For many do-it-yourselfers, the garage is far more than a space to park the car. So often, the garage functions as an automotive shop, a tool shed, a storage center - even a place to entertain. Yet most garages can achieve far greater levels of function depending on your need. A craft center, a spare room, a collectible show room, and a home office are just a few of the rooms your garage can aspire to become with some basic home improvement tasks.
For a garage to function more like a room, a few elements must be considered - heating, cooling, ventilation and electricity are the essentials. Certainly, you may want to consider new construction such as putting in a loft and stairs, but these are the biggies when it comes to revamping or making over the garage. This is also the pricier part of improving your garage, too. Just keep in mind, when you can’t "do it yourself," don’t skimp on quality workmanship. Like many home improvement projects, you are actually increasing the value of your home with a project like this. A heated garage is simply more valuable than an unheated one.
Other types of construction that is more cosmetic in nature, like putting up drywall and furnishing a ceiling, can also be considerable expenditures. Decide how you want the room to function. For instance, if you require the garage to be a carpentry shop - a place where you strip furniture, sand panels, and paint - you might not mind a ceiling’s view of the rafters. In fact, you will be making a considerable mess in this type of room, so a cosmetically-pleasing effect may not be as functional as a good ventilation system.
Electricity and lighting considerations are important no matter how you want your garage to function. From automotive needs to home office needs, you need adequate lighting to see what you are doing as well as enough outlets to plug in everything from your fax machine, table saw and glue gun. Consider installing outlets approximately every 34 inches so you won’t have to trip over extension cords.
Flooring is something you will have to consider carefully. A concrete slab may work for an automotive room, but it’s not pretty. Of course, a carpentry center won’t be needing an expensive parquet floor either, but there are lots of flooring options out there that are both functional and affordable. Vinyl flooring might be worthwhile consideration for a craft room. Again, the function of the room will have to dictate the type of floor you install.
Storage is also a consideration. When revamping your garage, you might want to forego those rickety metal shelving units where you store everything from cans of nails to Christmas ornaments and canning jars. Installing adequate cabinetry can not only keep your items organized, it can make for a more pleasing aesthetic. This is essential if your garage doubles as a home office or where your company spills into to play board games or the like for holidays. Even a high shelving plan can eliminate clutter and allow you to store seasonal items for easy retrieval.
Garages can be made over to suit any need. So many projects can be accomplished there with little or no interference to the rest of your house. If you are building a garage from scratch, so much the better! You can plan for your needs right from the start. Or, if you still need car storage, consider an addition to your garage (like a breezeway or greenhouse) to suit other needs. From minor changes to major overhauls, chances are you won’t regret the expense, because you will tailor your upgrades to suit your lifestyle and greatly impact the value of your home.