Custom lighting for your man cave is awesome. End of discussion.
Lighting absolutely, without doubt, has the power to change a space completely. That’s not hyperbolic in the slightest – think of a candle lit wine bar, and the golden flickering effect of the light as people pass the flames, and now think of a brightly lit hospital, the intense, almost blue light ever so slightly headache inducing, should you be unfortunate enough to spend enough time there.
Light has a practical purpose, and there are practical limits – you can’t read a book if you can’t see the words – but it absolutely creates the atmosphere in a room.
There are heaps of custom lighting options to choose between, and there’s a fair bit of DIY you can do to make the end result truly personalised.
However, there is a limit to what you can do; lighting of course involves electricity, and certain things are probably best left to an electrician. There’s a difference between plugging in a USB socket on a gorgeous set of LED lights and trying to wire a whole room from the mains electricity supply. Your capabilities, unless you’re an electrician of course, probably lay somewhere in between.
With whatever you do, if you have any doubts as to its safety, lay it all out and before you connect it, see if you can find an electrician to look over it. They can then basically say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and you’ll have your peace of mind. Not all electricians will be willing to do that, but ask your mates for recommendations, and you might get lucky.
Why is LED Lighting such a popular choice? And what makes it an ideal form of man cave lighting?
LED lighting has exploded in popularity over the past years, and for good reason. LEDs have always been more efficient, but they used to be unable to replicate the warm glow that old fashioned filament bulbs are so good at creating.
The reputation LEDs got for only creating harsh, white light is now no longer deserved! You can commonly get them all the way down to 2700k, which is more than warm enough to ambiently light your man cave.
Another great benefit to LEDs is that they’re many times more efficient than old fashioned light bulbs. On average, LEDs use around 75% less energy than their old fashioned counterparts, which can lead to significant energy savings, especially if the lights are used long term.
LEDs are also often more robust than bulbs – there’s no filament to break, and where bulbs are normally made from glass which will smash if dropped, lots of LEDs are super durable. They’re also smaller, and thus easier to store when not in use.
LED lights are slightly more expensive than bulbs, however they last between 10 and 50 times longer. When combined with the energy savings, this leads to significantly lower running costs in the long term, making the initial costs more than worth it.
Our 10 man cave lighting ideas that you simply cannot ignore
1. Playstation LED Neon Sign
For any gaming fans out there (although perhaps not Xbox players) this one will go down a treat. It comes in 6 different size options, from 50 to 100cm, meaning that there should be an appropriate size option for most man caves – from the small and cosy to the large and spacious.
Each one is handmade, so you can request different colour options if you don’t quite fancy the ones in the pictures, just reach out to the makers and start a conversation! They offer a 12 month warranty for peace of mind, but the signs are so well made, I can’t see it being necessary.
2. Personalisable Man Cave LED RGB Display
This option is a really neat and affordable light up sign for your man cave. When you order, you can add your name at the top, for a truly personalisable touch. It would also make a great gift for a friend or family member who you know is working on their man cave!
The engraved slide carved from durable acrylic. At 20 by 16.8 cm, it’ll fit in most spaces, without being overwhelming or self important. Whether behind the bar, on a bookshelf, or on a side table, this can add a lovely touch to your space.
3. Jack Daniels Whisky Bottle Lamp
It’s great to see things get upcycled, especially when the results are so spectacular. For Jack Daniels fans, this is sure to go down a treat. For £10, you get the empty, cleaned out bottle, with a string of 20 Bright White LED lights.
The power pack sits in the neck of the bottle, like a cork, and the fact that it’s battery operated means this is truly portable, with no connections or anything needed. The set up is non-existent, just turn it on and enjoy! If you don’t like Jack Daniels but love the idea, message the seller, and they’ll use whatever bottle you request!
4. SEGA Sign for Man Caves
Another one for the gamers out there, this awesome 3D printed SEGA lightbox is pretty out there, and will certainly draw attention. The acrylic is strong and transparent, allowing the blue to shine through with intensity. If your man cave is a low lit place, created with an intent to keep light down and at an ambient degree, this might be a bit too much.
But if you’re into bright colours, and want something a little out there, it’ll fit right in. At 28 by 11 cm, it’s not too big, and should fit into most little nooks and crannies that just need that extra something.
5. Back to the Future Retro VHS Table Lamp
This Back to the Future inspired VHS table lamp is really cool, and definitely ticks the ‘unique’ box. Looking like it could have come right out of the series itself, for fans of Marty McFly’s time travelling adventures, this really is a must have.
You can choose between USB and battery power, and between 3 different colour options. They’re handmade, so reach out to the maker if you’ve got any specific requirements – they offer a variety of colours, and each one comes with a remote! The power consumption of these things is practically non-existent.
6. Metal Marquee BAR Plus In Letters
This awesome ‘bar’ signage will really complete your homemade pallet bar. They are handmade, meaning each one is unique, and the maker can do any letters, so you can spell out whatever you want – if ‘bar’ doesn’t quite suit you but you appreciate the aesthetic, this could be a great option.
Each letter is 7 inches high, so pretty perfect for most shelves, but will look good on most surfaces. The letters come connected (in the right order of course) so you just need to plug in one end and the whole thing lights up.
7. Rustic Industrial Lighting from Copper Piping
Customisable chandeliers don’t get a whole lot better than this. They’re handmade, and you can choose between a host of options, from 2 to 6 bulbs, with or without protective cages, and from 3 to 38 inches of drop.
As these things are handmade, if you want something that isn’t on the options list, send the makers a message and they’ll be more than happy to try to meet your requirements. These lights aren’t really the kind that you can fit yourself, as it requires mains wiring, but an electrician should be able to do it for you without too much trouble.
8. Personalised Mini LED Desk Lamp
Yet another really cool option for the gamers out there, this nice and subtle desk lamp is a bit of a steal at under £20. You can choose between Xbox, Playstation, and computer themes, and then add your own name just beneath.
The beech wood base is lovely, with the subtle grain coming straight through, and the LED lighting can do 7 different colour variations. It’s not exactly going to light up the room, but then that’s not the point; it’s subtle and moody, and a nice thing to have on in the background.
9. Decorative Whiskey Light
This avant garde yet rustic looking lamp is pretty cool. The European oak frame is handcrafted and finished in a dark Danish oil, really bringing out the grain patterns and making it suit the bottle to a T.
The light source is a dense bundle of LEDs stored in the glass bottle, with a USB plug for easy powering. The remote provided allows you to choose between a whopping 16 colours, with different flashing, timer, and brightness options as well. Again, if you want a different bottle, all you need to do is ask the maker through Etsy.
10. Personalised Poo Emoji LED Light
Last but not least, a fun option for the more lighthearted among us – a fully personalised light up poo emoji! It’s 16 by 12 cm wide, so not overwhelmingly large by any means, and you just send in whatever name you want to be included underneath the emoji itself.
It can either be powered using a USB socket, or with 3 x AA batteries if you’d rather not have a cable trailing up to it. The 24 button remote gives a whole heap of colours and modes, so you can see your name and the poop above in a whole variety of settings!
Buying advice for beginners
This list has incredible breadth price wise, from around £10 up to £350. You can really spend as much as you like, and given that pretty much all the options reviewed above are customisable, you shouldn’t think of it as buying your bog standard light.
Each one is handmade to your specifications, you’re not just paying for the materials but for the correspondence, thought, and hard work that goes into their construction. By all means get something cheaper from your local shop, but I doubt it’ll have that same personalised touch that all of these achieve so well.
Storage & Safety
It should go without saying, you’ve got to be careful when cleaning lights. Water is conductive, so getting a lamp wet while it’s live is a recipe for disaster, and potentially highly dangerous. If you’re going to clean one, turn it off and unplug it, and don’t turn it back on until you’re certain it’s completely dried, or you risk shorting it out. The acrylic lights will be pretty robust, but the glass ones are obviously more fragile, so they merit a little more care when handling and cleaning them!
Fitting lights into custom spaces
With free standing lights, there’s not really a whole lot that can go wrong - just plug them in and hey presto, let there be light. With fitted lights, it’s a different story.
Live mains are no joke, and if you make a mistake, you risk serious injury, potentially death, and could quite easily burn your house down. Even if you’re a pretty handy guy, it really is worth getting an electrician to fit your lights, it’ll certainly be cheaper than a new house should something go wrong!
Where should your new lighting purchases live?
There are nearly numerous options when it comes to light placement, and the best thing to do is to play around, experiment a little. It’s lovely to have nice lighting above your bar, to see the drinks and help make cocktails, and likewise if you have any games tables such as pool or foosball, a light above can make playing a whole lot more fun.
Other than that, you can put light up signs in any little crevices that look a little dark, playing with both light and shadows!
Lighting really does make a space come into its own, and there are so many ways you can get creative. As you’ve seen above, there are heaps of personalisable options on the market, and it’s lovely to support the small-time crafters that make them. You can even take a DIY approach to some of these items too!
There’s something special about knowing that your item was handmade with your specifications in mind, and wasn’t just churned out in a factory! All that’s left is to get creative; if you find something doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world, and at least you learned from it.
Founder of Man Cave Geek and lover of man caves! Creative & Digital Lead with over 15 years industry experience.