Many homeowners who have garages use them to protect their vehicles from the elements. For others, garages are a major source of storage space. But if you don't have a car or don't mind keeping yours outside, and you don't necessarily need the extra storage room (you have lots of closets or a basement), you may be able to make good use of your garage if you're willing to spend a little time and money renovating it.
The first step in any garage renovation project? Clearing out the junk. (Be honest: you probably have lots of it.) But once that's done, there are a number of things you can do with your garage. Here are a few renovation ideas to consider.
1. Turn it into a workshop
If you're the handy type, you might think about converting your garage into a workshop. To do so, you'll probably want to add storage space for your tools and equipment, so think about putting up built-in wall units and shelving. As far as flooring goes, you may not need to do much. Most garages have concrete floors, and while you may want to paint yours to make it look nicer, concrete is generally an appropriate material for a space that's being used as a workshop, since it can take a beating. You can also install foam mats to protect your garage flooring.
2. Turn it into an office
If you work from home or want the option to do so, your garage could be the perfect spot for a home office. If you're going to convert your garage to an office, you'll need to do something about its flooring -- concrete generally won't work, but laminate or even hardwood is a good bet.
3. Turn it into a bedroom
Maybe you've expanded your family or want space for guests to stay in your home. Your garage could be the perfect spot to convert into an extra bedroom. You will, however, need to replace the concrete flooring with wood or carpet.
General considerations when renovating a garage
No matter what plans you have for your garage, your renovation plans will generally need to include the following:
- Painting walls. Painting is an easy way to make that space more aesthetically pleasing.
- Putting insulation in. Adding insulation will help your garage stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. You could, of course, install an actual heating or cooling system (and you may need one if you live someplace with extreme weather), but it may get expensive, and you'll generally need a licensed professional to do so safely. But if you're interested in going that route, a ductless mini split system could be your best bet.
- Adding outlets and running electricity. If you want your renovated garage to be functional, it'll require some electrical work. This is a job best reserved for a licensed professional.
- Adding windows. Without windows, you might struggle to work or function in your garage in the absence of natural light.
- Replacing your garage door. If you're using your garage as a workshop, you may not mind retaining its original doors. But if you're using that space as an office or bedroom, you'll probably want to replace that garage door with an outside wall. In doing so, you'll also need to remove the clunky apparatus that runs along the top of that space.
Renovating a garage can be a time-consuming task, but a worthwhile one at that. If you're not using your garage to store your car or belongings, it pays to see what other options you have for maximizing that space -- potentially increasing your home's value at the same time.