Make Room: A Guide to Transforming Your Garage Into An Extra Living Space
It's not often we still see home garages used for car storage, instead they're designated as a space for tools, garden supplies, or home gyms.
Learn how transforming your garage can add a new living space and go a long way in helping you achieve your dream home. We cover everything from prepping the space, following building regulations, getting the most effective insulation, to installing energy efficient LED lighting solutions to save you money and help live more sustainably.
Garages often become less of a home for your car and more of a storage space for clutter. While most garages act as a hub for tools, garden kit, or sports equipment, they could offer you useful living space!
Transforming your garage space can go a long way in helping you achieve your dream home. Knowing how to make the most of your space is key in turning the dream to reality, though.
Plan Your Space
Before taking a hammer to any walls, you need to decide what you’re going to do with the available space, as this will affect your budget and schedule.
Converting your garage into a bathroom, for example, requires additional costs and time for the installation of plumbing and water systems – which might affect your plans.
Once you’ve decided what’s in store for your space, allow some time to have a thorough look at the current state of your garage, including the foundations, insulation and access to facilities.
Checking these now will save you time on delayed work later and make sure the basics are in place before you start any decorative work.
Look at bringing in a qualified surveyor to evaluate the property. They’ll help build a broader picture of the work needed before your project gets underway.
Assess The Infrastructure
It’s important to conduct a thorough audit of the garage structure before giving the green light to any work. This includes looking at the foundations and supports of the building – as we don’t want anything dangerously collapsing or falling down.
It may sound obvious but consult a garage conversion specialist. Not only will they have the know-how to bring your vision to life, but they’ll also provide a realistic idea of scale, time, cost and resources needed.
They’re also equipped to spot any areas that are worse for wear and can offer advice on knocking sections down or patching them up for peace of mind.
Before giving any construction work the ‘go-ahead’, make sure revised changes meet the necessary building regulations. And if you’re unsure, check with a planning professional.
These regulations hone in on fire safety, ventilation, and insulation performance, so it’s worth checking these areas before submitting a planning application.
Insulation plays a huge role in home comfort, so giving your garage space a heating upgrade should be a top priority.
Make sure the walls, floor, and roof are insulated – at least to the point where the rate of heat loss, otherwise known as its ‘U-value’, meets building regulations.
Depending on your budget, you’ll want to go about installing insulation differently. Expensive insulation, like spray foam to cover cavities in walls, is the most effective way to go.
However, cost-effective alternatives, like high-density fiberglass insulations, are still enough to keep you cosy if professionally installed.
Brighten Up The Place
Garages are notoriously dark and dingy places, where lighting is usually relegated to a few dusty bulbs or a dated filament lamp.
However, lighting can make or break any room, so factoring it into your design will get the room feeling inviting and looking its best.
To get the best coverage and visual appeal, it’s recommended to have a range of light sources. Consider fitting some side lamps with a deeper hue to accompany a bright central pendant, to add a varied flavour to the room.
If you’re going for a modern twist, it’s worth investing in LED lighting. Not only would plug in LED strip lights slice your electricity bills, but their durability and long lifespan mean you won’t have to replace your bulbs as often, as well as having a range of colors to set the mood for any time.
Check out our project guide to determine the best LED strip light or small LED bulbs solution for your home projects.