Whether you’re interested in having a perfect docking area for your vehicles at night, or you’re just interested in increasing the total value of your home, perfecting your garage is an essential step. Garages should have both practical and aesthetic value, giving you extra space for storage while making your home environment more welcoming at the same time.
So what steps can a homeowner take to ensure a nearly “perfect” garage environment?
Tips for a Better Garage
Follow these tips to make your garage more functional and more comfortable:
- Know when to repair and when to replace. Your garage door opener uses many moving parts. Even if you maintain it properly, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to degrade. When it does, you should know when it’s best to repair that door and when to replace it entirely. For example, if the garage door moves unevenly, or makes noise when it’s moving, it can probably be repaired at minimal cost. But if the door is unreasonably loud, ugly, or not working properly at all, a full replacement is more efficient.
- Insulate. Some older garages aren’t insulated by default. If you plan on spending any time in your garage, working on projects or tapping into your storage, it’s a good idea to spend the extra money on insulation. If you live in an area plagued by the cold in winter, installing a heater may not be a bad idea either—come December, you’ll be glad you did.
- Divide your garage into zones. Most people use their garage for multiple purposes, relying on it to store not just vehicles but all manner of items, including tools, sporting equipment, and spillover from the main part of your house. To keep things better organized, try splitting your garage into distinctive zones. For example, you can establish a space for your vehicles so you’re never tempted to store non-vehicular items in those spaces. You can establish the west wall as a place for your tools and workbench, and the east wall for containers and miscellaneous items.
- Take advantage of ceiling storage. Most garages underutilize their ceilings. Storing things in or on the ceiling frees up wall space, and won’t interfere with your vehicles or any people walking in the area. Consider installing a bike rack for your ceiling, or installing rails that you can use to store containers long-term.
- Make use of folding and collapsing storage. The more space you can save when storing things, the better. That’s why many garage owners try to make use of folding and/or collapsible storage options. Drawers are a simple example of this; they fold out easily so you can access what’s in them, without taking up too much horizontal space. You can also convert your workbench to fold up, so it doesn’t take up space regularly.
- Harness the power of pool noodles. Pool noodles are one of the cheapest and most versatile installations you can use for your garage. In tight spaces, you can use pool noodles on the walls, at car height, to prevent mishaps like slamming a door into a wall or pulling in too far. You can also use them as visual indicators of how far to pull in. You can also use them as organizational tools to keep things in place within drawers, or to keep items like fishing poles aligned on the walls.
- Use paint to add life and character. Paint can have a powerful psychological effect. Applying a fresh coat of paint in an area can make you feel like it’s been revitalized, even if you haven’t structurally improved anything. It can also make you feel more at home in your garage if you spend lots of time working on projects there. The effect won’t be limited to you, either; some research shows that a fresh coat of paint can increase your home’s value by as much as $6,000.
Starting From Scratch
Of course, if your home doesn’t have a garage, or if the garage you have is in total disrepair, it may be more efficient to tear down and start from scratch. The cost of a new garage varies wildly, depending on variables like how many cars you want to store, whether it will be attached to your home, and how the garage is designed, but you can count on paying somewhere between $7,500 and $27,000.
No matter how you intend to use your garage on a regular basis, a handful of upgrades can make it substantially better. With a few hundred dollars of repairs and renovations (or less), you can dramatically improve the comfort, aesthetics, and functionality of this oft-overlooked part of your home.