18 Garage Ideas To Make It Another Fun And Functional Room In The House

According to Garaga, having a home with a garage can add plenty of value to a property. In fact, if your home doesn't have a garage, experts recommend spending the roughly $20,000 it takes to build one. The long-term positive impact on the home's overall value can make this expense a worthwhile investment. However, not everyone who has a garage knows how to make the best use of it. This is especially true if you tend to park your cars in the driveway or on your street — leaving your garage as a space without purpose.

A garage is a lot of open space and it's a pity to waste it or let it turn into a huge room that just collects junk. Instead, think about turning your garage into a practical and fun room in your house. The most common updates to garages tend to be completely reversible, so they don't impact the resale home value if you decide to move. If you have an afternoon or a long weekend to spend renovating or redecorating, here are some fun and functional ways to improve your garage.

1. Add polished concrete flooring for a cool vibe

A concrete floor is pretty drab, but polished concrete is an entirely different look. If you don't want to completely redo your garage floors, but feel like bare concrete looks unfinished, polished concrete is the perfect happy medium. According to Black Bear Coatings and Concrete, the price point of the installation makes polished concrete cost-effective and budget-friendly. Workers will stain and polish the existing floor and then seal their work.

Once finished, polished concrete is very durable, so it will stand up to high traffic and be resistant to cracks or dents. In addition, it's really easy to keep clean. You will just need to sweep it often and use a wet mop every once in a while for deeper cleaning. Sometimes polished concrete can feel a bit cold and hard on your feet, especially if you stand on it for a long time. To avoid this, simply put down an indoor/outdoor area rug to soften the space.

2. Consider installing a portable air conditioning unit

If you are hoping to treat your garage like a functional room in your house, then temperature control is a must. You won't be able to enjoy yourself if you can barely think because you're too hot. Installing ducted air conditioning can be time-consuming and expensive, so the easiest and cheapest way to cool your space is to purchase a portable air conditioner instead.

According to One Hour Air, there are a few pros and cons of a portable unit. The main benefit, as mentioned, is that there's no costly or tedious installation. For most units, you don't even need to secure them in a window like in the old days. Simply plug in the machine and you are good to go. If it doesn't fill up the entire room to your liking, it's easy to move it around to be closer to the action. However, the drawback is that these units can be pretty loud while they are running and can create higher power bills if left on all the time.

3. Install shelving around the walls to keep things organized and tidy

One of the best ways to make your garage a more functional space is to free up the floor space by installing shelving. You can purchase shelves at a local hardware store that are made of ideal materials to place in your garage. If you are particularly DIY-savvy, you can build and install the shelving yourself. Plenty of homeowners choose this method, as well as placing the shelving around the perimeter of the garage to save even more space.

According to Blue Style Blog, if you choose to install the shelves yourself, the key is to think about what you might need to store on the shelves long before you start building them. By taking an inventory of your garage, you can use the wall space more creatively to fit exactly what you need it to. You won't be left with awkwardly shaped items and no place to put them. Don't be afraid to build shelves of differing heights to store things like large boxes, small tools, and more.

4. Build out a section to create the ultimate relaxation zone

If you can't turn your entire garage into another functional room, it doesn't mean that you can't carve out a small portion of it into something great. Take a look at your garage and see what space can be set aside. If you park your car indoors, consider parking in the driveway instead – or cleaning out some storage space to repurpose for relaxation. 

According to AG Workers Insurance, once you've carved out a space, the next step is to decide on a purpose for it. Are you going to spend most of your time watching the game with your friends? Then you'll need to secure enough seating for the space, as well as a TV. If you plan to use the area to pursue your woodworking hobby, you'll need a table and tarp to protect the rest of the space from wood chippings. If you have the DIY skills, you can even consider building a small wall to separate this space from the rest of the garage.

5. Put in a refrigerator for easy access to snacks and drinks

Having a refrigerator in the garage is one of the most practical things you can do for your house even if you don't spend a lot of time in the garage. According to The New York Times, having an extra fridge is also very popular, with about 35 million homes surveyed having more than one fridge. There are a few scenarios that make the option so enticing: The first is having access to cold drinks while you are working outside. Maybe you've spent the entire day out in the yard and are disgustingly sweaty. If you have a fridge outside, you don't have to trek grime through the house in search of a Coke. Or, stock it with your favorite craft beer for easy access when playing yard games outside with your buddies.

Having a second fridge in your garage also helps with excess food storage. Many households choose to store canned and bottled drinks in garage fridges, instead of taking up valuable real estate in primary kitchen units (via Garage Living). Just be careful to purchase a garage-ready refrigerator model that's made to operate in a garage's volatile temperature conditions. 

6. Consider a projector for outdoor movie nights

A great gadget to buy to really make the best use of your garage is a projector. Clear out an empty wall in the garage and paint it white to project everything from sports to movies. This extra viewing space allows you to host more fans for the big game or gives kiddos a fun new setting to watch their favorite film.

According to PCMag, one of the key things to consider when purchasing a projector is how you plan to connect it to content. Will you use a protector that can be connected to the internet and stream movies directly? Or do you prefer to purchase a model that might need to be plugged into another source for content, like a laptop? Some of these choices can be made for you depending on the price point you decide to go for. It is still important to put some thought into it beforehand, so you don't end up with a projector mounted to the ceiling that needs to be directly wired to a laptop to work.

7. Purchase speakers for better music

You need a great speaker to enjoy music in your garage. If you are just using your phone then it's unlikely the sound will be enough to fill the entire room or be heard by everyone if you're hosting a gathering. Speakers are also a great addition to have around for movie nights, so the scale of the sound matches up with the size of the visuals. There is nothing worse than watching a movie on the big screen and not being able to hear it very well.

According to Audio Viser, you don't have to break the bank to get great sound. Bluetooth speakers for your garage are available at many price ranges with a huge variety of features. Look for weatherproof options that can stand up to the conditions in the garage and be taken outdoors for more listening flexibility. Wireless options that can pair with each other allow you to easily set up multiple speakers in large garage spaces.

8. Move the laundry room into the garage for extra space inside

An easy way to instantly free up a few square feet in your home is to move your laundry machines to the garage. If you then want to turn your laundry room into a bathroom or closet space — that's entirely up to you. To avoid damage to your machines or your garage floor, use rubber mats or carpet under the washer and dryer (via Coastal Garage Doors).

The next big consideration when moving your laundry room to your garage is climate control. This will allow you to keep your garage at a more comfortable temperature while you're loading the washer, switching clothes to the dryer, and folding clean loads. You might also need to run a dehumidifier during hot or humid times to avoid mildew-promoting moisture in your laundry area. Install a few hanging rods or retractable cords to make line-drying clothing easier and more convenient. 

9. Install security cameras for safety

If you are going to be spending more time in your converted garage or moving more valuable items from inside to the space, it's a good idea to install a home security system to keep yourself and your stuff safe. According to Security.org, even if you haven't made your garage an extension of your home, it offers some of the most uninterrupted access to your home. For many, it's the most common way to get in and out of their homes. Plus, your garage is likely storing a car, tools, and other high-value items. Tight garage security provides an extra barrier to entry into your home and protects your property. 

It's easy to purchase a smart camera to set up to monitor the comings and goings near your garage. An alarm system is also an effective way to alert you to things like broken glass or unauthorized entry. This way you can rest easy and know that the contents of your garage, and your home, are secure.

10. Create a makers studio for your hobbies

Sometimes the hobbies you enjoy pursuing are a bit messy and aren't really suited to be done inside the house. Instead, look to your garage to set up a perfect maker space where you can get as messy as you want. According to Getting Smart, it's important to plan storage to make sure everything is organized, but what is most important is safety. Depending on what you enjoy creating, you might need things like a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher to quickly handle accidents. 

Having a dedicated workspace allows you to take breaks in projects when needed. There is nothing worse than cleaning up a half-finished project only to be tasked with getting it out again when you're ready to work. A craft haven in your garage allows you to organize all of your materials and keep your works-in-progress ready to be picked back up at a moment's notice.

11. Use an electric grill for barbecuing, even in bad weather

Cooking with gas indoors can be a recipe for carbon monoxide poisoning. According to ProLine Range Hoods, it's not even safe to use gas in the garage with the door open, as you are still at risk of inhaling dangerous vapors. Although there are currently no laws around cooking with gas indoors, you can't see carbon monoxide and it doesn't have a smell or taste, so it's best not to risk it.

Instead, purchase an electric grill for use in your garage. These come in a variety of price points and sizes so you can select the best one for your garage's needs (via Food & Wine). This way you can comfortably enjoy a barbecued meal, even when it's raining, without the risks that come with using gas in enclosed spaces. Electric cooktops are easily cleaned and many models are small enough to be portable, too.

12. Store emergency equipment in a designated area

To be prepared for emergencies, you need to prepare extensively ahead of time. When building a kit to handle unexpected events, it can be optimal to store it in the garage. This optimal location means they are out of the way for everyday life, but close enough for when you really need them. Dedicate a bin or two for your supplies, clearly label them, and make sure every household member knows where they are located.

According to Ready.gov, a basic disaster supply kit, no matter where you live, has a few key items. This would be a few gallons of filtered water and enough non-perishable food items for several days. You should also add a flashlight with extra batteries and have a fire extinguisher on hand. Garbage bags and plastic sheeting are items you likely already have in your garage, so add a few of each to your designated bins as well. Make sure you regularly check your kit for any damage and replace expired foods and first-aid items as needed.

13. Get the garage its own trash can

You don't ever want to be in a situation where you need to take garbage into your home from outside. Most families already have a trash can outside for particularly dirty things, like messes from yardwork or outdoor cleanup. However, even if you are using your garage as a second living room, get a dedicated trash can for it as well.

According to Wiggly Wisdom, you might be tempted to store the garage trash can outside near the garage, but this can create a number of problems. First, animals are more likely to get into your trash if you leave it outside, whether they are wild raccoons or just your neighbor's dog. In addition, your local homeowner's association (HOA) might have rules about visible garbage cans, so keeping them in the garage helps you avoid a fine. But, if you think things might get too stinky, buying a smaller trash can for the garage and emptying it into the one outside as you do for the rest of the house might work best.

14. Install a dog wash to keep things tidy

Washing your dog in your bathroom can be stressful. Sure, at the end of the day you walk away with a clean pet, but now your bathroom likely needs a good cleaning too. Instead, consider adding a dog wash in your garage to make things way easier on everyone.

According to The Created Home, an in-home dog wash is handy to have even if Fido only gets a bath every once in a while. You can also use it to rinse off anything that is too muddy for the house, like soccer cleats and work boots. You'll just need a water supply and to decide if you want your bath at ground level or elevated. If your garage already has a water hook-up, great! If not, you'll need to have the plumbing run. Then, you can build a custom dog bath or purchase a ready-made kit that takes the guesswork out of installation.

15. Add a loft for double the space

If you are concerned about losing a parking space for your car, but still want to maximize your garage storage, you can build a loft to utilize vertical space. You can hire professionals for this project if you don't have the DIY skills, but handy homeowners might be able to tackle this project themselves. According to Garage DIY ideas, the loft doesn't have to take up the entirety of the garage's space. Instead, aim to make the best use of the area along the back wall.

An average loft gives homeowners about five to six feet of extra elevated surface area running along the back of their garage. If your garage is tall enough, aim to make the loft high enough to stand under. At the very least, measure from the top of your car to ensure the loft provides enough clearance for parking under. Once finished, you can build stairs or a ladder for access. The space can then be used for storing everything from seasonal items to bulky lawn care equipment.

16. Set up a tool station to easily fix things

Setting up a designated place in your home just to fix things can make your life way easier. This gives you a spot to keep tools as well as work on ongoing repair projects. Scope out your garage for a corner or empty stretch of wall and make a workbench that works best for the area.

Building a workbench is a fairly straightforward process. Lowe's offers a simple tutorial and suggests first evaluating your space to determine what size is best. Most work tables are between 28 and 38 inches tall so it's also best to determine what height you're most comfortable working at. Then, build your own workbench following the steps and customizing certain measurements as needed. Make sure you also invest in a comfy place to sit, or at least some flooring padding like a work mat for the long hours you might spend standing at the station.

17. Create a home exercise studio

A home gym area is a great way to make use of the wide open space in your garage. According to Integris Health, having a home fitness studio can save you money in the long run because you don't have to pay for expensive gym memberships. It's also more private, as you'll never have to wait for a machine or deal with other exercisers.

Once you have the space cleared out and ready, it's time to buy what you need. Some of the key things to purchase for your home exercise studio would be free weights and resistance bands for strength training. Foam rollers and exercise mats are also great for added comfort and recovery. You can even add a jump rope to get in a little cardio in your garage area. Depending on the climate control in your garage, you might also want to purchase a large fan to help keep you cool while you are working up a sweat. Crank up your Bluetooth speaker and enjoy your at-home fitness sessions.