How to Convert an Attached Garage to a Living Space


An attached garage is the perfect space to use as an extension of your home since it is already constructed and accessible from your house. Once your needs are determined and you receive a building permit, your plan can be put into place. Turning the garage into a guest room, a family room, a playroom or any other current need for extra living space is a matter of design, planning and work.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Floor joist
  • 2 x 6 inch studs (treated)
  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Drywall mud and tape
  • Draw your design plan on graph paper to condense your ideas. Measure each side of the garage. Using graph paper with one square equaling one foot, check to see if your ideas actually fit in the room. Take the plans to your county or city building department for a permit. You will want to ensure that all codes and laws are followed.

  • Clear the garage of everything currently housed there. The garage may be used for storing many potentially dangerous items. Every precaution must be taken to ensure that the garage is safe to use as a different room. Hooks, pulleys and the garage door overhead fixtures should be removed.

  • Remove the garage door. Measure that opening for height and width. Cut two 2 x 6 inch boards the width of the opening. There should be enough boards to be placed upright 16 inches apart, sized to the height of the opening minus four inches. Nail each upright board perpendicular to the two boards cut for width. Once nailed, raise the frame to fit in the hole and secure in place. On the outside of your home finish the wall with oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood, vapor barrier paper and siding to match your existing home. Fill the wall, and any of the existing walls, if needed, with insulation. Finish the inside with drywall or paneling.

  • Scrub the floor with a good cement cleaner, following the manufacturer's instructions. The floor may be sealed and left with an attractive cement floor finish, or covered with tile, wood flooring, or carpet.

  • Building a subfloor is another option. Purchase "floor joist" from a home improvement store cut to the exact width of your room. The joist will be placed 24 inches apart. Nail the joist to the wall with a nail gun angled to enter the joist and end in the wall. Squeeze a thread of subfloor adhesive to the top of the joist and cover with three-quarter inch tongue and groove plywood or OSB. A subfloor gives you the advantage of space for plumbing or duct work, if needed.

  • Prepare your walls for wallpaper or paint. Fill any holes or mars in the drywall with dry wall patch. Spackle drywall tape and mud on any rough damaged places. Smooth the area with a damp cloth. Allow the mud to dry thoroughly before covering with paint or wallpaper. Paneling will cover any large problems that the wall may have. Allow for the extra depth paneling thickness will cause around light fixtures and trim.

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  • Photo Credit fancy garage image by Aaron Kohr from
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