- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.