2 June 2014

extending small home living into the garage

Last week, I posted on ways to expand living space into the attic, if you are so lucky to have one. The same principle can also be applied to moving out to the garage. Even if your hubby isn't in the doghouse...

converting a garage to living space
So many of us are tempted to dump our current homes for new ones like we dump electronics - as soon as we see version 2.0 we want it. My firm belief is that you can usually get creative about acquiring the space, functionality and style you want in your current home, without buying or building new. It's just plain good sense - it saves you money and it's much more sustainable for our already sprawling communities and our lovely planet.

Friends in Ottawa are thinking about doing just this, by creating a master suite in the garage of their bungalow, thereby not only creating more functional space for them (bigger closets, ensuite bath) but also allowing for a bigger bedroom for their growing little boy, who will soon need a bigger space for studying and hanging out with friends.

I also heard from a sweet friend in Calgary recently who has rented a room in the attached garage of a house near the university where she works, and she is so happy with the living space - which is private when she wants it, but also communal since she shares the kitchen with the owners. She gets an affordable and cozy home to rent, and the homeowners are making an income from their property and will be able to use the finished space as their own down the road. Win-win.

If you have an under-used garage (ie. a storage dump for things you never use!) think about cleaning it out, donating the "stuff" and making your home more spacious, organized and comfortable. Your life will never be the same! A couple of tips:

1. Maximize light so that it doesn't feel dark and cold, like a garage can. Open up new windows on the sides or back if possible, and perhaps keep the large front door space as a big opening or window. Also, add lots of good lighting, like pot lights and  floor lamps like those from Kichler Lighting.

2.  If you don't have a finished space above the garage, vault the ceilings to open up and make it feel more spacious.

3. You can probably get away with a mini split system for heating and cooling, since the garage probably isn't tied into the main system for the house. There are lots of options now available.


converting a garage into a nanny suite
converting a garage
turning a garage into a rental suite

For more ideas, see these posts about converting your garage and converting a shed.


  1. It's always good to think outside of the box and come up with different ways to use the space that you have. If you don't need the garage to be a garage, why not convert it into a bedroom? :-)

    1. Great to hear from you Kelly. Yep, creativity can always save the day! Hope you are enjoying the beginning of what I hope will be a long and amazing summer.

  2. I really admire people who have extra space to create an additional living area like the attic or a garage. You can create a guestroom for when you have surprise guests come over for a visit, or you can simply create an extra room to rent out for extra income on a monthly basis. I think for my next home, I would definitely get my estate agent to recommend a house that could possibly have that extra room feature.


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