garage. Otherwise, it’s not really a man garage, is it? The basic tool rack will do…the peg board where you can place the metal prongs in where you will then hang your hammers, drills, and other cool gadgets to make your friends jealous. Other racks can include racks for canoes, bikes, scuba gear, and other man stuff.
What to get: Plastic peg board for tools. It’s clear, and will not break up the color scheme of your garage — if that’s a concern. You will need nails or screws to bolt it and purchase extra hooks if necessary.
Other things: For bike racks or canoe/kayak racks, you’ll need to go on-line. You can certainly find them in some specialty sports shops, but in order to save you some time, check them out on-line. The very editor of this site has a ceiling suspended bike rack/device. Saves space and just keeps adding to the man-ness of your garage.
Key item: A rack on which to hang your rack. The rack for your pool balls.
Pool Table & Dart Board
Luckily, these you don’t have to build. You just go out and buy the stuff and enjoy them forever. Definitely shop around — especially for the pool table — before you make a purchase. Prices for these things vary.
What to get: The professional-sized pool table. No one wants to play around the small ones they grew up playing on in their parents’ basement. The dart board should have the real metal points. Not those plastic kind bars have now. Those are boring.
Other things: Don’t forget to get a bar light to hang over your table. They can also be customized and come in all shapes and sizes. They anchor to the ceiling with screw-in hooks, but definitely purchase the plastic anchors for extra support. Again, use the drill to make the anchor holes first, then you can hand-screw in the hooks.
Key item: Extra cue sticks for when you have your man garage warming party.
We are referring to this being the second fridge, because the one already inside your house is dominated by your wife/girlfriend already. Do not get just a mini-fridge, but at least a mid-sized stand up refrigerator/freezer. Of course it will be stocked with beer and soda, but now you will also have a great place to keep frozen steaks for when you feel like slapping the meat…on your grill.
What to get: We’re not partial to a particular brand of fridge, but we kind of like the side-by-side style. If you have the luxury of having a water line in the garage, get a fridge that has an ice maker and tap into the line. This is easier than it looks to install. You will use a saddle valve and punch a line into your existing water line. This will get some water to your ice maker.
Other things: If you don’t have a friend to help you steady your fridge while you level it, use wooden wedges or folded cardboard shimmies to stop the thing from sliding while you raise it up and adjust one of its wheels/legs. Wobbly refrigerators is kind of a pet peeve of ours.
Key item: Bottle opener built into the side of the fridge.
TV and CD/DVD PLayer
Every man garage needs some entertainment. A TV and CD/DVD player with a speaker system is the best choice, in addition to a DVD/CD rack to hold your discs.
What to get: A TV/DVD combo is sometimes the economic choice for garages, but their sound sucks and they break easily. Get a quality TV and purchase a DVD player to go with it — one that can also play CDs. Some DVD players come with small speaker systems, which is a requirement for your spot.
Other things: You will need a TV mount, with adjustable arm. They require serious bolting because of the front weight of the TV, so purchase the monster screws at a hardware store and support it with a square piece of wood if your walls aren’t the strongest. And we can always recommend a good mount. Like this.
Key item: A universal remote.
You will want a line in your garage in case your cell goes out or if you may feel the need to install a fax machine. Nothing fancy, just a simple phone line.
What to get: Get a drill with at least a 1 ½ inch wide bit, but with a length that will go through a wall. If you cannot connect to the phone box outside and drill into your garage, you will have to stretch a line from inside the house. Under the carpet, split from one of your other jacks so ‘she’ won’t notice.
Other things: Drill through the wall to stretch the phone cord. The lazy man version is to just stretch in a regular phone cord you can buy anywhere. If you feel up to it, buy a lot of phone line from a hardware store and connect it from your phone box to the newly created drill hole in your garage. Have something on hand to cut the slack with, of course, like a box cutter. If you do this, get a phone new jack and mount it to the wall. Then wire it up.
Key item: An actual phone. With speaker phone capabilities, so you can talk while playing pool.