When they look at their garage, some people see the potential for an extension of their home. It could add more livable space for you and your family, similar to finishing a basement or converting an attic. However, if you’ve been using your garage for parking and storage, you may need to upgrade the indoor climate before you spend time there. If you want to turn your garage into another living space, it’s crucial to find a way to regulate the temperature so it won’t be just as hot or as cold as outside.
Getting the interior to a comfortable temperature is only the beginning. There’s money to shell out and hours of labor to put in to make it as usable as the rest of your home. The question is: Do you consider the end product worth it? The experts at Quality Overhead Door are here to share the advantages of undertaking such a project, how to convert your garage and a few ideas to get you started.
The Pros and Cons
Just like any other home renovation or remodeling you could pursue, garage conversion has its benefits and drawbacks. If you want to increase the amount of livable space you have, converting your garage is much cheaper than moving or building a brand-new addition. This bonus room will be fantastic for your family, whether you’re watching movies together or using it to do laundry. When you’re ready to sell down the line, it could raise your property value.
Besides losing a spot to store your landscaping equipment, if you convert the space while most of the houses in your neighborhood have garages, others could start to look at your home unfavorably. Depending on where you live, not having a dedicated area for your car could lead to break-ins, theft, difficulty plowing your driveway when it snows and even the premature aging of your vehicle. Not to mention, if you try to complete the job yourself without the right training or tools, it might become a DIY nightmare. However, if the pros outweigh the cons, there’s no reason you shouldn’t convert your garage.
The First Steps
If you don’t have a car or don’t use it very often, or need some extra living space and don’t have the yard or budget to build an extension, your garage could be a great way to expand. Creating a self-sufficient living space could also open your property for short-term rentals to bring in some extra cash.
Converting your garage into a living space goes beyond basic decoration. Begin the process by drawing up architectural plans. Before you start browsing furniture and buying wall hangings, you need a solid foundation in place. Follow your local zoning laws and acquire a building permit immediately. You should be able to show that the structure is up to code and submit detailed construction plans.
Then, it’s time to hire an experienced contractor to take on the job. After all, it takes a lot of work to make your garage comparable to the rest of your home. Here are just a few of the tasks at the top of your conversion checklist.
- Walls and ceiling: Most garages don’t meet the same construction standards as the rest of the house. To make the space feel livable, you’ll need to fully insulate the walls and ceiling to protect it from the elements. You’ll also need to put up drywall. If you want the garage to be an extension of a neighboring room or have full access from your house, you might choose to open up the partition wall between your home and the garage. Removing the wall will create an open floor plan.
- Flooring: Just as with the walls, you’ll need to insulate the floor and install flooring above the concrete slab. Adding insulation and tiles, linoleum or hardwood will raise your floor from its original height. You’ll want to maintain a distance of at least seven and a half feet between the finished floor and the ceiling.
- Windows: Depending on the design of your garage, you may need to add windows to provide more natural light and air. Your local zoning office will have information on the number of windows you need to add.
- Electrical: You’ll need enough wall outlets, so no cord has to stretch more than six feet to reach an outlet. While your garage probably has one overhead light and a wall switch, you may want to add more or update the one you have to make the space well-lit. You’ll need to do electrical wiring and consider upgrading your electric service to handle the larger load.
- Heating and cooling: For year-round comfort, you have several options for your heating and cooling. Tie into your home’s HVAC unit, invest in an independent system or purchase a garage heater.
- Plumbing: If you plan to have a home bar, bathroom or kitchen, you’ll need new plumbing. Connect to the existing pipes or install a new water line and drains.
- Finishing: To make a garage look like a living space rather than a garage, you’ll want to upgrade the room’s appearance. Add non-load-bearing walls to cover up any unsightly pipes. Then, finish up any carpentry and paint the interior.
- Design elements: An architect can help you design an area that looks like it has always been a living space. Windows, especially dormer windows, can go a long way toward sprucing up a garage.
- Garage door: An attractive, insulated garage door can help you preserve the comfortable temperatures inside your garage and provide outdoor access without detracting from the home-like design and decor you bring into the space.
- Parking and storage: Once you convert your garage, you’ll lose your covered parking spots. You’ll need to designate a new area on your property where you can park your cars and store items. You can build storage into your converted garage or consider a small shed for your yard.
Once you take care of some of the fundamental steps in a garage conversion, consider the particular elements that will make your space truly your own. If creating a living area for an older relative to move in, you’ll want to consider accessibility. For a game room or a home theater, you may need special electrical requirements. What does your dream floor plan include? Maybe these garage conversion ideas will spark some inspiration!
1. Man Cave or Mom Cave
Perhaps the most common way to use an extra room in the home is to turn it into a man cave. Your lounge can take many different forms, depending on your priorities. If you’re a sports enthusiast, you’ll probably want a big-screen TV to watch the game on and your favorite jerseys displayed on the walls. You can create a casino that will never lose you money by setting up card tables and adding a bar. Or, replicate a lodge with a pool table, an electric fireplace and some rustic decor. It’s up to you to determine what goes in your sanctuary.
The same is true for the woman of the house, as “mom caves” have become increasingly popular in recent years. Give yourself a peaceful nook to relax after a long day. Whether you unwind by working on your hobbies or curling up with a good book, design the room around it. Be sure to include adequate lighting and a couch, cushy chair or daybed for a cozy atmosphere. Personalize your space with inspirational prints, pretty throw pillows or a smattering of colors you love. If you want to get your drink on, with liquor bottles on a bar cart or tea accessories set up in a corner, factor that into your planning as well.
Whether you’re making a man cave or mom cave, it’s all about self-care and treating yourself.
2. Crafting Area
Many people yearn for a room devoted to their craft, whatever it may be. From scrapbooking and knitting to piecing together model airplanes and woodworking, everything is much easier if you have space to spread out your materials and concentrate. With a converted garage, you can bring your imagination to life! Just invest in a few storage containers for organizing your supplies, set up a workspace such as a good-sized table, ensure that the lighting is to your liking and get started on your next pet project!
For a home art studio, the lighting is doubly crucial. Usher more sunshine into your garage by installing windows and using bright, efficient lightbulbs for nighttime painting sessions. If you’re a professional photographer, you can easily convert your garage into a photo studio. It takes no time at all to put up a backdrop and arrange your studio lighting kit, and you’ll have plenty of room to stash the furniture or props you use. Honor your muse with an area that revolves around creative pursuits.
3. Game Room
There are dozens of reasons you might want a game room attached to your home. Young adults may dream of a haven for competing in video games or conquering Dungeons & Dragons campaigns for hours on end. Families with children would be interested in storing and playing board games on weekends. In any case, access to electricity and a reliable internet connection is a good start.
For tabletop gaming, make sure you have a large surface area to work with and plenty of seats. Install shelves to hold figurines, cards, booklets, equipment and anything else you need. If you own gaming systems, pair them with a good-sized TV that has crisp picture quality. Then, don’t forget decor based on your hobby of choice! Paint a Mario mural, hang up vintage board game advertisements or display your Pokémon toys — whatever makes it feel less like a garage and more like a gamer’s getaway!
4. Home Gym
Wanting to get fit is an admirable goal. Gym memberships can get pretty pricey, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate for morning jogs. If you’re struggling to stay active due to factors beyond your control, converting your garage into a home gym may be the way to go.
Cover the floor with rubber mats to aid in your workouts and decrease the risk of injury. Then, fill the room with fitness staples like dumbbells and kettlebells, a jump rope, a medicine ball and barbells with extra weight plates. You can snag most of these items affordably and use them for a variety of regimen options. If your budget allows, you could go one step further and purchase some equipment like a treadmill, an exercise bike or a pull-up bar.
When you visit a conventional gym, what do you find besides fancy athletic machines? Full-length mirrors, access to water for keeping hydrated and maybe even motivational posters. You could include all these things in your home gym to help you practice good form, chart your progress and encourage you to go just a few minutes longer. You may also want a stereo system to pump out your favorite high-energy tunes instead of relying on headphones.
5. Office Space
The work-from-home trend is here to stay, and whether you’re a freelancer or starting the next big success story from your garage, you need a quiet space set apart from the rest of your house to get your daily tasks accomplished. Aside from setting your hours and establishing boundaries with family and friends while you’re on the clock, you need a few home office essentials for success.
Start by shopping for a desk with the features you desire, whether that’s a keyboard tray, multiple drawers or the ability to convert to a standing desk. Pick up a computer with a high-speed internet connection and a multi-functional printer, as well as your phone, if you take a lot of calls throughout the day. A comfortable chair and an ergonomic arrangement for your keyboard, mouse and monitor is an absolute necessity. Then, inject a few personal touches, like framed photographs, plants or other meaningful trinkets.
Keep a planner or notebook by your side for scheduling your days or jotting down ideas. Stock up on the office supplies you use frequently, so you won’t have to run out to the store all the time. You can even try fun colors to brighten up a dull workday. Depending on your job, a paper shredder or file cabinet will come in handy, and a trash bin is always useful to have. If you’re selling products, set up shelves for your inventory and create a separate work area for preparing orders.
6. Home Theater
For film buffs or avid cinema-goers, nothing compares to the thought of having a private movie theater. On top of the personal satisfaction you’ll glean, family and friends will love coming over to eat popcorn and enjoy a motion picture at a fraction of the cost of the theater in town. The key is a big screen, top-notch sound equipment and an abundance of seating.
As electronic prices continue to drop, it shouldn’t be hard to stumble upon a television or projection system suitable for your home theater. Hook it up to an entertainment system for audio quality that will allow even those sitting in the back to catch every word. Whether you’re watching one flick or prepping for a movie marathon, you want to be comfortable, so don’t skimp on the armchairs or sofas you buy. Then, give the room a little character through touches like painting a starry ceiling or framing movie posters for your walls.
7. Guest Bedroom
If your parents or friends from your college days live miles away, they may visit several times throughout the year. Instead of making them pay for a hotel, provide accommodations through your garage-turned-guest-bedroom! The top priority is giving them a comfortable bed to rest in, followed by filling the room with cozy decor to make them feel right at home.
Budget permitting, you could go one step further and turn it into a full-on guest house or in-law apartment, complete with a separate bathroom and kitchen area. Stay simple with a toilet, shower, compact refrigerator and microwave, or add further amenities like a bathtub, stove and ample counter space to prepare meals. This option, of course, requires extensive electrical wiring, running water and natural gas. However, if you’re willing to go through the trouble of such a renovation, you’ll make their time in town feel like a mini-vacation.
8. Playroom for the Kids
Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you that children seem to possess limitless energy. Sometimes you need to prevent them from roughhousing in the kitchen or interrupting your phone calls, which is why putting together a playroom in the garage is a tempting proposition. You could set up a miniature city with a grocery store, restaurant and schoolhouse for hours of pretend play. Keeping them thoroughly occupied and developing their growing brains is killing two birds with one stone.
Taking a different route, you could hang swings, install monkey bars and throw gym mats on the floor for their private playground. Seal the deal by bringing in some of their favorite toys for when they finally tire of running around. With a bit of elbow grease, you’ll have the perfect place for your little ones to get active no matter the season.
9. Home Brewery
Some people want more than just a typical pub atmosphere in their man cave. They want something a little refined, something that reflects their knowledge of spirits of all sorts. For instance, you might convert the garage into premium wine storage through racks hung up on the walls or specialized wine coolers. Then, whenever you have company or a special occasion arises, you’ll be ready. Nothing helps you celebrate quite like optimally chilled wine.
You could also transform your garage into a part pub, part brewing station for a home brewery. After all, the federal government permits up to 200 gallons of homebrew in households with two or more residents. Take your hobby to the next level by constructing a home brewing kit and sampling your creations once they’ve fully fermented. Have your friends over to show off your newfound talent, and give them a way to let off steam after a hard day at work.
10. Laundry Room or Living Room
You may feel your house is perfect just as it is, except for one little thing. Maybe your living room is too cramped, or you don’t have a basement where you can tuck your laundry machines away. These garage conversion ideas may be enough to save the day.
A garage makes for a great laundry area, especially for families with several children. Though a laundry room isn’t the most exciting thing you can do with your garage, it’s undoubtedly among the most functional! There’s no need to worry about finding room for housing bulky appliances or folding clean clothes. Place your detergent, bleach, fabric softener and whatever else you need on floating shelves, and set up designated wires or drying racks for wet items. You could even make signs with stain suggestions, wash times and other fabric care tips as a helpful reminder to yourself.
Maybe your family doesn’t play games or watch many movies, but you still want a space for entertaining — and your living room isn’t cutting it. Use your garage to craft the ideal hangout spot that was never possible before! Your home could be a massive hit with a few sofas and loveseats and a cleverly concealed audio system. Don’t shy away from building a bar area because you want it to be kid-friendly. After all, the counter and refrigerator can just as easily serve sodas and snacks as they can alcoholic drinks.
Complete Renovations With a New Garage Door
As you can see, garage conversion ideas are seemingly endless. You’ll find all the information and examples you need to get started on your home improvement project with a little research. While learning how to convert your garage sounds intimidating at first, having a to-do list and hiring the right contractor makes a world of difference.
After updating your garage’s interior, you might stand back and admire your handiwork, only to find your garage door looks shabbier than you remembered. To complete your converted indoor space and make it a real masterpiece, consider a new garage door from Quality Overhead Door. Our selection includes only the best products from the most prominent garage door brands, with colors and styles that will match any home. We also provide services such as garage door installation, replacement and repair.