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How To Convert A Garage Into A Living Space

If you are looking to develop more living space in your home, then utilising the space in a garage is likely to be one of the easiest ways to achieve it. Adding to your home without the costs of new construction, a garage conversion is a relatively straightforward DIY project. Converting a garage can provide the extra space you need to add a dining room, a living room or a den. Often garages are altered to cater for a specialist function, like a games room or a home office.

Work With The Space You Have.

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Stone garage facade featuring wood doors

If you have a large garage which can house multiple vehicles and which has a second floor, converting to an extra living space may not be the ideal solution, after all. Larger properties can be devalued if they don’t have a dedicated space for car storage. Only convert your garage if the available space is at a premium. It is for this reason that most garage conversions are undertaken in urban and suburban areas. It is always worth checking with the local authorities that you have permission to turn your garage over to a new use.

Utilities.

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Transform your garage into a laundry room

The first things you will need to consider are the utilities you will need in the new living space. Most garages have electric lighting but little else. The electrics will probably need to be upgraded and you will probably need to hire specialist contractors if you will require plumbing and gas. Depending on the use that you are going to put the new space to, it will be worth considering data network cabling and a telephone point as well.

Door Openings.

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Bring industrial style to your garage by choosing a door like this

Once you have created a floor plan and marked out any sub divisions of the garage space to create rooms, you ought to consider what to do about the garage door. Removing it and bricking up the entrance way will mean the garage is difficult to convert back. A good idea is to keep the garage door so that the space looks the same from the outside, but on the interior cover it over with an insulating material to create a false wall. Alternatively, make a virtue of the space’s former function and install an up-and-over glazed door that hints at the room’s previous life.

Flooring.

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Turn your garage into a office or work room

Because most garage floors can be cold, it will make your new room uncomfortable and could be costly to heat. To overcome this problem, raise the room’s floor from the garage’s concrete to provide a cavity for insulation. A simple measure is to construct a frame that sits over the floor from lumber to form a grid. Fix plywood panels to the top of the grid by nailing them in place. Over this new floor surface you can install any conventional flooring material that suits your room, from vinyl laminate to carpet with underlay.

Multi-function Garage Conversions.

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Wood for ceiling and brick for floor create a warm combination

If you want your garage to serve more than one purpose you will always have to compromise on a clear design. However, making a summer house that you can use as a living space during the warmer months, whilst retaining a car storage area for the winter period, is something that can be achieved, with some care. Even though you will probably not want to use the space for two functions at once, it is best to make two distinct zones for the twin uses. Keep your car stored in a clean condition on one side of the garage only and ensure that any oil that may drip is collected on a tray. Install a floor that is suitable for a vehicle but will offer a warm feel in the summer.

Remember It Is Was A Garage.

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This studio can be extended by opening the garage door, which also has glass for natural light

Not all garages are standard sizes. Whatever new space you are designing for, remember that this is a conversion project not a new build. So, use the garage’s peculiarities and make a design feature of any additional height or floor space the garage affords you. Disguising the room’s former use will rarely be convincing, so don’t try too hard.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

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Posted in How To, Tips, and Advice on October 11, 2012

About the author

Stefan
Stefan is the owner of Homedit.com – he started the site back in November 2008, from his passion for interior design and decorations and since then the site went from being a simple blog to one of the most popular home design websites on the web right now.

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