How to Turn Your Garage into a Home Office
At this point, the odds are that your “home office” is really just a kitchen counter or a coffee table. However, with the steady cadence of businesses across the globe adopting and employees welcoming the remote work policies, home offices have become a must. WFH is here for the long haul. This calls for investing some time and money into transforming a makeshift space into a den of focus and creativity. Given they are somewhat set apart from the rest of the household, garages are perfect for home offices. If you have an empty space in your garage, why not use it to carve out a dedicated working space just for you and improve your remote-work experience? Here are some tips on how to turn your garage into a home office.
Clear the decks
It is not uncommon for garage space to turn into a one-size-fits-all dumping ground of a household. They are convenient for storing any number of things – from garden tools, holiday decorations, car accessories to the staple of many garages – miscellaneous nails and screws. If you’re ready to reclaim some space in your garage, it’s time to start clearing out the clutter! Start by figuring out what stays and what goes. Then pack the things you need to hang on neatly away in boxes and find a safe place to temporarily keep them out of the way. Your mission is to empty the entire garage out and then slowly build it back up, piece-by-piece.
It’s typically a weekend’s worth of work to declutter and scrub everything down from top to bottom. Removing motor oil stains, wiping away any mold, cleaning the garage walls and floors will call for special attention. Still, dedication will pay dividends.
Survey the space
Converting your garage into a home office begins with making sure that the space is usable and structurally safe. Once you’ve removed the clutter, take a closer look at the space you have to work with. Is the area large enough to be functional? Will you be using the space for your car as well? Where should the shelves for storage go? What’s the best place to set up the desk? Drawing up some scaled sketches should help you figure out how you plan to use the space and what it could look like with a bit of work.
If it has been a long time since you’ve bought your house, contact an architect or a surveyor to make sure your garage is suitable to convert and structurally sound. The walls, roof, and foundation should be sturdy and safe as much as the next habitable space, even though garages aren’t typically designed to be one. If constructed out of brick or block, your garage should be okay for you to use. It’ll still need an interior fit-out, however. If it is too poorly built, you’ll need to have your walls plaster-boarded and insulated. Lastly, inspect the footings to make sure they’re up to scratch.
Your garage no longer has to be humble. Start planning heating, plumbing, and electrics early, and watch as your outbuilding turns into the perfect business space, one that is comfortable all year round.
- Electricity. Employ a certified electrician, and explain early on how you intend to use the garage so they can install the adequate number of sockets and light fittings in the right place and with the correct cabling. Consider installing a bigger fuse board if your current one doesn’t have a spare circuit, and it may be a good idea to install an isolator to separate the electric supply of the house from the external supply.
- HVAC. To keep the space comfortable, add insulation in the garage, and think about installing heating and air conditioning. If your plumber isn’t able to extend your home’s HVAC system, electric wall-mounted heaters can be a great alternative that is relatively cheap to install. A portable air conditioner or a fan can help you adapt easily to warmer temperatures.
- Water supply. If you plan on getting a hot and cold-water supply into your outbuilding, and installing a toilet, basin, or shower, remember to make provision on time. If you have a boiler in your garage, make sure to include proper carbon monoxide detection and ventilation provision in your to-do list.
- Insulation. You might also want to rethink your garage door. Consider investing in a well-insulated garage door for reasons of energy efficiency and comfort. An insulated glass garage door can compensate for the lack of natural light in your garage.
Brighten it up
Proper lighting in a home office is a priority, mainly because most garages lack natural light. As always, you need a decent mix of task and ambient lighting. Moreover, with the insulated glass garage door, you can kill two birds with one stone. Actually, it’s more than just two. If you’re looking to elevate the curb appeal and add value to your property, few things could ramp it up like these sleek and stylish all-glass doors.
Add functional storage
Time to start bringing all those boxes in! Yes, with the right storage options, you won’t have any problems using your garage as a catch-all while simultaneously keeping your workplace clutter-free. Deep shelving is perfect for holding tote bins, and you can use vertical space for hanging bicycles as well as pegboards for tool organization.
Shifting to WFH is a significant lifestyle change, one that requires you to adjust your everyday habits. Sure, you can turn your garage into a home office, but you will still need to try extra hard to get your work done at home. Clean and cohesive office space can motivate you and increase your productivity. So, don’t underestimate the benefits of proper storage options and clutter management. For your desk storage, consider purchasing a large open office desk, and then add a drawer cabinet or a filing cabinet to place underneath. Stores offer them in minimal designs that are simple and stylish, so they fit nicely into most home office designs. As for on-desk storage options, you can include classic organizers, wire baskets, and accessories tray for corralling documents and paper clutter.
Style and Aesthetics
Once you have the basics in place and have turned your garage into a more comfortable and functional setting, it’s time to turn your attention to the aesthetics. This is the fun part, ladies and gentlemen, as you get to adjust the interior to fit your style and needs. Start turning those pages of interior design magazines to get your creative juices flowing, but select designs that love and are timeless.
Start with your desk and comfy office chair as the protagonists of your home office. As for the color palette, designers recommend neutral, restorative tones because they keep down any visual clutter, give the office that cool and relaxing vibe, and pair well with anything. Most shades of blue are great for workspaces. A beautiful blue not only promotes focus and productivity but also feels sophisticated and elegant. The final trick is to make it your own. Turn your garage into a home office you will love to spend time in by bringing in your favorite decorative items. Include playful art, family photographs in fun frames, colorful vases, etc.
By Mary Aspen Richardson