A garage conversion can be one of the speediest and most affordable ways to add floor space to your home, and it’s likely to add value too.
If you don’t keep your car in your garage, then there are loads of alternative ways to use all of that space. If you have a growing family, converting your garage – or just making better use of it – can help prevent a costly move and make for a happier household.
First though, here are some key considerations to take into account, before you get started:
- Building regulations and planning permission: converting a garage, or part of a garage, into a habitable space will normally require approval under the Building Regulations. But planning permission may not be required if the work is internal.
- Heating, plumbing and electrics: it’s best to plan this early, with the help of a professional.
- Floor, walls and roof: the floor may need to be levelled, damp-proofed, and insulated. The walls and roofs may also need upgrading and insulating.
- Structure: an architect or surveyor can advise you on the soundness of the walls, roof and foundations and offer guidance on the best layout.
- Replacing the garage doors: you’re likely to replace the garage door with a wall and window. You may even need a small foundation inserted, which a structural engineer can advise on.
- Cost: according to online architects Resi, a garage conversion can cost between £6,000 - £15,000 for a single garage (15m2), rising to £12,000 - £30,000 for a double garage (30m2).
- The value of your property: converting a garage can often increase the value of your property. But if you live in a city centre and parking is at a premium, then you should consider whether a parking space would be more valuable than the extra room.
- Space: how much space is there really in your garage? Knowing the size of a room in square metres isn’t always that helpful. So, empty out all of that junk and take stock of what you’ve got and consider how you will use the space in reality.
Here are just some of the ways you could put all of that precious garage space to work:
If you’ve been using a corner of your living room as a home office, and have a garage going spare, then this is a winning solution.
Turning a garage into a home office is useful for keeping living and work areas separate, giving you some distance from the distractions of home life.
One thing to consider in particular is natural light. If you’re going for a full on conversion, then consider how you can get as much light as possible as you won’t want to be stuck in the dark.
If you have young children, but no playroom, then this could be a good way to use your garage. If this is your plan, then take extra care to ensure that any sharp edges or dangerous objects are removed or secured.
When your children get older, the playroom could become more of a TV room or clubhouse.
Could your garage work as a spare room or even an annex? If you’re planning to share your home with an elderly relative, then it’s worth considering this as an option. If so, be sure to consider ease of access if your relative isn’t very mobile or needs a wheelchair.
Maybe, rather than creating something purely practical like a spare bedroom or office, you could use your garage to create some extra space to do the things you like best?
For example, a garage could make a great home gym, if that’s your thing. Alternatively, you could create a home cinema, bar or art studio - whatever takes your fancy!
The classic second use of a garage is to store all your extra stuff, from bikes to Christmas decorations. So, if you don’t fancy a full-on conversion, how about simply making more of your garage as a storage space?
To maximise your space, consider dividing your garage up into zones, each one for storing different types of gear, for example storing sports equipment or garden tools. It might just make life easier and save you time hunting around for things.
Look for ways of storing things off the floor, too. Add shelves, tool racks, overhead racks, a bike pulley system (these aren’t expensive).
Use it for your car
Before you take the leap and transform your garage, take a moment to consider the benefits of using it for its intended purpose: to keep your car in.
A garage is ideal for keeping your car protected from the weather while it’s not in use. Also, out of sight is often out of mind for car thieves. So, if you’ve got a garage, using it and making sure it’s securely locked will help reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen.
Either way, it’s time to clear out all of that junk and make the most of that precious space.
For tips on how to stay happy and safe in your home, go to Solved.