Blog Home Inspiration She Shed vs. Man Cave: What’s the Difference?
She Shed vs. Man Cave: What's the Difference?

She Shed vs. Man Cave: What’s the Difference?

How do men and women define a self-getaway? Our writers—both male and female—break down the nuances in this introspective exploration.

Indisputably, the term “Man Cave” has been around for a while. It’s often viewed as a dark, cavernous spot in the house—like a basement—that serves as a chill pad. A place where men can listen to music, play video games, enjoy adult beverages, host card games . . . you know, stereotypical “man things.”

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A much more recent addition to our general lexicon, the “She Shed” tends to have lighter tones associated with it. First of all, this little getaway is located (usually) in the backyard as a spruced up shed or tiny house—also coincidentally serving as a chill pad.

A place where the woman can read, write, listen to music, enjoy adult beverages alone or with friends, garden, do yoga . . . you know, stereotypical “woman things.”

Incredibly, while the term Man Cave has been around since the early ’90s, She Shed only made its official appearance circa 2015. It’s unfortunate that this deeply gendered term is new to our vocabulary—like, why didn’t I think of it first!—but it’s here to stay.

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And I want one, dangit!

While the labeling of each dwelling may be different, the function stays the same—a place of isolation to just be. To do their thing. To put the “fun” in functional.

The She Shed (from the Woman’s Perspective)

With more delicate sensibilities, the She Shed is often associated with a lighter demeanor than the Man Cave.

Imagine a meditative hint of lavender and a vase of stargazers prominent on the laced table cloth in the background, next to a bookmarked first edition of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik playing softly in the background.

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A greenhouse for ALL the senses.

While this Jane Austen-esque ideal second home is luring in and of itself, there are some harder-edged purposes for a She Shed.

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Picture a perfect garden workshop. A place to listen to favorite tunes—and not just “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” and “I Will Survive.” (Maybe some ABBA does the trick.)

Remember that novel you’ve always been meaning to write? She Shed territory. What about a hot yoga/meditation studio? Or art studio, for that matter? Perfect She Shed.

Need some power-hour cocktails with your besties? She Shed. Maybe an office? Yep, the double Sh to the rescue.

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This romantic getaway may have begun in stereotype-land, but we’ve definitely put our own spin on this little concept.

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The Man Cave (from the Man’s Perspective)

Let’s be real. The Man Cave is a clubhouse. As much as the gendered expectation is for men to hide their feelings, navigate their own maps, and stay out of other people’s business, men love man spaces where they can interact with each other.

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Bowling alleys, fraternal orders, deer leases, bars, race tracks, sports fields—you name it. Dudes have always found ways to dude together, all the way back to the clubhouses, forts, creeks, and trash cans of our youth.

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An essential aspect of the Man Cave is its otherworldliness. It won’t do to simply throw a projector screen on the wall, hang a dartboard, and steal some chairs from the lawn.

Have you ever seen a Man Cave that just was? No. They’re a source of pride, and many are the hours that have gone into glorifying these colorful, thematic funhouses.

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Sure, there will be relaxing, and perhaps the watching of sports, the playing of video games. But the raison d’etre of the Man Cave is to impress your friends.

How much memorabilia did you get on the walls? How wacky is the custom tiki bar? How many router bits did you go through creating a life-like Boba Fett table top? (Oh, don’t even try with the whole “Man Caves are just for sports” bit. Miss me by a mile with that baloney.)

The Man Cave is posturing. Showing off. Preening the feathers.

The very tucked-away-ness of the Man Cave is part of its mystique. Men are ostentatious about the outside of the home, spending wheelbarrows of cash on landscaping and trim. And, they’re ostentatious about their cars.

But, once they get inside the home, they can disappear into the wainscoting of the Man Cave . . . open that secret basement door, say the magic word, and play Dungeons & Dragons in an authentic recreation of Hogwarts, or watch the World Cup inside a cave painted like a giant football . . .

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So, really? What’s the difference between a She Shed and a Man Cave? The labeling—as appropriate as they may seem, at times—just seems like a gender-inspired joke that grew wings.

Both are a rite of passage. A moment in one’s life where you have the means to create your own unique representation of yourself. A claiming of one’s own place and space. An accoutrement of sorts.

A little island of one’s own to just be.

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