The house is perfect, and, in fact, it might be the dream home that the homeowner needed for a growing family, except the family has grown beyond the comfort of the square footage. What should homeowners do when they love their home but it no longer offers the necessary bedroom space? While building a new addition could be way out of budget, there is one space many homeowners forget to fully utilize: the garage.
Building a bedroom in the garage can expand square footage and provide the extra space needed for a growing family. Plus, transforming the garage into another bedroom might be cheaper than building a new addition to the home.
Homeowners may look at the musty garage as nothing more than storage space, and seeing the potential for this space might be a challenge. However, that enclosed area can be transformed into usable space beyond parked cars, tools and man caves. Ready to transform the garage into a bedroom?
Here’s what homeowners should consider when modifying the garage into livable, sleepable space.
Get Permission & Permits
Making a change to a home could require the homeowner to get a permit from the municipality. Before a homeowner dives into a project, they must research the legal side of their vision. Consult with the municipality to find out what permits (if any) are needed; homeowners also will need to abide by building codes. The local Building Inspections Department (or related department) may be the best source for permits, codes, etc.
Size it Up
Some garages are large enough to fit two or more vehicles, others are small built during the days when one car was all a family needed. The size of the space may determine its future as a livable room. Small garages, for example, might not be the ideal choice for a new master suite. A guest bedroom or a child’s bedroom, however, might be a perfect solution for that smaller area.
Price the Renovation
Is it cheaper to build a new addition or to renovate the garage? The cost of each project could depend on a number of factors. Home Advisor estimates that a new home addition can cost between about $21,000 and soar beyond $70,000. That’s quite a range, but those prices can be dependent on the size and scope of the project. New additions include electrical wiring and other finishes; plumbing work also may be needed.
A garage renovation also varies in cost. Fixr estimates, though, that this project, on average, costs homeowners around $6,500. Again, the cost may vary depending on size and scope. Renovation work may include plumbing and electrical costs, adding more insulation and renovations to the home’s exterior.
Find a Contractor
While a homeowner may wish to DIY this project, this is one project that may be better left to the professionals—unless the homeowner has a background in construction. Professional contractors can ensure that the right permits are secured and any necessary inspections are completed. When dealing with wiring or plumbing, one mistake could have serious consequences.
Design Considerations for Building a Bedroom in the Garage
Obviously, homeowners cannot simply put a bed and some carpet in the garage and call it finished. Transforming the garage into a bedroom requires the exterior and the interior of the new space to cohesively blend into the current home structure.
The final design shouldn’t cause the home to look like a ‘white elephant.’ This means that transforming the garage should still allow the home to blend into the look of the neighborhood. White elephant homes are typically too large or simply built in a way that causes them to stand out when viewed within the neighborhood. The term ‘white elephant’ refers back to Thailand when the king would give their not so beloved courtiers the rare (and expensive to keep) white elephant; today, many think of the gift-giving practice where participants wrap up their most garish item as a means to part with it. A white elephant home may be very difficult to sell.
Interior features of the new space should blend into the home’s interior, too. While a different carpet hue may be chosen–especially if the room is for a child or teen—the room shouldn’t stand out too much from the rest of the home. Even if wall and carpet colorings veer from the home’s interior palette, other interiors should match up. The room shouldn’t feel like a separate world.
When renovating any area of the home, the project may be a great opportunity to embrace energy savings options. Homeowners can consult with contractors on low flow faucets or toilets (if the bedroom will include a bathroom). Energy-saving fixtures also could be an option. A ceiling fan can ensure that the room’s hot and cold air is well circulated, and this, too, saves money.
Transforming the garage into an extra bedroom is an ideal way to add square footage and acquire much needed space for a growing family. Homeowners need to ensure that all permits are secured before getting to work, and, for many, hiring professional contractors to complete this job may be the best choice.
To ensure that homeowners understand the cost, they should get bids for all work to better understand the final price of the project. While a garage remodel could be cheaper than building a new addition, the cost of this project depends on the size and scope of the renovations as well as any interior upgrades that a homeowner might demand.