Embarrassed by your garage? Is it crammed high with stuff to the point where the car hardly fits? You’re not alone – garages are one of the most underutilised spaces in our homes, despite being one of the most versatile and adaptable.
Where else in the house or garden can you get so much bang for your buck? A garage can be redesigned as a storage space, workshop, entertainment room, office, or even an entirely new standalone granny flat.
Reclaim your storage space
Fitting your garage out with wall and cabinet storage can make a big difference to the quality of the experience you have in your home. You’ll be able to find your items, move around the space with ease, and you no longer need to be ashamed of the state of the garage. Plus, it’s pretty cost-effective: between $5000 and $8000 will fit out a 30m2 space.
“It looks good, it’s streamlined and usually it only takes a day,” says Jeremy Davis, Director at Pimp My Garage. “It’s so satisfying to see everything looking organised and tidy. Honestly, it’s fantastic.”
Create an extra space
Turn your garage into a sleepout for your teenagers, an office for your business, or a room for your hobby. Depending on the state of your current garage, this might mean relining the walls, replacing the doors, painting, recarpeting and fitting out.
This takes longer – up to two weeks – and the cost will be contingent on what work needs doing. But it can give your home a significant new space at a much lower cost than an extension. To maintain saleability, you can make choices that show future buyers how easily it could be turned back into a garage. Using garage carpet tiles rather than residential carpet, for instance, and insulating the garage door rather than installing sliders.
“We recently did a job on a really dilapidated old brick bunker of a garage,” says Davis. “It created a beautiful home office for around $40,000. A real estate agent told the owners they’d added at least $60,000 to the value of the house.”
Level up to a minor dwelling
You may even be able to turn your garage into a separate dwelling. By adding a bathroom and kitchen, and bringing the building up to code, you can have a small self-contained house.
A minor dwelling takes considerable time and money; you’ll need consent from your local council, a builder, and a selection of tradies. But once completed, you have somewhere for a relative to live, or you can rent it out to a long-term tenant or on Airbnb. The income provided could potentially pay for the work and leave you with some extra cash coming in regularly. The extra dwelling will also add quite a decent chunk to your home’s value.
“If you take it to that level, and you do it right, you’re going to be going forwards financially,” Davis says. “You’re investing in your biggest asset, which does usually pay off.”