Garage Conversion: How to Renovate Your Space to Create an At-Home Studio or Workshop
By Jacquelyn Nause
Garages are generally the catch-all workhorses of residential homes. Bikes, seasonal supplies, tools and more are crammed into cold cobwebbed spaces. A little organization and cleanup can turn this square footage into something much more functional. Let’s check out how.
Clean and Organize
First things first, you’ll need to clear out the space and get an idea of how much room you actually have. Some area of the garage may need to continue to function as storage, and you might need to maintain one parking space in order to avoid getting a permit. Look into zoning laws in your jurisdiction to ensure your space usage plans are permitted, and to pull any permits needed.
Once you have your space cleared, it’s time to clean. Power-wash and sweep areas, followed by coating or painting the floors and treating walls as needed. This might mean installing insulation, if you need your space to be temperature-controlled. If you want a pegboard or shiplap for a workspace, now is the time to install it.
Instead of running extension cords across your garage, which is both inefficient and unsafe, hire an electrician to install plenty of outlets near your workspace. Remember that battery-powered tools need charging spaces, in addition to the outlets needed to plug in tools during use. Lighting, heaters, radios and computers might also be competing for space.
Long story short: Install more outlets than you think you’ll need.
Now that you have plenty of power, it’s time to install lights. Garages are usually dimly lit, which makes working on projects challenging. Install track lights or overhead fluorescent lights for affordable illumination.
Now is also the time to install any HVAC system you want in place. You will need to set up space heaters or a natural gas heater for cold winter months, while fans or portable air conditioning units will be helpful in the summer.
Install Shelving and Workspaces
Depending on how you plan to use the space, you may need tables or chairs, equipment, workbenches and storage areas.
Building your own workbench might be the first project you complete for your new workspace. If you’re not planning to make your own work table, be sure to purchase one that is sturdy enough for all of your projects and will fit within your space constraints. Fold-down workbenches are available for smaller spaces.
Bring in any necessary equipment and tools, ensuring that you have clean workspaces and clear walkways. Keeping your space organized will make the idea of starting a project a lot less daunting than if you have to clean up past project remnants and scattered tools.
Entertainment is important, even if it is as simple as an old radio. Portable Bluetooth speakers and jobsite radios are cordless and provide great sound, even when streaming from your phone. A computer screen or TV can be mounted to a wall to access sports or television through digital streaming services.
You’ve now carved out your very own studio or workshop from space you’ve had all along!
Jacquelyn Nause is a contributing writer specializing in real estate, parenting and wellness. She enjoys traveling with her husband, being a doting mother to her two incredible kids and enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest playground.