Of all the chores in the world, the one that I must really get motivated to complete is… cleaning the garage. I’ve found a trick for this most mundane of chores though. Don’t let the space get cluttered in the first place! Over the years we have helped our clients update their garages so that they have plenty of storage and additional space to use their garage as more than a home for their vehicles. We’ll go from the ground up to share great ideas on must have features for your garage and how to make it the envy of the neighborhood.
The flooring in your garage takes a beating. New materials can help you keep it looking like new. Epoxy floor coatings can be made to look like polished granite. If you are a car collector, you want your babies to have a nice place to be displayed, and it starts with the floor. Even a simple two car garage with the right floor color and texture looks so much more polished than a cold slab of concrete. Here are a couple of examples of flooring that we love.
Moving up from the floor, we put in several electrical outlets strategically placed throughout the garage. We have friends that enjoy working with wood, and they always have a project going. They love that they can move their benches and sawhorses to different areas depending on the project they are working on and can still easily find an outlet. Place a few outlets on each wall at different heights. That helps keep cords off the ground, preventing trip hazards during garage projects.
If you like doing projects in your garage, the right combination of movable and permanent storage is paramount. Cabinets need to be placed high enough on the wall so that they are out of the way. Like inside your home, we recommend your cabinets extend up to the ceiling. Think carefully about how you are going to fill these cabinets and shelving. Items that get a lot of use should live on the shelving, while items that only get occasional use can live in the cabinetry. You might want to keep the power tools accessible on shelving and hanging from peg boards. While paints and products that could spill if accidentally bumped go in the cabinets. We also have clients that repurposed their older kitchen cabinets and reinstalled them into their garage. This is a great way to reuse materials during a remodel and it’s more cost effective than buying new cabinetry.
Another must have in a garage is plumbing. I tell most clients that your garage sink ought to be the largest one in your entire house. Things that need to get cleaned in the garage are generally large items so having that oversized sink really comes in handy. I also like to hide the sink with a good butcher’s block that sits over it when not in use. This is also a handy way to pick up some counter space if you need a little extra for a project.
If there is space available, a bathroom with a small shower is also a great addition to your garage. That bathroom area is ideal for bathing pets and people. For instance, imagine a family with several active children that enjoy riding the local bike trails. The kids would often be covered in dirt after long rides. By installing the shower in the garage, we keep the dirt there, instead of it being tracked throughout the house. It also can double as a pool bath if you don’t already have one. Try to have the garage’s back door opening to the back yard for easy bathroom and shower access. That provides the extra benefit of not having the kids run in wet bathing suits through the house to get to a restroom.
Speaking of biking, we always recommend hanging up bike racks. These can be as simple as hooks screwed into the ceiling or pull-down racks that retract up to the wall. The more we can get things up and off the floor of the garage, the nicer the space ends up looking and the easier it is to keep clean and organized.
Some of our clients also want windows in their garages. Some are needed to keep the aesthetics of the front elevation looking balanced. If the garage is set back on your property, windows aren’t essential, but I really like to have a couple in place just to allow for better air flow and to provide some natural lighting. Transom windows high up are a nice touch, allowing the extra light to get in without the need for window treatments to prevent people from looking in or seeing what you’re up to in there. Let’s face it. A dark garage is scary; this is proven by every horror film you will ever watch!
With or without windows, lighting in the garage is a must. Some people will use fluorescent lighting and that does a fine job. I just don’t like how that lighting feels in any room. We prefer to install updated LED fixtures that look sleek and provide great lighting. Honestly, I feel like I could perform brain surgery in my garage at midnight the lighting is so good! With all the bikes, tools, ladders and more in a garage, exposed bulbs seem drawn to hard objects. When you’re moving large items in the garage, a bulb is going to get hit and shatter. Consider other lighting options to avoid this.
Finally, everyone’s favorite part of the garage is the refrigerator. Everyone can use a little more space for cold beverages of your choice. Often, the fridge is the summer kitchen is pretty small and really only appropriate for drinks being consumed at the time. It’s not much help while planning for parties. A full-sized fridge is so helpful when you are entertaining to have that secondary cold storage available. As we age, it can become even more important. Some medications require refrigeration and can take up a lot of space. Having that fridge in the garage ensures your inside refrigerator can stay packed with food.
Summer is here and it’s a great time to plan a garage update. Be aware that just like everything else today, costs of building supplies have risen and items are in short supply. The great thing about a garage is how easy it is to do in stages. We can help you get a plan in place to take on the mother of all chores in a way that makes it easy to keep clean and provides you many ways to use it. Contact us know when you are ready to get started.