The garage has been used as living quarters before (a lot). But did you know that because garages are enclosed spaces with no windows, they make great offices?
It’s true! They are usually spacious enough to hold any desk or table setup and have lots of storage access points that can also serve as desks if needed.
If you’re looking for a creative space to do your work, then garage conversions are the way to go. They can be used as an office, home theatre or game room.
Converting a garage is not as daunting of a task as it may seem, and with the proper steps, you could have your new office up and running in no time.
Due to the pandemic, a lot of people have resorted to working from home. However, this often poses a problem, especially when there is no quiet and dedicated space to work.
So, have you thought about converting the garage into an office?
The garage is considered another room by families with less space in their homes, often used for storage.
A 2019 study discovered only 9% of people park their car in the garage overnight. The common reason being modern cars were more significant, but it’s mostly as there is no space.
Modern times have seen increased loft conversions, and internal storage space is at a premium.
And it turns out 52% of people do not use their garage for car parking as it’s full of clutter.
With most garages having the drive to use for parking and increased affordable home security, the garage has minimal need.
Even after it is not needed as a home office, it can be used as a cinema room, playroom, utility room, gym, studio, or an extra bedroom.
Importantly, you do not need planning permission for converting the garage into an office space, although you need to be mindful of windows overlooking neighbours. Can I find garage storage cabinets to match my style? Absolutely! Even the cabinets in the garage should reflect your unique tastes and style. Garage Storage Solutions offers stylish storage in a variety of materials and finishes.
What To Consider When Converting Your Garage Into A Home Office.
Previously regarded as a bit of a luxury, a home office is the new must-have as millions of us work flexibly or exclusively from home.
With space at a premium in many homes, a garage conversion can be a great way to gain that much-needed workspace.
If your garage is more of storage space (or dumping ground) than a safe place to park the car, it could be the ideal location for a home office.
Keeping Living And Working Areas Separate
Turning a garage into a home office helps keep living and work areas separate.
It is sited away from the main living areas, so if the TV blares in the background while working, it should not disturb you.
A garage conversion is typically cheaper than building a new extension as the basic structure is already there, so it will not require much building work.
What’s more, it won’t eat into any of your garden space. Begin by emptying your garage to give a better idea of the size of the room.
A single garage will offer around 15m2 of floor space, more than enough for an office.
A double garage, at around 30m2, gives you more options. For example, it could house a good-sized home office plus a shower/toilet or utility room/storage area.
Make Sure It’s Structurally Safe
An architect or surveyor will be able to advise you whether your garage is suitable to convert, particularly the soundness of the walls, roof and foundations.
Some are too poorly built or decrepit, in which case it might be cheaper to knock down and replace. On the other hand, if your garage is constructed of block or brick and structurally sound, it should be okay but still, need an interior fit-out.
Garages are not usually designed to be habitable spaces. Typically, they are built with a single skin brick or block wall and without insulation.
To convert into a home office, the walls will need to be plasterboarded, insulated and decorated. The footings will also need to be inspected to make sure they are up to scratch.
Plan Heating, Plumbing And Electrics Early
You will need to make sure your home office is comfortable all year round, so thoroughly plan your heating, lighting and electrics.
A plumber may be able to extend your home’s central heating system. Alternatively, electric wall-mounted heaters can be relatively cheap to install.
Remember to make provision for any hot and cold water supplies if you’re planning to install a toilet, basin or shower.
Don’t forget to plan for all your tech needs and allow plenty of electrical points and a phone point near your desk, PC and base unit.
Good lighting is essential for a home office. It’s critical to plan early to avoid adding cables, sockets, and lights later after the plastering is done.
Instead of moving the electricity meter or boiler, consider boxing them in with cupboards that allow easy access. It could save you thousands of pounds.
If there’s a boiler in the garage, ensure you include proper carbon monoxide detection and ventilation provision in your plans.
Don’t Forget The Lighting.
Most garages don’t have windows or only small openings, so the interior is often dark and dingy. Take the time to think about lighting and how it will feel about working in the space.
Like a dimly lit cave? If your budget can stretch, it’s a great idea to have a bigger window installed.
Floor to ceiling windows or sliding doors leading to the garden could flood your workspace with natural light and transform the room.
Glass bricks and roof lights are other options. Consult a structural engineer or architect before knocking a hole in the wall or roof to install glazing features.
Check If Planning Permission Is Necessary
Formal planning consent may not be required for a garage conversion if the work is internal and you’re not extending the footprint.
In some cases, such as conservation areas, or if a council has restrictions on reduced parking, Permitted Development rights could be removed for this change of use.
Check with your local planning authority before you begin work. This does not rule out a garage conversion, but you will need to apply for full planning permission and assemble a suitable set of drawings.
Submitting a planning application will be necessary to fill in the garage door space with bricks and possibly add a window or door.
Garages in listed buildings are less straightforward to convert, and you will also need Listed Building Consent.
Don’t Forget Building Regulations.
In all cases, garage conversions require Building Regulations consent and sign-off to ensure the space is suitable for occupation, so you will have to notify your local authority even if the work is just interior.
To comply, your home office will need to be structurally sound, have a damp-proof course, be well insulated, energy-efficient, have good ventilation and be fireproofed.
All the new and existing electrics will be tested. A skilled builder or architect will be able to advise you on everything you need.
How To Convert A Garage To A Home Office
If you’re looking for a way to save on space and add an extra home office to your humble abode, look no further than your garage.
Since garages are enclosed spaces, they can serve as ideal areas to create home office conversions.
Here’s what you’ll need to turn your car’s home into your new home office.
Empty It Out
Garages can often be a one-size-fits-all dumping ground for everything from holiday decorations to paint cans you’re storing for future home improvement projects.
Before figuring out how to convert a garage to a home office, you’ll need to figure out if it’s even possible. And that starts with clearing out the clutter!
Figure out what you have to keep and what you can get rid of. Then, find a place to store the things you need to hang on to.
Consider getting an outdoor shed or installing shelves in the garage to help organise everything and keep it out of your way.
Once you’ve cleared the clutter, survey your garage and figure out what you like and need to do for your garage to office conversion.
For example, most garages consist of a concrete floor, overhead lighting, and garage doors.
For a quick and easy facelift, paint the walls a light colour for a fresh, clean look. If your garage has a regular door, you can give it a quick coat of paint for a more professional look.
For more intensive projects (think: a new hardwood floor or overhead lighting that requires new outlets), you may be better off consulting with a pro.
Since garages are not year-round living spaces, you’ll need to ensure proper healing and cooling so you don’t freeze during the winters and broil in the summertime.
To adapt quickly (and cheaply) to the changing temperatures outside in the short term, you can invest in a portable space heater as well as a fan and a portable air conditioner for warmer days.
Long-term, though, you’ll likely need to invest in a more permanent HVAC system to ensure the garage’s temperature stays consistent and comfortable year-round.
To help you through long working days, set up a food station in your garage office. For example, put in a small refrigerator, set up an espresso machine, or bring in several baskets from your pantry that hold wrapped snacks.
If you’ll have clients or guests visiting regularly, add comfortable chairs for them, along with magazines or welcome brochures.
Light It Up
If you’re one of the few who have windows in your garage, consider yourself lucky! But for those in a windowless room, proper lighting is a must-have.
Instead of natural lighting, make sure that your home office is outfitted with lamps not only on your desk but in other parts of your garage too.
That way, you won’t feel like you’re working in a cave with the only light source right next to you.
Grab A Paintbrush
A fresh coat of paint can brighten up dull, stained walls. So instead of hiring a professional, set aside a weekend and put a new colour on yourself.
When selecting a shade, opt for a lighter colour. For example, if you regularly have video calls, it will be easier for others to see you with a white, uncluttered background.
Don’t Buy New Furniture.
When searching for a desk or chair, start by visiting Facebook Marketplace or scrolling through apps.
A local thrift store or garage sale might have the perfect couch or bookshelf. Set a budget and wait until you come across supplies that fit your style and price range. Garage Storage Solutions features an innovative wall storage system with heavy-duty sliding wall components such as hooks, garage shelving and stylish, durable steel cabinets designed to hold your gear securely and neatly in place.
Check Your Tech
If you have an attached garage, you might think that you can rely on your Wi-Fi connection, and that might be the case.
But, make sure you give your connection a solid test run before you move in.
It’s one thing to do some casual browsing. It’s another to have a video meeting and multiple open tabs at the same time.
As part of learning how to convert a garage to a home office, consider that many attached garages are built with fire safety in mind, and Wi-Fi signals may have difficulty penetrating the garage walls.
Depending on your situation, you may need to invest in a wired internet connection, Wi-Fi extenders, or a portable hotspot.
Make It Your Own
Sure, you could invest in an ergonomic chair and desk, but why not take the opportunity to design a beautiful home office?
Add personal touches such as throw rugs, furniture, and framed pictures.
Have Fun With Color.
To liven up a garage space with a concrete floor and drywall, look for design ideas that incorporate brightness.
Patterned pillows, contrasting lights with darks, a fun rug, and brightly painted furniture assist with turning a dank cave into a Pinterest-inspired personal space.
Fill extra space with an artificial plant or a potted herb that doesn’t need much light.
Tips On Converting The Garage Into An Office
Always Check The Building Quality Of The Garage
Before you start converting the garage into a living space, you must consider the building quality.
Some are old or shoddily built. But, at the same time, others have a sound structure and standardised building material, which can be transformed easily.
Before converting, you need to ensure the framework is up to the job. Check for damp and leaks, and smell is a good indicator.
Building quality could have a significant impact on temperature. Be mindful of holes and gaps as this could lower the temperature or cause dampness.
You might need to apply some winter home improvement tips to make the external office hospitable in cold weather.
Being Practical For The Job
Garages are constructed on the different levels from the home structure, so you may need to lower ceilings or floors to make it equal to the rest of the house.
It should not be a hobbit hole; you don’t want to have to duck to get in. However, the entire garage may need to be restructured to match with the rest of your house.
So, before beginning the conversion, you must decide how much work you want to put into this.
Bear in mind external builders will be colder, poorly insulated, and you may have to walk to and from the house in bad weather.
When you have thought that you will convert your garage into an office space, you must use doors, windows, ceiling decorations that match the standards of the office space.
The entire place must be converted according to a solid plan and strategic thinking.
Depending on the budget, underfloor heating might be the best way to heat the office. Wooden flooring is of the utmost importance in this instance and conducts the heat well.
It has the advantage of looking good, increases the overall look of the space, and makes the place look more prominent.
It is also durable, stable, affordable and suitable for chairs with wheels. It is the best option for any external office space flooring as it can easily be cleaned.
If insulation is an issue, hardwood flooring on top of concrete will be gold in the winter months.
If this is the case, some hard-wearing carpets might be best to give both insulation and a surface to scoot a chair on.
Making The Office Comfortable
You will need to insulate and bring heating to make it relaxing and comfortable all year round. For this, you might need to consider plumbing, lighting, and home security for all the mod cons to make it the ideal working space.
Will A Garage Conversion Add Value?
A vital issue to consider is whether losing the garage would devalue your property. If parking is at a premium, for example, in a city centre location, a parking space may be more valuable than the extra room.
But if you have off-road parking, you may find converting a garage can significantly increase your property’s value.
Ask a trusted local estate for advice on whether a garage conversion will add any extra value to your property.
What Is A Partial Garage Conversion?
Partial garage conversion offers a compromise solution. For example, retaining a garage door, so a car could still be parked inside while fitting out the interior into a usable workspace.
For those lucky enough to have a double garage, consider retaining a single parking space by building a partition wall and fitting out the rest for a home office.
If you have an integral garage, you could knock through an interior wall to create a larger open plan kitchen/living room with a separate study or work area.
How Much Does It Cost To Convert The Garage Into An Office?
This can vary; a temporary conversion could cost as little as a few hundred pounds depending on your need to make it hospitable. If paying a professional, you should get at least three quotes.
Ask The Experts
The final design of your conversion will depend on how you want the space to look and function and the size of your budget.
A local builder is often the most cost-effective option for turning your ideas into reality. However, for higher-end projects, working with an architect will maximise the potential of the space to achieve your aims and make it flow with the rest of your home.
Architects can take your scheme through planning and building control as part of their fee. Another option is to use a company that specialises in the design and build of garage conversions. Are you getting frustrated by your clutter and garage organisation? Here at Garage Storage Solutions, we offer extensive professional organising and declutter service.