Everything in your mom cave should be something you love, says Shannon Sargent of Bliss Interior Design. (Photo …
While the man cave is a concept that has been around for ages, perhaps since men had caves, the mom cave is a relatively new concept — and one that's hard to pin down.
The man cave needs little explanation. It's generally a place of bros, beers and widescreen TVs showing an endless loop of football. The mom cave, or woman cave, can take on many different variations, but in its most basic sense, it's a place where women can re-energize on their own, hanging an imaginary "do not disturb" sign.
"It's a space where the woman that nurtures everyone can go to nurture herself," New York designer Elaine Griffin said.
Most mom caves that Griffin has seen or worked on are centered on an activity each woman particularly enjoyed. Some mom caves are relaxing places with plush pillows and tables for reading or knitting, while others are open spaces with room for yoga and meditation.
The first step for many women is to allow themselves to have a space that's all their own — and then figure out where that space might be.
"Obviously, finding a place you can take over is tough," said Shannon Sargent of Twin Cities-based Bliss Interior Design. "A lot of the home is allocated to other functions. You could take over the guest room, a formal living room, a den nobody is using or the corner of a room away from the hustle and bustle."
When you find your space, find your purpose.
Think about what you'd use your mom space for: something that relaxes and recharges you, like crafting, or something you enjoy, like a home-based business. It could even be a spot for you and your girlfriends to talk like adults without kids around.
Screens, room dividers or even bookcases can section off a part of the house and add to the overall design of the space.
Although they are individualized, any mom cave needs a few specific elements. It needs a place to sit, whether it's a sofa or a comfy chair. It needs some kind of work surface, whether that's a desk or sewing table, it's all about the size available. It needs some space for invite-only guests, like a bench that slides under the table or little ottomans. It also needs storage space to keep things organized.
"The one thing I insist on is that mom caves be neat and tidy, because clutter is not relaxing," Griffin said.
The design is completely up to you — no going to committee or compromising on paint colors or wall art in this space.
"Pick out a wallpaper, fabric or accessory that has a pattern and texture that really speaks to your design style," Sargent said.
Build around a specific design or color and add the colors and elements that make you happy. Fill the walls with artwork and framed mementos, but keep the work surfaces as clean and clutter-free as possible. Try adding some functional accessories too, like a charging dock for your e-reader or a wine chiller near your comfy chair. Buy bins, baskets or bowls for keeping and organizing whatever items you would use frequently in your mom cave.
"Everything in there should be something you look out [at] and love," Sargent said.
As far as budget goes — you can do it on a champagne or beer budget, depending on how much you can spend and how much space you have available.
Have a plan for getting your mom cave finished — a half-completed space nagging you to finish will defeat the purpose of the woman's cave.
Ilyce Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated real estate columnist, blogger and radio talk show host, and managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Glink.