I love garages. When I was a kid, we had one we used mainly for storage, but there was enough room in it for a desk and a couch. Sometimes, my brother and I would use it to practice our guitars together. At other times, I’d go out there to draw or read. We even hung paper ghosts, on strings, from the rafters a few times to create a haunted house.
Despite how often they’re used for storage, garages tend to not be as well-sealed or insulated as other rooms of a house. This makes them more susceptible to drafts and to changes in the weather, which can damage items you keep there. Instead, consider storing important items in a climate controlled storage unit and use your garage for one of the following creative purposes.
The Man Cave
It’s pretty standard for men to need a place to escape to while still staying close to their family, somewhere to watch sports and hang out with guy friends. Put in a comfortable couch, a reclining chair or two, an entertainment area, and maybe a mini-bar, and you’re ready to go. You can play video games with your friends, or your kids, and even install a foosball table or some classic arcade games.
The Craft Room
There are all sorts of things you could do with a craft room. If you sew, you could set up your sewing machine, have a shelf for your patterns, and an area for extra cloth. If you knit, you may want a reclining chair and plenty of yarn and knitting needles. It’s also a great place for drawing, painting, scrapbooking, and more. If you have several crafting hobbies, a typical garage will have enough room for all of it. Make it your own.
Do you love books and reading? Then maybe you’d like to convert your garage into a family library. Put up bookcases along the walls, and organize your books into categories. Add a couple comfortable chairs and a table, and you have a quiet area where your kids can do their homework. A library can make a nice place to relax and read to wind down from the day before bed.
The Home Office
If you work from home, it’s great to have an office, and a garage is a great spot for one. You’ll want a nice desk and comfortable desk chair, a computer or two, and good lighting. Have a bookcase filled with books related to your work and a filing cabinet for records that must be printed, an in/out box for mail, and a few drawers or shelves for office supplies. One great thing about having an office in a separate room is that you can calculate what percentage of your house the garage is, figure out how much you’re paying for it in rent or mortgage, and deduct that from your taxes.
The Game Room
We already talked about having games in the man cave. However, the man cave is a sanctuary for the man of the house, while a game room is a place for the family to have fun together. What sort of games does your family like? Do you enjoy pool and ping-pong? Get a pool table and a ping-pong table. Do you love playing video games together? Hook up your consoles to a large TV, and arrange the area so everyone can play together. This can include enough space for today’s more physically involved video games.
The Home Theater
At any point, have you been watching a movie in the theater and thought, “It would sure be fun to have this at home.” Well, you won’t get a room the size of a cinema theater, but the garage can become a good approximation of that. Get a large television set, or a projector and blank, white wall to project your movies onto. Add a Blu ray player, several comfortable chairs (reclining, preferably), maybe a popcorn machine, a fridge for soda and snacks, and a great sound system, and you have the perfect room for family movie night. If you want to really turn up the volume, get the room soundproofed to avoid bothering the neighbors.
The Teen Room
Do you have teenage children who like to hang out with their friends at your place? While you love them and (hopefully) like their friends, maybe you’d like the house to be a little quieter. If so, consider making the garage a place they can hang out. Soundproofing can help, but mainly think about what your teens enjoy doing. You could have a television and game console, and a table with chairs if they like to play tabletop games. Put in a fridge so they’re set for snacks. While they’re hanging out, check in on them every hour or so to see how they’re doing. They’ll probably love having a place where they can enjoy each other’s company in peace.
The Music Room
“Garage band” is a term for a good reason. Garages make good rehearsal rooms. Of course, if you live in a suburban area, the first thing you’ll need to do if you plan to use your garage for music practice is to soundproof it as best you can. Then, what you put in there will depend on what sort of music you’ll make inside. Do you plan to record? If so, you’ll need a computer with the right recording software, and related hardware. You may want to set up a reduced drum set, have a microphone stand, and guitar stands. If you have a classical group, you’ll want chairs and music stands. There also needs to be a safe place to store any instruments that will stay in the room, in their cases.
The Home Gym
If you like keeping physically active but would rather exercise at home than get a gym membership, this is a great thing to do with your garage. Put down some exercise mats, add a couple of versatile workout machines, and buy several sets of weights. When it’s hot, you can open the garage door to cool down and get good ventilation. Or, perhaps you’d prefer more of a yoga studio setup. In that case, dedicate an area to yoga books and perhaps a television for yoga videos. You may want to have a few light weights, and yoga mats. Of course, you’ll want plenty of room around you to stretch properly.
Whether you choose one of these ideas, or come up with your own, here’s to you enjoying your garage for years to come.