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Want to expand the square footage of your home without moving to a new house? Consider all of the changes you can make to your garage to add a den or playroom, home gym, workshop, or a combination of any these to enjoy a larger living space.
First, to determine what area(s) of your garage are flexible, consider your vehicle needs. Do you have only one car, but a two-car garage. Do you need to park your vehicle inside year-round? If you can allocate some of your vehicle parking space for other uses, measure the available area and see what expansions fit. If you need to park your cars in the garage, maybe you can arrange vertical storage in such a way that a small workshop set up or home gym fits nicely, leaving your office to be well, your office. If you don’t park vehicles in your garage and currently unpacked boxes, miscellaneous tools, bikes, and other objects take up that space, sort through your belongings, put indoor items away, and see what’s left that needs to stay in the garage.
If you can transform your garage into an additional living space, you'll want to consider your insulation and electric needs. A garage door threshold seal can make a huge difference in the usability of your garage. If rainwater, dust, animals, and pests can easily enter your garage add the seal protect your space and make it habitable.
Consider using vertical storage to free up floor space. Most garages have high ceilings, so add high shelving for holiday decorations, suitcases, and long-term storage. Install lift systems for bicycles and other gear and narrow/vertical storage units for your tools. Opening up your floor space allows room to set up exercise equipment, activity tables (pool or ping-pong anyone?), or simply to throw down a rug, set up that extra TV and plug in your Wii.
To turn your garage into a living space, for a den, or man cave you'll need to figure out a climate control solution. If your home's system can handle the extra square feet, you can work with your contractor to expand your heating and air conditioning system to the garage. Make sure you check all wall seams, weather stripping, and possible leaks to ensure you don't experience higher energy usage to maintain the space. If your garage is yet unfinished, you’ll need to take the extra steps to insulate, if not completely finish the walls so that you don't see a significant upward creep in your electricity costs.
TIP #1: If you intend to make the extra living space permanent, check your city's regulations to make sure you acquire the appropriate, necessary permits.
TIP #2: If you think you might resell your home in the future, speak with your real estate agent to determine the best way to create the added living space without losing resale value. That is, you may want to lay down your flooring on top of the cement garage floor. To ensure a future buyer can use the garage for their vehicles, you may need to make specific choices on easily removable flooring.
Expanding the use of your garage is a great and affordable way to create space in your home. Speak with your real estate professional about any changes you're considering to determine best how to add to or maintain the most value to your home while adding the most significant value to your current lifestyle.