Garage Conversion Ideas For Simple, Cost Effective Living Spaces


Garage conversions have been one of the most popular ways to add extra living space to your home for many years in the UK and for 3 very good reasons:-

So if you are thinking about adding that extra space to your home and you have a garage stuffed full to the brim of “stuff” (because you car doesn’t actually ever make it into the garage at night), you may just have the most cost effective solution right under your nose that you can order today and pretty much get your project underway within the next few weeks.

We have gathered together some inspirational ideas together with all the facts you need to know about garage conversions in today’s blog post.

1. Some independence for young adults living at home

Sadly today’s UK housing market is no longer aimed at first-time buyers (which is a crying shame by the way as the generations of the future are being massively handicapped from being able to afford their own home, which is something the UK has always been particularly passionate about), however the rising cost of housing in the UK has attracted investors to it like bees to a honey pot.

Will BREXIT change things? Who knows – let’s hope so.

So what DO you do when you suddenly have several young adults living with you for what would seem to be an extra 10 to 20 years or more than we did just a decade ago?

One option is to create a mini-apartment in your garage so you can all get a little more breathing space around each other.

If you have young adults living with you, the “who does what stuff” around the house (cooking. cleaning, washing etc) has to be dealt with at some point so creating a space they have to live in and maintain independently is a good thing all round.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is unnecessary if you do not alter the structure of your existing building, so garage conversions are permitted development in most circumstances.

Some exceptions might be:

2. Additional living space or media room

There is something really special about having a designated media room for watching your favourite sports,films, TV series or playing your favourite computer games all in a designated part of your home set aside for out & out entertainment.

As we have transitioned our homes from separate rooms into open plan living / dining / family room spaces over the last few years, the TV has (thankfully) become something that’s on in the background while we prepare dinner and catch up with the day as a family.

USA style homes have always had media room spaces in mind for their extensive landing spaces at the top of the stairs (no such luxuries here).

So if you have film, sports and game lovers in your home, a garage conversion can easily turn into a “man cave” or “she den” that will be a firm hit with all the family.

Garage conversions will always require compliance with Building Regulations as you will be changing a garage into a habitable room. This is to protect you with regards to:-

Most garages are single brickwork with no insulation in the walls, roof or floors. Once we carry out a garage conversion on your behalf you will have the best insulated room in the house! The building inspector will want to inspect all aspects of the conversion with regards to windows, doors, fireproofing and foundations before a completion certificate can be issued.

Safety first, always.

And any electrics, plumbing and gas works will be carried out by fully qualified professionals. Garage conversions may look simple but they can be labour intensive depending on what boilers, vents and insulation needs your particular garage has.

3. Guest rooms or AirBNB accommodation

With most garages being narrower than other rooms in your home but longer in many cases, they lend themselves to a space that is perfect for a guest room or an AIRBNB rental opportunity.

Most of us today have less and less time to even think about guests coming to stay and in all honesty the nearest Premier Inn for an overnight stay is probably as cost effective and more comfortable for everyone for the odd night here or there.

But if you have regular guests staying over (for child care or dog sitting needs for example) then it makes sense to create a little home from home oasis for your guests.

In today’s world that spare guest room can become a second income from time to time with the popular room rental enterprise AirBNB.

The expectation for being able to travel freely (and on a budget) has opened up a terrific opportunity for anyone with a room to rent who is willing to open up their homes to paying guests and compete with budget hotels on a keen price per night basis.

A standard size garage conversion can give you around 14 square metres of extra living space, so it’s ideal for a guest bedroom, and with it being accessible so easily from downstairs or via french doors as an alternative entrance, it lends itself beautifully to visiting guests.

A double size garage conversion can add around 28 square metres, which gives you a very generous extension for far less than the cost of an external extension.

Most standard garage conversions cost around £18,000 to £25,000 and add around 10% to the value of your home so it’s a win / win.

*Depending on which rooms your garage is next to, it may also allow you to extend your kitchen for example into the new garage space too.

There is no shortage of takers by the way, you just have to play it smart and use the official website.

4. Granny flat for Mum or Dad

Garage conversion ideas 6

If your budget won’t stretch to a full turn-key granny annexe  and you want to make a small granny flat in your garage to have Mum or Dad closer to hand a garage conversion is hands down the most cost-effective solution for you.

Planning permission for granny annexes can take anything from 3-6 months by the time you get quotations, plans drawn up and submitted, fees paid and permission granted whereas a garage conversion can be started as soon as your build team have their next available slot by issuing a builders notice for Building Regulations approval.

Separate annexes of any kind will always require planning permission. Read our guide on planning to find out more.

It’s fast, and almost certainly all of the facilities you will need access to (water, electricity and drains) are very likely to be right next to the garage already so you you will make additional savings on connecting to your mains services and of course there will be no foundation costs to factor in either!

The only compromise will be on size but a garage conversion may be the perfect solution if timescales and budgets are a concern to you.

Floor insulation is not something that your garage will have and they are often lower than the house floor so a layer of insulation beneath a floating chipboard floor can be a way of bringing the two levels together. Rolled out multi-foil laminate is perfect for this and helps make your garage conversion extremely well insulated.

5. A home office or playroom

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Working from home, whether part-time or full-time has increased dramatically over the last 5-10 years as the internet has allowed us to remotely access all sorts of work tasks that could only ever have been performed at an office desk.

It’s also given birth to more business start-ups than at any other time in history with most small businesses starting and being run from home rather than from traditional office spaces saving on rent & business rates in addition to slashing commute times from hours to just a few minutes per day.

A garage conversion can quickly pay for itself in terms of adding value to your home (it typically adds 10%) and if you are thinking of starting a business then a home office garage conversion is something you can invest in today that will also pay for itself over time.

Or if you have young children and you want the ideal space to house everything from cuddly toys, dolls houses, train sets, cars, books, games, lego, scooters and play houses; a garage conversion can literally be the perfect way to declutter and organise all your “toy hoarding spaces” currently cluttering up your kitchen, dining and living room spaces into one streamlined purpose designed playroom.

Replacing the garage door with a wall will require foundation work, whereas replacing it with a window will be a better option. Most garage conversions we’ve created have retained a small area immediately behind the existing garage door as a store room by building an internal wall. 

This leaves the exterior appearance of the garage unaltered and is a great way of saving on costs too.

In Summary

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