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The Ultimate Guide To Garage Renovation

by Jonny S | 19/07/2023

Image credit: Unsplash

Garages are underrated. They’re often used for storing junk or, occasionally, sheltering cars. With creativity and strategic planning, however, you can transform your garage from a simple storage space to a vital extension of your home that serves many purposes and boosts your home’s value.

According to Remodeling Magazine, even a minor upgrade, like replacing your garage door, can yield an impressive return on investment (ROI) of 102.7%. Let your imagination run wild and think about the potential ROI if you undertake a full-blown garage makeover. The possibilities are exciting and profitable.

In this article, I’ll explore:

  • Why you should renovate your garage.
  • How to transform your garage.
  • The process of garage renovation.
  • Tips for a successful transformation.
  • Things to keep in mind while undertaking this project.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Why renovate your garage?

Garage renovation isn’t just about aesthetic enhancement; it’s a strategic home improvement project that has many benefits, including the following:

1. Increase property value

A well-executed garage remodel can significantly increase your property’s value. It’s an investment that pays off when you decide to sell your house, as prospective buyers often appreciate the additional functional space a renovated garage provides.

2. Maximise living space

Why build a new room when you can maximise what you already have? A garage renovation allows you to utilise every square inch of your property. Whether you need a home office, a personal gym, a craft studio, or an extra guest room, your garage can be the perfect spot.

3. Customisation

Customising your garage space to your specific needs and preferences is part of the fun. Whether you’re an artist creating a quiet studio, a fitness enthusiast designing a home gym, or a work-from-home professional who needs a dedicated office, your garage can be tailored to suit with a few simple adjustments.

Related: 5 home improvement projects that don’t add value

How to use your renovated garage

A well-executed garage renovation can open a world of possibilities. Here are some of the many ways you can utilise your newly transformed space: 

  • Home office or studio: With remote work becoming more prevalent, having a dedicated workspace at home is increasingly important. Your renovated garage can provide a quiet, distraction-free zone separate from the main living areas. It can also be a spacious studio for your creative ventures if you’re an artist or craftsman.
  • Gym or yoga studio: Skip the commute to the fitness centre and create your own gym or yoga studio in your garage. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes much easier with custom storage for your equipment and plenty of room for movement.
  • Entertainment area: Turn your garage into the ultimate entertainment hub. Install a big-screen TV for movie nights, set up a pool table for friendly games, or create a cosy reading nook for quiet afternoons.
  • Guest room: Consider transforming your garage into a guest suite if you often have visitors. You can add a bed, bathroom, and even a small kitchenette to give your guests their private space.
  • Rental space: Generate extra income by converting your garage into a rental unit. You could rent it as a residential space, storage unit, or parking spot, depending on local regulations.

Related: Renovate your rental property to boost holiday bookings

Steps involved in a garage renovation

A successful garage renovation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and attention to detail. With careful planning, you can transform your garage into a great space that adds value to your home.

Here are the key steps involved in the process (and keep reading to learn more about these):

Step 1: Assessment

Start by evaluating the current state of your garage. Consider the size, existing infrastructure (like electrical and plumbing systems), and potential problems. In this step, you also need to think about the purpose of the renovation.

Step 2: Planning

Once you’ve assessed the space, you can start planning the renovation. Establish your budget, gather design inspiration, and sketch a new space layout. You should also start researching local building codes and applying for necessary permits.

Step 3: Hiring professionals

Unless you’re experienced in DIY, you’ll need to hire professionals to complete your garage renovation. Look for a reputable contractor with experience with garage conversions who can guide you through the process.

Step 4: Construction

The construction phase can begin with your plans in place and your team assembled. This involves everything from demolishing old structures and installing new infrastructure to painting walls and laying flooring. Be prepared for this step to take several weeks or even months.

Step 5: Finishing touches

Once the major construction work is complete, it’s time to add the finishing touches. This could include installing light fixtures, setting up furniture, or decorating the space to make it inviting.

Step 6: Maintenance

Once your garage renovation is complete, regular maintenance will help keep the space in top shape. This might involve cleaning, repairing damage, or updating decor as needed.

Related: Innovative technology to add to your next home renovation 

Assessing your garage

Assessing your space will help you lay the groundwork for the project.

Evaluate current condition and functionality

Start by taking a comprehensive look at your garage in its current state. Consider its structural integrity – are there any leaks, cracks, or signs of damage that must be addressed? How about the existing electrical and plumbing systems – are they adequate for your renovation plans, or will they need upgrades?


Also, think about functionality. How is the space used currently, and what works or not for you? For example, consider incorporating more effective garage storage solutions or garage cabinets during your renovation if your garage is cluttered with items you rarely use.

Determine renovation goals and purposes

Once you’ve evaluated your garage’s current state, it’s time to dream about its future. What do you want to achieve with this renovation?  A clear vision for your garage renovation will guide your decisions and help ensure the result meets your needs and expectations.

Image credit: Garage Living


This might include whether you need garage door remodels, an extended ceiling height, a new wall cabinet, new paint on the walls and ceiling, new garage floor coating or car storage space. Does it also need an exterior makeover? These are all important aspects to consider during the assessment.

Take measurements and create a layout plan

With your goals defined, it’s time to take precise measurements of your garage. Documenting the dimensions will help you plan your layout, decide on the size and placement of new elements like cabinets or appliances, and provide important information for any contractors or professionals you hire.


Using these measurements, create a layout plan for your renovated garage. Sketch out where different elements will go and consider how the space will flow. Think about things like natural light, accessibility, and convenience. For example, if you plan to use part of the garage as a home office, you should position your desk near a window for natural light.


By understanding your space and defining your goals, you can plan a renovation that transforms your garage into a functional, enjoyable addition to your home.


Related: Everything you need to know about planning a house extension

Planning your garage renovation

Now we get to the fun part. Planning the reno. Here’s what you need to consider:

1. Determine your budget

This will dictate many choices throughout the process, from the materials you select to the professionals you hire. Consider all the potential garage conversion costs, including materials, labour, permits, and unexpected expenses that might arise. Also consider, in general, the following:

  • Cost to expand.
  • Cost to insulate.
  • Cost to soundproof.
  • Cost to refinish.
  • Cost to add windows.

2. Gather inspiration and design ideas

Start exploring different renovation ideas. Look for inspiration online, in home improvement magazines, or walk around your neighbourhood and see what other people have done with their garage remodelling projects. Think about what you want your garage to look like and how it functions. Do you want a sleek, modern space? Or a cosy, rustic vibe? You can create a clear vision for the project by getting design ideas together.

3. Research local regulations and permits

Depending on where you live, you may need a permit to renovate. You’ll need to research your local regulations and apply for any necessary permits before you start construction. This step is crucial to ensure your project is legal and safe. To find specific information on local regulations and permits for your area, visit the local council or government website.

4. Consult with professionals

A professional can help bring your vision to life while ensuring all aspects of the project are handled correctly. Houseace can help connect you to professionals in your local area who can provide expert guidance and efficient service throughout the renovation process. They can even help with those permits we mentioned.

5. Choose a contractor

Now that you’ve started talking to people, choosing a contractor is time. Make sure you hire someone who understands your vision, has a track record of delivering quality results, and can work within your budget. It’s also essential to ensure they are fully licensed and insured.

6. Design your garage layout

With your contractor/s chosen, you can start designing your garage layout. This is where you decide the location, from garage storage systems like shelves and cabinets to significant features like a workbench or gym equipment. Remember to consider things like natural light, accessibility, and convenience.

7. Start your renovation

Now you’ve done all the planning, it’s time to start your renovation. Remember that home renovations often take longer than expected, so patience is key. Stay in communication with your contractor throughout the process to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Related: A guide to home horizontal and vertical extensions

Key considerations when choosing the right garage renovations

Choosing the right garage renovations is about more than just enhancing the aesthetics or using space better. It’s about maximising the potential of an often-overlooked part of your home and turning it into a functional, well-designed space that serves your needs.

Image credit: Next Luxury

It doesn’t matter whether you plan to transform it into a workshop, a home gym, or an office; you must choose the right renovations.

The key is to ensure that every renovation choice aligns with your lifestyle, personal preferences, and the overall design of your home. Here are a few considerations:

Upgrading the infrastructure

Electrical and lighting systems should be updated or installed to support your intended use of the space. Consider adding plumbing and water connections to include a workshop or a laundry. Insulation is vital for maintaining a comfortable temperature and reducing noise transfer, particularly if you convert the garage into a living area. 

Ventilation is also crucial for maintaining air quality, especially if you’ll be doing activities like painting or woodworking. Lastly, remember security features such as sturdy doors, locks, and a security system to protect your home and belongings.

Functional layout and storage solutions

Designing a functional layout starts with considering how you intend to use the space. This will influence where you place large items, like vehicles or workbenches, and where you install storage solutions. 

Image credit: CNN

Regarding storage, consider incorporating a mix of options to maximise space. Wall-mounted cabinets and shelves are great for storing tools and equipment, while overhead racks can be used for less frequently accessed items. Consider using modular storage units that can be rearranged as your needs change.

Flooring and wall finishes

The choice of flooring material can significantly impact the functionality and aesthetics of your garage. Epoxy flooring, for example, is durable, stain-resistant, and available in various colours, making it a popular choice for garages. 

For your garage walls, drywall is popular as it’s easy to install and can be painted to match your chosen aesthetic. Adding insulation can help maintain a stable temperature and reduce noise, while soundproofing may be necessary if you plan to use noisy equipment.

Lighting and electrical considerations

Good lighting is crucial in a garage. Overhead lighting provides general illumination, while task lighting can help in specific areas like a workbench or tool storage. Motion-sensor lights can enhance safety and security. 

Think about the placement of electrical outlets too – you’ll want them to be easily accessible but not in the way of your activities. If you plan on using heavy machinery, you might need to upgrade your garage’s electrical capacity.

Heating, cooling, and ventilation

If you use your garage year-round, you must consider heating and cooling. A mini-split HVAC system can provide both and is relatively easy to install in a garage. For ventilation, consider installing exhaust fans or vents to help circulate air and reduce humidity. If your garage has no windows, adding one or two can provide natural ventilation and light.

Adding functional elements and features

Depending on your needs, consider adding functional elements like a workshop, home office, or laundry room to your garage. Each of these requires careful planning to ensure they fit seamlessly into your layout and meet your needs. For instance, a workshop might require sturdy workbenches and tool storage, while a home office would need a quiet, well-lit space.

Finishing touches and aesthetics

The finishing touches are what will make your garage shine. Choose wall and floor paint colours that reflect your style and the purpose of the space. Install window treatments that provide privacy and control light. 

Add personal décor items that make the space feel welcoming and unique. And don’t forget the exterior of your garage – some well-placed landscaping can enhance curb appeal and make your renovated garage a point of pride.

Related: Use a renovation calculator to estimate how much your renovation will cost

Design with maintenance and upkeep in mind

When designing your garage remodel, remember to consider maintenance and upkeep. You don’t want to create more work for yourself in the future. Choose:


  • Flooring materials that are resistant to stains and easy to clean, such as epoxy-coated concrete or vinyl floor tiles. These types of flooring can withstand heavy foot traffic, resist oil spills, and is easy to clean with a mop or broom.
  • Durable wall paint. Garage walls take a beating from moving items in and out and general wear and tear. Choose a durable, washable paint finish like semi-gloss or gloss for the walls. These finishes are more resistant to scuffs.
  • Adequate storage. A well-organised garage is easier to maintain, so invest in good-quality storage solutions like wall-mounted cabinets, overhead racks, and pegboards.
  • A garage door made from durable material that can withstand weather changes and requires minimal maintenance. Insulated steel or solid wood doors are great options. Also, consider a garage door opener with features like self-lubricating drive belts for reduced maintenance.
  • Good lighting makes your garage more functional and helps you spot dirt and grime that need cleaning. Choose bright, energy-efficient LED lights that have a longer lifespan and require less frequent bulb changes.
  • Proper ventilation can prevent moisture buildup, leading to rust or mould, while insulation can help regulate temperature and reduce energy costs. These considerations can contribute to reduced maintenance needs in the long run.


Related: What to look for when choosing a builder for your renovation project?

Extra ideas to consider

Use sustainable materials

Using sustainable materials in your garage renovation contributes to environmental conservation and can offer durability, aesthetics, and cost savings over time. Circular Material Library is a great resource for finding sustainable materials. That said, here are some things to consider:

  1. Recycled flooring: Materials like reclaimed wood, recycled rubber tiles, or linoleum made from natural, renewable materials are durable, easy to maintain, and can withstand heavy traffic.
  2. Energy-efficient lighting: LED lights consume less energy and have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs. Consider installing motion-sensor lights or timers to ensure lights are only on when needed, saving more energy.
  3. Water-saving fixtures: Low-flow faucets, showerheads, and dual-flush toilets can significantly reduce water usage.
  4. Sustainable insulation: Materials like cellulose, sheep’s wool, or Icynene spray foam are sustainable choices with lower environmental impacts than traditional fibreglass insulation.
  5. Eco-friendly paints: Choose paints with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are better for your health and the environment.
  6. Reclaimed or recycled furniture and cabinets: If you plan to add furniture or storage in your garage, consider pieces made from reclaimed or recycled materials. 
  7. Solar panels: If your garage has good exposure to sunlight, installing solar panels can provide renewable energy for lighting and any electrical needs in the garage.

By choosing sustainable materials for your garage renovation, you’re making a choice that’s good for the environment and your wallet.

Add smart home features

Make your garage more convenient and secure with smart home features. For example:

  • A smart garage door opener can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app, allowing you to open or close your garage door from anywhere. Some models can even be integrated with your car’s system, enabling automatic opening and closing as you approach or leave your home.
  • A smart security camera can help deter theft and vandalism. These cameras can send real-time video feeds to your smartphone; some can even alert you when they detect movement.
  • Smart lights can be programmed to turn on and off at specific times or controlled remotely through an app. Some models can adjust brightness based on the room’s time of day or ambient light level.
  • Smart plugs allow you to control and schedule power to any device. They’re great for managing energy usage and can be used to control tools, chargers, or any other devices.
  • A smart thermostat can help maintain a comfortable temperature if your garage is insulated. Some models can learn your schedule and preferences over time, adjusting the temperature automatically for maximum comfort and efficiency.
  • If your garage has a sink or is used to store items that could cause water damage (like snowblowers or wet boots), a smart leak sensor can alert you immediately if it detects moisture.
  • If your garage has an entry door, a smart lock can provide keyless entry and allow you to control access remotely. You can even grant temporary access to guests or service providers.

Integrating these smart home features makes your garage a more secure, efficient, and convenient space.

Use your garage to generate passive income

Generating passive income by renting out your garage space on platforms like Spacer is an excellent way to maximise your renovation and get a return on your investment. For example, you could rent it out for: 

  • Storage: Many people need extra storage space. Whether they’re downsizing, moving, or having too many possessions, your garage could provide the solution for furniture, vehicles, or any other items needing a safe place.
  • Workspace: Artists, hobbyists, or small business owners often need separate spaces for their work. By adding some workbenches, shelves, lighting, and power outlets, your garage could serve as a perfect workspace.
  • Parking: If you live in a busy city suburb and don’t use your garage for your vehicle, you could rent it as a parking space. This would be particularly profitable if you live near a busy commercial area, tourist attraction, or transport hub.
  • Living: If local regulations allow, you can convert your garage into a small apartment, a studio, or a guest room and rent it out. This provides a housing solution in high-demand areas and increases your property’s value.
  • Event space: If your garage is large enough, you can rent it as an event space. People could host small gatherings, parties, or meetings in a well-decorated and furnished garage.

Consider local regulations, security and insurance if you decide to go down the rental path.

Make your garage a more inviting space

Making your garage more inviting can transform it from a simple storage area to a functional part of your home. For example:

  • A comfortable seating area can make your garage ideal for relaxation or socialising. You could add a couch, recliner, or even a hammock. Pair these with a coffee table for a cosy setup.
  • Good lighting plays a crucial role in making a space feel inviting. Choose warm, soft lighting to create a welcoming atmosphere, and use a combination of overhead lights, task lights, and accent lights.
  • Insulating your garage and adding heating or cooling options can make it comfortable year-round. Install a summer ceiling fan or air conditioner and a portable winter heat.
  • Adding personal touches like artwork, rugs, plants, or decorative items can make the space feel more homely. Choose decor that reflects your personality and interests.
  • A TV, sound system or even a gaming console can make your garage an enjoyable place to spend time. If space allows, add a pool table or dartboard.
  • Consider adding a mini fridge with drinks, a coffee maker, or even a small bar. This would be especially useful if you plan to use the space for entertaining.

Remember, keeping an inviting space clean, organised, and personalised is the key to creating an inviting space.

Integrate your garage with your home

If you have an attached garage, integration can enhance your living space, adding functionality and value. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  • Improve accessibility: If your garage is only accessible through an outside door, consider creating an internal access point from your home. This improves convenience and helps to integrate the garage into the flow of your home.
  • Match your home’s aesthetic: Coordinate the interior design of your garage with the rest of your home. Use similar colours, finishes, and materials to transition between spaces seamlessly.
  • Extend your living spaces. Depending on the size of your garage, consider extending existing living spaces. For example, you could extend your kitchen into the garage, creating a larger, open-concept space. You could even turn your garage into a butler’s pantry.
  • Flooring: Replace the concrete floor with the same flooring used in your home. This instantly makes the garage feel like part of the main living area.

Related: When do I need an architect for my renovation?

Tips for a successful garage renovation

If you want to ensure your garage renovation is successful, stress-free, and results in a space that you love and enjoy, follow these tips:

Get everything in writing

Before you start your garage renovation, you want to have all agreements, plans, and estimates in writing. This includes the scope of work, cost estimates, timelines, and other project details. Having a written agreement helps avoid misunderstandings and disputes down the line. It also provides a reference point if changes need to be made during the renovation.

Stay on budget

Setting a realistic budget is crucial for any renovation project. Be sure to account for all potential costs, including materials, labour, permits, and contingency funds for unexpected expenses. Keep track of all your expenses so you stay within your budget. If you’re working with a contractor, communicate your budget clearly and upfront.

Using home equity to finance your garage renovation

If you’re thinking of renovating your garage and need financing, leveraging your home equity can be a smart choice. Home equity is the difference between what you owe on your property and its current value. 

By tapping into this equity, you can borrow additional funds for your renovation project. Options include top-up loans, refinancing, home equity loans, or splitting your existing loan. Prioritise careful planning, compare lenders and select the most suitable loan. While using your home equity can save on fees and offer lower interest rates, consider the potential longer loan term and increased overall interest cost.

Be prepared for unexpected delays

Renovation projects often face unexpected delays due to unforeseen issues, weather conditions, or changes in the project plan. Build some extra time into your timeline to account for these potential hiccups. Being prepared for delays can help reduce stress and keep your project on track. 

Enjoy your new garage

Once your garage renovation is complete, take the time to enjoy it! Whether you’ve created a new workspace, storage area, or recreational room, utilise this new space to its fullest. After all, the goal of your renovation was to enhance your home and lifestyle.

Related: What is the average kitchen renovation cost in Australia?

Final thoughts

A garage remodel is more than just an upgrade; it’s a transformation that can enhance the value and functionality of your home. Whether you’re turning it into an additional living area, a workshop, or storage space, a well-planned reno adds convenience, functionality, and value to your property.

Are you ready to transform your garage into a space you love? Working with experienced professionals who can guide you through the process and ensure high-quality results is essential.

Start with Houseace today, and you’ll have access to Australia’s most qualified professionals. Use the Quote Builder to receive an instant quote, and we’ll even match you with the right tradies to suit your project.


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