Man Cave to One-Bed Apartment Makeover: Before & After

Are you looking for apartment makeover ideas? I will take you on a tour of my one-bedroom apartment makeover to see how I gutted and transformed a man cave.

I converted this space from a basement with a pool table and man cave vibe into a place to relax when I come home from a long day. This is now like my own “man cave” where I come home and relax.

You’ll see the apartment makeover before and after images, which took one year to complete.


Bar and pool table area before


Living room

Entry and bathroom:

Entry into the apartment

This is not the typical entryway into an apartment. There is a door in the bathroom going into the backyard. So, let’s start with the bathroom. There wasn’t much we did with the configuration of the bathroom but we did some updates.

Bathroom before
New shower curtain
I added a curtain to the shower stall to soften the look.

New sink and vanity
I updated the bathroom and just brought in a simple sink, vanity, and medicine cabinet. I also played with some glass tiles on the wall to create a backsplash.

Shelves for storage

The two wall shelves add additional storage.


Kitchen area before

There was no kitchen, just a custom-built mobile bar, but we took that out and added a permanent island. You can see in the back that we have cinderblock walls that we had to keep in place.

We are on a slope so we had to work around it. The enclosed space makes it cozy, yet it goes up halfway so it’s airy, too.

Old tiled carpet
The original ceiling and carpet were old and tiled.  

New dry-walled walls
We removed all the wood shingle siding that was on the walls where there was not cinderblock. We dry-walled it and then painted it. This was a huge, dramatic transformation that took about a year.

Step up into the kitchen area

You can see here there’s a step up into the kitchen area.

Bar-height counter with swivel stools
I have a bar-height counter with two fun swivel stools.

Full kitchen with a full fridge
It’s a full kitchen with a full fridge.

Light fixtures with a rose gold finish

The lights have a rose gold finish that I love. The cabinets are clean, simple, and white from IKEA.

Adding walls:

Using a wall to divide the space

We added walls to close the open space up a bit. The wall creates a one-bedroom and the division that the space needs to make it a one-bedroom apartment. The bedroom doesn’t have any windows, so I added this interior window into the living space. With this addition, it doesn’t feel like a cave. It’s one of my favorite features.

Living room:

My main challenge here was finding petite furniture to fit the space and also be comfortable enough for guests.

Futon with built-in speakers and cup holders

I love this futon with the built-in speakers and cup holders.

Upholstered coffee table

This upholstered coffee table is tall. I watch TV with my feet up on it.

Electric fireplace with faux flames

I have an electric fireplace with faux flames but it gives off great heat.

Living room with a ledge loft area
Edge on top of the cinderblock half wall

There is this cool ledge on top of the cinderblock half wall that’s almost like a mini loft that my kids love. They come down here and hang out. It’s also great for additional bedding for guests.


Old tiled ceiling
New dry-walled ceiling with recessed lights

There were tiled ceilings that we took down. We dry-walled the ceiling and added recessed lights and a ceiling fan.

IKEA shelving unit in a home office

There was a strange banquet in this room that I removed. It was far from comfortable. I put an IKEA shelf in the nook where I took out the banquet. Next to that is a desk. I do a lot of design work down here at this desk.

Bedroom with a queen-sized bed
Again, there are cinderblock walls that need to stay since they are retaining walls. The space fits a queen-sized bed. I love the comfy, boho-style decor. It gives off a fun, hip vibe.

Hiding the electric panel with a wall tapestry

I hide the electric panel with a tapestry wall hanging that can be easily removed to access the door. You can’t have anything permanently blocking access to the electric panel, that’s not up to code.

Bedroom with a statement blue lamp

Look at this fun plug-and-play blue lamp from IKEA. It feels like a jellyfish! It’s just fabric with ombre coloring. I also have an IKEA wardrobe for extra storage. The mirrored doors make the room look a little bit bigger.

Bedroom after
Storage above the bed

There’s a whole area of additional storage above the bed.

Apartment makeover before and after

That’s it for the tour of my extreme apartment makeover! This apartment makeover has been a labor of love and it’s my pride and joy. I hope you found it inspirational. Let me know your favorite part of this makeover in the comment section.

Join the conversation
2 of 6 comments
  • KD Redlowske KD Redlowske on Feb 23, 2024
    Is the bedroom closed off with just a door? If I read correctly there are no windows except the faux, aren't there housing laws that require a window? I know most states require windows for safety. If there was a fire blocking the way out of the room the window would be a way out. Just asking!
  • Joa21654434 Joa21654434 on Mar 27, 2024
    I think the bathroom door to the outside would be enough.