Before and after: This garage renovation cost less than $200

How a spendthrift blogger turned her garage into an entertaining space on the cheap.

garage renovation
(Image credit: Kat Steck)

For city dwellers like The Junkyard Journals' Kat Steck, every square inch of real estate is precious. That's why Steck could not stand for her dingy, unattractive garage space. 

"Living in Los Angeles, our indoor living space is small," she explains. "Especially during the pandemic when we’ve been quarantining at home, we wanted to make use of every possible inch of outdoor space to maximize play areas and fresh air for ourselves and our toddler."

By sourcing items affordably on Facebook Marketplace and simultaneously selling previous items that she wasn't using, Steck pulled off a major upgrade and made almost $200 on the deal. 

Want to expand your outdoor space? Check out more genius garage conversions

The Before

garage makeover

(Image credit: Kat Steck)

When The Junkyard Journals blogger Kat Steck moved into this Los Angeles rental with her family, the garage was basically a catch-all for junk. "It was left with old, dingy mismatched furniture, dart boards, and various building supplies," she adds.
"There were cobwebs and a layer of dirt that made it seem like it hadn’t been used for a long while and had become more of a discard space."

Like most of us these days, Steck and her family have been spending more time at home, and she knew the garage wasn't living up to its potential. "Also it was just painfully ugly to look at all day long," she laughs.

That said, the blogger didn't want to spend a fortune to up-cycle the space. And as many renters know, moving can equal losing out on a lot of pieces that don't suit your new dwelling. To pay for the upgrade, Steck sold the family's old outdoor furniture from their previous rental. 

"We sold a much smaller outdoor set, some bird feeders, and two picnic tables on Facebook Marketplace," she explains, adding, "Everything was originally purchased secondhand as well so there wasn’t money lost on that end either! We decided to sell most of our stuff so that we could be really intentional about what we brought into this space. It had to be beautiful, functional for the space and, of course, within our budget." 

The Process

The first thing Steck needed was a cozy sectional for lounging. Thankfully, she scored a piece with no upcycling required. "The cushions were in almost perfect condition and have zippers for easy washing," she adds. "I was thrilled for that reason because I know I can take good care of them even though white cushions and toddlers don’t always mix!" 

Then, the blogger needed something to cover the cold concrete floor that was also renter-friendly. She opted for a large area rug, also sourced secondhand. 

"The rug was the final item I found for the space and really pulls it together," she explains. "It gives your feet a cozy feeling as opposed to the concrete. It also defines the space and adds a pop of color when looking into the yard." 

The Details

garage renovation

(Image credit: Kat Steck)

Two poufs, scored on Marketplace for just $20, add extra seating and complete the laid-back California vibe, along with colorful throw pillows. Thanks to her keen eye, Steck paid just $300 for the sectional (valued at $4,500 retail) and $20 for the rug.

The total cost for the makeover was about $335, but after the proceeds from selling old pieces, Steck ended up making $190 on the project. "We ended up with a big upgrade for the space and we made money," she adds.

One day when things go back to normal, Steck views the space as an entertainment hub for guests. "I’m currently dreaming of friends around the bench sharing a cheeseboard," she muses, adding, "But for now, we will use this space to read and relax while our toddler plays in the yard."

Ann Loynd Burton

After serving as an editor for luxury publications for nearly a decade, Ann Loynd Burton struck out on her own as a freelance writer covering design and lifestyle. Along with her work highlighting decor trends for Real Homes, Loynd Burton has covered interiors for such publications as Apartment TherapyAspireCottages & Gardens, and Galerie