Garages are roomy, so if you’re not using all that space, convert it into a living area. For example, large families might benefit from a hangout room somewhat isolated from the main area of the house, which will allow noisy kids to enjoy themselves without disturbing the rest of the household.
The difficulty of the task ahead depends on the current state of your garage. Some garages have nothing but a bare wood frame, meaning you must install heating, electric, insulation, drywall, flooring and other missing elements. In this case, just making the space livable will be expensive, never mind the cost of optional features, such as recessed lighting fixtures and wall-mounted televisions.
At the other end of the range, some garages already are fully insulated, drywalled and painted, meaning only minimal changes are necessary. Your remodeling project might require as few steps as routing heat to the room, adding flooring, designing an entryway and sealing off the exterior garage door with an insulated wall. If your remodeling budget can cover exterior renovations, consider removing the garage door entirely and installing large windows.
Regarding entryways, you have a few basic options. First, you can leave the door as is. The disadvantage is that the existing door might not be aesthetically pleasing. The advantage is interior garage doors often block sound well, which might be beneficial if you’re trying to create an isolated environment. Or, if you like the size of the existing doorway, you can remove the door frame and finish the opening with drywall or wood trim to create an open entryway. Another option is to remove the door frame and its surrounding walls entirely, creating an open transition between the rooms.
Features that enhance a hangout room include ceiling fans to maintain proper airflow, a consumer-level movie projector and screen, large sectional couches, stain-resistant carpet that can handle roughhousing, and large windows to let in natural light during the day.
Unless you have extensive experience in construction and are familiar with local building codes, hire a professional to perform the remodeling. Surface changes, such as adding drywall, might not seem difficult, but building codes vary and require careful attention to detail. For example, most fire codes require the installation of 5/8-inch drywall to inhibit fires in garages. Whether that restriction still holds for a remodeled garage depends on your local government. Also, you’ll likely need a building permit to convert a garage into a living area, which is something a professional contractor experienced with local regulations and building inspection procedures can help you secure.
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