Mom Caves...Are they Good, Bad or Ugly?

OyinSeptember 6, 2012

I'm weighing the options on what to do with a 16x22 bonus room on the second floor of our house. Initially, I made it into a playroom with toys chests, little desks, painting nook and indoor play equipment. Sadly, my babies did not share my love of the space :(

So what do I do with it? A neighbor suggested a "mom cave" since my husband has a man cave and home gym in the basement. But what does a "mom cave" entail? I already have private space in my home office but that's for work and I guess this would be for my girlfriends.

Creating a woman-centered space sounds appealing in theory but I'm not sure what purpose it would serve and what would I put in it? In my head I see a chic space with bright cozy seating, tons of throw pillows, wine fridge, hidden TV and things in the house only my girlfriends appreciate like my vintage plates on the walls or cute turquoise settee.

Still, I'm not sold on this whole "mom cave" business. Who, if not women, will appreciate the living room :P What do you think about Mom Caves?

OH and please don't say they're awful because women get the whole house or some such nonsense. Any other opinions would be appreciated.

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A bigger question is ... What do you need more space for? Are there any activities that don't have enough space or which intrude on other spaces (are video games so loud they annoy people in the adjoining room, for instance)?

I'm not opposed to Mom Caves in theory, though the image posted looks like a bad version of "Barbie doll meets Miss Kitty's Whorehouse" sort of thing.

It's okay to have a room be unused if you don't have a good use for it yet. I wouldn't rush to fill it with something just to fill it. Maybe as your kids get older you'll want a library type space with books, desks, a couple of quiet reading chairs, etc.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 6:36AM
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"the image posted looks like a bad version of "Barbie doll meets Miss Kitty's Whorehouse" sort of thing."

Love it! (the comment, not the room.)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Sophie Wheeler

I think the age of your children has a huge bearing on whether this space will get used as a "playroom" or "homework room". Little kids won't use a playroom away from mommy. They want to be within site of her. As they get bigger, they gravitate towards away space, but they aren't going to hike up stairs over a garage to get to it. If it's just down the hall from their rooms, it might get used. For teens, they'd actually prefer the away space over the garage.

So, consider the age of your kids at the moment before thinking about converting the space to another use. Then think about it's location within the house and how convenient it is to use for anything. If it's not too far away, maybe consider creating a media room out of it and reclaiming the family room for actual conversations. Or if it has a bath access, maybe it would be a better guestroom "suite" than the room you are currently using.

There are a lot of options, but I think that "mom cave" idea isn't one of the if you already have "your" space as an office and there is another no kid zone type of living room space available when needed.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 12:02PM
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I'm laughing so hard at the "Barbie doll meets Miss Kitty's Whorehouse" comment, I completely agree. It was just the first image that come up when I googled "Mom Cave--what are they".

DEFINITELY NOT a reflection of my style, if anything everyone says I use too many neutrals but eh.

Thanks for the advice hollysprings I will give that some thought.The room is in between their two bedrooms on the second floor but it doesn't have bathroom access, we already have a guest room. I think it was intended to be a media room but with the living room, family room and finished basement I'm not certain we need another place to watch TV.

I'm resolved to use it for storage for now I suppose.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:57PM
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I'm so glad I didn't offend you with the off-color comment :)

I had another thought ... If you celebrate Christmas in a big way the room might come in handy for that. Between wrapping presents, making stuff for the tree or gifts, it might be nice to have a space for all that to be out and about from Halloween through New Years.

And if you follow a different religion with holy days or big festival days, it might still work (I don't know much about other religions, though, so this might be way off base).

Worst case, it becomes the world's nicest linen closet ever (Martha would love it). You know, if it had a door on it I might be tempted to use it as a place to always leave the ironing board out. I never know what to do with that thing, it seems silly to lug it across the house to put it away every time I'm done with it, but I can't leave it in the family room (gets in the way when I play with the dog).

So, those are my ideas. Seasonal celebration storage/activities. Or giant linen closet with a place to iron that doesn't have to be relocated every time you are done.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:37PM
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I'm so glad I opened this thread up:)))

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:50PM
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I think the 'mom cave' is a great idea! Too many women make sure everyone else's needs are met, but not their own. You have a lovely upstairs room (hopefully with windows) so I'm sure you'll find a great way to use it.

As for basement 'mom caves' I saw a great idea years ago...painting the walls a light spring green or sky blue (even light yellow) and putting white lattice on at least one wall. They used mirrors for windows, which were cut out in the lattice. A great way to add more light and feeling of outdoors, even in a basment.

How to use 'mom cave' space? I'd say it's for everything you like and enjoy. If it's scrapbooking, gardening, home design, horses, whatever...that should be evident in your space. Comfy/girly seating is one idea, but you could also use wicker, cotton chintz, even leather. A space for you and your girlfriends to talk, have a book club meeting, party on a Saturday night...whatever you want to do in your own space.

Everyone else seems to have their own space...why not mom?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Why don't you just go into the master bedroom?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Only thing ugly is the name, "mom cave". Like cougar. Over both, strike them from popular slang!
Agree with the others, think about what you need space for. We have a spare bedroom we use as an exercise room and another as an ofice, but I wish I had one more space for...lets call it hobbies. I love to read, gift wrap, do photography and framing, a little sewing now and then, always saving clipping for decorating, cooking and travel inspiration, and think about "taking up" other hobbies if I had room. Instead a little goes in a closet here and there, a shelf, garage or clippings tossed in a bag hidden in a closet until I get to organize...which is never. A room to organize all that, have book shelves, a comfy reading clair and a table for sewing, crafts, wrapping, fit extra clothes, would be awesome! Then I could close the door when it's a mess! I'd even share it with the exercise stuff if I had a big enough room. Alas, here in S CA we don't have basements. Bummer.

Any space hogging hobbies worthy of that space? However don't get too comfy in there since the kids will probably want it back when they're teens.

Can't imagine entertaining girlfriends in a spare room upstairs. Isn't that what all the other home living spaces are for. Hubby in his man cave, you in yours and kids running the aslyum? However... you might need it if you do decide to go for the Barbie Miss Kitty Funhouse, I mean you and the cougars gotta have a place to install the stripper pole!! :>) Barbie, Miss Kitty, Engineer Chic that comment cracked me up!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 6:57PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Very funny comment. I have my "cave" if you will, though it hardly looks like's the equivalent of DH's craft room. I use it for sewing or any other kind of crafting I may be into at the moment. It's also used as my plant "hospital" for the plants that aren't doing well.

But as others have suggested, form follows function. What do you need the space for...what activities would you like to do there? Do you have hobbies? Play music? need an away space from the rest of the family? A sanctuary? If you're not sure, just leave it...over time, a need will emerge either for you or for someone else in the family....

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 5:19PM
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AnnieD, yeah! Now that's the kind of room I could go for. Desk, check. Bookshelves, check. Storage, check. And that built in table/peninsula for sewing, crafts,giftwrapping, check, check check! Great idea. Lots of light. So nice! I'm curious what's happening along the other 2 walls??

Although... it's so tidy; makes me feel guilty just for the mess I envision mine would be! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Annie--I love your room. And the windows...... I would love a room like that just for me. Might make me actually take up sewing again.

Well done .

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:24PM
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The whole idea of Man Cave bothered me to begin with, as if it was designed to be the "one" place in the house that wasn't decorated primarily to suit the woman, and was not under some kind of feminine jurisdiction. Do most men feel that separatist about it? Then this term comes along and it's not "Woman Cave" it's "Mom Cave". Man is a gender-defined term, whereas "mom" is a societally defined role. I guess if you don't have kids, the point is that you don't have the need to escape from anyone into your "mom-only" spot? Also notice that the "man cave" is a spot to relive your single fantasy: get drunk and hang out watching TV (at least figuratively) while the "mom cave" is a place for you to do more work. hmph.

I know I am way over thinking it but the whole concept of both rooms has annoyed me from the first time I heard them.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I'm equally curmudgeonly about both as well. I live my life my WHOLE house and I don't need a "getaway" spot in the house. If I want that, I want a vacation somewhere else. Preferably warm and sandy, with blue water and tan cabana boys as the "decor".

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks! Glad you like it!

On the other wall, I put our old maple dining table. It's a colonial style flip top on wheels, so when I need a cutting table I roll it out and flip it down. Otherwise I keep it flipped up and out of the way.

Next to the table is a full length mirror for sewing...checking hem lengths and such. And in the corner is a walk in closet full of shelves and a built in box in the corner to hold bolts of fabric.

To the right of the closet is the door to the room which is recessed, leaving enough space for my ironing board with a switched outlet, so while I'm sewing, I don't have to keep resetting the iron...only turn the wall switch on and off.

Best part of the room is it's in the SW corner of the house so I get great light. DH's study is in the NE corner on the main floor so about as far from my space as you can get!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 10:38PM
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palimpsest and holly glad to know I'm not the only one who finds the "cave" concept annoying, and you're so right about mom instead of woman. Cabana boy...funny Holly.

Annie D that table looks great, never seen anything like it. Thanks for sharing. Was secretely hoping you just shoved all your mess on that side of the room. Ha, kidding...sort of. :>)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes, I should be messier. But all I can say is, now that I have a space to put all my stuff, it's so much easier to keep neat.

Having the sewing machine out and accessible is a real godsend. At the old house, it took longer to pull all the equipment out and set it up and then put it away than it took to actually do the task. Shortening a pair of pants was ridiculous.

Or the other way....if I couldn't finish a project in a day, it meant putting it on hold while I broke it all down and put it all away...I had to as my kitchen, dining room and living room all were covered in stuff when I worked on any project. And that meant the project was less likely to get started up again because of all the effort to get it going.

Here I can make a mess and leave it until the project is finished.

And I figured I deserved the space. Heck DH had a whole barn and a workshop for all of his tools and stuff...why couldn't I have a corner of the house?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:27AM
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