According to property experts, undertaking a garage conversion to provide additional living space can add as much as 10 per cent to the value of your home. That aside, it is also the perfect way to make use of a space, which, more often than not, is rarely used for cars — instead becoming a dumping ground for various items we don’t know what to do with.

Using a garage to add to your floorspace avoids using up garden space for an extension and allows you to keep building work relatively separate and so any associated disruption is kept to a minimum too.

“In terms of disruption, 95 per cent of the work is done within the garage,” advises Stuart Letts of Garage Conversion Specialists. “Creating the opening from the house to the conversion is one of the last things which we do to minimise noise and dust, etc.”

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What Type of Garage do you Have?

Garages tend to fall into three categories — attached, integral and detached. Each comes with its own issues:

Attached or Integrated: This type of garage is connected to the main structure of the house, sometimes to one side, but also often projecting out from the front of the house with a room above, commonly a bedroom. Attached garages can usually be accessed from inside the house, making the conversion even easier. 

Detached: Just because a garage is detached does not mean it is not suitable for conversion into living space. However, you are more likely to have to apply for planning permission to change its intended use if it is a separate building.

How Big is Your Garage?

A standard-sized single garage can give you around 14m² of extra space, so is ideal if you are looking for somewhere to house a home office, playroom or guest bedroom — or even a downstairs shower room and utility. It might also offer the potential to extend an existing space, such as your kitchen or hallway, depending on the layout of your home.

A double garage can add around 28m² and gives you the option of using part of the space for storage or still as a garage and the rest as living space. The same goes for ‘tandem’ garages.

Can I Convert my Garage?

Check for any restrictive covenants or clauses that may prevent you from making changes that alter the external appearance of your home. Even if you find you are subject to such restrictions, you may still be able to convert the space, retaining the front section for storage and converting the rear area.

To find out if there may be an issue, ring your local planning department and give them your address. They can usually tell you over the phone there and then if you are in a Conservation Area or if there are any restrictive covenants that will mean you need planning permission.

Before work begins, you must also submit a Building Notice to your local authority or private building control company (this costs in the region of £324). They will visit throughout the garage conversion to check you are meeting Building Regulations and issue a final certificate to sign the work off at the end. The building inspector will be looking at:

  • ventilation
  • damp-proofing
  • insulation
  • fireproofing
  • fire escape routes
  • structural soundness

Garage Conversion Ideas Gallery

Living Kitchen

This is the ideal way to get a larger kitchen with space to eat and entertain in, without using up valuable garden space.

The living kitchen

This garage conversion to a family home involved removing the rear wall of the garage where it backed on to the existing kitchen to open the spaces for an open plan area that could be enjoyed by all members of the family. The brief also included an area for the children to watch television and use the games console, but not be in a separate room.

The existing home before and during the work: On the left we can see the exterior before the conversion took place, and the right shows the rear wall of the garage being removed to open the space out into the existing kitchen
The existing home before and during the work: On the left we can see the exterior before the conversion took place, and the right shows the rear wall of the garage being removed to open the space out into the existing kitchen

This garage conversion cost…
The conversion, not including the supply and fit of the kitchen, cost in the region of £10,500 from Garage Conversion Specialists (0845 370 5030).

The Play Room

Even a single garage will provide valuable space for play. The smallest of spaces can be used to create a quiet reading nook or study room, and having additional storage space will mean fewer toys in your children’s bedrooms or communal areas.

The Play Room

This conversion, by Garage Conversion Specialists, provides a playroom for the owners’ daughters. As it was a double garage, a dividing fire wall was built between the new room and the garage to meet Building Regulations.

The existing home before and during the work: The home had a double garage with a kitchen behind. A firewall was built between the garages and an opening created to join the new playroom to the kitchen
The existing home before and during the work: The home had a double garage with a kitchen behind. A firewall was built between the garages and an opening created to join the new playroom to the kitchen

This garage conversion cost…
An opening was created in the rear wall from the existing kitchen, a new insulated floor was installed, and the exterior walls insulated too. It took 10 days to complete and cost £9,000.

The Dining Room

The dining room

The purpose of this garage conversion was to provide extra family space. The work, carried out by Garage Conversion Specialists, involved removing some internal walls and fitting steels to support the new spaces.

This garage conversion cost…
In total the project cost £11,000, including work to open up the existing kitchen and dining room to the new space.

How to Use Your Garage Space

Most garages, being originally designed to house a car, tend to be long and narrow — a shape that does not immediately lend itself to a good living space. For this reason it is common for people to break the space into two smaller rooms using stud walls, with the smaller of the two rooms often acting as a WC or shower room, or for storage.

Home office:
Garage conversions lend themselves to a number of uses, including home offices. This can make perfect sense, as garages are usually located away from the main living areas and allow for a self-contained entrance for work-related visitors.

Kitchen-diner:
Where garages adjoin the kitchen, knocking out the wall between the two in order to create one larger kitchen-diner is a popular option — and also overcomes the long, narrow issues.

Utility room:
Another good use of garages that sit alongside a kitchen is as a utility room, as they also offer the potential for a back door.

Playroom or teen hangout
Using the space as a playroom and keeping it partially open to an adjacent kitchen makes it possible to supervise younger children while carrying out day-to-day jobs, and garage conversions are also the ideal spot for a second living room for older children to relax in — keeping the inevitable noise away from your own relaxing spaces.

Recreation:
Other options include gyms, home cinemas and spare bedrooms, and in the case of detached garages you also have the option of converting them into a separate annexe. Be aware that this may be subject to planning consent.

Images: courtesy of Twenty5 Design and Garage Conversion Specialists

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