Garages: how to make the most of your space
Last updated: 22/08/2022
A garage offers precious extra space to a property, especially since they’re often not used for their intended purpose – to store a car inside.
In fact, just over half (53%) of 2,138 drivers surveyed by the RAC Foundation in 2021 said they never keep their car in their garage. Not least because many modern cars hardly fit.
There are lots of other ways to use this precious space, particularly if you’re able to spend some time and money on it - in fact, a decent garage conversion could add up to 20% to the value of your home, according to Checkatrade. On the flipside, if you live somewhere where parking is hard to come by, consider whether it’s best holding onto that valuable space.
To help you make that decision, here are some ways you could use your garage:
If you don’t park your car in your garage, then the chances are that it’s where you put all those things you don’t know where to keep or what to do with. The fact is, garages are great places to store stuff.
But if you want to make more of your garage, then it’s time to supercharge its storage potential. How about:
- Installing some cabinets or industrial shelving that can be picked up at stores like Ikea, Screwfix or online.
- Adding tool racks, hooks or overhead racks to make the most of your space.
- Mounting bikes on the walls, or higher up using a pulley system.
Image from House Beautiful
If, like so many people, you now regularly work from home, then perhaps it’s time to set up a permanent working space: your garage could be the solution.
It has the advantage of being a space you could use exclusively for work, and shut away at the end of the day. Better still, it would be quiet and far enough away from any distractions.
Image from Travis Perkins
If you have kids, as well as creating a space to play that they’ll love, converting your garage into a playroom can transform your life too: no more toys scattered all over the place. Or at least fewer.
If the existing garage door stays as part of the conversion, then on nice days, you can open it up so they can play inside and out.
And when they grow up, the garage can remain their space, morphing into a TV room or clubhouse.
Image from Houzz
If you need an extra bedroom, for guests to stay in, then your garage could provide the answer.
Or you could take things a step further and look into converting it into an annex, to provide a living space for an elderly relative.
Image from Sunset
Alternatively, you might want to create a space that you can enjoy yourself.
The options are endless. How about a pub, home cinema room or snug reading room? Or maybe a gym is your thing and you’d like to kit it out with exercise equipment. Another option is to turn it into a games room, with table tennis, a pool table or darts.
Image from Yeg Fitness
A full-on garage conversion won’t come cheap. So how about going halfway and spending some time (and a little money) to improve it and make it more homely. You could:
- Paint the concrete floor with a moisture blocking paint.
- Scrub your windows, and replace any panes that are shot.
- Add nice lighting.
- Section off areas, keeping a space for storage, but also creating sections for a hobby or something fun, or a garden shed type space, for example.
Image from So much better with age
If you do think a garage conversion is the right step for you, before you jump in and plan your exciting new space, there are a few things to consider:
- Converting a garage into a habitable space will normally require approval under Building Regulations. However, planning permission is not usually necessary, as long as the work is internal and you don’t plan to make the building bigger.
- One of the biggest parts of a garage conversion will be to replace the garage door, perhaps with a wall and window. To do this, you may need to add a small foundation; be sure to seek advice from a professional.
- In addition, the floor may need to be levelled, damp-proofed, and insulated. The walls and roofs may also need upgrading and insulating.
Although this may all start to sound complicated, bear in mind it’s likely to be much simpler than building an entirely new extension on your home. It’s exciting to think what you could achieve with your property’s existing footprint. Good luck!