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When it comes to your garage, the possibilities are endless. Even though it already serves a lot of purposes, converting your garage can expand your living space and provide you with valuable additional square footage. If you’re considering converting your garage, here’s what you need to know.

The Pros and Cons of Converting a Garage

As with any remodel or renovation, there are positives and negatives associated with the project. One of the biggest benefits of converting your garage is that it’s a great way to increase the functional living space in your home, and it’s a lot cheaper than building an addition to your house or moving to a bigger place. Even if you set aside the added functionality, converted garages could also help raise your property value if you decide to sell down the line.

Ironically, the primary benefit of converting a garage is also the major drawback. If you renovate your garage into a living space, you’ll lose valuable storage for your cars, landscaping equipment, and tools. Not only does a garage protect your vehicles from premature aging, but the access you have to your tools and equipment is especially helpful during the winter months when it’s time to plow your driveway. Also, if most of the houses in your neighborhood have garages, buyers may view your house negatively if you decide to sell.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the trade-offs are worth it.

How to Convert Your Garage Into a Functional Living Space

In order to convert your garage into an additional living space for you and your family, it will require some TLC (and not the kind that chases waterfalls). Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Get a building permit. As with any major project, you’ll need to adhere to the local zoning laws and be able to show officials that the structure is up to code before you can get started. You’ll also need to submit your detailed construction plans when applying for your permit.
  2. Hire a contractor. In most cases, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to make sure that your garage conversion matches the rest of your home. After all, some aspects of converting your garage can require a high level of expertise.
  3. Insulate the space. One of the first tasks in the conversion process will be to insulate the ceiling and walls and then install drywall.
  4. Run electrical wiring. Aside from running electricity to the space, you may also want to consider upgrading your electric service so that it can handle the larger load.
  5. Set up air conditioning and heat for the space. You can connect the garage to your home’s existing HVAC system or purchase an independent system, such as a heater or a window unit.
  6. Set up the plumbing (if applicable). If you plan on adding a bathroom or laundry area to your converted garage, you’ll need to either connect to the existing plumbing system in your home or install new drains and water lines.
  7. Complete the carpentry. Now that you’ve set up the essentials, it’s time to spruce up the space. You will need to finish up any carpentry, such as framing in the doors and windows, before you can start painting and decorating the interior.

Ideas for Converting Your Garage

Once you’ve decided to convert your garage, you need to choose what you want to do with the space. Here are some ideas for how you can use your garage in a new and creative way:

Laundry Room

Even though it’s not the most exciting conversion idea, creating a designated laundry room out of your converted garage is definitely the most functional. You can hide your big appliances and still have plenty of space for a folding station and drying racks. Installing shelves can also provide a space for storing things like fabric softener, bleach, and laundry detergent.

Living Room

If your current living room feels drab or too small, you can transform your garage into a new entertainment room that’s comfortable, cozy, and secluded. By adding a sound system, television, and a seating area, you can easily create a room that the whole family will want to spend all of their time in.

Wine Cellar or Home Brewery

While wine lovers can convert their garages into impressive wine cellars with special wine coolers and storage, beer enthusiasts can create their very own craft breweries. If this is a hobby you enjoy, you can convert the space to brew beer that will impress your friends and fuel your parties.

Playroom

Whether you decide to set up a miniature city or an indoor playground complete with monkey bars and swings, having a designated playroom is a great way to keep the kids safe and entertained, especially during bad weather.

Guest Bedroom

Converting your garage into a guest room is a wonderful way to provide a private space for your out-of-town visitors to unwind. Even though a comfortable bed is really all you need, you could potentially transform the space into a full guest house with a small kitchen area and bathroom. This will be great for visiting family and friends, but you could also rent it out for additional income.

Home Theater

With a great television and sound system alongside some extra-comfy sofas and armchairs, you could create a truly impressive home theater for your family and friends to enjoy.

Home Office

If you own your own business or work as a freelancer, having a functional home office is essential. You can use your converted garage as a designated office space by adding all of the office essentials that you use on a daily basis, including a sleek desk and a comfortable chair.

Home Gym

If you’re tired of spending money on a monthly gym membership, a converted garage can serve as a great home gym. You’ll just need to install rubber mats on the floor and fill the room with your favorite exercise equipment.

As you work on converting your garage into a more appealing and functional space, you may decide that you want to upgrade your garage door to match your new interior. At Overhead Garage Door, we’ve been installing and repairing garage doors in the great Chicagoland area for almost 40 years. Contact us today to talk about your garage renovation project.