The garage doesn't have to be just a place for your car
If you’re spending more time at home these days, you might be wondering: What are the latest and most popular home upgrades and renovation projects? For those needing to expand their living space, look no further than a garage conversion.
The most difficult part of a garage conversion project might be deciding how to use the space. There are countless options available to meet your family’s wants and needs, from a garden room to a home gym. Below are 42 garage conversion options and tips to help inspire your next home project.
Garage Conversion Ideas and Floor Plans
The most important aspect of a garage conversion is deciding what you want for the space. Your garage doesn’t just have to be a storage area for your car or boxes filled with items you rarely use. Let your creativity run wild. Here are our favorite unique garage conversion ideas, along with some floor plans to help you get started.
1. Home Office
As more people are working from home or in a hybrid format, the need for a designated home office has risen. Consider constructing a home office with a large window where the garage door used to be.
This will allow for more natural light, which can help boost your mood, increase physical activity, and benefit sleep patterns. Keeping your home office separate from the rest of the house should also help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
2. Kids’ Playroom
Kids need space to call their own. You can transform your kids’ playroom into anything their imaginative minds can muster up. Since kids often play on the ground, we recommend installing carpet or vinyl flooring with rugs on top for a softer surface.
Another fun idea is to install a chalk or whiteboard wall for kids to draw on or practice their math and ABCs. You’ll also need lots of designated storage space for toys, drawings, colored pencils, and other materials—this is a great opportunity to teach your kids the importance of tidying up.
Ever consider turning your garage into a personal sunroom? Think about how much more enjoyable your mornings could be as you watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee or tea. This is also a great spot to unwind during the twilight hour with a glass of wine or cocktail.
Replacing the garage door with a large single- or double-paned window is the first step in making your sunroom ideas come to life.
Tired of family members and pets tracking mud and dirt into the house? A mudroom is just what you need. This is the perfect garage conversion for families who live in snowy areas, do lots of outdoor activities, or live near the beach and often bring in lots of sand.
If your washer and dryer are already in the garage, you have an ideal spot to build the rest of your mudroom around.
5. Entertainment Area
For the extroverts out there who love hosting, an entertainment room is an excellent option for your garage conversion. A two-car or larger garage has plenty of space to host guests. Consider adding an extra fridge, a custom bar, Bluetooth speakers, and comfortable seating areas.
For this garage conversion, consider keeping the garage door. It’ll be handy during cool evenings to let a little breeze in. You can also use it to keep an eye on your kids as they hang out in the driveway or front yard. You’ll be the most popular house on the block!
6. Studio Flat
If you’re looking for a way to help pay off your home’s mortgage or want a side hustle to bring in some extra cash, look into converting your garage into a studio flat.
Those living in high-density areas or close to tourist destinations should be able to easily find tenants or weekend visitors. You can rent out the converted space full time if it’s large enough and has all the necessary amenities (kitchen, bed, bathroom, etc.).
Thoroughly do your research beforehand to confirm you’ll have a steady flow of short- or long-term tenants. These tenants will help offset the initial conversion costs. Also, review your local zoning ordinances. Some towns and cities restrict the number of families or living units per property.
7. Extended Kitchen Area
According to our 2021 home feature survey, large kitchens are highly valued. If your garage is right off of your kitchen, consider extending your current kitchen area. You can also start fresh and transform the garage into an open-concept kitchen and dining area.
Converting your garage into a kitchen typically comes with a higher price tag than other garage remodels. This is because kitchens require more modifications, such as adding a ventilation system and connecting electric or gas lines to updated appliances like a stove and oven.
That being said, since many homeowners value large kitchens, this transformation will likely increase your home value.
8. Art Studio
For artists, having their own art studio a few steps away from their home is a dream come true. You can easily make this happen by converting your garage into a personal art studio.
Still-life artists should install large window panes. You’ll want lots of natural light so you can work with shadows. Also, if you use toxic paint or materials, make sure the converted space is well ventilated—it’s worth looking into a roof ventilation system.
9. Home Gym
Whether you’re working in an office or from home, it’s almost too easy to skip the gym and go straight to watching TV or cooking dinner.
A home gym or fitness studio can make it simple to fit in a workout, even if you’re busy. Plus, it’s nice not to have to commute to the gym or deal with unsanitary locker rooms and gym equipment. We recommend designing your converted gym or fitness studio around the fitness activities you enjoy doing most—be it weight lifting, biking, or yoga.
10. Guest Bedroom
Do you regularly host extended family and friends? If so, consider converting your garage into an extra guest bedroom. Your family couch will no longer serve as the place guests sleep. Plus, your guests will have more privacy—a win–win!
When calculating costs, remember that the extra living quarter will require an expanded HVAC system, along with additional plumbing and insulation.
11. Home Theater
Hello, movie lovers! Due to the ongoing pandemic, many movies are being released straight to streaming services. Instead of traveling to a movie theater and paying for overpriced drinks and snacks, just walk into your newly converted home cinema.
Since you’ll want a dark space, we recommend not spending money on installing windows. Instead, use that cash to install surround sound speakers and dimming lights. Your family and friends will be begging to come over and watch movies at your place. This converted cinema can also serve as a space to watch major sporting events.
12. Teenager Hideaway
It’s no secret that teenagers need their space. Turning your garage into a teenage hangout spot allows you to give them some privacy. Your teenagers will love having a detached room they can call their own.
To help your teenager develop a sense of ownership of the space, have them give layout and design input. Your teen should think of the garage space as a blank-slate college dorm room they can design to fit their current and future needs.
13. Game Room
A personal game room is another option for those who have a large family or enjoy entertaining others. You can have pool or ping-pong competitions, or throw it back and purchase a retro pinball machine. Regardless of what games you choose, you’ll enjoy the additional space for hosting.
Similar to the entertainment layout, we recommend keeping the garage door to allow people to easily migrate between the front yard and the game room.
14. Two-Story Guest Loft
A two-story guest loft is similar to a studio flat; however, this conversion is better for homes with an unused area or attic space above the garage. By using the second story, you can create a lofted area that separates the bedroom from the living space.
Your guests will appreciate the separation. Like the studio flat, you can also rent out a two-story guest space for a profit.
15. Yoga Studio
Make it easy to practice your daily yoga with a personal yoga studio. You can also have your friends over to practice breathing and meditating together. When planning your yoga studio, choose calming paint colors that blend into the background.
16. Dog Lounge
It’s OK to seriously spoil your pets. If your dog is your best friend, pamper your pooch by building a dog lounge. They’ll be ultra-comfortable laying around all day while you’re at work. Make sure to add a dog door so they can easily access the backyard to sunbathe or go to the bathroom.
17. Cat Palace
We don’t discriminate. Cats should also be spoiled—even if they ignore us sometimes. Convert your garage into a fun playscape for your feline friends. Plus, their litter won’t stink up the rest of your house. We do recommend lots of wall-mounted shelves for your cats to play or lounge on.
18. Study Room
A study room is perfect for those who want a little peace and quiet. It can be your go-to spot for reading, writing, or hanging out alone. If you want to block out all noise, contact a local soundproofing contractor.
19. Multipurpose Space
Can’t decide which garage conversion idea to choose? A multipurpose room can fit multiple personal and family needs. It can serve as both a study area and a TV lounge or a craft room. Just make sure that all family members agree on who gets to use the space when.
20. Extra Living Room
Perhaps your family is growing, or your home feels crowded. Add an extra living room where the kids can hang out. Or vice versa, a place for adults that offers some solace.
When designing your extra living space, make sure it’s consistent with the rest of your home e.g., a bohemian living room wouldn’t pair well if the rest of the house is mid-century modern.
Converting your garage into a greenhouse works best for detached garages. Your plants will be happy and thankful as they soak up plenty of sunlight! Talk with a local window replacement company first to see what’s feasible and to find out the estimated cost for new windows.
22. Outdoor Terrace
Go ahead and knock down one of those garage walls during the remodel to create an outdoor terrace you can enjoy on a cool fall or spring day. An outdoor terrace will likely require you to at least knock down one wall to install a large window space.
23. Garden Room
Those with a green thumb will benefit greatly from a garden room. A garden room is similar to a greenhouse. A greenhouse’s main purpose is to chamber plants. While a garden room also contains lots of greenery, it primarily serves as a comfy sunroom to lounge in. A garden room is typically connected to a house and offers a perfect blend of indoors and out.
24. Music Studio
A personal music studio is any musician's dream—amateur or professional. For acoustic or wood instruments, look into adding wood paneling for a heightened sound. Musicians who play electric or brass instruments will likely require soundproofing.
25. Dream Bathroom
Very few people would complain about having an extra bathroom in their home, especially if the bathroom has a full-size soaking tub. It’s not difficult to imagine yourself relaxing in your private oasis each night. You’ll likely need to contact both a general contractor in your area and a local plumber to get a cost estimate and help complete the job.
26. Home Workspace
A quiet home workspace is ideal for anyone who has clients over to their residence, such as school tutors, acupuncturists, or massage therapists. We suggest having a door that leads directly outside, so clients don’t have to come through your home to get to your workspace.
27. DIY Workshop
Those who love doing DIY projects or are part-time crafters would treasure their own workshop. Depending on the projects, this conversion will likely cost less than others because neither insulation nor an upgraded electrical system is required.
However, some workshops might need an updated HVAC or ventilation system if you’re using toxic materials. Another workaround would be to keep the garage door to allow fresh air in when needed.
Garage Remodeling Tips
These design and structural tips will make your converted space even more special. Introducing even just one of these elements can help elevate different garage conversion ideas.
28. Add a Wall Mural
Since you’re already doing a garage remodel, go ahead and add a fun wall mural. There are lots of fun and creative wall mural ideas to fit different interior spaces and personalities.
29. Hook Up an Electric Fireplace
Love to snuggle and stay warm? Add an electric fireplace—it’s way less work to install than a wood-burning fireplace and easier to clean.
30. Keep the Vehicle
If you love your classic or sleek sports car, keep it in the garage and build around it. Add a workstation or shelves for toy car replicas and all of your equipment.
31. Soundproof the Room
Soundproofing the room can help keep both noise in and noise out. A converted yoga studio, home theater, or music room will benefit most from soundproofing.
32. Update the Garage Door With Window Panels
Keeping the garage door isn’t a bad thing. You can update the door with clear or frosted panels, both of which allow for more natural light.
33. Hang Blackout Curtains
Cover any large windows with blackout curtains to make the space more private. Another option is to remove all windows, but doing so will limit how you can use the room in the future.
34. Incorporate Natural Light With Skylights
Don’t be afraid to soak up the rays by adding a skylight. A skylight is perfect for kitchen or dining areas. It will brighten up the space, which will help with lighting when cooking.
35. Create a Gear Room
For those who do a lot of outdoor activities year-round, a gear room serves as an entire place to keep all of your seasonal gear. Think of it as a miniature REI attached to your home.
36. Modify With Memorabilia
Hanging cool memorabilia from previous generations is a great conversation starter. Decorate your converted space and walls with fun nostalgic items like ticket stubs, old concert posters, or restored pieces of Americana memorabilia.
37. Have Fun With French Doors
Replace the garage door with french doors that open up outside. They’re not only stylish but allow for a nice breeze to come through when the weather’s just right.
38. Stylize With Sliding Doors
Another door option is to include sliding doors. Try sliding barn doors for a more rustic vibe. This is a great idea for an additional living or dining area that you want to section off.
39. Install a Wall-Mounted Table
If you’ve decided on creating an entertainment area for guests but are short on space, install a wall-mounted table and stools so people can sit and chat.
40. Add Built-in Storage
Use any remaining available wall space for built-in storage. You can install bench seating with storage underneath and install decorative cushions for the ultimate multipurpose piece.
41. Implement Smart Home Technology
Your converted garage is an ideal place to install smart home technology. Remote-controlled dimming lights and a Bluetooth-connected HVAC system make it effortless to get comfortable.
42. Install a Doorbell
Studio lofts or guest houses can feel more private when a doorbell announces visitors. Installing a smart doorbell with a camera is also a nice additional security feature.
What to Consider Before a Garage Conversion
Before you begin purchasing paint or researching how to remove a garage door, take some time to think about if your house can handle a garage conversion and if it makes sense from a cost-value standpoint.
The questions and suggestions below will help you determine if a garage conversion is best for your home and finances. If so, it’ll help define which conversion ideas to lean towards.
How Should I Prepare for a Garage Conversion?
Before beginning a garage conversion, consider if your house can handle this improvement project from an electrical, plumbing, and HVAC standpoint.
A general contractor in your area should be able to explain the possibilities of the project and will give you a cost estimate. Use this estimate to help calculate your return on investment (ROI) for when you sell your home, rent out the converted living space, or eventually do both.
Will the Converted Garage Add Value?
Most homeowners want renovations to increase their home’s market value. However, not every garage conversion will do this. In some cases, a garage conversion can even lower the house’s price tag.
Areas that receive lots of annual snowfall, rain, or severe weather, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, will likely need garages to protect vehicles from damage. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the vast majority of houses in the neighborhood have a garage, then you’ll likely want to keep yours.
However, if you live in a high-density neighborhood and living space is extremely valued, then consider converting your garage into extra living space. Your home will likely receive a nice market value bump.
How Much Do Garage Conversions Cost?
Depending on the size of the garage and the amount of remodeling necessary, a full garage remodel can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $50,000.
According to our 2021 garage conversion cost guide, these are the estimated costs for different garage conversions:
Office: A new at-home office will run you about $5,000. Usually, this project doesn’t require additional plumbing or drywall. You’re mostly paying for extra insulation and electrical work.
Entertainment room: For a family entertainment area, you’re looking at spending around $7,500. This doesn’t include any fun features you purchase such as a billiard or ping-pong table.
Guest house: A full guest house will cost an average of $22,000. This high price tag is because you’ll likely need to have a bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom for someone to live comfortably.
Do You Have Enough Storage Space?
When planning your garage conversion, think about the amount of storage space you have in the rest of your home.
Ask yourself these questions:
Can you store the items in your garage in your basement, attic, or backyard shed?
Will it be too much of a hassle to retrieve these items from their new storage areas?
If there currently isn’t enough storage space in your house, do you have the budget and enough outdoor space for a new shed?
If there isn’t enough space and you need to clean out or declutter your garage of unnecessary items, then look into having a garage sale. You can also sell items online, donate them to charity, or get rid of them.
What Are the Required Permits and Regulations?
Before you begin your garage conversion, research your local laws and regulations. Depending on where you live, you might need a building permit.
A building permit can cost anywhere from $150 to $2,000. In addition to the main building permit, you’re also paying permit fees for things like electrical wiring, HVAC installation, and plumbing.
Another regulation to review is if your area allows accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—secondary housing units on a single-family residential lot. Some states like California are jumping on board the ADU train, while other states and cities have stricter regulations.
Lastly, consider parking areas. If there isn’t enough residential street parking in your neighborhood, or you live in a neighborhood that experiences car theft, then reconsider if giving up your garage is worth it.
There are endless garage conversion ideas to create the perfect living space for yourself, your family, and your friends. Again, consider the costs, ROI, and feasibility of the project. Most importantly, think about the type of space that will bring the most joy to you and your family.
If you need help remodeling, contact a local garage remodeler. For more fun and intriguing garage conversion ideas, check out our infographic below.