Some people look at the garage and see space for a car. Others find parking a car in the garage to be a novel idea they never considered. The fact is that this open space can be used for so many other purposes, and you just may decide that you’d rather leave your ride in the driveway and use the garage for something a little more interesting.
Extra Income Every Month
Even if you aren’t struggling to make ends meet, it never hurts to have a little extra income. Garages can be converted into efficiency apartments with the addition of a bathroom and little kitchen area. If you have a very tall garage or a bonus room above it, then you can even use the upper area for the apartment and still have your garage storage space. Use this checklist to make sure your new rental unit is up to code and will be desirable to potential tenants.
- Separate entrance for security
- Kitchenette and bathroom are required
- Proper permits from the city
- Parking space for the tenant and possibly extra storage space for their personal items
- Ventilation for heating and cooling
Have you been dreaming of adding an office to the home? Now you can by simply finishing the garage. It’s separated from the home, so you can focus and finally get some work done. At the same time, the doors provide you with easy access to come and go as you please. Consider adding a skylight for additional light, or install a bank of windows along one wall. When the weather’s nice, you can open up the main door and let the breeze roll in while you focus on the paperwork or other projects.
Put rubber tiles down on the floor and your garage will go from a simple car storage facility to your private workout center. There’s more than enough space in the garage for your workout equipment, treadmill and free weights. Add some mirrors along one wall to make sure you are doing your exercises properly, and consider adding a spot for doing yoga and other low-impact exercises.
Make a Greenhouse
If you love plants and get tired of having to start over every spring, then consider turning your garage into a private greenhouse. It’s a marvelous idea for northern homes where the lack of sunlight and plants in the winter can become depressing. Here are a few steps you should take to make your greenhouse a fantastic success.
- Protect the floor with decorative floor tiles and a waterproof system that ensures water spilled while tending the plants will drain neatly away.
- Replace the rolling door with a glass wall that lets the sun shine through. Fill the other exterior walls with banks for windows that will provide your plants with sunlight.
- If possible, add skylights for additional sunlight.
- Insulate the remaining exterior walls and areas around windows to keep the space warmer.
The Winter Sunroom
If you’re looking at the greenhouse and thinking that you’d like to sit in a green house in the winter and enjoy the view, then you may want to consider converting the garage into a sunroom. With extra windows and skylights, this space could become the coziest area in the home. Add comfortable furniture and a few plants to complete the sunroom and make it a functional part of the home.
The Man Cave
Garages have long been a man’s domain, and you can make the most of that prevalent attitude. Turn the garage into a men’s area where you can gather with friends to enjoy some video games or a game of poker. Consider adding a half-bathroom and small kitchen area to make this space more functional for you and enjoyable for all of your friends. Lighting is a must in any man cave, and you will need extra outlets to allow for the electronics and games that may find their way into your new retreat.
Additional Living Space
Whether you need another bedroom for a growing family, a guest room for out-of-town visitors or a spot for the kids to hang out and relax, the garage is one of the best options to consider. Replace the door with a solid wall, and add some windows to bring in more natural light. Increase the wall insulation and put thick carpet on the floor to warm it up. You will also need to add ductwork and tie this room in with the rest of the house for temperature control. Add a few outlets and finish off the walls to make the garage a true extension of your living space.
Of course, the garage doesn’t have to be used for living space. You can turn it into the ultimate storage center with the right additions. The best part is that, if you add the storage in clever ways, you can still put your car inside the garage. Here are some tips to make the most of unused space in your garage and increase your available storage.
- Mount cabinets on the walls several feet above the floor. Your lawn equipment will fit underneath, and the cabinets are ideal for storing tools.
- Add ceiling-mounted grids for storing plastic bins and other goods.
- Build floor-to-ceiling shelves for organizing everything you don’t have space for inside the home.
There are countless ways to get more out of your garage. While many people enjoy parking their car in this space, there are countless others who would prefer to turn that into valuable living space for a gym, office, rental unit or simply a game room for the kids. The ideas are limitless, so take another look at your garage and start considering the marvelous things you can do with that space.