The notion of the man cave is one that appeals to any 30-something male. That appeal is likely to have become stronger than ever over recent months, with all of us having spent more time at home getting under one another’s feet than usual. It’s not just about beer-fridges, comfy sofas and the biggest TV screen on the market, however. Here, we take a look at the essential ingredients for the only sort of “escape room” that matters to male millennials.

Get the infrastructure in place

Your entertainment room could be anywhere in, or even out of, the house. The archetypal man cave is a basement conversion, but a loft conversion, spare room or even garage conversion is also possible. Whichever applies, getting the basics in place before you do anything else is vital. That means ensuring you have all the power and plumbing you need. It’s 100 times easier to do it when you have a blank canvas than to try to add more retroactively.

The bar’s the star

Speaking of plumbing, if you plan to entertain in your entertainment room as opposed to hiding out there like Howard Hughes, a bar is a must-have. If space is at a premium, a corner bar takes up surprisingly little room while still adding both character and functionality. For any type of bar, running water and power need to be set up in the right locations, so this should be one of the first features you draft into your design.

Choose a focal game

Boys and their toys – the focal point of a great entertainment room needs to be a great form of entertainment. Popular choices include pool or Subbuteo. Just make sure it is something that will really be used. For example, some people fall in love with the idea of a roulette wheel and associated table. But a more practical solution for people who enjoy gambling is to simply go online and play their favorite casino game without spending a ton of cash on a setup that they will only use every now and then.

Think twice about the materials

People tend to have an obsession with glass surfaces in entertainment rooms. But not only do they show every thumb print, they can also be overly reflective in a smaller room, not to mention fragile. Give wood a chance, but be prepared to open your mind a little, there’s more available out there than antique pine and dark mahogany. Heavy duty hardwoods give an almost industrial feel, but still have warmth. It can make for an interesting “indoor shed” kind of vibe.

Light it right

Another common mistake is to fill an entertainment room with LED lighting. Don’t get us wrong, LEDs are amazing. They last for years, they are better for the planet and they hardly use any electricity. By all means use some for accent lighting – they are particularly cool at skirting board level – but don’t overdo it or the place will have the feel of a hospital room. You can’t beat traditional pendant lighting for keeping the atmosphere warm and welcoming.

Keep seating open

People tend to go one of two ways with seating. They either adopt “Wayne’s World” style sofas in the middle of the room or they have seats set up in rows as if you are at the local multiplex. In short, wrong and wrong. The former only serves to create dead space, while the latter does the same for friendships and social interaction. The idea is to open things up. You can communicate without sitting on top of each other, so don’t be afraid to have sofas back against walls.

Keep it cool for all seasons

Heating your entertainment room in winter is relatively simple, and is something you will automatically cover in the initial stages when looking at the plumbing and power needs. But don’t forget to also think about temperature hitting the other extreme. The ideal solution here is if your room has direct outdoor access. But if it’s below or several feet above ground level, that’s not going to be practical. Extra cooling with a stand-alone HVAC could be the answer, but still try to factor in some sort of fresh air source, even if it is just a small window or vent.

Let’s talk about that screen

OK, so finally, we will concede that your entertainment room needs a screen for watching sport, scratching your Fortnite itch or perhaps playing those casino games we mentioned earlier. Try to control your natural urge to buy the biggest screen that will fit through the door, however. There is actually a science to calculating the optimum screen size for a specific room, and if you go too large, it will be to the detriment of everyone’s entertainment pleasure.