Make your garage work for you … as a home office

You’ve got a business that has outgrown your current office arrangement of a kitchen table, laptop, and cell phone. Or, if you started out like me, a cupboard in the living room! Congratulations! But now what? Where will you find the room? Shy of kicking one of your children out of their bedrooms, you’re going to have to use the only space left for you, the garage.

I wanted to get one of those She Sheds when we were living in Warwick and I know a few business owners who have managed to get one and make it work as an office. But if the budget doesn’t extend to that, here are some tips from Stephanie Haywood from My Life Boost (returning guest blogger) that might work for you. I remember when I was a kid my parents converted our garage to a room we used as a study room for high school and uni. No reason why you can’t do the same for an office!

Empty it Out

It may currently be filled to the max with old paint cans, bicycles with flat tyres, and holiday ornaments, so that’s your first job. If you’ve got an attic, make use of it or invest in a utility building or shed. They come in all sizes and prices, and can even be outfitted with heat and air, and running water if need be.

Next, donate everything you no longer need or want to an organisation that will rehab and resell them. Or have a garage sale and make a few dollars for the items you’ll be needing for the makeover.

Insulation and Temperature Control

Your garage is almost certainly insulated at the wall that connects to the rest of your home, but the other walls are probably not insulated. Insulation is essential to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. Bob Vila points out that you can DIY it with fiberglass or even use spray foam insulation or hire a contractor to do it for you. Insulation is also important as a sound buffer or every lawn mower and barking dog will sound like they’re in your office with you.

Making it Look Like an Office

Paint the walls in pastel blues, off-white, or beige to give them a professional look. To break up the monotony, look for wallpaper for at least one of the walls. HGTV notes that peel and stick wallpaper is easy to install and you change it out easily too when you want to change the look of the room. If you order wallpaper that’s printed on-demand, you’ll be able to customise your design, and you won’t have to worry about your design being out of stock.

If the garage has no natural light, consider adding a window. Natural light is easier on the eye and having a glimpse of the outdoors allows you to feel less isolated. If there’s an access door to the outside, add a screen or glass door to allow even more light. Overhead or flush mount ceiling lights should be placed in the centre of the room at least six feet up from the floor. Choose LED lights for all your floor and desk lamps. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they don’t get warm either.

Bookshelves and shelves with storage will be essential since you won’t have a closet to store things. You can build them yourself and make them as simple or elaborate as your work environment dictates. Better yet, for larger or more complex projects, you can call on professional cabinet makers who can make it look like a brand-new, repurposed space. These expert craftsmen can provide efficient design options as well as improve the layout and flow within the working area. Keep in mind that this may help improve storage where you need it the most in limited space.

Vinyl flooring is the least expensive and most durable option and is another task you can complete yourself. There are many styles that resemble real wood flooring, but cost a fraction of the price. Adding area rugs will dress it up and make it look cosier.

Use Your House to Renovate Your House

It’s possible to get a cash-out refinance to pay for the improvements to your home. It’s a way of refinancing your home for a larger amount and using the cash difference for, as in this case, upgrades to the home. Save your receipts of all the improvements and take pictures for future appraisals, since these improvements can also raise the overall value of your home.*

Make a Garage Conversion that Works for You

In conclusion, to optimise and set up the garage to work for you, remember to clear out all you can, maintain a comfortable working environment, bring in installation pros like cabinet makers, and consider refinancing to generate some extra funds. In the end, you’ll be up and running in your new multi-functional space in no time!

Thanks for sharing those tips Stephanie! Stephanie also wrote the guest blog on Practicing Excellent Self Care that you might want to revisit!

If you’re up for a reno, a virtual assistant can help you with quotes and booking contractors! Get in touch and we can help you get things sorted.

*Please ensure you speak with your financial advisor, broker or bank to determine whether this is in option for your circumstances.