In many homes, the garage is one of those forgotten spaces. We know it exists. We use it for the basics like parking a vehicle and storing a random assortment of items. We don’t use it to its fullest potential, though. For that reason, many homeowners don’t realize what they’re missing until they do a garage makeover. Their garage becomes a whole new usable and useful space they never knew they had.
Owning a home with a nice garage interior (and exterior) is something most homeowners want, but too few take action to make it happen.
Only 11% of homeowners don’t want to improve their garage in some way, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.
Junk-filled garage interiors with cracked and stained floors, unfinished walls and ceilings, and virtually no sense of decor are why many homeowners feel embarrassed leaving their garage door open.
Want to turn your garage into a part of your home that’s as functional, comfortable, and attractive as the rest of the living spaces in your home? Here are pro tips that will create a nice garage interior in any home.
1. Ditch the Junk
It’s a simple fact that having a nicer garage interior doesn’t happen unless the junk that’s been amassing over many years in your garage is jettisoned. Adhere to the “one year rule” that can be utilized for any space (whether it’s a closet, workspace, or junk drawer) being put in order: If you haven’t used it in a year or more, get rid of it! After all, if you haven’t used something in over a year, do you really need it?
Ditching your junk to free up floor space, wall space, and storage space will also make the garage easier to clean and automatically more aesthetically pleasing. But that’s just the first step.
2. A Showroom-Quality Floor Creates a Nicer Garage Interior
An appealing garage floor has a much greater bearing on how the space looks than you might think. Until the past 10-15 years, a garage floor was seen as a gray, nondescript, functional surface. Modern floor coatings that are professionally applied have been ground-breaking for garage aesthetics, however.
High-quality products like polyurea floor coatings add a clean, consistent look to a garage’s floor surface and can be custom-tailored with designer colors that produce a showroom-quality appearance.
If you live in a colder climate, you don’t have to fret about deferring your garage makeover project until the spring or summer in order to have the floor coated. One of the many advantages that polyurea coatings have over epoxy floor coatings is that they can be applied year-round in virtually any type of temperature.
3. Create Organizational Zones
To maximize the space in your garage, set aside separate zones for different types of items. For instance, create one zone for sports equipment like baseball gloves and golf clubs, and another for garden tools like shovels and rakes. Zones nearest the door can be for items you use often, such as coats and pantry overflow.
4. Utilize the Garage Walls for More Storage
A garage can have the latest and most chic decorating scheme but that will all go to waste if there aren’t specific storage systems in place so the room stays neat.
Utilizing high-quality storage systems to keep tools, sports equipment, and other items off the floor goes hand in hand with implementing and keeping a nice garage interior.
When it comes to organizing tools, equipment, and other paraphernalia in your garage, a variety of wall-mounted systems are affordable, effective, and great at saving space. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options:
Pegboard Storage Systems
Pegboard is an old favorite for garage storage, and it continues to be a simple, economical, and versatile choice. A pegboard system is also easy to install, making it a great project for do-it-yourselfers.
Standard pegboard is a manufactured hardboard product that comes drilled with rows and columns of holes meant to hold tools.
Pegboards can be painted or left natural. Light colors are usually best because they contrast with dark tools allowing you to see your gear without difficulty. To take organization a step further, some people like to outline the shapes of tools on the pegboard so they always know where to place each item after use.
Pegboards can also be used for items beyond tools, such as hanging scooters or sports equipment.
Metal Wall Storage Grids
Metal wall storage grids are another attractive and sturdy way to keep your garage organized. Their durable construction can support a variety of hooks, baskets, shelves, and other accessories.
Depending on the weight of the items you intend to hang them from, you may want to attach them to rafters or joists.
Slatwall Garage Storage
“Slatwall” storage systems have been used for years for commercial storage displays to hang racks and shelves for merchandise. Now you can use them at home to organize your garage. These systems consist of grooved wall panels that have shelves, hooks, baskets, and cabinets that clip onto or slide into for flexible, coordinated storage.
5. Cabinets Keep Things Neat and Out of Sight
Not everything has to hang from the walls. Adding cabinets to your garage is a great way to stash smaller items, trash, recycling bins, shop vac or compressor, and valuables or dangerous chemicals you want to be locked up.
Custom cabinet systems are worth the extra cost. Compared to off-the-shelf cabinets from big box stores, they provide a more precise fit in your garage, look nicer, and use higher quality materials for superior functionality and longer life.
Another overlooked reason to use more cabinet storage in the garage is your stored items are kept concealed. Eliminating viewable clutter upholds the well-kept appearance of a garage.
6. Use All That Empty Ceiling Space
Not only are most garage walls not put to good use, but so are the ceiling spaces. You only have to look upwards in most garages to discover unused space that can be transformed into invaluable storage space.
Adding overhead ceiling racks further allows you to keep the garage floor clutter-free, particularly because they can store items that are cumbersome and heavy.
Here are a few items tailor-made for ceiling rack storage:
- out-of-season patio furniture
- camping and sports equipment
- plastic storage bins
- offseason tire sets (wall-mounted tire racks are another option)
7. Repaint for a More Appealing Garage Interior
A garage’s wall and ceiling colors have a large impact on the room’s lighting conditions. That’s no small factor in an area where you’ll be parking vehicles, searching for items, or using tools.
For areas of the garage that aren’t covered by a slatwall, pegboard, or a cabinet system, a fresh coat of lighter paint will reflect light better and can go a long way to make the room brighter and more inviting. Keep in mind, however, that a lighter shade will also make dirt and grime more apparent.
If a lighter shade is preferred, semi-gloss paint is a wise choice. Semi-gloss paint makes dirt less evident and is better for cleaning without showing any wear.
8. Upgrade Your Insulation
When we refer to a “nicer, more useful garage interior,” we aren’t just speaking of a more upscale look to the garage. Your comfort level while using the garage is relevant, too.
Installing new insulation (or adding to your existing insulation) in the walls and ceiling makes this part of your home more operational when it warms up or cools down.
In both winter and summer, insulation can reduce the garage’s temperature to a more comfortable level. Due to its natural design, a home garage will experience the maximum effect of the weather changes making garage insulation a wonderfully easy upgrade project.
There are many insulation materials to choose from, as it only depends on your budget and preferences. While you may do the project yourself, hiring professionals will save you from work and ensure that the insulation feature will run smoothly and effectively for a long time.
9. Install New Lighting
A cost-effective solution to not only make your garage more useful but also nicer is to simply upgrade the lighting. Relying on a couple of 60 or 100-watt incandescent bulbs to illuminate an entire garage is outdated. Not only is the lighting quality poor, but it’s also not energy efficient.
Adding lighting fixtures like a 4-foot LED light or pot lights will provide a more modern look, better illumination for the entire space, and savings on electricity bills.
You could also add additional wall or ceiling lights over workplaces or storage racks to ensure you have all the light you need. If you have the budget and time, then you might want to consider adding a window or skylight to let some natural light and warmth enter your garage.
10. Install Small Heating and Cooling Systems
If you live in a place with extreme temperatures, those conditions will be exaggerated in your garage. This can be hard to bear if you spend time in your garage working. A good way to fix this is to install small heating and cooling systems. Most of the time, your garage doesn’t have a lot of surface area, so a small unit will work just fine. Even a small space heater or fan will go a long way.
11. Install More Electrical Outlets
Putting in a few electrical outlets makes it easier to use the tools and electronics you need to work in the garage without running lots of extension cords.
12. Buy a Dehumidifier
The garage can become a very moist place, leading to mold. Having a dehumidifier can regulate the temperature and moisture, protecting the structure in the process.
13. Put Weather Stripping On Your Garage Door
Often, garage doors will have some space between the bottom and the ground. This can make the garage extremely hot or cold depending on the season. It can also cause flooding in the garage in heavy rain. Adding weatherstripping is inexpensive, and can help prevent large fluctuations in temperature while safeguarding your garage from climate effects.
14. Gain Parking Space With a New Lift
If space is at a premium in your garage, it gets tricky trying to fit all your cars inside of it and store everything else.
A costly garage expansion or paying for yearly off-site vehicle storage might seem like your only option to gain more room. Instead, consider investing in a 4-post car lift. A car lift allows you to park two vehicles in the same space, effectively doubling your parking space.
In addition to everyday-use vehicles, car lifts are also useful for storing cars that are only driven during the year’s warmer months. With an attachment, car lifts can also store boats, jet skis, snowmobiles, and other bulky seasonal items.
And if you’re the hands-on type with your auto maintenance, car lifts are invaluable for doing work on the underside of vehicles.
15. Upgrade the Garage Doors
Great for curb appeal, but also remember garage doors have a back. Pulling into a newly designed garage and staring at garage doors that look outdated, scuffed, and weathered (even from the back) would not seem right. And maybe you’ve set up a workbench or an area to work out. Those doors will be down much of the time to maintain the privacy or because of colder weather. There will be no escaping those drab doors then, either.
Upgrading garage doors represents one way to enjoy your garage interior more and is one of the best returns on investment of any home improvement project.
16. Install an Easy Parking Guide
Have you ever dinged your car’s bumper by pulling too far into the garage? A parking guide can help eliminate this problem. To make your own guide, start by parking your car in the right spot. Then, suspend a tennis ball on a cord from the ceiling so it barely touches the front windshield. Whenever you pull into the garage, stop the car as soon as it grazes the windshield to prevent mishaps.
17. Set Up a Garage Exhaust Fan
If you ever sand, weld, solder, varnish, or work with chemicals in your garage, then it’s a good idea to install an exhaust fan to rid the area of dust and fumes. Placed on an exterior wall, the fan’s forceful suction will remove toxic fumes and airborne dust to keep the air clean in your garage.
With everything we’ve covered about making your garage more useful, we’ll leave you with 2 final thoughts.
First, don’t forget that an open garage affects your curb appeal. Neighbors and passersby notice a garage that’s messy, left unfinished, or dreary.
Second, your better-than-new garage is useful and well kept, but unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop. To keep it looking that way, get in the habit of decluttering regularly. Every two or three months should suffice. Give it a more thorough cleaning (including washing the floor) at least once a year.
Luckily, keeping it organized and useful will require less effort on your part if you use the storage and organization systems suggested here.