Fan Caves a Relaxing Refuge for Sports Junkies

Updated January 27, 2017
Indianapolis Colts fans Ray and Diane Bridges
Ray and Diane Bridges' entire home celebrates the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Whether with a pro designer or DIY accumulation, build your own sports temple.

With the evolution of HDTV, many sports lovers now prefer the game day comfort of home to the stadium of their favorite team, and for some, that spreads beyond the main viewing area.

What makes the ideal “fan cave?” That’s up to you.

Professional design

If your dream fan cave is beyond DIY capability, construction and interior design pros can deliver.

Thinkterior in metropolitan Washington D.C., designed this unique refuge that highlights the region’s major pro sports teams.

Fan cave by Thinkterior in Washington D.C.
Photo courtesy of Thinkterior

Designer Chris Jones replaced the large sectional couch’s legs with rollers for maximum versatility. The signed memorabilia wall includes team logos, designed on computer, cut out of Sintra PVC board and layered onto the surface.

A free-floating TV stand hangs on a decorative pulley system that Jones installed in his own home.

“I’ve done that a bunch of times,” Jones says. “If a client gets a new TV, it’s easy for them to unbolt the old one and install.”

The room's other area utilizes mini hammocks.

Man cave by Thinkterior
Photo courtesy of Thinkterior

“They’re a favorite of mine, whether it’s a kids’ basement or family area,” Jones says. “They’re only like $40 nowadays.”

Jones created a custom shelving system and twin refrigerator set-up with rolling wooden doors. He also put wheels on everything potentially mobile, including the air hockey table, so the homeowner can move items with ease.

Total cost was just under $30,000.

“Some clients have a tight budget and others will spend whatever,” Jones says. “We work with both to give them what they want.”

DIY – whatever works for you

You’ll find most fans’ sports-themed items confined to a single area of the home. Die-hard Indianapolis Colts supporters and For the Dogs! owners Ray and Diane Bridges, aren’t most fans.

Diane, one-time business manager of the Colts' official fan club, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999 as the team’s "ultimate fan." Ray co-owned a Guinness World Record when he watched 70 straight hours of football in a Dish Network contest that landed the couple at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The Colts even let him bring a tuba – signed by dozens of players – to his seat at every game.

Fireplace mantle with Indianapolis Colts items at home of Ray and Diane Bridges
Photo by Frank Espich

There’s Colts stuff throughout their home – inside and out, including the living room where the couple watches their beloved team when it’s on the road. An adjoining bedroom became their true fan cave, with a trove of game-used gear and signed memorabilia, three decades of Colts paraphernalia and a model train with a handmade replica of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Handmade Lucas Oil Stadium replica at home of Ray and Diane Bridges
Photo by Frank Espich

“We never thought we’d be doing anything like this,” Ray says. “Little by little, year after year, it adds up.”

If you want to take your fan cave to the next level, consider the following:

Field turf for carpet

Field turf squares
Photo by Project Manhattan

Your fan cave can have the same turf the pros play on. There’s old-school Astroturf or modern field turf, and both come in a rainbow of colors, if you want to match with your favorite team.

Prices range from around $1.50 to $5 per square foot, depending on type and quality.

Vintage scoreboard

Old baseball scoreboard
Photo by Janette Fuller

Functional or not, these make a cool addition to any fan cave with the right wall space. While most football scoreboards are too big, baseball and many old basketball scoreboards fit nicely.

A local high school or middle school could have a decommissioned one just sitting around for you to take, or they can tell you when one's up for replacement. At vintage shops or auctions, they run anywhere from a few hundred bucks to over $5,000 for rare models.

Sports cards uncut sheets

Baseball card uncut sheet
Topps photo

These make a great covering for feature walls, or tabletops covered by glass. They’re also pretty cheap, as overproduction in the late 1980s and early ‘90s crushed dreams of retirements funded by baseball cards.

You can find sheets that measure 42 in. by 27 ½ in. starting at around $15.

Are you proud of your fan cave? Tell us about it in the comments section below.