Whether you want to drastically improve the way you use your garage, or simply want it to boost the market value of your home, here are 5 options, provided by Dakota Murphey, to maximise space and leave you wondering why you didn’t try them sooner…
1. Clear the Clutter
Decluttering is by far the most effective way of making your garage look and feel like a bigger space. Depending on the size of your garage (and how much you use it for storage), dedicate an afternoon, day or entire weekend to removing everything inside, and sorting into piles to keep, sell, donate and bin. Be practical: if you haven’t used it in the last year, then you probably won’t miss it when it’s gone.
You might be able to get some money for sports and fitness equipment (certainly more productive than it taking up space), and it’s probably best to call time on those half-completed DIY projects you haven’t touched for months. Enlisting some friends and family can speed up the process, and help you make any tough calls. Once you’ve finished sorting, don’t put anything other than the “keep” pile back inside – take it straight to a recycling bank, skip or charity shop.
2. Streamline your Storage
Regardless of what you usually keep in your garage, it’s always worth taking the time to look at the space and consider what the most effective storage arrangement might be. It’s easy to just cram everything into cardboard boxes and stack them precariously on top of each other, but this isn’t safe, practical or especially attractive.
Floor-to-ceiling shelves are an easy way to maximise space in a garage, and you can combine them with peg boards and wall racks for a flexible, minimal way to keep awkwardly-shaped items off the floor. If boxes really are the easiest storage for your garage, then now is the best time to replace soggy cardboard and shredded bin bags with clean, watertight boxes that can protect your belongings from damp and pests.
If you don’t have much (or any) shelf storage then make sure you use boxes that safely stack. Transparent boxes will make it quick and easy to find things later, but clearly labelled opaque boxes can look much neater overall. Whatever storage you decide upon, break the habit of leaving stuff on the floor – the more floor you can see, the bigger (and more inviting) your garage will look.
3. Get Your Flooring Covered
While we’re on the subject of floors, it’s time to take a proper look at it. Once your garage floor is completely clear of miscellaneous bits and pieces, give it a thorough wash. For all its durability, bare concrete can be difficult to keep clean, is particularly susceptible stains and often leaves a garage looking unfinished.
A quick option is to coat the floor with a concrete paint or resin to protect the garage floor from oil and chemical stains, but it can be difficult to get these coatings to stick (particularly if your garage gets damp). Another possibility is laying a full covering, either with floor tiles or mats. There are several material options to choose from for various level of durability and flexibility, and hundreds of colours and patterns available, so have fun with it!
4. Make an Entrance
It’s the first thing you see, but replacing the garage door is often the last thing on our minds. Upgrading from a tired, damaged or flimsy door doesn’t have to break the bank, and making your garage more practical – and beautiful – can add instant value to your home.
Roller doors take up minimal space, and allow you to park much closer than traditional doors (making a huge difference if you have a short driveway). If space is less of an issue, installing up and over garage doors can provide excellent security, and can easily be installed with automatic opening systems. When choosing a new door, consider the overall style and colour of your home exterior and find something that blends well.
5. Think: Light and Bright
In the human brain, light equals space. Capitalise on this illusion by making sure your windows (if you have any) are clean, cobweb free and not obstructed by clutter. If you’re worried about people snooping through unfrosted windows, then there are several hacks for imitating window frosting that will afford you the same privacy.
Windows or not, insufficient lighting can make even the cleanest garage look dingy, so invest a little into replacing traditional bulbs with a modern LED fixture. Not only will your garage look much brighter, you’ll save on your energy bills and avoid arguing over who is going to change the bulb when it goes… because an LED one won’t!