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NOT USING YOUR GARAGE? THESE CONVERSION IDEAS COULD CHANGE THAT

By Alana Saunders

We are increasingly walking, biking, training, bussing and Ubering around, which means there may be unused garages gathering dust all over the country.

If you’ve stopped using your garage, it doesn’t need to be wasted space. With a little creativity, and a lot of help it could be transformed into a home office, a spare bedroom, a rumpus room or even an income opportunity. But first you need to know what you’re doing.

Unfortunately popping a bed into your garage won’t make into a habitable space.

GARAGE CONVERSION ESSENTIALS

Unfortunately, popping a bed into your garage won’t make into a habitable space. First of all, in most states you’ll need council and development approval, which means you’ll need to provide them with your plans and adhere to any council requirements. Next, you’re going to need to replace the door with something more suitable and you may want to install more windows for improved light and ventilation.

Garages often aren’t raised, and water may drain into them during heavy rain – a builder or drainage expert may be required to fix this. Beyond that you’ll need to consider landscaping your driveway, or diverting it to another existing carpark. Once you’ve ticked those boxes, you’ll also need to:

  • Fix the flooring with carpeting or vinyl
  • Check waterproofing
  • Install insulation
  • Paint or cover interior walls
  • Interior roof lining
  • Install heating and cooling
  • Install or update lighting

Your garage should be a comfortable and hygienic space once you’ve made the above changes. Now you need to fine tune it, so that’s it’s suitable for whatever you’re going to use it for.

HOME OFFICE

Consider landscaping your driveway, or diverting it to another existing carpark.

The most important aspect of any home office is usually a fast internet connection. So before you move your desk in or gib the walls, you should check if there’s an internet line run into your garage or a room nearby.

If not it may be worth calling your provider and having them run new wiring, so that you can connect a modem and get a lightening fast connection, right from the source.

Next, you should think about the layout of your future home office. Consider the size and shape of your desk and where it’s most likely to fit, so that you can install power sockets in convenient locations. You should also keep in mind the storage that you need, as it could be possible to convert existing garage shelves.

SPARE BEDROOM

No one wants to feel like they’re living in a garage. So one of the most essential aspects of any conversion should be to cover up any evidence of what the space was once used for, by adding homely features and intelligently redesigning the space.  Hiring an architect and an interior designer will ensure that you do this well, but may be expensive.

You should pay particular attention to the flooring – thick, soft carpet can do so much to make a space feel more homely. Your garage’s ceiling may be open to unsightly beams or even insulation, so consider covering or redesigning it. You’ll also probably also need new window fittings, a new paint job, a high standard of insulation and perhaps a heat pump.

If you’re looking to earn a little extra money, converting your garage into a standalone unit and renting it out could be a great idea.

AN INCOME OPPORTUNITY

If you’re looking to earn a little extra money, converting your garage into a standalone unit and renting it out could be a great idea. While this may cost more in the short term, it could provide solid and reliable income for years to come.

You’ll need to install plumbing and perhaps extra walls so that you can include bathroom and kitchen facilities. From there, you’ll need to endeavour to make your garage feel as much like a separate home as possible.

Installing a deck, fencing, a landscaped garden, and a mini-kitchen can all help to create that impression.

ENTERTAINMENT ROOM

In today’s society we live a stressful life. Your garage could help to alleviate that stress by providing a special area for relaxing and enjoying your hobbies and interests. It could be a home theatre, a man or lady-cave, an art studio, a gaming room or whatever else you desire.

Keep in mind that different uses may require unique features. For example, a movie room may require soundproofing and darkened windows, which could increase the cost.

Before you start knocking down walls, make sure you have a comprehensive plan in place and that you know exactly what is required for your conversion. If you get professional help, create a clear budget, and don’t rush then your garage could open up a whole new room of possibilities.

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