A garage conversion into a living space can be just what you need if you’re looking to add another cosy, longue-type room into your home. Garage conversion can and will involve the process of transforming your garage from the dusty storage room into your dream living space to entertain guests or have some alone time to recharge.
This article will offer a comprehensive guide to converting your garage into a living space. First of all, let’s look at why it’s a good idea.
Why Convert your garage into a living space?
I’m sure you’ll have your own reasons for doing a garage conversion into a living space, but just in case you’re looking for an excuse, here are just a few reasons why you might want to:
Add value to your House:
Since extra living spaces may be seen as desirable by many potential home owners, creating another living space in your house, and meanwhile getting rid of your old, dusty garage will likely add value to your home.
This might not be the case all the time since some house buyers may be more concerned with a different type of garage. However, I know personally that if I saw two lounges instead of one, I’d reach further into my back pocket to secure the house.
Give Spare Furniture a Purpose:
You may find that your main lounge is too packed with tables, sofas, and the rest. By creating a second living space, you can declutter the main part of your house and keep it in your newly converted garage.
This means you won’t have to dump your furniture, give it away, or pay to have it collected, win-win!
If you share your house with your family and like to entertain guests, you may sometimes find that one plan gets in the way of another. By creating a second living space, designed for the comfort of you and your guests, you don’t have to compromise and can use the space for whatever you want.
Personally, I think the garage space in particular is great for this as many of them are connected to the garden, making for a great place to meet in the summer.
Now we’ve looked at some of the many reasons why converting your garage to a living space is a good idea, let’s now look at what to put in it.
What to Put in Your Living Space
This is entirely up to you as a living space is an intentionally loose phrase. However, if you’re looking for ideas, here are a few:
TV and Sofas: This will be sure to create your second lounge, offering a versatile way to entertain guests, everyone can agree on comfort and entertainment. Even if having guests over isn’t your thing, it’s worth investing in comfy sofas (my favourite is leather) and flat screen TV’s often go for less than 100$ nowadays, especially if you buy them second hand.
Coffee Table: Investing in a good coffee table can really make the difference in aesthetic for your garage and create your ideal living space. You can either make one yourself with your DIY knowledge, or I’d again recommend buying one second hand, just make sure it fits in with the dimensions of your garage.
Garage Heater: You’re not going to have a cosy living space unless it’s warm, therefore, if radiators aren’t installed into your garage (most of the time they’re not) it’s well worth getting a garage heater. Not sure which one to buy? Luckily for you, I’ve created an article on the best garage heaters, so you won’t have to scratch your head as much when making your choice.
Lighting: Now this one is very vague and so it should be. Depending on the mood of the living space you’re aspiring to, you may opt for different types of lighting. For example, a simple lamp or two may do for the evening, coloured LED-lights may be best for you, or you may decide to go for brightness and choose proper garage LED-lights. There is of course no right or wrong, but I’d recommend investing properly in some good lights (preferably LED) for your garage living space.
Now you’ve got some ideas about what to do with your living space, take them and run. Now let’s look at some general conversion tips to actually transform your garage.
Helpful Tips for Garage Conversion:
There are many different things to consider when converting your garage, if you’re looking for a more complete guide, be sure to check out my very first article that was on garage conversion.
However, if you’re looking for a few helpful tips to transform your garage, look no further, these tips should help you get your dream living space.
Heat your Garage Well:
A garage conversion into a living space isn’t complete without proper heating. I’ve already hinted at the need to heat your garage, but there’s more to it. You will have options when it comes to keeping your garage warm, here are the main options:
Install electric underfloor heating:
Electric underfloor heating can be relativity easy to install, it also works well with renewable heating sources such as electric and can save you money. You can also install wet heating, which works with hot water, or dry heating, which works with electricity. Wet systems are versatile as they can be used from hot water from a boiler, or work with renewable sources such as solar panels. Dry heating is still a viable option though, it may be better for you if you don’t have a boiler.
You can expect to spend around $100 per square metre for water systems and half of that for electric. This makes electric systems the much less expensive option especially for areas up to 20 metres squared.
Next, radiators can be a good, easy option as it will be connected to your main source of heating. However, you must consider if your boiler can cope with another radiator and the pipework involved. Consult your local plumber or heating engineer to see if this option is viable.
This again is only really viable if you have a pre-existing boiler in your home, and if it has spare capacity to cope with another radiator or two.
Use electric heaters:
If you fancy an easier option, using electric heaters can work very well, especially if your insulation is good. This option speaks for itself and you can find some great electric heaters on Amazon which will heat up your whole garage in minutes (given that it is well insulated, see below).
If you’re looking for some great garage heaters, check out: The Highest Quality Garage Heaters of 2021.
Insulation and Ventilation:
Garage insulation can take on many forms, some are more effort than others, and some will give you better results than others. For example, if you’ve got lots of single glazed windows in your garage, consider getting them double glazed. If you’ve got a massive garage door that is uninsulated, consider insulating it with a garage door insulation kit.
As for other areas in your garage, consider your walls, ceiling, floor, and door. Heating your garage will have limited effectiveness if you’re losing the warm air easily.
As for ventilation, proper garage ventilation will make sure your garage doesn’t get too hot or cold, as this isn’t just unpleasant for when you’re in there but it also impacts adjacent rooms, and can incur strong and unwanted odours, not ideal for guests.
Ventilation can be as simple and cheap as keeping a door or window open, but if you’re keen to take extra step, you can try several other options:
• Ceiling fan: this will also deal with dust and debris if your garage conversion will result in a workplace.
• Garage exhaust fan: These can either be mounted on the wall (at extra cost) or stand on the floor and be moved around. I prefer the second option, personally.
• Roof ventilation: Since hot air rises, this is another great option, try installing the vent in the highest place on your roof.
• Portable air conditioner: These are space-friendly and can be placed wherever you like. Nice and easy.
Plumbing and Electrics:
Depending on the type of living space you want, you may decide to have an en-suite where you need plumbing, or you may need electrics in your garage for various appliances. If you need these features for your garage conversion, you must survey your house and garage for plumbing and wiring. However, both Plumbing and Electricity installation are best done by professionals.
The cost for Plumbing can vary depending on if you want a kitchen, bathroom, or both. For this you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $1800.
For installing a solid electricity flow to your garage, you can expect to pay around $1000-$1500. Contact your local electrician for their pricing.
Now we’ve seen a few things to consider during your garage conversion, let’s take a look at a few things to help maintain your living space.
Maintaining your Living Space:
In my eyes, the main things when to consider when maintaining your garage living space is security, and cleanliness. These two facets will ensure your garage is not only presentable, but also safe, that’s why I’ll keep this plain and simple, invest in a good garage vacuum and also a good garage door lock.
Garage floors, like any other floor in the house gets dirty. If you’re like me and like your garage floor nice and clean, you’ll want to take a look at some garage vacuums.
Using the same vacuum as the rest of your house is not only a pain as they usually aren’t light, but you’ll want a vacuum more suited to your garage floor. Garage vacuums can also be suitable for your porch/outside area. Take a look here at some of the best ones on the market.
When it comes to garage door locks, like with any other area of your home, you want to make sure you’re being as secure as possible. Your garage is no exception when it comes to needing security.
Therefore, investing in a great garage door lock will pay you dividends in the long run, especially if your garage is used as a living space, take a look at my article here, it combines simple, cheaper locks with more sophisticated, secure locks to help you sleep just that extra bit easier at night.
With all that being said, converting your garage into a living space may be just what you need to complete your ideal home. Just make sure to take the time to plan it and maintain it well.
If you’re converting your garage into a living space, it should be treated with eh same effort and respect as other living spaces in your home which includes cleaning, heating, insulating, and securing well. Luckily for you, I have articles littered on this website for you to check out on each of these topics, alongside more general garage conversion tips.
If you learned something about converting your garage into a living space from this article or think it would be helpful to someone else, please feel free to share this post, and enjoy your new living space.