Garage Remodel Tips, Ideas, & Makeover Cost

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


The garage offers a perfect space to try out different ideas. However, remodeling a garage comes at a cost. So, what is the cost of getting a garage remodel and what are some Ideas to borrow from? Read below to find out.

Garage Remodel Ideas

If your garage is mostly just sitting there doing nothing, there are some great ideas you can check out to maximize the space. Here are some garage remodeling ideas I came across when remodeling my garage.

a) Storage Space

If you have a growing family, the garage has enough room to store items with more people in the house. These Items can include toys, garden supplies, bikes, sporting items, lawn chairs, cleaners, tools, and other random things. Ensure you have open shelves and smart shelving methods to store most things.

Image Source:

The advantage of converting a garage into a storage space is that the new room will not require extreme garage makeovers like overhauling the entire garage flooring. However, new flooring will come in handy if you look at other garage remodel ideas that involve completely changing the space.

b) Home Gym

A home gym is largely one of the most tried-out garage conversion ideas. The garage has enough room to take on a decent gym. In addition, the positioning of the garage makes it ideal to have a gym, as most garages are on the outer parts of the house.

Image Source:

When converting a garage into a gym, you will not use too much money because it is relatively cheaper to create a gym unless you go for a state-of-the-art one.

c) Home Office

Image Source:

Having a home office is a smart move. Having it in the garage is even smarter because it is secluded from the rest of the house. This would give you the chance to work in peace without a lot of distractions.

d) Gaming Room

Image Source:

If you are into gaming, the garage will be the perfect place to have a garage.

e) Bedroom

Image Source:

Having an extra bedroom is always a great way of using a garage that is not in use. However, there are moments when you will get guests or siblings who have outgrown sharing a room, and the garage comes in handy in such situations.

F) Relaxation Zone

Another fantastic addition is creating a relaxation zone. This dedicated space offers a tranquil escape within the confines of your home. A combination of comfortable seating, soft lighting, and soothing decor can transform the garage into a serene oasis. Whether it's a cozy reading nook, a meditation corner, or a place to unwind after a long day, the relaxation zone provides a private sanctuary. It can also be a massage or SPA area. By creating a SPA area at home, you don’t have to visit nearest spa center, because everything you need is at hand.

Garage Remodel Cost

The cost of remodeling a garage will depend on a couple of factors; therefore, it is hard to have a blanket cost. However, an idea of where my money could go when remodeling my garage helped me put an estimated figure to it.

Image Source:

In a nutshell, the average cost of remodeling a garage is between $8000 and $15000. However, improving a garage is much cheaper and may cost between $1200 and $6000.

Here are the cost factors for remodeling a garage.

1) Local Permits

In the different projects I have done, I have learned that I can never start on a project without getting permits first. Even if you lived in an apartment and wanted to make changes, you would still need to get a permit from the apartment manager. For example, when renovating a garage, I had to get my permit from the local county where I was staying.

Image Source:

The permit was a cost factor because it needed to be paid for before I could embark on doing anything. The type of permit you will expect to go for is the building conversion permit, which costs around $1500. This price will be largely dependent on the state you are living in.

If unsure, you can visit a construction company to get tips. While searching for the answers online is a good idea, builders on the ground will always have the best tips.

2) Type of Garage Remodel

What you are turning the garage into will be a huge cost factor. This is because different spaces will have different demands. For example, if you were to transform your garage into a gym, the costs would be vastly different than if you were changing the garage into a living space or a kitchen.

Image Source:

The cost varies because the plumbing, insulation, division, type of floor, and other factors will also vary. So expect a large difference in the cost depending on the remodeling you will be going for.

3) Labor

I had to hire skilled labor because a lot of work needed a professional, including getting new walls in the garage. There was no way I would have done all the work by myself. The best way I went about getting labor was to approach different building companies. The reason I approached different companies was to have options when it came to pricing.

Image Source:

Once I had compared the prices, I had to ensure I got into a contract. Contracts help with payments, damages, liabilities, injuries, and refunds. A lot could go south if no contract exists, especially when working on a large project such as garage remodeling.

When getting labor, I had to look at the scope of my project. This was to help me avoid over-employing or under-employing workers. I would have wasted lots of money if I had more than twice the amount of people I needed. You need to pay attention to this. Otherwise, you will see two workers carrying one step ladder to provide labor.

4) Plumbing

I was converting my garage into a livable space and had to do some plumbing. If you are giving your garage a face-lift and retaining the original purpose, there would be no need to do plumbing. Otherwise, plumbing is one of the first things you must consider because it will be at the heart of structural changes in the garage.

Image Source:

Plumbing comes at a cost depending on the amount of plumbing that is to be done. For instance, if a garage is to be converted into a kitchen, the plumbing will be more than if it is converted into an art studio.

5) Garage Walls

Garage walls are going to be one of the major cost factors. First, I had to get new paint on the walls. But before I could start painting the walls, I needed to insulate them. Insulated walls are costly, depending on the wall insulation you are considering.

Image Source:

The garage walls might need plumbing, if any. Again, your construction manager will advise you on this.

The one mistake I have seen people make is installing the internet as the last step in every interior design project, and I have always wondered why. However, considering the type of internet you will have, consider it part of the project. For example, if you have an ethernet cable, it should not run on top of the wall insulation but inside the walls for a neat finish.

Electrical wiring should run inside the walls too. I hired professionals so that these would not be last-minute activities when remodeling my garage.

Talking of electrical wiring, it is a cost factor.

6) Electrical Wiring

Since I was remodeling my garage from an actual garage to a living space, I had to ensure there were enough power points for the different appliances I was planning to install in the finished space. The electrical wiring is an important bit that I had to pay attention to because of the different circuits that needed to be considered in the house.

Image Source:

When wiring, you need to remember that the power in the socket is different from the power that lights the bulbs. This is important for the safety of the house. Therefore, I can advise that you do not take any chances with electrical wiring in your garage.

If I intended to convert the garage into a kitchen, I would have to consider how many voltages a kitchen range would need at the wiring stage.

7) HVAC System

Since my garage makeover was intended to convert my garage into a living space, I had to ensure the space was habitable once it was finished. This involved having an HVAC system installed in the garage to make it comfortable during the changing seasons and weather each day.

Image Source:

The garage needs good heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. There is no way I would survive winter in the garage without proper heating.

Talking of heating;

8) Floor Heating

Image Source:

Since my garage is made of concrete floors, I had to ensure that a heating system was installed on the floor. There are many floor heating options to choose from, depending on the type of flooring you have gone for.

9) Floor Remodelling

Since I was converting the space from a garage to a living space, I had to change the flooring completely. For styling purposes, you might look at flooring options such as having wooden garage floors or tiles. Garage flooring will depend on your taste and needs, but this will be a cost factor.

Major changes such as flooring impact the cost on the labor and materials side.

10) The Old Garage Door

If the garage remodel is going to look any different, a new garage door is one thing to consider. However, if the garage remodeling ends with a living space, a normal garage door would not suffice.

Image Source:

There are lots of different door types to choose from to spice up the new garage space, from French doors to wall-to-wall doors. Nonetheless, you can opt for garage door repair if your old door isn't entirely damaged or too old.

11) Sound Proofing

Soundproofing any living space is important to make it habitable. The garage is a very exposed part of the house that is normally on the outside. This exposes the garage to a lot of neighborhood noise. If you are converting an old garage into an office, a quiet environment would be what you want to achieve with your garage.

Image Source:

Soundproofing a garage can avoid causing any noise to the neighbors or occupants of your house. This can be the case if you convert the garage into a gaming spot or a music studio. There are different effective soundproofing options to keep your garage quiet.

12) Furnishing

I enjoyed this stage of my garage remodeling because it was my chance to try out the DIY projects I have always wanted to do. In addition, I was lucky to have some DIY tools beforehand to help me bring some projects to life.

Image Source:

Regardless of how ambitious your garage makeover ideas are, you will not enjoy your space if the finishing is substandard. Look at many different interior design ideas to give a place to start when designing your garage space.

You can use smart furnishing such as a futon for small spaces. This is because a futon can convert into a bed if needed. Another smart furnishing idea is to get an extendable dining table because it can fit the needs of a small space such as a garage.

I try to theme my interiors so that things like the garage cabinets would match other furnishings and wall paint. Do not forget to have a killer carpet on the garage floor.

13) Garage Exterior

Image Source:

I had to keep in mind the garage exterior. A garage can not be limited to only the interior space. The exterior garage walls need a lot of attention to give the garage a new look. I had to look at some good landscaping ideas to ensure the garage looked complete and fresh once I remodeled the space.

14) Floor Space

How large is your garage? My garage is a two-car garage, and it took quite some work. Depending on the floor space area, the cost of some materials will either be higher or lower. Remember that labor is also valued depending on the floor area you are dealing with.

15) Materials and Tools

Luckily, the company I contracted to do my garage remodel had its tools to work with. This is one of the advantages of hiring a company to do the job.

I had to foot the materials bill because the building company does not provide for those. However, I was smart enough to consult widely with the company to ensure I was buying materials in appropriate sizes and not wasting any money on the materials.

16) Insurance

Image Source:

Once I have remodeled my garage, I must ensure that everything is covered under home or equipment insurance. This is one thing I have noticed not many people pay attention to. For example, let us say you converted your garage into a gym or a music studio; the equipment you bought is likely very costly. Therefore, it is wise to have them insured.

Garage Remodel Tips to Reduce Cost

There are ways of managing costs when remodeling a garage. To help me save money, here are some things I did when working on remodeling my garage.

i) Getting More than One Quote

When working on a building project, or any project, it is smart to get different quotes to compare prices. If you compare different prices from different companies, you can start seeing a trend and find the average prices.

If you do not compare the prices, people are always ready to inflate their service costs and knock you off.

ii) Buy Materials in Bulk

Buying in bulk applies to everything, including groceries. Most materials are not sold as individual pieces but in weights and sizes. When materials are bought in bulk, they become dramatically cheaper than when a purchase is made in tiny bits.

Image Source:

The easiest way to buy materials is to get a project manager or a surveyor to help you estimate the number of materials you will need.

Buying in bulk saves you time and frustration. If you bought everything, you would hardly skip a step in the building process.

Buying material in bulk saves transportation costs because you can move everything simultaneously.

iii) Budget for the whole project

Doing a project fully from start to finish to completely remodel a garage will be cheaper than doing the project halfway and stopping to continue another time. In addition, inflation alone has been on the rise for the better part of the year, which means it would have been cheaper to do the project earlier.

Image Source:

Once you start building and stop, it takes more labor to pick the project up from where it stopped, which might be costly.

Some companies provide contract-based labor. The contract might be timed, and you have to pay for labor based on hours worked. If you keep stopping your project, you might spend more than you should have.

iv) Stick to the Original Designs and Plans

It might throw builders off-balance when you keep changing your mind when the project is ongoing. A lot goes on into building that sees some things done last time that does not need to be changed later. For example, if plumbing will be done on a particular wall, that consideration is made earlier in the project. If you come when the project is almost complete with a different plumbing plan, it will cost you.

Image Source:

Changing the design in the middle of the project wastes a lot of materials, costing you more.

I would strongly suggest that you take your time before doing a project. Look at different options and give it time to see if you might want to change your mind. There should be no desperate need to rush into a project.

v) Materials Safely

Once you have bought the materials to use, store them safely to avoid damage, you do not want anything to catch rust or the cement to get moist and wet.

In line with this, buy material in the appropriate order. Do not buy paint when you have not bought drywall. You can have a project manager take care of scheduling for you.

vi) Build in Stages

Image Source:

If you are building a YouTube studio, it is okay to have everything bought in advance. However, it makes no sense to set the cameras up when the floor coating is being laid down. Building in stages saves you time and makes the project orderly.

vii) Buy Your Material

There is a lot of misappropriation that happens at the buying stage. So I can suggest that you should be an active part of every step of the way in the project.

vii) Have Extra Cash for Emergencies

Building projects have a lot of unknowns. For example, if you have no extra money, the project can stall for a very small reason that can be sorted out if you have the ability.

If you are tight on budget, get a quote from a company so that they have to take responsibility in case of any hiccups along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Converting a Garage

1) Can I Turn My Garage into a Kitchen?

Image Source:

The garage would make for a perfect kitchen if you were to use it as one. The best part about turning a garage into a kitchen is having a weekend barbeque out in the front yard or sharing a meal in the house. You can comfortably cook in the garage if the plumbing is done properly.

2) Can I Convert a Secluded Garage?

Image Source:

The garage does not have to be part of the house for you to convert it. A secluded garage has the potential for the best conversions you can make on a garage. Secluded garages make the best greenhouses, offices, art studios, clubhouses, and more. The garage is one of the most enjoyable spaces as long as there is proper insulation and good climate control.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of garage conversion and makeover ideas to check out. However, to make the most out of the chance to remodel the garage, consider the different ideas and go about contracting properly.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles

Kitchen Renovation Ideas For a Modern Look

The kitchen should be a space where you enjoy your time and if you are short of kitchen design ideas ...

Choosing the Best Flooring for Hot Climates

The best flooring for hot climates makes all the difference in a home. Aside from the aesthetically pleasing quality, it ...

Viking Appliance Repair

Viking Appliance Repair: When To Call A Professional And How To Find A Good One

When it comes to maintaining your home, keeping your appliances in good working order is a top priority. This is ...