How to Convert Your Garage Into a Living Space


Converting your garage seems like it would be easy, and it can be a do-it-yourself project under the right circumstances. However, there are a few important factors to turning your garage into a living space that you should think through and plan before even lifting a hammer. Here are some helpful tips:

What Kind of Space Do You Need?

There are so many types of rooms you can convert your garage into. It is just a matter of deciding what sort of space you need. A garage can be a great children’s playroom or have more adult entertainment, like a tiki or espresso bar, in mind. It can be a home office, a home gym, or even a studio apartment. Remember, however, what you used the garage for to begin with. If it was storage space, you will have to find new places for the stuff. If you parked your car in there, you need to consider the wear and tear your car is going to endure being parked outdoors rather than in. Will a carport be sufficient to park beneath?

Legal Considerations

Since you are changing the use of one of the “rooms”  of your home, you have to check with your town and/or county to see if there is any permitting and inspection required. This is especially true if you are adding plumbing or electric to your garage, but many municipal areas also require it for any construction, especially if your garage is separate from your home. Another thing to think about is where you are going to park your cars. If your town has ordinances about parking, you might need your garage, or you might need to budget a little extra to make a compliant parking space.

Are You Adding Plumbing or Electric?

When it comes to adding plumbing or electric, you never want to be too careful. This is a time to perhaps being in a professional. If you are skilled  in such work, you may still need to get permits from your town or county. As a result, you may want to draw up plans for your renovation, and, if needed, get help with this from a professional. These activities will also raise the cost of your project, especially if you are putting a bathroom in.

Heating and Cooling Concerns

A major factor to be considered in converting your garage is that garages are not always insulated or included in central heating and air. Getting insulation in the ceiling, walls and floor can help you save a lot on your electric bill. The floor especially will also save you in the long run when it comes to flooding and dampness. You will also have to consider rerouting your HVAC system to include the room or going the less expensive route and getting wall units.

Installing Your Room

When everything else is decided and the room insulated, it’s time to install your walls and flooring, as well as do any work you are planning on the ceiling. For your safety, have a helper present to work on the ceiling, since you will have to be up on a ladder. Garage floors are often lower than the floors in the rest of the house, so you may need to raise the floor a little with some two-by-fours laid across the floor parallel to each other. Hanging drywall takes some planning but is fairly simple. Once it is hung, use a coat of primer and then paint the room to your taste.

Converting your garage into a living space is a lot of hard work, but it can be rewarding. Having a new room can help streamline the space you already have in your home, and give you an opportunity to be creative. Consult your budget, make your plan, and change the way you live!