10 Ways to Upgrade Your Garage

Whether you need to clear a cluttered corner or revamp the entire space, consider these tips to improve your garage's functionality.

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Garage Storage
Create Storage Space

    If you need room to organize belongings, the garage is a great place to start. A variety of storage systems exist to get stuff off the floor and give virtually anything a place of its own. There are systems of movable shelves, cabinet components, hook-and-hanger combinations, platforms that lower from the ceiling via pulleys, and more. Start the search at your local home improvement store. When done, you should have enough room for all of your stuff and your car.

Feel the Burn

    Save money on gas and gym membership dues by creating your own exercise room. Set up a treadmill, weight-lifting station, stationary bike, free-weights rack, and wall-mount TV in your garage. Be sure to leave room for floor exercises.

Sound Off

    Add soundproofing material to the walls, ceiling, and doors, and your garage becomes a music studio for your budding Mozart or rock star. Just be sure to double-check your electrical capacity; an upgrade may be required.

"Add" On

    Got a laundry room that borders your kitchen? Move your washer and dryer to the garage, and knock out the wall between the previous laundry room and kitchen. Voila: instant addition! The new space can store large or infrequently used pots and pans or become an elegant butler's pantry.

Focus on Fun

    If you're not using your garage to park cars, consider transforming a bay or two into recreational space. Billiards, table tennis, air hockey, and foosball are popular choices that need a little more elbow room than an extra bedroom may provide.

Become an Entrepreneur

    Own your own business (or want to)? Turn your car stall into a home office. If you need even more room, add a level or extend the garage back or to the side. If you have customers coming and going, add an exterior entry door so they don't have to walk through your home.

Create a Hobby Haven

    Install desks and countertops at different heights, provide bins for organizing materials, and designate private work spaces for each member of your family. Then turn them loose at their varied interests, such as scrapbooking or painting.

Build Up

    With the economy pinching many households, now might be a good time to add living quarters above your garage. Supplement your income with a rental unit, or provide a home for an aging parent or a boomerang child. Expert tip: Make the addition fit in style and scale. Take your architectural cues from the principal building, and don't let the addition overtake your house. Consider scaling down the upper level to keep it in proportion with your home's massing, and choose a similar roofline.

Raise Your Glass

    Turn a garage stall into your personal watering hole -- a surefire hit with neighbors and friends. Roll up the door and reveal a bar complete with stools, a refrigerator made to handle a garage's temperature fluctuations, a dartboard, and a home for all those beverage signs.

See the Big Picture

    Media rooms are popular in new construction, so give your house an edge by converting your garage into a home theater complete with theater seats, a big-screen monitor, surround sound, and a concessions stand. You can scale this idea to whatever your budget allows.

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