Do You Need More Garage or Living Space: Explore These Conversion Ideas

Garage Conversion

With the current housing shortage, it’s no surprise that homeowners have been looking for ways to expand their living space to suit their growing families without having to move. One solution that has gained popularity is turning your garage into living spaces. Transforming your garage into extra living space is a home improvement for all family members when you have a well-executed plan.

As todays families are growing with either having more children, or a need an in-law suite or you have adult children moving back home, why decide to up in move when you love your current neighborhood? The real estate market has low inventory with over priced homes which is why these garage additions or conversions are so trending right now. Adding potentially more value to your current home may be the better option in this current real estate market.

Whether you need a home office, family room, home gym, guest rooms, larger kitchen, or a master suite, converting your garage is an excellent option. But, what about parking your cars or storing your possessions? Worry not! Here we’ll discuss conversion ideas that solve these problems, such as adding onto your current garage, building a second floor to your garage, adding a detached garage, or a combination of all of the above.

Or maybe you don’t have a garage at all and are looking to add a two bay garage with living space above it or in between your home and a newly built garage. If so, then you’ll be planning ahead for these garage conversion ideas we’ve put together for these conversions.

Check out some options here and see what fits your ideal renovation.

What Type of Living/Garage Space do you Need?

Depending on what size your existing garage is, as far as a single attached garage or a two or three bay garage, and what type of space you want for your family in the end will determine what type of conversion will work for you and your future needs. Decide what you want. Here are some ideas.

  • Larger Kitchen/dining/living room space
  • Mudroom combination laundry/pet wash station or crate/sleeping area
  • Need more bedrooms/ or want a master or in-law suite
  • Home gym and playroom, or daycare room
  • Entertainment space: pool tables and bar area/wine storage
  • Home office/ workshop/art studio and storage for your home business
  • Great room with fireplace and seating and game tables
  • Garage space and storage with an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) above the garage
  • Converted living space that leads to an outdoor deck and extended outdoor living space

Types of Garage Conversion & Additions


Convert Partially

Do you own a three-car garage but find you could get by using only two spaces? Then why not convert only one space? This conversion idea is an excellent way to strike a balance between retaining garage functionality and creating additional living space. For example, converting one bay of the garage into a family room or an expanded kitchen/dining room will still allow you access into the other two bay garage without going outside to get to your cars.

Add Above the Garage

Expanding garage space upwards can be the answer if you want more living space without sacrificing your parking space or storage. The upstairs expansion provides the possibility of adding a spacious bedroom, a home office overlooking the lot, a movie room providing an ideal place to relax, or an area to convert into a storage room.

Additionally, building on top of the garage gives your home a considerable makeover, giving it a fresh appeal while also increasing your home’s value.

Convert Entire Garage

If you have a multi-car garage, converting the entire structure, including the walls, ceiling, and lighting, is also an option to gain a huge amount of additional living space. If you’re okay with parking your cars in the driveway, this newly found space can become a whole lot of extra square footage of living space.

Incorporate more natural light by installing skylights or replacing the door with large windows. With rentable space at a premium, you can use this new living space as a guest suite, rental unit, gym, entertainment room, or additional bedroom.

This works especially well for families who live in warmer climates and don’t have to worry much about parking outside in harsh winter weather.

Convert and add a Garage

Whether you have a single or larger attached garage you have valuable real estate to convert into living space that can flow right from your main house. And you have a couple of choices if having garage space is still a necessity.

You have the option of adding additional garage bays next to the converted garage that’s now living space or building a detached garage that is further away from the main house. There are many homeowners that work a home based business from their garage like builders or electricians etc.

Also, for families that have a lot of snowmobiles, boats, or four wheelers etc., who still need a garage. In this case it makes sense to have all your workers and equipment, fumes, or noise and toys away from the main house.

Building a detached garage not only creates garage space, but it also keeps your garage separate from your living space. A detached garage allows for endless possibilities that you can design in tandem with your home’s style, whether you prefer modern or traditional.

A Combination of All

With families wanting more comfortable amenities at home like larger kitchens and gathering rooms, home gyms, spas, and home offices and guest rooms leaves homeowners seeking out garage conversions vs moving from the neighborhood or school district.

If you require both more living space and parking space, a combination of converting your attached garage to living space plus adding a second floor above, and either adding another garage attached, or building a detached garage may be your best bet. With all three options, you have ample space to store your car or use it as a workshop while also creating a comfortable living space that suits your family.

What to Expect: Converting a Garage to Living Space

To convert an attached garage into living space, certain permits and approvals are required from local authorities. These might include building permits, electrical permits, and possibly a zoning permit. Start by visiting your local building department or city website to understand what’s required.

Choosing a contractor is the next critical step. Seek recommendations from friends or neighbors or use online resources to find a contractor with a solid reputation and experience in garage conversions. Always request quotes from multiple contractors to ensure you’re getting a fair price.

The timeline for your project can vary based on the scope of work and the contractor’s schedule. However, a rough timeline might be:

1 week for design and planning

1-2 weeks for permit approval

2-3 weeks for demolition and framing

2 weeks for electrical and plumbing work

3-4 weeks for insulation, drywall, and flooring

1-2 weeks for finishing touches such as painting and furnishing.

Always remember that these timeframes are estimates and can change based on various factors.

Once the permits are secured and a contractor is chosen, it’s time to start the conversion. The first step will typically be to remove the garage door and walls and reframe new exterior walls. Electrical and plumbing work will then need to be done before insulation, drywall, and flooring can be installed.

Potential Challenges

There may be potential challenges when converting a garage into living space. One common problem is dealing with the garage floor, which may be lower than the rest of your home. If raising the floor isn’t an option, consider adding steps or a ramp for accessibility.

Another challenge could be HVAC installation, as your current system might not be equipped to heat or cool the added square footage. Consulting with an HVAC professional can help you determine the best solution.

Lastly, the lack of natural light can be a problem. To solve this, consider installing windows or skylights to make the space brighter. Always look at these potential challenges as opportunities to increase the comfort and functionality of your new living space.

Exterior & Interior Door Flow

When designing the converted garage, considering the flow from the main house to the new living space is crucial. The goal is to ensure that the transition between the two areas is seamless and that the new space doesn’t feel like an afterthought. One way to achieve this is by replicating design elements such as flooring, wall color, and trim from the main house into the converted garage. This creates visual continuity, making the new space feel like an extension of the house.

The opening from the house to the garage is another essential consideration. Ideally, it should be located in a convenient area of the house, sparking a natural flow of movement. If possible, consider replacing the former garage door with large, glass sliding doors or French doors.

This can allow ample light to stream into the space and offer a wide, welcoming entrance to the new living area. However, remember to consider privacy and security while designing this doorway, especially if it faces the street.

In conclusion, the key to a successful garage conversion lies in the careful planning of design and flow, ensuring the new space integrates seamlessly with the rest of the house.

Is It Cheaper to Just Build a New Garage?

Constructing a new garage can often be a more budget-friendly and time-efficient option compared to renovating an existing one. The cost to rehabilitate an old garage can skyrocket due to unforeseen issues such as structural instabilities, outdated electrical systems, or potential pest infestations which require expensive remediation. When creating a new garage, the builder can incorporate modern, cost-effective materials and technologies from the beginning, avoiding the financial burden of replacing dated components.

From a time perspective, renovating an old garage into living space can extend the timeline significantly. The process of demolition, cleanup, and problem-solving for any structural issues before any actual renovation work can start, is likely to be time-consuming. Building a new garage, on the other hand, allows for a clean slate where construction can begin immediately, adhering to a predictable timeline and eliminating the potential for time-consuming surprises.

Additionally, constructing a new garage can provide the opportunity to customize the space specifically for your needs. Whether it be extra storage, a workshop, or an additional living area, a new garage can be designed and built with these functionalities in mind. This eliminates the need for costly modifications and renovations down the line.

Moreover, a new garage can add significant value to your property. It not only enhances the overall appearance and curb appeal of your home, but it also provides additional functional space, which is highly desirable among potential buyers.

Furthermore, building a new garage can be a more environmentally friendly option. By using modern, energy-efficient materials and incorporating sustainable features such as solar panels or rainwater harvesting systems, a new garage can help reduce your carbon footprint and save on utility costs in the long run.

Investing in a new garage can offer numerous benefits that make it a more appealing option compared to renovating an existing one. It allows for cost-effective material usage, adheres to predictable timelines, offers customization opportunities, adds value to your property, and can be environmentally friendly. Considering these advantages, building a new garage should be a top consideration for homeowners looking to enhance their property.

So, whether you need extra space, want to increase your home’s value, or simply prefer a more modern and efficient garage, constructing a new one is undoubtedly worth considering. With proper planning and the help of qualified professionals, you can create a functional and aesthetically pleasing garage that meets all your needs and adds value to your home.

Pros & Cons: Home Resale Value

Converting a garage into living space can vastly enhance the functionality and value of your home. The additional square footage can accommodate various uses such as a home office, a guest suite, a playroom, or a home gym, depending on your needs. It can improve the quality of life by offering a distinct area for work or leisure, fostering work-life balance, especially in the era of remote work.

Moreover, this conversion can significantly boost your property’s market value, providing an excellent return on investment if you plan to sell in the future.

Losing garage space, while initially perceived as a downside, can be viewed as an opportunity to rethink your outdoor space. Instead of storing seldom-used items or parking vehicles, the space can be used more effectively, fostering quality family time.

Understanding that a garage conversion means sacrificing some storage and parking space, planning for a detached garage could provide an ideal solution. This separate structure can offer the necessary space for parking, storage or even a workshop, without compromising the living space within the main house.

Building a detached garage at a later stage can provide the flexibility to design it according to your evolving needs. Be it a single or double garage, or even one with an upstairs storage or office area, the options are versatile. Additionally, locating the garage elsewhere on the property can free up valuable yard space near the house, potentially for a larger patio, garden, or outdoor entertainment area.

Hence, the potential benefits of a garage conversion, coupled with the prospect of a detached garage, can lead to a more efficient use of space, a boost in property value, and an enhanced lifestyle, making it a worthwhile consideration.

Return on Investment (ROI)

A well-executed garage conversion can significantly enhance the resale value of your home, proving to be a wise investment in the long run. According to experts, a garage conversion the ROI is about 80%, depending on the quality of the work and the overall real estate market condition. Meaning if you spent $10,000, your ROI would be $8,000. This increase is especially noticeable in neighborhoods where living space is at a premium.

It’s worth noting that the return on investment (ROI) depends largely on the functionality and appeal of the converted space. For example, a garage transformed into a modern home office, or an extra bedroom, could yield a higher ROI, considering the current trends and market demands. On the other hand, a poorly planned conversion that doesn’t match the rest of the house or doesn’t serve a practical purpose may not add much value.

In a competitive real estate market, a garage conversion can also make the property stand out to potential buyers. Its versatility appeals to a broader range of potential homebuyers, allowing them to envision the space according to their unique needs.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that while the added square footage increases the home’s value, the absence of a garage could deter some buyers. Thus, ensuring the conversion is high-quality, useful, and aesthetically pleasing is crucial to maximize your property’s resale value. Planning for a detached garage, as previously mentioned, can also mitigate this concern, offering the best of both worlds.

In summary, a garage conversion can offer a substantial ROI and boost in home value, particularly if it’s thoughtfully planned and executed to cater to the demands of the current real estate market.


Homeowners have been searching for ways to improve their living spaces while not forsaking their garages, and we have explored how to precisely achieve that. Converting a garage into a living area can provide a more appealing, comfortable, and efficient environment while satisfying various needs.

Deciding on either parking cars outside or adding a detached garage as a second phase addition at a later stage if necessary. Understand the steps involved and hiring professionals in the trade to work with the many challenges that could go wrong.

Additionally, this will add value to your home if done right, making it more desirable when you decide to sell. It’s time to say goodbye to lightless, cluttered garages and embrace the endless possibilities!