Transforming a Garage Into Livable Space - That Your Grandma Would Enjoy

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 12:41pm

Today, the minimalist lifestyle has taken hold and diminutive, efficient and cozy spaces are all the rage. As the price of real estate’s square footage rises again, there is a real need in the marketplace for living areas designed from a functional as well as a style and comfort perspective. Understanding how to make the most of a living space is an area of study many design schools are offering to those pursuing an interior design bachelors degree.

As more and more people are opting to convert their extra spaces into in-law units and guest rooms, you might be considering transforming your garage into a livable space that even Grandma would love? The following are some great ideas and interior design principles you can use to renovate your home’s garage into a space-optimized and livable room or apartment.

Spatial Awareness
Before beginning a garage conversion project be sure that:
     - The space complies with local building codes and ordinances for a residence;
     - Will have insulation for warmth in winter and coolness in the summer;
     - The garage floor can be raised to street level to avoid flooding;
     - Your plan includes filling-in the garage door opening; and
     - Plumbing and electrical are easily accessible.

Once the room is renovated, designing the interior is the next step. Consider consulting with someone who has an interior design bachelors degree

Floor to Ceilings
You’ve got to have a “waste not, want not” attitude: Take complete advantage of all the living space available. Do this by:
     - Thinking vertically: Design shelving, cabinets and bookcases that go all the way to the ceiling
     - Consider organizational systems in closets to create optimal storage

Dual Functionality
“Multi-use!” The rule of thumb here is to include furnishings and systems that have at least two, and preferable three, uses.

The challenge is to creatively plan the remodel to get the most out of the allotted space. It is especially important to know how to combine interior design with the newest technologies in space-saving systems that result in solutions with the highest style and taste. If your existing garage will only allow for a one-room apartment, don’t worry. With the newest convertible furnishing on the market, living rooms can double as bedrooms. For instance, CLEI, an Italian company, provides intelligent products that take advantage of every inch of a space. These same trends can also be seen with companies such as IKEA that offer usually inexpensive solutions for small space dwellers on a budget. 

Other tips for your garage design project:
     - Place built-in washers/dryers under cabinets.
     - Keep paint and finishes monochromatic to give the illusion of more space.
     - Use mirrors, glass and stainless steel to reflect light for an open feeling.
     - Buy tables that extend or have leaves for extra seating.
     - Use spaces under benches, beds and furniture to store blankets and linens.
     - Arrange furniture against walls to open-up floor space.
     - Install under-the-counter appliances. 

Live Small, Think Big
They say that “necessity is the mother of invention. Here is where retaining someone with an interior design bachelors degree can come in handy. Spatial and design skills and experience, along with an imagination can result in small, compact and efficient living spaces that just ‘aint built how they used to be…which makes sense since neither are grandmas.