For many people, the garage serves two purposes: house the cars and storage boxes and other odds and ends. When Halloween is over and New Year’s has passed, holiday decorations go back in boxes and into the garage until next year.
What you may not realise is that you’re not truly utilising your garage to its full potential. Many garages have a lot of extra space that isn’t put to good use, which leads to clutter and more time spent looking for items. So how can you revamp your garage and take advantage of all the space it has to offer?
Check out our range of garage renovations here.
How are Australians transforming storage space into glam?
Here are some ideas on how you can transform your garage to look classy and unique.
With only 50 square metres and $60,000 to work with, one young couple created this peaceful home from their parents’ garage. In place of the original fibro walls, a new timber stud frame, weatherboard cladding and Colorbond gable roof were installed along with salvaged windows and doors. A washing machine inside the pantry and the walk-in robe with plenty of storage allows the couple to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Consider who you are building for. A teenager will probably require wifi and a desk but minimal kitchen facilities if they continue to eat with the family. An ageing parent may need grab rails, a shower rather than a bath, slip-resistant flooring and accessible storage. Long-term guests and short-term renters will relish their independence. That means a separate entrance, television and storage.
With a budget of $40,000 and a six-month timeline, interior designer Dominique Hunter transformed the junk room above a garage into this cosy pied-a-terre. The conversion had its challenges. For one thing, it needed a bathroom of its own – not easy in a 6m x 7m room. Dominique replaced the existing long staircase from the garage with a shorter, wider flight of stairs that steps around a landing, with the reclaimed corner, utilised as the bathroom.
The room also needed insulation, an internet connection and hot running water. During the project, everything – even the appliances and benchtops – had to be carried up the stairs, around the landing and through a hole in the unfinished wall. Once the plasterboard went in, and the walls were painted, that access point was closed off, and only flat-packed furniture could fit. Still, the result is a luxuriously appointed guest room with spaces to cook, eat, chill out and sleep.
HQ or hangout
This black and white studio space is the ultimate garage gone glam. It now stands as a separate office for the owner’s business, keeping work life and home life delightfully separate. The owner painted the walls and the floor with paving paint and installed new Ikea lights and new Freedom curtains. She also found a piece of car carpet from a wholesaler and hand-sewed the edges to create an affordable rug. Picture frames from La Maison were spray-painted black to come in-line with the scheme.
The more significant the changes to the structure, the more likely you are to require approval. Wherever you live, your local council is your go-to location for an up-to-date set of rules. Typically, granny flats can’t be on separate ownership or title, and cannot be sold independently of the main dwelling.
In 2009, the NSW government legalised additional housing on a block as small as 450 square metres. In most states, you can also rent out a granny flat on a commercial basis. But in Victoria, only a dependant family member can live in one and, once they’ve moved out, the structure must be removed. Similar restrictions exist in SA and Queensland, but there are exceptions.
How to make the most of your garage?
Whether you’re considering adding a new garage to your home or making the most of the one you have, here are some four tips to help you get the most out of the space.
A WALL OF STORAGE
Often, a decent-sized garage can house your car and become a great storage area and workplace. The best way to ensure this is to create workbenches and shelves around the perimeter at the back, add racks for bikes and skis, surfboards or boating equipment on the side, and carve out a good amount of space for any cleaning apparatus to get it out of the main house if storage is limited in there.
Garages that merge seamlessly with your home at one convenient and attractive entry point can be used to store foodstuffs and groceries and a second fridge or freezer, thus feeling like just another room in the house. Garages with pool tables, dartboards, fitness equipment, and even pinball machines, create an instant air of fun and relaxation in a home – while keeping it out of the living areas.
LET IT FLOW
Can you create access through the garage to your backyard or into your home? Is there enough room for you to walk past the car comfortably? Keep traffic ways clear and ensure there is enough room to comfortably walk through the garage when the car is parked in there.
Garage doors are basically the face of your garage, and its appearance can make a big difference to the overall look and feel of the structure. Whether single or double-door, a garage needs to have an attractive facade to be a real addition to your property – try a panelled timber version or make it a barn door to maximise space.
A garage is the part of property most likely to generate unwanted fumes, so also be aware of the need for healthy airflow. If rejuvenating an existing garage that is stuffy or smelly, consider adding windows, ceiling fans and air vents. Always consider where fumes are likely to waft or be blown – you don’t want them wafting into your home.
MAKE IT MULTIFUNCTIONAL
The best part about a garage is you can often use them for a multitude of uses. Some can be turned into outdoor living areas that are always undercover, or even a laundry if space in your home is on the small side. If you have a pool next door, why not make it suitable for a party-ready pool-house by opening up one wall and placing some perfect, portable outdoor furniture.
For the cooking space think kitchenette – a modest built-in oven, a single drawer dishwasher and an under-counter fridge will suffice. When the floor plan is tight, make the most of under-used vertical space, especially if the ceiling is high enough to create a sleeping platform above the living area. In bathrooms, a wall-hung toilet that hides the cistern in the wall cavity is a neat space saver and easy to clean around. Also look for a wide sink and vanity that are narrow from front to back, so neither jut out into the room.
Hitch Property Constructions has the biggest range of the garage renovations Melbourne. Check it out here.
Converting a garage into an extra outdoor/indoor living space, creative studio or guest bedroom is quite common, like this disused garage which became a luxe guest retreat in a Melbourne home. The scale of the work involved depends mostly on the quality of the existing garage. Will you need to improve insulation? Is it sufficiently enclosed to prevent creepy crawlies from invading? Does it have water and power connections? Is the interior mouldy? How can you seamlessly flow the different floor heights? Once you have determined that time and cost might be worth it to you, check with your local council about permits and consult a builder.
Things to consider when designing your garage
One space that is often neglected during the planning phase is the garage. With some careful consideration, it’s possible to turn this area into much more than cluttered storage space. Let’s take a look at three things you should keep in mind when designing a garage:
A great garage should be designed to complement your lifestyle.
Consider the purpose
Just like the overall style of your home should reflect the needs of your family, a great garage will also be in line with your lifestyle. If you’re a car enthusiast, for example, you may require a larger space, perhaps equipped with a simple workshop at which you can tinker with your toys. Alternatively, if you’re looking for additional storage, exploring cupboard and cabinetry options can help you create an area that’s as practical as it is beautiful.
Choose between attached and detached
An attached garage provides convenient access to the rest of your home.
Most modern home designs feature an attached garage – and for a good reason. The ability to move between your car and home without exposing yourself to harsh weather conditions is convenient, and integrating the garage into your home can give the house a more seamless look.
Detached garages might have fallen out of favour among contemporary home designers, but they do grant you more freedom when it comes to laying out your floor plans. For example, you could choose to position the garage at a different angle from the house or convert the surrounding space into a front garden or alfresco dining space.
Think about access
Depending on the area that surrounds the garage, you may want to consider additional doors.
If you’ve opted for an attached garage, naturally you’ll need at least two doors: one for the car to enter, and another connecting to the house. However, if the garage is bordered by a garden or courtyard area, think about installing doors that provide convenient access to these spaces.
Factors in designing and building your ideal garage
Size of Garage
The size of the garage you should purchase typically depends on these things:
Available land space
Firstly, the available land space should be observed to determine the maximum space available for the garage. If the garage is going to be used for car storage, car access to the garage should also be considered. To provide a basic idea of the space required, typical internal dimensions of Australian garage sizes are as follows…
Typical garage dimensions for a single and double garage in Australia are
- Single Garages = 3.5m wide by 6m long with a 2.5m wide door
- Double garages = 6m wide by 6m long with a 5m wide door
As the most common purpose of a garage is to house cars, it is important to determine how many cars you plan on fitting in your garage and their size. One option is to measure the height, length and width of your vehicle/s to ensure they will fit, making sure to consider if you might buy a bigger car in the future.
Without getting a tape measure out, typical large Aussie cars, such as a commodore or falcon, are around 5m long and 1.9m wide. This means that in a standard-sized single garage (3.5m by 6m) you would have 80cm of space on either side of the car and 50cm of space in front and behind the car. In a standard sized double garage, you could allow a 60cm gap between the cars in the middle to allow the same 80cm of space on the outside sides of the cars and 50cm in front and behind.
To open the car door and get in and out of your vehicle easily, you should allow a space of at least 80cm down the side of your car. If you have a larger car or have trouble getting in and out of cars, a wider garage should be considered to compensate.
If you have a vehicle with above-average height, including a van, SUV or 4WD vehicle, make sure you have also considered the garage clearance height required for your vehicle.
Next, your storage requirements for your garage should be considered. In a standard-sized single (3.5m x 6m) and double garage (6m x 6m), there is very little space around the car/s for storage. If the garage is going to be used solely for car storage than a standard-sized garage may be suitable. If you are planning on storing anything else in your garage, then a larger size garage will be necessary.
If you are planning on using your garage for storage, adjustable shelving and cabinets are great and safe options to store away your things. A typical two-door cabinet or heavy-duty rack will have a depth of around 50-60cm, and in order to utilise them properly, you may want to space these storage solutions even further from a car than a regular wall. Therefore, if you would like to place storage options down one side of your garage then widening the garage by at least 70cm is recommended or the length of the garage could be extended back to fit storage options along the back wall.
The amount of open space for manoeuvring around the car/s and storage solutions should also be considered. The 80cm allowed on either side of the car to open car doors should provide enough space to walk past, but if you would like a more spacious garage, then you may want to widen the gap. Allowing for extra walking space at the front of car/s in the garage may also be worthwhile in case of cars being parked further forward than usual, which may make it difficult to get past. You should also consider extra width should you have any special access needs with wheelchairs or walking frames, for example.
Style of Garage
Different styles of the garage to suit your needs.
Gable Roof Shed
Form and function come together in the classic shape of the Gable Roof Shed. Featuring an extremely practical pitched roof, the Gable Roof Garage and garaport range takes full advantage of the floor space available. Perfect for all your outdoor storage needs.
Cyclonic Gable Shed
Designed for use in cyclone-prone areas, Cyclonic Gable Sheds are built to withstand extreme weather conditions. Perfect for all your outdoor storage needs.
Flat Roof Shed
Simple, clean and understated lines are a feature of the practical and economical Flat Roof Shed or garage. With a wide range of garage sizes to choose from, there is a Flat Roof Outdoor Storage Shed to suit every requirement.
Rural & Industrial Sheds
Large farm sheds and commercial garages that are big on space, storage, quality and durability. Rural and Industrial sheds are big; they can be tailored to your needs and are engineered to be a lasting investment.
While most garages feature a concrete floor, there are other options available to improve the look and functionality of your garage floor.
Interlocking Garage Floor Tiles
One option is to use interlocking garage floor tiles to cover a concrete floor. Made from heavy-duty vinyl, rubber or PVC, most floor tiles are designed to snap together, making them easy to install and replace. These tiles are particularly useful for protecting your existing garage floor from stains and cracks. Damaged tiles can be replaced cheaply and easily. Interlocking floor tiles also come in a variety of styles and colours to allow you to style your garage with unique patterns and borders.
An affordable but effective option to improve the look of your garage floor is to seal it. Sealing your concrete floor will result in a slight sheen which can improve the look of your garage floor in addition to making it more resistant to stains. Solvent-based sealers will work better than water-based sealers but require a longer period of airing out following application.
Looking for Melbourne garage renovations? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
An increasingly popular option is to use epoxy to cover your garage floor. Epoxy provides one of the toughest and most durable finishes you can apply to your garage floor while significantly enhancing the aesthetics of your garage. Different coloured stones and chips can be added to the mixture to create a long-lasting textured surface which is resistant to stains.
Other homeowners like to turn their garages into a guest bedroom with an adjoining bathroom. If you plan on taking in older relatives or friends in between homes, this option gives them privacy and keeps traffic in the home moving, especially for people with early morning schedules or kids getting ready for school.
For homeowners looking to earn a little extra cash, you can also convert the garage into a separate apartment. If you have an attic above, you can enlarge the roof for more space. This will mean that you will have to install another bathroom and kitchen area, which can be very expensive, depending on how much rewiring has to be done in the home. Make sure your home is zoned for rental properties and hire a good contractor to help you with the renovations as they will be extensive.
No matter what your budget is, there are tons of cool ways to decorate your garage and get more use out of it. Storage bins and shelves are a great way to get boxes off the ground and out of the way. Fun themes will make your garage more inviting and a pleasant place to hang out during the warm months. Of course, you can always reinvent your garage into something more useful to your lifestyle if you so chose.