If you’re merely utilizing your garage for storage purposes, you’re overlooking a wonderful chance to expand your living space and upgrade your home. This underutilized area is ripe for repurposing. It can serve as a dedicated work or hobby space, a second family room or a primo indoor-outdoor living perch.
As households seek to maximize every inch of their home’s square footage, people are rethinking their garages and refreshing them in creative ways. If you’re considering a garage reno, here are a few clever ideas for repurposing your garage, along with helpful advice from interior design and architecture professionals to get you started.
A garage is like a blank canvas when it comes to design and space planning. It’s a room that’s already part of your home with lots of ways to repurpose and play around. “A garage is a great opportunity to customize to your family’s interests,” says Lisa Kells, partner and vice president of design at CDC Designs. To that end, here are some popular garage renovation ideas that suit a variety of hobbies, lifestyles and interests.
A dedicated workshop is arguably the next logical purpose for a garage, since you likely already have tools and equipment stored there. And if you’re particularly interested in home maintenance and improvement projects, a dedicated space creates a safer environment in which to work.
Along with a quality workbench and a place to keep tools, Kells likes to bring in affordable custom cabinetry to elevate the look. “Custom closet companies quite often will be integral in being involved in creating these really nice customization opportunities for the garage,” she adds.
2. Home Gym
Burn off the day’s stress in the convenience of a garage tricked out into a home gym. Outfit the space with your favorite equipment for activities that you already enjoy doing to ensure you’ll use the space regularly (and so you can cancel the fancy gym membership).
For a cushioned and durable floor, roll out rubber matting or use interlocking rubber tiles. You may need to invest in additional light fixtures to brighten up the space. A large mirror is also a good idea—it helps move light around the room for better illumination.
3. Separate Living Space
Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are gaining popularity across the county, especially in areas with higher housing costs. These standalone units can be attached or detached from a home and offer fully independent living with a sleeping and sitting area, kitchen and full bathroom.
While a garage to ADU conversion is possible, architect and owner of SQFT Studios Eli Green recommends proceeding with caution. “If you’re going to make a garage habitable and especially for sleeping, it has to be built to a certain standard.” Refer to your city’s building code for foundation, electrical, plumbing, insulation and ventilation requirements. Depending on your construction expertise and the garage’s condition, this may be a project best left to the pros.
4. Yoga Studio
If establishing a better mind-body connection is your priority, a yoga or meditation room is just a simple garage refresh away. Comfort is the most important consideration in a yoga studio—the space should encourage free movement and mindfulness.
To create a calming sensory environment, think about a soothing neutral palette with as much natural light as possible. “A way to get more light into a space and enjoy outside views is to remove the existing garage door and infill it with glass French doors and sidelites, windows or a combination of the two,” recommends Green.
5. Game Room
A dedicated game or media room is a popular nice-to-have space for many households, but often there is not enough space inside the house. A garage is a great spot to create a fun-filled hangout for family and friends. Make it as simple or elaborate as you wish, from a laid-back spot to play board games to a billiard room or video game lounge.
It also keeps the higher decibels away from your home’s main living spaces. “Kids can get noisy [while] playing video games, so I like to give them their own space with a sofa and large TV,” says Kells.
6. Kids Playroom
Tired of tripping on Legos and seeing toys everywhere? Transform your garage into a dreamy playroom that the kids will love. Flooring, fixtures and furnishings are key to creating a child-friendly and cozy space—brightly colored decor, warm woods and good lighting can inspire play and imagination.
Laminate floors work best for a kids’ room that sees frequent spills and rough-and-tumble activity. Functional and durable built-ins are great for storing toys and art supplies.
7. Home Office
Nearly 60% of Americans have the opportunity to work from home at least one day per week, according to a 2022 McKinsey & Company survey. This shift to a more remote work culture impacts home design—people need a dedicated spot to work, removed from household noise and activity. And if indoor space is unavailable, the garage can double as a home office.
To create a comfortable home office that encourages focus and productivity, invest in quality furnishings and fixtures, like a good desk, an ergonomic chair and appropriate overhead and task lighting.
8. Indoor-Outdoor Living Space
When the garage door’s rolled up and open, it provides a prime covered indoor-outdoor living space. This is a good place to take some risks and try out some design trends that you love, but that you aren’t ready to commit to in the main house.
Improve air circulation with an overhead combination fan and light for the warmer months. A built-in bar is also a nice touch, but be warned—your garage will quickly become the hangout spot among your friends and neighbors!
9. Pet Spa
Your four-legged friends deserve a space of their own, too. Pets bring in a lot of mud, dirt and debris from outside. Keep it contained and prevent it all from entering the home with a garage dog-washing station.
A small tiled pet shower with a detachable nozzle can anchor the space. Adjacent built-in cabinets and shelving will keep shampoos, soaps, towels and other pet accessories within easy reach.