How would you like to add about 400 square feet to the living area in your house without spending a lot of money or time? If you have a 2 car garage you have a big head start to doing just that. You can probably remodel your garage into a comfortable living, play or work area for less than what it would cost you to remodel your kitchen.
Recently it was on the news that many of the people being foreclosed on weren’t renting houses or apartments but were instead moving back to their parent’s houses, to another relative’s house or doubling up with other families. A 3 bedroom house can get very crowded when 2 families are living in it and after awhile everyone wishes it were bigger.
An easy answer to a bigger house is to remodel the garage into a couple of bedrooms and a bath or just a family room for the kids to play in. If the house has 2 bathrooms maybe just throwing up some partitions along with closets would do the job of expanding the sleeping area.
If there is some extra money available and it looks like the living arrangement may be fairly permanent it might be a good idea to convert the garage to an apartment with a bath and kitchenette. With this setup the two families could have privacy but still share the house for supper, laundry, backyard, etc.
If getting more room for more people is not your priority then here are some other ideas of making life more pleasant by remodeling your garage. One advantage to a garage remodel is that you don’t disturb your life as much as remodeling in the house does.
If you are like many people you park your car in the driveway because your garage is full of stuff. A good remodel project would be to put storage cabinets all round the walls and if possible make a storage area in the overhead with a pull down ladder. When you start storing stuff away you’ll be surprised at the extra clear space you’ll create, maybe even enough to park your car inside.
If you’ve always wanted a family room and your garage is attached to the house it won’t take much to convert it into one with carpeting, lighting, heat/cooling, phones and all the other comforts you have in the house. You’ll probably want to put some windows in if you have the wall space. A skylight or a solar tube is a great addition to the garage. You can leave your garage door on in case you want to convert it back to a garage. Inside you can build a false wall in front of it and outside either leave it or remove it and then wall in the area.
Attached or unattached the garage is a perfect place for a workshop, studio or home office. With these you can still have room to park your vehicle inside. For instance a workshop could consist of a permanent work bench with many of the large tools set up so they can be rolled out of the parking area. I’ve seen some garages that could be converted into a family room, workshop, workout area or other use within minutes after the vehicle was pulled out.
If you or your kids need a place to house a band the garage is a perfect place. Many “garage bands” got their start in the garage. If you don’t want to disturb the neighbors or the family you can sound proof a garage fairly easy. A home gym or martial arts area is another good use of a soundproofed garage as these activities can get loud also.
If your laundry room is in the basement you might want to move it to the garage and store the junk from the garage down there. When you put the laundry room in the garage it’s a perfect time to put in a bathroom. Once you have a bathroom in the garage you’ll wonder how you got along without one, especially if you have a home office or workshop out there.
The amount and type of remodeling you do in the garage will determine whether you need to get a building permit or not. If you plan to just convert it to a family room, put in storage cabinets, sound proof or something similar you don’t need to worry about it. If you have plans to put in a laundry room, bathroom, kitchen or separate heat you may have to get a permit. Check with your city building department before you start your project.
If you only use your garage for storage, one of the happiest days of your life will be when you move the junk out or store it neatly inside and are able to use your garage for activities you never thought possible.