GREAT WAYS TO USE YOUR GARAGE
If you're like everyone else, you wish you had more room for hobbies, exercise, or even just for living and hanging out. Your garage is a convenient location and maybe just the space you're looking for.
A garage is often the size of a decent-sized room, and you may not even be using it for its intended purpose. If you already have plenty of parking and low crime in your neighborhood, you may not be bothering to put your car away at night. Converting your garage could give you that extra space you need for your growing family, your private business, or your neglected hobby.
Should You Convert Your Garage?
Before you take the plunge, there are some important factors to consider.
- Will you need permission from your HOA or city permits to change what the space is being used for? There may be restrictions, such as that the space is to be used for parking. You may also need to file if you have to enlarge the space or change the structure significantly.
- Will you be adding to the value of your home? Usually, garage conversions will add value because you are making improvements and adding more usable space.
- Do you need the garage for parking? If you don't have much off-street parking, you may need the garage space for your vehicle(s). You should also think about keeping the garage space if you live in an area with extreme weather, whether hot or cold, so you can protect your vehicle when you're not using it.
- Can you afford the remodel? Depending on what kind of room you want and the current state of your garage, a garage conversion could cost almost $20,000. It could also cost far less. If you have equity in your home, you might be able to take out a low-interest home equity loan to cover the permits and modifications.
Converting a garage to an extended living space
A complete garage conversion will probably require several major modifications. You may need to:
- raise the floor so it isn't sitting directly on a slab
- add extra insulation
- change the garage door, if you don't have one, for easier access
- add windows if you want more natural light
- install heating and air conditioning, and
- add plumbing if necessary.
How much you need to do and how much it will cost depends a lot on how you want to use the space. If you want to convert the garage into a master bedroom with a private bath, you will be spending a lot more and making a lot more changes than if you're simply adding a den so your family will have a comfortable place to come watch television together.
Some people even make all the different modifications, including plumbing and heating, so they can rent the former garage space out as an apartment with its own entrance or use the new living quarters as an in-law suite or place for an older child who needs more privacy. The private space is a selling point because anyone can use the space to generate income.
However, turning a garage into a room where you can entertain might be easier than you think by simply adding furniture, game tables, and a garage door screen.
Should you convert your garage to an office?
Many individuals have the privilege of working from home, either because they own their own businesses or because their employees allow it. Working from home is great but it takes a lot of discipline. Unfortunately, it means getting up on your own and getting to work without someone standing over your shoulder watching.
Because of that, many people working from home report that it's easier to get up, shower, and report to a separate part of the house so they will still feel like they're at work. Converting your garage to a home office will give you that sense of space you need so you can feel like you're on the clock even when you're comfortable at home.
Should you convert your garage to a studio?
Did you give up painting or music when you got busy with your "real" life? Do you wish you had a place to practice dance where you wouldn't be interrupted? You can convert your garage so you have your own private art studio.
Whether you have a hobby you don't spend enough time on or talent you're wasting, a garage conversion could give you the space you need to enjoy your real passions. You won't even have to leave the house.
See additional ideas for your garage conversion: