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Garage makeovers have similar floor, utility and furnishing needs of a house

July 08, 2013

Some homeowners just have to look behind their houses to find additional space where they can extend their homes' footprint. If they have a detached garage, they can design it as they would their other rooms, choosing colors, comfortable furnishings and hardwood floors like those in Anderson's Haversham collection.

Hardwood FloorsSome homeowners just have to look behind their houses to find additional space where they can extend their homes' footprint. If they have detached garages, they can design them as they would their other rooms, choosing colors, comfortable furnishings and hardwood floors like those in Anderson's Haversham collection.

Detached garages are often found behind homes built in the 1940's and 1950's. Even the smallest garage can yield about 60 square feet of additional livable space, but there are a number of considerations to take into account before embarking on a renovation.

The first is installing electricity and WiFi to accommodate the technology needs of modern home design. Adding insulation and heating will make the space comfortable enough for year-round use day and night. Frequently, garage renovations require flooring over the existing concrete surface.

A mix of overhead and task lights will provide both illumination for the whole room and focused lighting at a desk or reading chair.

For an added bonus in cold regions or places with lots of wet weather, install a covered walkway that connects the converted garage to the house.

Keep the garage door?
Along with utilities, a garage conversion has to address the elephant in the room, or in this case, the garage door opening and what to do with it. Some homeowners choose to keep the appearance of a garage by leaving the original doors, which preserves privacy and retains the residential look, according to Houzz.com.

Others redo the wall to allow for a traditional doorway and windows or install large glass panels to bring in natural light. Garages don't usually have big windows so the additional light exposure would be needed for the interior anyway. Window treatments inside the structure can block light and provide privacy as needed.

Variety of uses
By retaining the garage's original height, the equivalent of a vaulted ceiling will add to the spaciousness of the room design. Installing floor-to-ceiling storage units and bookshelves on the lengthy walls will free up enough floor space to fully outfit the former garage into whatever type of room the family chooses. The heightened space also lends itself to installing a loft area.

Those choices are virtually endless, but they should consider the activities and space needs of the family as it exists in the main house. It may be a home office, a family den or guest room. Or, it could give the teenagers in the house the "apartment" of their dreams.