A garage can serve several purposes. It, of course, can store your automobiles and auto-related items as it is intended.

It is often also a place to store and organize outdoor items such as toys, sports equipment, cleaning supplies, and tools. A garage can easily become an awful mess of all of these things as it becomes an unorganized dumping ground for anything you don’t want in your home.

How about taking the idea of a garage, and entirely repurposing it into a warm and inviting living space? With a little planning and organization, you can easily add some vibrancy to your home while removing a cluttered and visually unappealing area.

If you’ve ever dreamed of putting an addition on your home but were put off by the considerable construction expense, revamping garage space can give you the extra square footage you need, without the hefty price tag. It’s an open floor plan, so the possibilities are endless. Find some extra living space, add square feet to your real estate, without a lot of work.

Here are some garage repurposing ideas, and how to change a chaotic storage space into a fun living area.

Extra Living (Room) Space

If you have a large family, you may find that your living or family room is too small for everyone. Or, maybe you’d prefer to use your living room as a more formal sitting area. Sometimes, you want a place in your home that welcomes lounging and comfort.

With only a small amount of effort, you can turn your garage into a place to relax, watch TV, and gather as a family. It’s an instant new living space that you don’t need to get a building permit for or do extensive home improvement.

The first step is to consider your climate. If you want this room to be used all year long, but you live in Minnesota, you are going to need to think about heating in the winter. Garage overhead doors also provide an opportunity to open your room to fresh warm weather air.

One way to balance the seasons is to use high-quality outdoor furniture. Today’s styles go far beyond wooden picnic tables and metal or wicker tables and chairs.  Waterproof fabrics and other materials can fit well into any decor.

Beyond climate control and furnishing, you should consider how the room flows with the rest of your house. Many garages in newer homes are built a step or two below the main living area of the home.  If access is an issue, or if you’d prefer redoing the standard wooden “builder’s steps” in many garages, you can replace with a ramp or new steps.

Also, think about how you enter and exit your home currently. Do you often walk through the garage? You might need to reroute foot traffic to your front or back doors.

The Party Room

Sure, a garage is a good setting for a man cave, but why limit the partying and chilling to dad? While a garage can be an excellent setting for a family or living room, it’s also perfect for gatherings.

If your garage area connects to a kitchen, access to the backyard or outdoor patio or deck, you can expand your entertaining space, too. Add a large table, bar area, flexible seating options, and more to create a covered area for parties and gatherings.

Are there any aspiring musicians in your home? Garages have long been used for rock band practices. Jazz up your garage up with a dedicated stage, comfortable seating, a bar area, and have fun playing or listening to music. Playing music together with your family is a great way to connect and stoke creativity at the same time.

Gaming Center

Do you have a teenager occupying your living room, or holed up in their bedroom all hours playing Fortnite or the next gaming obsession?

Break them out of their rooms, and a little closer to the outdoors with a fun garage-based gaming center. Take the family and entertaining ideas and add some gaming-centric touches, such as comfy reclining chairs, and a spare refrigerator for snacks and drinks.

If you are moving some computer equipment into your garage, you can also carve out a home office space. Good luck getting work done when the kids are in a gaming tournament, though.

Alfresco Dining Room

Do you enjoy dining with an occasional breeze, but not the potential wind, rain and other weather disruptions of eating on a deck or patio? Repurpose your garage area as a large dining room for entertaining or normal use, and feel like you are at an open-air cafe, anytime.

Anyone can just set up a folding table in their clean swept garage — that’s not what we’re talking about. Envision an open-air cafe, with some plants lining the wide entrance to your driveway. Concrete floors are easy to care for, and even an old garage can bring some dining charm.

For furniture, stick with a high-quality outdoor table set, such as one made with teak or another weatherproof wood.  Invest in some lively waterproof chair cushions, too, since humidity and windy rain can creep into the space.

There are other ways to maximize the space and take advantage of the proximity to the outdoors. You can relocate your outdoor grilling equipment from a back patio or deck to the driveway area near the garage.

Just make sure not to use the grill inside the garage, as you can create some dangerous fumes. If you have a side-facing garage, the dining area can spill out onto the driveway as a patio area, too.

Bring the Gym Closer to Home

Some people love the social and motivational benefits of a gym membership. Others watch their monthly dues disappear from their checking account each month and swear that they are going to make an effort to go this week.

For this second group, bringing the workout home can be the key to a more consistent fitness regimen. A garage can serve as your home base for your workouts. Consider adding these elements:

  • Workout equipment, such as free weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, and bands.
  • Padded flooring for yoga, stretching, etc. Interlocking panels are relatively inexpensive and can be positioned to cover the entire workout area.
  • Pull-up bars — either mounted to the wall or from the ceiling. Be sure to install these with care, bolting to wood studs for safety.
  • Hottub. Heated circulating water can be bliss for sore post-workout bodies. This luxe addition can also make the gym into a relaxing area even when you are not working out.

From connecting to the outdoors while keeping out of the sun and rain, to expanding your living space into an underutilized area, a garage can be much more than a clutter collector or parking area.

These are just a few ideas on how to get the most out of your home’s square footage. If your garage renovation has left you short on space to store overflow items, consider a storage unit until you have time to sort through them.

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Kevin Wheatley