Ten Fabulous Uses for a Garage
Garages: they’re not just for cars anymore. After I wrote an article about remodeling your garage if you wanted to have a garage band, I started thinking that garages can be an untapped gold mine of additional space for a wide range of uses.
There are 4 things to consider when you are thinking of remodeling a garage:
- always check with your municipality to make sure you have all appropriate permits.
- make sure whatever you are planning isn’t going to be a big problem for your neighbors.
- negotiate with your family members, since there may be conflicts about the use of the space.
- think about whether you need water, electricity, heat, additional lighting, new flooring, and insulation/soundproofing.
Here are a few garage conversion ideas to get your juices flowing:
Sewing space for you and/or a small group: Sewing your own clothing, curtains, etc. seems to have become popular again. Recently, three businesses have opened in within 25 miles of where I live offering materials, classes, and space to sew.
Tool haven: In part or all of your garage, design a space to house, organize, clean, sharpen, and repair tools. Additionally, you may want to set aside a space set up to work on projects. This is perfect if you are a skilled carpenter in New York City or some other area where workshop spaces are expensive or scarce.
"Anything goes" play area: Create safe boundaries, such as panels and baby gates. Put down heavy rubber matting. Perhaps have an area with thick carpeting and a comfy chair or bean bag that can be easily cleaned. Bring in the toys and bring on the kids.
Start a bird B&B: In a previous article, I wrote about Peggy McLeod of Belchertown, MA. McLeod decided to repurpose her garage as a bird B&B with soundproofing and easy-to-clean walls and floors. She installed appropriate shelving and climbing stations for cages and play areas. She also ensured there was plenty of light for her charges, as well as a dark enough space for them to rest. In an adjoining area, she sells bird toys, food, and treats.
Craft shop: Whatever your hobby may be, it‘s likely you can outfit your garage to accommodate almost any craft you enjoy creating, whether it’s soap box derby cars, model airplanes, re-caning chairs, building furniture, or rigging up a Rube Goldberg Machine.
Small business: I’ve known several folks who turned a garage into a hair salon, a shop to sell their own crafts (one woman made unique, highly detailed clay fairies), a market for their homegrown produce, etc. Not only will you need permits for this type of endeavor, you'll probably need to appear before a local board to gain approval. You may also need to get written consent from neighbors who live within a certain proximity. Parking and signage are often issues.
No den or basement? Repurpose your garage as a “man-cave,” or “mom cave.” Everyone needs to get away sometimes, to a place where they can close the door and decompress. A “cave” is designed to have what comforts you – which would be very individual choices. If you are planning to put a great sound system or television in your remodeled garage, make sure you have a good security system, too.
Yoga or dance studio: Transform your garage into a clean space with appropriate flooring, mats, bars, and a sound system. You might have to hire a flooring contractor to install proper flooring for either yoga or dance classes.
Greenhouse or potting studio: Upgrade your garage into a gardener's delight. It's very possible that you'll need to install more windows; grow lights; and work stations for tools, soil, and plant material.
Home office space: Again, make sure you also have good security, but your garage could be made over to support a business, a writing career, or the student(s) in your home.
Updated April 17, 2018.
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