Making the most of your garage

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Having a garage is high on many people’s wish lists when it comes to buying a house, but according to recent research, almost half of Britain’s 10.6 million garages are not actually used for storing the family car.

A survey by the RAC shows that over three-quarters (77 per cent) of people use their garages for general storage, 36 per cent have turned it into a workshop for hobbies and DIY and almost one in ten use it as a gym!

If you have permission to convert your garage, this handy guide has some tips and inspiration on how you can use your garage as a true extension of your home.

Storage

Avant Homes’ properties have plenty of storage space built into them so there should not be any need to use the garage for storage. However, there are always some items that you’d rather not have clogging up hallways and bedrooms, such as bikes and golf clubs, and the garage is a fantastic place to store these if you do it in the correct way.

Active families do not just own a bike – some own scooters, tricycles and trampolines. If you fall into this category, it is worth investing in a lockable purpose-built storage system for your garage that you can put your belongings in. For any keen golfers out there, make sure your garage is completely dry before you decide to store your clubs in there as any moisture in the air can lead to rust. The same goes for lawnmowers, barbeques and any other high-value equipment.

DIY and gardening

It makes perfect sense to store paint pots, brushes, ladders and gardening equipment in your garage, especially if you do not have a shed in your garden. If you use clever storage systems for these sorts of items, there is no reason why you still cannot park your car in there as well.

The first step is to remove all of the household items you do not want to be stored in your garage as it is not ideal to be rummaging through unwanted clothes, bits of wood and old toys to access your DIY and gardening equipment.

Next, consider investing in some wall storage to keep your floor clear of clutter. You can simply hammer some nails into the walls or spend money on a wall mounted solution – the choice is yours. Either way, this will enable you to hang all of your tools on the wall so they are within easy reach. It is also worth installing some shelving that can house items such as paint pots, buckets and brushes.

If you intend to use your garage to actually do DIY, such as painting doors and sawing wood, it is important to ensure you have adequate lighting in there. Make sure your new ‘workshop’ also has plenty of power sockets to keep your power tools charged, or use an extension if necessary.

Gym

Do you wish you had enough bedrooms in your home to turn one of them into a gym? Well, if you convert your garage into a gym not only will you not be sacrificing a bedroom, you will also save money on expensive gym membership and avoid crowds of people jostling to use the equipment. It is wise to either install an air conditioning unit or make sure there is a window you can open to keep it fresh. In addition to your gym equipment, you could also add a flat-screen TV and mirrors to give it a proper workout atmosphere and keep you motivated.

Convert your garage

Ok, so this idea comes with a few extra pennies attached to it, but if you find that you do not use your garage for parking, why not use it as an extra room for your house? You could impress your friends by turning your unused garage into a home cinema - although you’ll need to ensure that it is sound-proofed and any windows are covered by good blackout blinds. Other alternatives for a garage conversion include a granny annexe, playroom, a home office or even an extra bedroom.

Planning permission is not usually required for converting your garage, providing the work is internal and does not involve making the building larger. However, the conversion of a garage of a habitable space will normally require approval under Building Regulations, so be wary of this before your project begins.