How many times has the following scenario happened to you?
You come home from a long day at the office, and you didn’t get nearly enough work done. Your briefcase is overflowing and you know you have at least a few hours’ worth of work to do before bedtime.
You walk in the door and are nearly knocked over by a tidal wave of noise and distractions. The kids are playing video games, laughing and making quite a lot of noise. Meanwhile, your significant other is watching his or her favorite TV or sports show. It also happens to be the one you watch together.
You’d rather sit down and watch TV, join in with your kids or read your favorite magazine and relax, but you have to work and every space in the house has a list of distractions a mile long.
Sound familiar? If you’ve had this happen to you on more than one occasion, know that there is an answer for you. Without getting back into the car and driving to a coffee shop (which poses a new list of distractions), there is one other place you can retreat to for some much needed peace and quiet: the garage.
You might not be using your garage to its full potential. Turning it into an office might actually be a better use of your garage space. Follow these tips below to learn how you can maximise the space you have and turn it into the space you need.
Split the Garage or Build Up
If you have a two-car garage, try splitting it down the middle. You’ll still be able to park your car in a safe environment away from the elements and have a quiet office where you can finally get work done. Downsize the garage door and put up some wooden partitions and windows on your office side.
You can also consider raising the roof of the garage and installing an office in the above space. This will give you a better opportunity to customise your office to your liking since you have more room to work with. Whenever you decide to sell your home, this added floor space will elevate your home’s worth, and you won’t have to get messy with big construction projects that disrupt the family.
If for any reason you think you won’t always use the room as an office (maybe as a playroom down the line), consult a contractor before starting any renovations. An office desk doesn’t weigh very much, but if you have multiple children plus big doll houses, your floor could collapse altogether and bring the office crashing down on the cars. You don’t want to have to tear apart the garage more than once so for safety sake, talk to a contractor before doing any sort of remodeling.
What to Consider
There are a few important aspects to be aware of at all times when you decide to remodel your garage into an office.
Be sure there are enough outlets to plug in your computers and chargers. There should also be a phone line if you want to run an in-office phone or a fax machine. Check that your Wi-Fi connection is strong enough to make your Internet fast. If it’s not, you’ll need an Ethernet cable.
You can also install additional heating and cooling if you feel up to the challenge. You may want to have additional insulation and dry wall done to keep out the chill. If it gets too cold and you’re not spending too much time in your office, plug in a small space heater.
Some people, especially those with the ability to work from home, spend much more time in their office and need to be as far away from distractions as possible. If that’s you, consider adding a bathroom and kitchenette.
The plumbing may require some work, but all you really need is a toilet and a sink. No need to install a shower. A kitchenette just needs some added counter space, a mini refrigerator and possibly a microwave. A sink probably wouldn’t hurt either. You just need some place to store a few snacks, frozen dinners and cool drinks for when you need a quick pick-me-up.
You won’t be working forever, and within a few years, maybe you’ll take a low-stress job or retire. That office that you’ve poured so much work into now sits empty and useless. So why not make something better since you went through all that plumbing and electrical work anyway?
Depending on how high the roof is and how much has been done, you could easily turn the office into a guest bedroom. Assuming the weight limits are okay, a guest bedroom would add extra privacy for your guests since it’s out in the garage. If a family member or your married friends are temporarily homeless, this would be the perfect option for them. They could have their own private, enclosed space and still remain active in your household without overstaying their welcome.
If you really have the space, you might consider renting out your old office to a single renter or a college student. This gives you an added monthly income, and it makes better use of the space you’re not using.
This second option will definitely come with a bigger price tag. Check with your zoning laws first to make sure this area is rentable. There’s no sense in doing all the work just to find out your neighborhood is not available for renting. While you didn’t need a shower there before, now you will. You’ll also need a full refrigerator and probably a few more power outlets to accommodate TVs and video games. Now you will need a contractor’s help to boost the support of the floor and wire the plumbing and electricity.
Whether you’re spending two or twenty hours in your new garage office per week, you’re doing your home a big favor. When it comes time to resell, your office will be a huge bonus for other couples who need a safe haven to work.
Featured Photo from Annandale VA.