Garages Are Not Just For Cars Anymore

With larger, more luxurious kitchens now the heart of many houses, and first-floor laundry and mud rooms the new activity centers, it was only a matter of time before the garage also underwent a transformation.

Despite the fact that 82 percent of homes have garages, according to the NAR Profile of Buyers’, the space is often “the largest, most underutilized, most abused, and most often ignored room in the house.”  Many people still struggle t find enough space amid the junk in their garage to park a car.  But there’s a growing desire to create cleaner, more organized spaces that can contribute to a home’s “wow” factor.

It may not raise the price in the market, but it helps win a beauty contest if the buyer is deciding among a few homes.  Here are some things owners should keep in mind when undertaking a garage makeover.

Choose A Storage Style

In addition to providing shelter for the family cars, storage is the most popular use for the garage – especially for home owner’s who don’t have the luxury of a basement or attic.  Owners can find a wealth of storage options for garages at most big-box stores and home-improvement retailers and also through the many garage and closet organization specialist companies.

The least expensive are wood-based stock products, such as plastic systems or melamine particle and MDF fiber board.  More expensive, and sometimes better for extreme climates, are all wood or metal.  If home owners need a visual reminder of where everything is stored, they may prefer to see items on open shelves, wall board racks, and ceiling racks.

But if the clutter – even organized clutter – makes them cringe, they should focus on storage boxes or closet cabinets.  Home owners may also want to purchase units on casters so that they can move tools or hobby supplies without unloading drawers.

Make It All Fit

It’s a good idea to divide the garage into zones, with areas for lawn and garden equipment, sports gear, kids’ toys, bulky household supplies, and so on.  Owners can us all three perimeter walls and the ceiling as storage options.  Little-used season items – an artificial Christmas tree, for example can be hung from the ceiling.

Another option is retractable storage platforms made of strong metal.  Mounted on brackets attached to the ceiling, these platforms help preserve cabinet and shelf space.  A crankshaft is used to lower the platform.  Most quality racks store approximately 250 pounds.

Add Space to Play

Converting garage space into flexible living area can be a cost-effective alternative to building a new room.  The quickest way to upgrade a portion of the garage to a casual living space is by painting it or putting up drywall on open studs and covering the concrete floor with epoxy or polyvinyl paint or interlocking tiles, which are available in an array of colors and textures.

Since the garage usually has electrical outlets, other easy upgrades including installing a ceiling fan, track lighting, and, of course, a TV.  Owners can even transform the garage into an entertainment center with a front projector, cinema-type screen, amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers, control systems, seating, lighting, and a popcorn machine.

But some real estate specialists caution home owners not to go too overboard in making an ugly duckling garage into too swank a swan.  After all, garages are still garages, and the next owner may have different ideas about what to do with the space.

A three bedroom home in which one of the bedrooms is in the converted garage is really just a two-bedroom home that used to have a garage.  It’s worth less than a standard three-bedroom home.  Most still want to use the garage for its intended purpose.

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