Planning a garage conversion? Making it look like a natural part of your home, and less like a converted garage, is vital for its success and your home’s future saleability. Before work starts, commission scaled drawings of the finished project, indoors and out, and include details such as power sockets and furniture layout, plus everything.
Replacing garage doors
Ensure the brickwork, materials and windows replacing the garage doors match well with the existing house. Ask builders to fully tooth and bond the new brickwork into the old.
Often, the top of the garage door is lower in height than the other doors and windows on the ground floor. Consider whether you will be able to match the brickwork or external materials if the garage door opening requires reducing in size.
Garage conversion doors
Design the position of the interior door to the new room in the right place. ‘It’s best to consider what the ideal position would be, rather than going with the existing door if there is one,’ says Nigel Lewis. Work out how the door’s position will affect the furnishing of the new room – it’s no use positioning it in an ideal place in the hallway if it makes the new room awkward.'
How to get light into your garage conversion
If you can fit in extra windows to make the new space feel more like a room and less like a conversion, do so. If the garage faces the garden, replacing one wall with floor-to-ceiling windows or folding-sliding doors will make it feel wider and much more spacious, but do consider how this will restrict the layout of the room.
Visually change the proportions of the room by using paint colours that make it feel bigger and brighter. Keep windows uncluttered, and hang mirrors to reflect light and stretch the space visually. Shop for furniture that matches the room’s proportions; if it’s too big, the room will feel cluttered. Invest in good storage, too.
Converting a garage into a kitchen diner
‘For this project, the owners wanted a stylish and functional kitchen and to open up the existing space to the outside area,’ says Lucy Eckersley.
‘To bring in light, we replaced the steel lift-up garage door with glazed folding-sliding doors’.
In designing the kitchen, the main problems were making the room feel cosy and welcoming, plus the limited space available, as the owners wanted to include a table, chairs, and a feature breakfast bar.
‘They chose the Avant black and white kitchen from Second Nature, adding colour with a vivid green splashback and bar stools. Corian worktops have been shaped to fit the curved units. The build and kitchen together cost £24,000.’
Converting a garage into a home office
‘As a detached garage, the building allows me to maintain a degree of separation between home and work life, while also providing a space for the kids to do their homework in the evenings or at weekends without distractions,’ says architect Paul Day.
‘It is somewhere I work from occasionally, and provides a place to store my wife’s paperwork. We also use the room to keep our personal filing, so it doesn’t clutter the rest of the house. Wireless networking allows us to link all the home computers and share the broadband connection.
Wireless networking may need additional equipment to boost the signal to reach detached garages, depending on the distance from the house. Also remember that home offices may be liable for business rates – find out from your local valuation office. A similar conversion would cost around £8,000-£10,000.
Converting a garage into a playroom
‘The original garage wasn’t used very much by the owners, so they asked the architects to create a useful space the whole family could enjoy,’ says Jude Tugman of Architect Your Home. ‘The garage doors were replaced with two windows in keeping with the period of the house, and the new room is accessed from the main hallway, just inside the front door.
‘Inside, a mezzanine level was created to house a sleeping/lounging area. Beneath, built-in cupboards hide away the room’s clutter – and even house a space for a sink and kettle. Sofas and a TV finish the room off perfectly. The work cost around £40,000.’
Converting a garage into a bedroom
'We halved our large garage and now use the rear part as a spare bedroom,’ explains Ben Rousseau. ‘The bedroom was created with a new blockwork wall and insulation, and by cutting light wells into the patio above to bring in light – although the front of the garage is ground-floor level, the rear space is below ground.
'We can’t watch films very loudly in our living room as it’s below our daughter’s bedroom, so we decided to combine the new bedroom with a cinema room, and it now features a fantastic 3D screen and surround sound speaker system.'
‘To make space for an en suite to the new room, we moved back a ground-floor toilet, situated off the hallway, and knocked down the wall of the utility, which has become the en suite and the bedroom entrance. The work cost around £15,000 in total.’
Converting a garage into a living space
‘The garage conversion to this Edwardian property was planned as part of wider project to reinvent and extend the house so the owners could have more space,’ says architect Ben Parsons.
‘The original garage was converted into a playroom, with a connection to the rear (south-facing) family room. A new garage was then built on to the side of this new room, with a new first-floor extension above.
‘We designed the new frontage so that it would blend in as seamlessly as possible with the house and complement the original composition and materials. The whole project cost around £180,000, with the garage conversion itself costing around £20,000.’