How to Renovate a Garage to a Living Area


Renovating your garage into a new living area is much less expensive than adding on to your house. Even if your home already contains a dedicated living area, you may choose to preserve it a as a more formal space and use your garage as a comfortable den or family room. Most garages provide adequate space for a large-screen TV or home theater system. In order to convert your garage into livable space, you must remove the door, provide heating and cooling, and install interior finish materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Contractor's services
  • Building permits
  • Windows
  • Gypsum Board
  • Paint
  • Wood trim
  • Flooring
  • Furniture
  • Lighting
  • Replace the garage door with new windows. Most garages don't have windows, so use the void left by your door to admit light into the new living space. It's important to remove all of the mechanical elements attached to the door. You may choose to infill a portion of the opening if you don't want floor-to-ceiling windows, but you will face the challenge of matching the exterior materials of your home. Bay windows are also a good choice for garage conversions and will fill the majority of the space left by the former garage door.

  • Install electrical lines and extend ducts from your heating and cooling system to condition the space. Verify that the system can handle the additional square footage; it might be necessary to purchase a new heater or air conditioner to avoid overloading your existing systems. Anticipate your furniture set-up so you will have electrical switches and outlets in every location you need them.

  • Hang drywall to finish out the space, if it is not already, and apply fresh coats of paint to the walls and ceiling. Install finish flooring on top of your garage floor slab. Choose from carpeting, hardwood planks or tile depending on your aesthetic preferences, or coordinate with the decor of the rest of your home.

  • Move furniture into your new living room space. Position sofas and chairs to create a conversation area, or center the elements of the room around your home theater system. Install light fixtures and soften the space by adding drapes and decorative items.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the door between the former garage and the rest of your home to maintain a natural flow, and guests will never guess the space's former use.
  • Add extra insulation in your garage walls to make the space more energy efficient. If the walls were previously finished, blow in spray-foam insulation.
  • Hire a contractor for your garage renovation project if you don't have the proper certifications for electrical and HVAC work. The contractor will hire subcontractors for these tasks and also procure a building permit from your local building department, if necessary.

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