Garage Remodel: Turning Your Garage into a Living Space | Home Matters
- How to Turn Your Garage Into a Room
We would all love to have a little extra living space in our homes, right? Before you consider moving to a larger house or hiring a contractor to create additional space, think about how you’re currently using your garage. Yes, your garage is great for storing extra stuff, but have you ever thought of converting it into a room? You can convert your garage into an office, extra bedroom, kids’ playroom, or even a man cave. Turning your garage into an apartment is a great idea too. The options are almost endless.
You might be wondering if turning your garage into a living space will add to the value of your home. The short answer is that it usually doesn’t. However, if you need more room, a garage renovation will be cheaper than adding a brand-new addition. The average cost of an addition is $46,480 as of 2021. The cost to convert your garage into a living space is a much more affordable option—anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.
Let’s take a look at some garage conversion ideas and the garage conversion costs that you’ll need to keep in mind as you design and budget for your renovation.
Cheap-And Not So Cheap-Ideas for Converting Your Garage
Maybe you already know exactly what type of garage conversion you have in mind. Perhaps you’re interested in converting your garage into living space, or maybe you want to convert the whole garage into a mother-in-law unit that you can rent out to generate some extra income. Or maybe you’re tinkering with the idea of turning your garage into a gym, a bedroom, or a home office. Dream big!
Whatever garage conversion ideas you have, remember that some types of garage conversions are less expensive than others. Let’s take a look.
Typically, the cheapest type of garage conversion will just involve blocking up the garage doors and finishing out the walls, floors, and ceiling with insulation, drywall, carpet, or other flooring material. Think of a bonus room, family room, playroom, game room, or man cave. Converting a garage into a bedroom costs less than, say, a full apartment with a bathroom.
What if you want to take your garage renovation up a notch? Any garage remodel that requires installing additional plumbing, data cables, or expensive fixtures will be more costly. A home gym may not be costly in terms of converting the garage itself, but filling it with exercise machines may drive up the price. Likewise, a home movie theater might be nice, but the chairs and projector screen are going to be pricey. Other expensive garage conversion ideas include converting the garage into an apartment for rent, a lounge with a full wet bar, an art studio, a music room, a billiard room, or a library.
Finishing Your Garage
Turning your garage into a living space means you’ll need to make other plans for storage, so consider installing shelving or cabinets to stow items in your new space.
To turn your garage into a room, you’ll also need to consider what goes into making the space livable, such as adding insulation to ensure that it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If your walls are unfinished, you’ll need to finish them with drywall, paneling, or plywood. If your garage conversion budget is on the smaller side, cheaper materials like shiplap or sheet metal are good alternatives. Flooring can be as simple as applying an epoxy-based concrete paint to your concrete floor, or as complex as building out a well-insulated wooden subfloor and installing carpeting. Other flooring options include tile, vinyl, laminate, and wood.
Flooring, insulation, and even finishing the walls are fairly simple DIY projects, although you may want to hire an electrician to run any additional wiring and install light fixtures, switches, and receptacles, or to change existing ones.
You may be able to use your current HVAC system to heat and cool an attached garage after its conversion. An HVAC technician can tell you whether this is feasible for your system and garage, or if you’ll need additional ductwork and vents. If you can’t expand your current HVAC system to cover your garage turned living space, you may need to use space heaters and window A/C units, or install a wood-burning heater or ductless heating and cooling system.
If your garage doesn’t have any windows, or only has one or two, you may need to add more to let in all that natural light. If you’re removing garage doors, you can add windows to this wall fairly easily. When shopping for new windows, make sure to buy modern, energy-efficient ones to cut the costs of your utility bill.
What to Do With Your Garage Door
Perhaps the biggest, and most obvious, concern when turning a garage into a living space is removing the garage door. If you want a garage conversion but you’re interested in keeping the door, there are some DIY garage door fixes, like using a DIY garage door insulation kit to maintain comfort without sacrificing the flexibility of turning your converted space back into a garage someday. You can also buy garage door veneers that go over metal doors, changing the look of the door itself to match the rest of the décor in your conversion. If you’re converting your garage into an apartment, bonus room, or other permanent living space, you may want to hire a contractor to remove the garage doors entirely and build out the exterior wall to fill the space.
Whether you have a two-car garage, a large garage with vaulted ceilings, or a single-car garage, turning your garage into a living space can increase your home’s square footage significantly for a much lower price than building a new addition from scratch.
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2023 Cost to Convert a Garage Into a Functional Living Space
2023 Cost to Convert a Garage Into a Functional Living Space | Angi
Normal range: $6,060 – $26,025
The cost to convert a garage into a living space is around
$15,625 on average, but could be more if you pick high-end materials or need plumbing and electrical added.
Photo: Wollwerth Imagery / Adobe Stock
Updated October 17, 2022
Photo: Wollwerth Imagery / Adobe Stock
Whether you’re looking to give your family room to grow or simply want more space in the home for activities, converting a garage into a living space is an easy solution. It’s already mostly built to be a living space, and all you need to do is add the finishing touches.
The cost of converting a garage into a living space will vary depending on the size of the garage, what you want to turn the garage into, and what materials you use to complete the project. The low end will be around
$1,500, and the high end will be around
See the price range for converting a garage in
Normal range for U.S.
$6,060 – $26,025
- Low end
- high end
How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Garage Into Living Space by Square Footage?
The two most common types of garages are one-car garages and two-car garages. While a two-car garage can fit an entire extra car, it doesn’t necessarily double the amount of square footage. This is because you’re only expanding the width of the garage and the length stays the same.
A typical one-car garage is 240 square feet and will cost around $59 per square foot to fully finish. The typical two-car garage is around 440 square feet and will cost around $86 per square foot to fully finish. However, costs will vary depending on the actual length and width of the garage.
How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Garage Into Living Space Near You?
Cost differences between states will come down to permit pulling. Some states like Florida have a general code in place for the entire state. Other states, such as Colorado, will come down to local jurisdiction on the city or county level rather than the state government making the decisions.
Common prices to convert a garage into a living space in these states are:
What Factors Influence the Cost to Convert a Garage Into Living Space?
Beyond the size of the garage, you’re going to want to make this additional living space your own. This means items, such as windows, flooring, and any systems you want to be hooked up to the new living space, are going to come down to your personal choice.
While someone in Florida doesn’t have a choice but to hook up the HVAC to the former garage, someone in Minnesota may forgo this for the time being.
Photo: Erik Isakson / Getty Images
Windows, insulation, and flooring are just some of the items you’re going to need to consider when doing a garage conversion. If you’re someone who enjoys being woken up by the sunrise and you want big windows, then you’re going to pay a bit more. Whereas someone who only needs a small window as a reminder of the outside world will pay a bit less.
Common prices for these items are:
|Windows||$1,000 per window|
|Vinyl flooring||$5 per square foot|
|Carpet flooring||$7 per square foot|
|Tile flooring||$13 per square foot|
|Hardwood flooring||$14 per square foot|
|Laminate flooring||$7 per square foot|
|Insulation||$1 per square foot|
Labor will vary based on the cost of living in your area as well as the length of the project. Contractors often charge 15% of the total project cost, but some builders will charge by the hour instead.
Electrical and Plumbing Hookups
Maybe you’re looking to also add a bathroom to this home addition. And you definitely need a place to at least plug in your phone at night.
Adding new plumbing to the garage will cost around $1,100 on average. Though this will depend on whether or not you had existing pipes in the garage. Electricity typically isn’t terrible, as most garages have wires for outlets and lights. So expect to pay around $400 on average.
Permits vary based on the project and your location. Converting a garage into a bedroom may cost less than converting a garage into an apartment. Expect to pay around $1,000 for a garage conversion permit.
If you want to make your new living space as cold as Antarctica or as hot as the Sahara Desert, then you’re likely going to want to add HVAC vents to your converted garage. An HVAC add-on will cost around $1,250.
How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Garage Into Living Space by Type?
Photo: fneun / Adobe Stock
Not everyone has the same reason for converting their garage into a living space. While you might want the kitchen of your dreams there, someone else is thinking about how they’re going to set up their new workspace. The end goal of your project greatly influences the price since you’re going to need extra plumbing for one project or extra electrical work for a different one.
Converting the garage into the bedroom is the most popular project to tackle. A simple bedroom will run you around $15,000. If this is going to be your new primary bedroom with a bathroom included, you’re looking at closer to $25,000.
Tired of using your kitchen table as an office desk every day? Looking to create a new office space in your old garage will run you about $5,000. This space doesn’t typically require plumbing or drywall for closets, so you’re mostly paying for the extra electrical work and insulation.
Maybe you’re looking to create the perfect hangout spot for all of your friends and family. In this case, you’re looking at spending around $7,500. Family areas require emergency exits, so the extra costs will come at the benefit of safety.
No more cramped kitchen space where the cabinets are falling off the hinges. Your old garage is now the place where you create fantastic meals that no amount of photography can capture. Garage-to-kitchen conversions will cost anywhere from $6,000 to $50,000, depending on plumbing, appliances, and finishes.
Maybe you’re just looking for a new place to get ready in the morning. Upgrading the garage into a bathroom starts at around $3,000, but can get as high as $25,000 if you want certain items like a home sauna, large garden tub, and double sinks.
A utility room is an excellent place to do laundry (or at least hide it from guests). It’s typically easy to get to, and you don’t have to listen to the washer and dryer going while you’re inside. Adding a utility room will set you back around $6,000.
If you’re going for a full guest house, you’re looking at spending around $22,000 on average. This comes from the fact that you need to have a bathroom, separate door, and kitchen for someone else to comfortably live in.
How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Garage Into Living Space Yourself?
This is definitely a project you’re going to want to hire a local garage remodeler for. They’ll help you plan out the garage conversion correctly so you’re maximizing your new living area. There are ways to cut remodeling costs, though, such as DIY demoing and making decisions early.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best time of year for remodeling is typically in the fall and late winter. This is typically when work slows down for contractors so it’s easier to cut costs during these months. However, you may be limited on the type of projects you can complete during these months based on where you live.
Yes, a garage conversion typically adds value to your home since you’re increasing the amount of liveable square footage. Generally, you have an ROI of about 80% with garage conversions. So if your project costs $10,000, around $8,000 is added to the value of your home.
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Learn more about our contributor
As a recent graduate from the University of Central Florida, Matt has a knack for clever, budget-friendly home improvements. He has a passion for helping others, mainly in the form of writing informative articles. He has written for companies including Lenovo and NutriGardens.
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Before and after: garage turns into guest room
Garage area refurbished from the ground up, inspired by a New York hotel and transformed into a private space for friends, family and locals.
Decorating a space from scratch is a big challenge, especially when it comes to creating a room that isn’t already in the house. When a local resident booked a guest room at the NousDecor family hotel, which was once the garage of the family home in San Francisco, the family hotel rose to the challenge. They have succeeded in transforming the garage space into a bright and modern rental property.
The garage and storage room occupied the lower part of the family’s house. But the area has always been so badly used that the residents decided to create an environment in which they could accommodate friends and relatives who visit them in a hotel place. The goal was to create a private space for them where they would feel at ease, as if they were in their own homes. They decided on the basis of the garage and the yard and build a two-room apartment.
The locals requested that the decor be simple and modern. The Standard Hotel in New York City was an inspiration, as one of the locals always stayed there on his trips to the city. And the room acquired a luxurious hotel climate.
Besides creating the space from scratch, another problem was that the room had no window, only a frosted glass door. The project had to be balanced in all respects, maintaining a cozy atmosphere and not becoming too dark and uncomfortable.
An elegant bed is the centerpiece of the room. Since the room is rather small, it was decided to combine the bed with a large picture on the wall. Many elements that were received from local residents are combined into a single whole interior of the room. Washers on each side of the bed leave more free space on the side tables. Since there is not enough space to install a cabinet, it was decided to use a chest of drawers with a narrow top.
To the question “What do you like most about the new look”? The owner of the hotel replies: “The Nelson Cigar bra is pretty cool. I didn’t think about using sconces for lighting. It’s nice to have more space on the side tables instead of two table lamps.”
Needless to say, the owners were pleased with the result: “I am delighted with how this room turned out. It’s warm and cozy, but still modern. I love bringing people here to show them around the room. Everyone who has stayed there so far says it is like their own apartment. And when I work from home, I’m there all day, which is great. Then my wife and I want to spend the night there and pretend we’re on vacation!”
Hotel website: https://www.nousdecor.com/get-help/new
Garage turned into a hangout place
Source: Manson. Photo: Maksim Malinovskiy
An ideal garage is the one where you can both repair your car and just relax. It should be such that it is not embarrassing to invite friends. So that you can occupy yourself for several hours and not yawn from boredom. After all, it should reflect at least part of the male automotive soul. Such conclusions can be reached by studying the situation in the garage of a Minsk resident known as Manson. He became the first hero of the Kärcher special project (the main prize is a pressure washer), in which users talk about their high-culture garages.
Why they call me Manson is a long story, eleven years ago. But today we are not talking about me, but about the garage. Since childhood, I dreamed of a big auto repair shop where I could work on my favorite car. It also had to be one in which I could relax with friends: for example, sit in clean clothes, smoke a hookah, fry a barbecue, chat. And now I’m 30, and the dream has not gone away.
I myself am a self-employed person engaged in body repair. To do this, I have a large garage for three cars. But this is, so to speak, a working area. It’s not about her. Through the wall from the working room, I have another one – a standard garage measuring 3 × 6 m. That’s what I decided to equip as a rest room.
First of all, I bought the cheapest paint and painted the walls black with a spray gun. Then he began to make the ceiling, as the standard floor slabs spoiled the whole view. I bought sheets of fiberboard and began to sheathe the ceiling. After the “wooden” work upstairs was done, I cut out six holes for the LED bulbs and also painted the ceiling black. Then I decided to make a partition with a door so that the gate would not spoil the view from the inside. Voila – I already have a “box” with black walls and a ceiling!
The next step was to furnish the box with furniture. A used sofa, a coffee table from IKEA, two bean bags, an electric kettle and a microwave were purchased. Well, my rest room has already begun to take on some form. Then I drove to the hardware store and bought a countertop. He made a bar counter out of it with his own hands. Like the rest room was ready, but it was still somehow boring there…
I decided to buy a 32-inch TV set with Wi-Fi and an Xbox 360 to boot. And now – a completely different matter! Now we often gather with friends in our free time and save the planet from some space invaders. Or we just watch movies, like in a full-fledged cinema, only with pizza or barbecue.
The final touch is the garage emblem illuminated with a red glow. She took pride of place on the wall. I ordered it from the guys who specialize in such things. Cut it with a laser from plexiglass. An acoustic guitar, a skateboard on the wall, and an old tape recorder were brought into the garage later as entourage items. They were very on topic. What came out of all this, I like. Friends have already appreciated.
Participants need to write an article about their garage, attach a photo. Every week for a month, the editors will determine the most interesting story from those sent to the competition and publish it. The author of each published story is guaranteed to receive one of the prizes: a pressure washer for the first place, a vacuum cleaner for the second, for the third and fourth – a set of car chemicals from Kärcher . The winners will be determined by voting. We are waiting for your stories at [email protected] . The personal data of the author and the address of the location of the garage are not distributed.
The full rules of the My Garage contest can be found here. The project partner is the official representative office of Kärcher in the Republic of Belarus. The manufacturer is working on the creation of high-performance systems, so the Kärcher vacuum cleaner is a universal tool for cleaning various surfaces from dirt. The equipment is suitable for cleaning rooms of any size – it does not matter if it is a large apartment or a compact garage.
Special project prepared with the support of Karcher IOOO, UNP 191767802.
Karcher MV 3 (WD 3) vacuum cleaner [1.629-801.0]
household, dust collector: bag + container, consumption: 1000 W
Vacuum cleaner Karcher WD 3 P Premium
household, dust collector: bag + container, suction power: 200 W, consumption: 1000 W, without power control, noise 75 dB
Vacuum cleaner Karcher MV 3 P (WD 3 P) [1.