Using the garage as an office frees up space inside your house and provides a chance to separate work from home life.  When turning a garage into a home office, however, the expenses can add up quickly. The average cost to turn a garage into a living space is between $5,983 and $19,442, according to HomeAdvisor.com.

If you incorporate a few tricks and a DIY attitude, you can carry out a garage conversion for much less. Follow these low-cost strategies to turn a garage into a home office you look forward to working in.

1. Start by Clearing Out

Go through boxes, bikes, tools, and anything else you have stored in the garage. Get rid of anything you no longer need, and then think creatively to store the rest. You might install storage racks for items you only occasionally need. Extra gear could be stored in an attic, outdoor shed, or other storage space.

2. Think About the Climate

If you live in an area with hot summers or snowy winters, set up a way to keep the space comfortable year round. Make sure the room is well sealed and check the garage door.

“Get a door that is well insulated,” says Dave Krzyzak, owner of Palm Valley Garage Doors in Phoenix, Arizona.

You’ll have a lower heating and cooling bills as the HVAC or space heaters and room air conditioners won’t have to work as hard to control the temperature in the home office space.

3. Grab a Paintbrush

A fresh coat of paint can brighten up dull, stained walls. Instead of hiring a professional, set aside a weekend and put a new color on yourself. When selecting a shade, opt for a lighter color. If you regularly have video calls, it will be easier for others to see you if you have a white, uncluttered background.

4. Don’t Buy New Furniture

When searching for a desk or chair, start by visiting Facebook Marketplace or scrolling through apps like OfferUp. A local thrift store or garage sale might have the perfect couch or bookshelf. Set a budget and wait until you come across supplies that fit your style and price range.

5. Install Proper Lighting

Evaluate what type of lighting the space currently has. Most garages don’t have windows, or have very few windows, which leads to a minimum amount of natural light. If your garage office has a single bulb hanging from the ceiling, it may be difficult to see at night.

To add more light, look for a desk lamp or hanging lamp over the garage office. Then decide if white or yellow lighting is better for your needs.

“White light imitates natural lighting and causes a room to appear more expansive,” says Marty Basher, home decor and organization expert for Modular Closets. “Yellow light, on the other hand, produces a more confined, cozy atmosphere which pairs well with candles and glowing Himalayan salt rocks.”

6. Have Fun with Color.

To liven up a garage space that has a concrete floor and drywall, look for design ideas that incorporate brightness.

“Patterned pillows, contrasting lights with darks, a fun rug, and brightly painted furniture assist with turning a dank cave into a Pinterest-inspired personal space,” Basher says.

Fill extra space with an artificial plant, or a potted herb that doesn’t need much light.

7. Make the Space Seem Larger.

If your garage’s floor plan is small, look for ways to avoid a cramped area. Use desk organizersfile cabinets, and hanging shelves to keep clutter to a minimum.

“I put a large mirror above my desk to make the space feel bigger,” says Enovia Bedford, founder of Vett Deck, who converted space in her garage into a home office.

8. Focus on Comfort.

To help you through long working days, set up a food station in your garage office. Put in a small refrigerator, set up an espresso machine, or bring in several baskets from your pantry that hold wrapped snacks.

If you’ll have clients or guests visiting regularly, add comfortable chairs for them, along with magazines or welcome brochures.

9. Check the Tech.

If you have video equipment, several computers, or other electrical gear you use regularly, look at where they will be placed and make sure there are enough outlets for them.

Also evaluate the internet connection to see if it is fast and reliable. If you make regular calls, check that your phone works inside of the garage when the doors and windows are closed.

10. Bring in a Personal Touch.

Adding wall art, family photos, or other memorabilia can help make the new home office welcoming and warm. Candles, a throw blanket, and favorite books can help too.

“I decorated with bright colors, and added a picture of a pineapple with matching accessories,” Bedford says.

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Rachel Hartman