What to Consider Before Converting a Garage into a Small Home

empty garage before conversion
  • 30-300 hours
  • Advanced
  • 500-10,000

Converting your garage into a small house will increase your living area and provide a new living space to rent out or offer your son or daughter when they return home from college. When determining whether a garage-to-house conversion is right for you, you should remember that with some time and labor, you can save both space and money.

1. Cost

When all things are taken into consideration, converting your garage into a small house is often cheaper than adding a room onto your home because there are no foundational changes or heavy construction involved. And, depending on the building codes in your local area, any additions to your house might need a costly foundation to be built. If your garage is already up-to-code, you can bypass these costs.

The money that is saved from dealing with such additional costs can easily be applied to interior design, plumbing and electricity, and finishing touches to create a new, comfortable living space.

2. Attached or Detached

garage with laundry appliances and storage racks

One of the main things to consider when planning your garage conversion is whether the garage is attached or detached from your house. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages.

Attached Garages

Attached garages benefit from the connection to the home - thus resulting in easy climate control and access for the homeowner. They are also better suited for an attached room that would see regular use, such as a family entertainment room or a new master bedroom.

Detached Garages

If your garage is going to be converted to create a more private or functional living space, then a detached garage would benefit you for a number of reasons. For example, this space would work well as a separate workshop or an independent-living opportunity for older children or family members who come to visit. It could also possibly serve as a space for a home office. Being detached from the main house means it should be more free of the usual distractions of a bustling household.

3. Additional Considerations

Other important factors to consider in the decision to convert a garage are its overall size and what your home actually needs added on to it the most. Remember with this conversion, your vehicles are going to be displaced from the garage. Cars that have lost their home to a conversion of the garage can perhaps be moved to a carport. Larger garages may be partially converted, leaving room for a single car to park or for the storage of your extra household items.

If your garage is being used primarily for storage, buying a portable storage shed would be well worth the cost. That would allow you to get better use out of your garage by converting it into a living area or workspace.