When converting a garage, how you use the new room will depend not only on your needs, but also on how the space relates to the rest of the house. So, if your garage is joined to your living room, a home office or playroom is sensible, while one next to your kitchen would become a useful utility room.
Here’s how you could use a garage conversion, with a few pros and cons for each option.
1. Expand a kitchen-diner
2. Find room for extra living space
If your family is growing (or growing up), you’ll begin to need extra living space to cater to everyone’s tastes and needs. A converted garage that your kids can use – whether for gaming, relaxing or entertaining their friends – will be invaluable. Kit it out with plenty of slouchy seating (sofa beds will be particularly useful) and a flatscreen TV to create a versatile space that they’ll gravitate towards. The downside? The older children become, the noisier they get, so ensure that the sound-proofing is up to the job.
3. Add a utility room and cloakroom
When a garage adjoins a kitchen or hallway, it will be very useful as a utility room. Use it for everything from laundry to extra storage and, if possible, squeeze in a downstairs cloakroom, too. Depending on your needs, you might even be able to devote half of a large garage to utility and leave the other half for a car. Or, you could split the room to create half utility, half playroom, for example. For a utility, underfloor heating will be useful for keeping the room warm and dry, while good ventilation is also a must.
4. Create an extra bedroom
With a small garage off a living space or hallway, converting it into a spare bedroom for guests will be a good idea, but the room will be much more practical if you swap a conventional bed for a wall bed or sofa bed and fit in a desk or exercise space to double the functionality. The downside to a downstairs guest bedroom might be lack of access to a toilet or shower room. So, if there is enough room, squeeze in a space-saving wet room.
5. Plan a home office
A home office is best sited away from the main living space if you have a family who will want the TV on while you try to work. If, however, it doubles up as a homework space, having it near to where you’ll be most of the time can be very useful. It will need plenty of natural daylight to make it welcoming during the day, but invest in good blinds if it is south-facing, and ensure the heating is sufficient.
6. Convert the garage into a playroom
For a garage off a kitchen-diner or living space, this is the perfect use for families with young children. Include a TV, too, to help keep your living room much more of an adult space. Good daylight, ventilation and lots of practical storage will all be must-haves. Bear in mind that children grow up very quickly, so when you’re converting for this purpose, think five or 10 years ahead to how you might use the room, then, too. For example, a teenage den will keep your living room just for you.
7. Design a home cinema
Perfect for partially converted garages, cinema rooms can be converted without the need for windows, although sound-proofing will need to be good. Future-proof the room by installing a window anyway and fitting good blackout blinds.
8. Build a home gym
Ideal for a room that leads off a hallway or kitchen, a home gym will need to be fitted with air conditioning or a window that can be opened to keep it fresh. Add a flatscreen TV and mirrors to make it feel like a real gym, and devote the back of the room to a shower space.
9. Create a granny annexe
This type of conversion is best suited to an unattached, probably double, garage because it will give both you and the occupant – whether an ageing relative or regular guests – privacy and space. Depending on your arrangements, you will have to fit in a shower, possibly a laundry room and kitchen, plus a generous bedroom/living space. The room will need lots of natural light, and you should consider how it will be joined, if at all, to the rest of the house. At the very least, you might want a covered walkway between the two buildings.