If you belong to a family or large household looking to expand living spaces within your crowded home, converting the garage into a bedroom is a viable option. In fact, garage conversions are relatively common in places where real estate is pricey, since they are a good alternative to finding a bigger home or lot to fit the household in.
It is important to note that the costs of converting garages to bedrooms vary, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re considering converting your garage into a bedroom, read on to learn about the important factors you need to take into account before ripping out your garage doors.
Like loft conversions, which were discussed in a previous post here on S3DA Design, garage conversions are cheaper than adding entirely new sections of your home. Your garage already has walls, a roof, and flooring, so the conversion would be more manageable than having to build a new room from the ground up.
However, there are several things you need to take into account, and the chief of these is where to put your car. If you have an extra parking space and are only converting a single garage area in a home with two, then it should be fine. However, those who do not have that luxury would need to find other places to park their car, which can pose problems with environmental exposure. Depending on where you live, this can be overheating under harsh sunny climates or being buried under several feet of snow. In addition, some city regulations require you to replace your garage with another off-street parking area.
Another consideration would be the rest of the stuff stored in the garage. Most garages act as storage spaces for gardening tools and old appliances. By converting your garage, you are essentially evicting these items and will need to find other places to store them – or throw them away entirely.
Last but not least, you also need to assess the effect of your garage conversion on the value of your home. The change in real estate value will vary depending on your location. But if you live in a neighborhood where every home has a garage, then removing your garage entirely will definitely be unfavorable.
Talk to your household and see if losing the space for your car and garage stuff, as well as slashing some dollars off your home’s real estate value, is a fair trade for an extra bedroom. If it is, then it’s time to start planning for your garage conversion project.
Depending on the size of your garage and the amount of redesign work, the costs can vary. It’s safe to say, however, that it will cost roughly half of what a home extension would.
When estimating cost, consider what it takes to make garage spaces truly livable – such as new walls, polished flooring, windows, insulation, and heating and cooling systems. The price depends on the design process and construction and whether or not your new bedroom will come with its own bathroom.
Aside from financial considerations, some legal issues must also be worked out. California-based attorney explains that garage conversions resulting in new bedrooms need to comply with specific technical and legal standards that garages are not subject to. For instance, most local building codes have set rules on how much window space must be allotted for livable areas, minimum ceiling heights, heating requirements, lighting considerations, and minimum spacing standards for outlets. Ensure that you get the proper building permits at your city or municipal hall before starting any construction work to avoid any legal trouble.
When you’re making home improvements that involve the stability of a building you will probably need a structural engineer and architect. These professionals will provide structural drawings, calculations, architectural drawings which will be approved by the city.
Once you’re set on all the aforementioned factors, the real work begins with insulation and damp proofing.
For starters, the garage roof will almost always need to be upgraded to ensure that it is insulated and watertight. It’s best to use new tiles and materials that match those of your existing roof while converting a flat roof for a pitched one can make the conversion less obvious from an outsider’s point of view.
As for your garage floors, these are usually lower than the floor level of the rest of the house and should be raised appropriately as long as the ceiling allows for it. Ask your original building contractor whether your garage’s concrete flooring had been cast over a damp-proof membrane, which can ensure that your floors remain dry. It’s best to protect the concrete floor with polythene or paint-on damp-proof membrane before laying down your insulation, which garage floors do not have by default. Try using chipboard sheets or rolled out multi-foil laminate insulation to keep your floors from getting too chilly. From there, you can set your choice of finished flooring.
Another thing you need to build into your garage-turned-bedroom is the wiring, and plumbing if you’re looking to add a bathroom. Start with a thorough survey of the power lines and pipes in the house and garage, and pay special attention to those that lie in between walls that you might need to pierce for doorways and windows.
Make sure to consult with professionals before making any changes. It is advisable to equip the new bedroom with its own miniature circuit breaker and add at least one new 20-amp circuit to handle all electric needs. If your garage is detached, the wiring is still possible by running it through an underground conduit. If you can, future-proof your converted garage by preparing plenty of electrical points and even a phone point, just in case future occupants would need them.
Windows should be energy-efficient and double-glazed to keep the cold out. Make sure they comply with your local fire safety regulations and, whenever possible, match the existing windows of your home to camouflage the conversion.
For walls that face the garden or backyard, you can install floor-to-ceiling windows for even more light to come in and make space feel much larger and airy. In the wall where your garage door used to be, you can also place windows on the new wall you need to build.
Once all of the above is done, the only thing left to do is to make your new room inviting for its new owner. A comfy bed is a great start, and so is a dresser or wardrobe. Make sure to include new drapes or curtains for privacy, as well as rugs to keep the area cozy.
As for color, Leesa details how certain hues evoke specific feelings, and the color associations can be used to create the kind of environment the owner wants. For instance, blue is known to be calming and can help the occupant relax with its ties to water, sky, trustworthiness, and stability. Green, on the other hand, communicates freshness, health, and new beginnings – another excellent choice for a newly converted room.
To create a more cohesive look for your interiors, ensure that the décor in your new bedroom – from flooring type to lights – more or less matches the existing look of the adjoining hallway or room.
All in all, garage conversions, while not for everyone, can be rewarding for those who plan well and pay attention to detail. If you have any questions or other tips you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment!