Bonus Rooms and Man Caves: Make Something Out of Nothing

By Charlene Storozuk, Dezigner Digz

Man Cave - BEFORE

Staging a Man Cave – BEFORE

As you know, in real estate every square foot counts (especially when it can be turned into liveable space).  That’s just what we did on this project.  This vacant attic had great bones and a lot of potential for many uses such as an additional bedroom or a home office.

Since this home already had four bedrooms and a fifth bedroom staged as a home office, I chose to go with something a little less conventional for this room.  In fact, this was a first for me.

I decided to turn the attic into a “man cave.” The room’s shape and the fact that the home owner was not finishing the walls with drywall, leant itself to the feel of a cave.

The living room in this home had orange broadloom, which we had previously ripped up to expose the hardwood underneath. We decided to take that broadloom upstairs and lay it down in our newly created man cave.

Yes, it was orange, but somehow it seemed to work up there and gave the room a more finished look (especially since drywall was lacking).

To brighten up the space, the overhead light bulb was replaced with fluorescent lighting. Also, an old patio table was set up complete with playing cards to replicate a poker table.

Old benches were also brought upstairs to create an additional seating area.  In the garage, we found old fishing rods, golf clubs, and pub posters, which were used to accessorize the space.

This was the last room that we staged.  After it was completed, we were informed that a young single man in his 20’s was on his way over shortly to look at the property.

Man Cave - AFTER

Man Cave – AFTER

For that one showing only, we brought in a large plastic pail and placed it right next to the poker table and tossed in a few empty beer and whiskey bottles for good measure.  After all, staging is all about selling a lifestyle, so we tried to hit the mark on this specific targeted audience.  Of course, we removed the pail afterwards.

So what was the outcome?  He loved it.  In fact, he ended up buying the house!  Who knows, maybe the man cave sealed the deal for him.

If there’s an empty room in your listing that you aren’t sure what to do with, remember that potential buyers may question how to best use that space as well. So point them in the right direction by providing ideas on how to make it an additional, functional space.

If you can do that, you’ve just given them more bang for their buck. On top of that, if you can offer them a visual; in this case, empty bottles and fishing rods, you just might reel in a buyer.

Charlene Storozuk

Charlene Storozuk


Charlene Storozuk is the owner of Dezigner Digz, a professional home staging and interior decorating company based in Burlington, Ontario. Her work is featured in the book FabJob Guide To Become A Home Stager, 2009 edition. She serves as regional vice-president, Canada for the Real Estate Staging Association and is a past recipient of the North American Leadership Award for her work as founder and president of the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth RESA Chapter.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Hi Charlene…I think full beer bottles on Ice might have had a more real effective along with a 96″ Flat Screen tuned into a Soccer or other Sporting event..maybe even Drag racing with surround sound :O))

    Thanks for the tip, my parents used to create rooms without dry walling, maybe a new thing is happening.

    Congratulations of helping the Sale !

  2. Such a smart idea! When I produced shows for HGTV the common theme for guys was the man-cave or man-space. Today men dream of a getaway space in the home too – and while the decked out garage or deck or shed may have been popular years ago, now the man-cave is hot. I can’t tell you how many “House Hunters” wanted a man-cave. Women insist on this too because they want their souse/significant other to be happy. I LOVE the fact that you were able to dress the space for a 20-something male. When you are able to sell the lifestyle it makes a big difference.

  3. It is funny that I have not shot more “man caves” over the years. Is it possible that the bonus room just needed a cooler name?


  4. Awesome idea Charlene.. It would also rid girls off the beer banter that goes on with loud TV sounds when soccer games are on! The attic is usually the most under-rated yet advantageous places to let your interior design dreams go wild! Cheers for the great post! 🙂

  5. Ironhands

    If your future “Man Cave” has a nasty old suspended ceiling, check this out for the fastest room makeover ever!