Garage Conversion Ideas to Get More Out of Your Home
Garages: always great for storing stuff we can’t fit in the house; sometimes good for parking. But they can be used for so much more. If your house is short on space, a garage conversion will cost significantly less than building a new addition.
We rounded up tips for taking on three of the most popular garage transformations, so you can create a home that meets your needs and supports the lifestyle you want.
First, What Does a Garage Conversion Cost?
Garage conversions typically cost between $1,500 for simple remodels and $30,000 for major transformations. Of course, the exact cost of your project will depend on your specific plans and whether you’re DIYing the work or hiring contractors. Most of the design ideas in our roundup will keep your conversion on the low-to-mid range of the spectrum, but turning your garage into a fully finished living space will put you on the high end.
Now, Some Garage Conversion Prep Work
There are a few tasks you’ll need to take on regardless of what kind of transformation you’re planning for your garage:
- Check local regulations. Depending on the exact plans for your garage remodel, there may be building codes or zoning laws you need to know. You can look these up on your city government’s website or by calling your local building department.
- Declutter your garage. Consider renting a home dumpster if you’ve got way too much clutter for the curb. If there are things you’ll still need to store in the garage after it’s converted, make sure you confine them to one area you can easily keep organized.
- Insulate your garage door and install weather stripping on all doors and windows. This will help regulate the temperature.
- Decide how to heat and cool the space. There are several options for garages, but the right choice will depend on where you live and what you’re turning your space into.
3 Practical Garage Conversion Idea
1. Create a Garage Art Studio
Tired of stashing canvases under the couch or rooting through the junk drawer for your pencils? Your garage can give you the space you need to spread out your art supplies and spend more time creating.
Steps to Create a Garage Art Studio:
- Upgrade the flooring so you’re not working on cold concrete. There are several affordable, DIY-friendly options for covering a garage floor: carpet squares, roll-out vinyl, interlocking tiles and peel-and-stick tile.
- Add extra lighting. You need good lighting to make great art. Hire an electrician to upgrade the space’s light fixtures or supplement your existing system with large floor lamps.
- Paint the walls an inspiring color. Whether you choose classic art-gallery neutral or a bolder hue, a simple coat of paint goes a long way toward disguising the fact that your studio started out as a garage.
- Create zones for different projects. Maybe you need an easel and supply stand in one area; a sewing table and fabric storage in another. Designating separate spaces will keep your materials organized so it’s easier to work.
- Leave space for visitors. If you plan to sell your masterpieces or teach classes as a side gig, add a small sitting area within the space where you can meet with students or chat with clients about a commission.
2. Turn Your Garage Into a Gym
Whether you have ambitious fitness goals or just want to get active after a long day behind a desk, setting up shop in your garage is a great way to make exercising easy and save money in the long run—it’s often possible to turn your garage into a gym for about as much as you’d spend on a year’s membership somewhere else.
Use These Tips for Building a Garage Gym:
- Be selective about what equipment you include. You don’t need the same variety as a commercial gym. Consider your personal fitness goals and limit yourself to the equipment that will help you meet them.
- Install durable flooring. Rubber tiles are great for DIY installation and will protect the underlying concrete from damage if you drop weights or other heavy equipment.
- Give yourself plenty of room. Don’t overcrowd your garage gym. Make sure you can arrange your equipment with enough space to use it all effectively and safely. Depending on your goals, you may also want to leave space for stretching, yoga or other exercises that don’t require equipment at all.
- Consider building over buying. If you’re an experienced DIYer, there are plenty of garage gym staples you can save money on by making yourself, including parallettes, plyometric boxes and power racks. And even with no DIY know-how, you can make your own medicine balls.
- Know your DIY limits. Get help from a handy friend or hire a pro to install things like pull up bars or gymnastic rings if you’re not sure you can do it properly yourself. An imperfect installation puts you at risk for serious injury, so when in doubt—ask for help.
Pro-Tip: Make safety a priority in your garage gym. Keep a first aid kit on hand and make sure you always have your phone with you in case of an emergency.
3. Use Your Garage as a Living Space
Is your family outgrowing your family room? With some TLC, you can turn your garage into additional living space in a process similar to finishing a basement. Keep in mind that this type of garage conversion will be more time-consuming and expensive than the other two, since more work will be needed to make the space feel like part of the house. However, it will still be much less expensive than a new addition.
Here’s How to Transform Your Garage Into a Living Space:
- Hire a reputable contractor. Unless your plans are very basic, turning a garage into a living space isn’t something you can DIY.
- Insulate and raise the floor. This will bring the garage floor to the same level as the rest of the house, and allow you to install a moisture barrier to prevent water damage.
- Install outlets. If you plan to have a TV or appliances in your new room, hire an electrician to install extra outlets—many garages only have one.
- Add windows. On top of brightening the space, windows will help it feel more like a real part of the home, rather than something tacked on.
- Put your spin on the style. Put up a complementary paint color, choose the perfect flooring and add architectural elements like molding or wainscoting to make your transformed garage blend in with the rest of your home.
Got Your Own Garage Conversion Ideas?
Hopefully these garage designs will inspire a transformation that gives you more space to spend time with your family or get busy with your favorite hobbies. Thought of a great way to put your own spin on your remodel? Comment and let us know your plans.
Debating if you can DIY your garage conversion? Check out our DIY vs. Pro project comparisons to help you make the right call.