Converting your garage into a new room can provide you with more living space, a more appealing home, and a boost in your home’s property value! Instead of spending tens of thousands on new room additions, consider converting your garage. 

Here are a few things we recommend considering when thinking about turning your Seattle area garage into a new room.

Consider Budget If you’re looking to add extra living space to your home, converting your garage is one of the most cost-efficient ways. Adding extra space to your property is an expensive endeavour, but it may also go against neighbourhood codes. While adding extra property may cost tens of thousands of dollars, the average cost of a garage conversion is between $6,000 and $19,000. 

The cost will largely depend on the size of your garage and the type of room you are planning to turn it into. A simple guest room or living space may cost as little as $5,000. More intricate rooms such as a kitchen or bathroom may be more expensive as they require plumbing. 


If you convert your garage space into an extra room, insulation is necessary. Insulation helps keep the elements on the outside. Without insulation, your new living space may be far too cold in the winter and far too warm in the summer to live in. 

Even if you aren’t converting your garage into a living space, insulation can help you save money in the long run. Insulating your garage can save you money on your energy bill. Your cooling and heating systems won’t have to work as hard to compensate for the temperature of your garage. 

Are Permits Required? Since you will be changing the way a space of your home will be used, you will more than likely need building permits. This will differ depending on your location, however. Some neighbourhoods and cities require that your living space have a covered parking option. 

It is important to contact your city’s zoning department, so you know whether or not you will need a permit. Without a permit, your room may be considered illegal. This will have the opposite effect on your home, tanking its property value. 

What Other Types of Rooms Can Your Garage be Turned Into? While a guest room is one of the most popular choices among homeowners, there are plenty of different things you could turn your garage into. Whatever you choose, your garage will depend on what you’re hoping to get out of your new room. Here are some garage conversion ideas:

  • Child’s playroom
  • Office
  • Art studio
  • Family room
  • Mancave 
  • Theatre room

Like a guest bedroom, any of these rooms will boost your home’s property value. You can be as creative as possible when it comes to your garage. The only limitations you will have are those set upon you by local regulations and budgetary restrictions. 

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Building A Detached Garage Guest House: A Helpful Guide

The garage guest house unfolds a multitude of opportunities for a homeowner. When the kids come home from college and bring their friends, it’s the solution to still getting a good night’s sleep without all of the noise, or when relatives come to stay, it’s a home-next-door-to-home.

For those lacking interior design, the idea seems like a dream, but the execution can be overwhelming. Here is your comprehensive guide to all you’ll need to consider when building your garage guest house, your mini-home next door.

Ensure The Detached Garage Is Up To Code

Building a detached garage from scratch will require the help of professionals and engineers, and you’ll need to get the go-ahead from your jurisdiction’s zoning board. Seeking out the approval of your local municipality will allow you to avoid fines or even reconstruction down the road.

Following all of the codes and requirements for your garage apartment will also permit you to legally rent it out if you so choose, or when you go to sell, list it as its own, separate living space. Once you have the permit in hand, it’s time to draft the blueprints.

Mimic The Main Home’s Exterior

The easier part of designing a garage guest house is the exterior, believe it or not. You don’t want the guest house to look tacked on as if it was an afterthought, so avoid designing as such.

You want the detached garage to jive with the main house’s style, so be sure to match things like trim, which will also break up the expense of having to side its entirety, façade details, windows, shutters, and roofs.  

The styles should be harmonious, as if they were constructed together from the beginning.

When constructing and drafting the plans for your detached garage guest house, don’t hold back on windows. One of the mistakes you can make early on is not adding enough natural light into your guest house, and the last thing you’ll want for your guests is a dark, dingy feeling.

Windows, like trim, break up the cost of having to side it (although they’re a cost on their own), but even if you’re wary of adding more windows on the side, consider skylights.

FAQs About Garage Renovation

Can A Garage Be Used As A Bedroom?

You can convert a garage into a bedroom legally if you obtain a planning permit and conform to your state’s residential building standards. This applies to most states. It would help if you always had a permit to convert your garage, and you need to follow applicable guidelines.

How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Garage Into A Bedroom?

A garage can be turned into a simple bedroom or living space for as little as $5,000, but if you require plumbing for a bathroom or kitchen, the project can cost closer to $25,000.

Can You Have A Washing Machine In The Garage?

Garages often get very hot in summer and very cold in winter. Extremes of temperature aren’t ideal for washing machines. If it’s particularly hot, especially if running consecutive loads, things can overheat.

How Much Does It Cost To Add Plumbing To A Detached Garage?

Adding plumbing to a detached garage or shed roughly 20 feet away from home will cost $1,100 for the average homeowner. Homeowners pay between $900 and $1,300 to run the lines when adding plumbing to detached garages and sheds.

Can I Put A Bathroom In My Detached Garage?

You can put a bathroom in your detached garage but get the building permit first. Arranging for the utilities, especially water supply & drainage, will take effort, time and money. Bathroom fixtures & fittings, wall framing, tiling, etc., are other important costs in your budget.

Insulate Your Guest House Thoroughly

For detached garage additions, insulation is a necessary step, especially for garages that dually serve as guesthouses. The constant opening and closing of a garage door, regardless of its proximity to the living space, greatly affect the temperature of the entire garage.  

Effective insulation is essential in temperature regulation and will ensure a comfortable living environment within your newly built detached garage.

An automated Smart Home thermostat can help maintain comfortable temperatures in your detached garage guest house. When the guest house is unoccupied, the smart thermostat can keep it at a consistent, eco-friendly temperature. With the added insulation, your guesthouse won’t expend the energy it doesn’t need, and you’ll pay less on your monthly energy bills.

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Plan Your Guest House’s Plumbing, Wiring, Lighting, & Utilities

Attached garages benefit from easier electrical wiring and plumbing, but for your detached garage, you’ll need to run these components underground. When planning the plumbing, utilities, and electricity, consider the overall layout of your detached garage guest house.

Know where you’re going to place the bathroom, be generous with the outlets (in our technology-driven age, you can never have too many outlets), and don’t skimp out on overhead, recessed lighting, or track lighting.

If you’re even thinking about adding in a wet bar, kitchenette, or full-on kitchen, then make sure that you save yourself the effort down the road and place access to water, plenty of outlets for appliances, and outfit the space with lighting, even if you aren’t planning on doing this right away.

It is during these early stages of implementing the wires and pipes that if something is done incorrectly, not enough, or half-thought-out, you’ll certainly come to regret it.

Your Guest House Staircase

If your detached garage guest house has placed the living space above the area where the cars park, the garage itself opens up and where any garage-related tools are stored, you’ll need to pick out what type of staircase you want to have access to.

This will, in part, depend on the building codes you must meet and your personal preference. For a second-story guest house, you can opt to have an external staircase, which has its perks of making the living space feel entirely separate from the garage.

You can also have a traditional staircase inside the garage, or to utilise most of your space, entertain a spiral staircase, as it’s the smaller of the options and offers flexibility in access points.

Decorate Accordingly

The interior design of your garage guest house may be exposed to the going-on of the garage itself, which is something to keep in mind when choosing carpet, drapes, furniture, and other design elements.

If equipment, chemicals, cars, and debris-creating projects are going to be taking place in the garage part of the detached garage, then consider selecting durable furnishings, even if the guest house is above the area where the equipment, cars, and seasonal tools are being stored and used.

This isn’t the main house, so there’s a higher chance of dirt and debris being trekked through the garage. For your staircase especially, you’ll want to consider a heavy-tread, tough carpet that will keep dirt out of the guest house if it’s loft-style.

Garage Construction & Remodel

 Remodelling your garage to make room for a guest house takes time and hard work. You’ll want to expand your garage to fit all the cars and make extra space for that living space. Nonetheless, you won’t get it done on your own, so it’s better to go with professionals who can.

Convert Your Garage? Seven Things To Consider

A garage conversion can be one of the quickest and most affordable ways to add living space to a home. The foundation, walls, and roof are already in place. The wiring is often sufficient. If the garage is attached to the house, the entry already exists.

In many houses, a well-planned garage conversion can create a new room or rooms that blend seamlessly with the existing house. Most commonly, the location of the attached garages makes them ideal locations for large family rooms or even expanded luxury kitchens. 

The process should begin with a careful assessment of the garage and the problems and promises it holds. Here are seven elements to evaluate as you consider the possibilities.

Garage Door

The biggest question facing most garage conversions is what to do about the garage door. Once the door is removed, the resulting space needs to be filled in so that it both blends in with the rest of the house and provides a useful service to the new living space. 

Possible options include installing a patio door or framing a new wall with a large picture window or bay window. Some homeowners have been known to create entire new entryways where the garage door was located.


A typical garage sits on an uninsulated concrete slab, which may be several inches below the floor level inside the house. The slab may be sloped toward the garage door or a floor drain. 

With these circumstances, you will want to consider filling the bottom of the garage door opening with a curb that will keep water out of the converted space and protect wall framing from moisture. You will also need to decide if the floor should be levelled.

Heating And Cooling

If the garage is attached to the house, you may be able to extend the existing heating and cooling system into the new space. If that is not possible, look into an independent system (heat can be supplied by electric baseboards, gas space heaters or wood stoves, for example, while a room air conditioner can handle warm weather). 

Add insulation to walls, floor, and ceiling before deciding how to heat and cool the space. Another option is a radiant floor heating system—a relatively easy thing to install on an existing concrete slab.


If you expect to increase electrical usage in the converted space substantially, consider adding at least one new 20-amp circuit. Most garages have a single lighting circuit, and most large rooms will require a bit more electrical service than that. 

It will likely take several additional circuits if your converted space is used for a kitchen with all its appliances. If you are converting a detached garage to some form of living space, additional wiring can be run from the house through an underground conduit.


This can be the biggest headache of a garage conversion. Getting water supplied to the garage may be easy, but drainage can present major problems. Check with a plumber about your options. If you are lucky enough to have a laundry/utility room connecting the garage to the house, you might be able to turn it into a bathroom. Adding plumbing lines is often the biggest expense in a garage conversion project.

Loss Of Storage And Parking

Much of what is currently stored in your garage could go into a new shed, the basement, or attic or be sold at a garage sale. To protect your vehicle from the elements, consider building a carport. If your property is large enough, you might even consider building a new detached garage while converting the old attached garage into valuable living space.

Blending In

Think about how you can make the exterior of the converted space look like it has always been a part of the house rather than an afterthought. Try to match the siding, colours, window and door styles, and landscaping. Done properly, a garage conversion can be a seamless addition to your home.

Things You Will Need

Make the space comfortable for your guests without altering the garage permanently to still function as a garage when your house guests leave. Make space inside your home if the garage is not heated or cooled, and adverse weather could cause physical harm.

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paint or fabric
  • Window coverings or folding screens
  • Rug
  • Furniture
  • Accessories

Clean the garage thoroughly. Sweep and mop the floor, even if it’s cement. Dust the corners to get rid of any spider webs. Put away everything that won’t be needed or move the items, such as a yard or car maintenance items, to a shed.

Paint the walls if you have finished them. For a less permanent or time-consuming task, hang fabric or curtain panels around the room. Attach thick string, such as fishing wire, to the walls with small hooks and hang the fabric on the string. 

You can remove the strings when your guests leave. The fabric will look more attractive and welcoming than unfinished or exposed walls and provide some privacy.

Cover the windows with plain curtain panels, shades, blinds or folding screens for privacy. Use a folding screen or curtains to block the view of the temporary bedroom area from the garage door as well if you will still need access to the space.

Lay a large area rug or carpet down for comfort.

Furnish the garage with necessary items in lightweight, versatile pieces. Use a futon from another room or an air mattress. Use a side table as a nightstand or borrow one from a bedroom within the home. Add a chair and fold-away clothes rod to make the space more comfortable.

AccessoriseAccessorise the garage with small items that make it a comfortable place to sleep. Add a fan during warmer weather or a space heater during cooler months. Set up a lamp near the bed. Arrange a bouquet of fragrant flowers or set out a grouping of scented candles. Alternatively, plug in a room deodorisers to give the space a fresh scent.

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