garage makeovers

Garage Plates

This is a post by Emily Ford, an Australian DIY enthusiast with a passion for creating quaint living spaces with minimal effort. Based in Perth she writes for numerous publications on Flooring, DIY, Interior Design and Property Investment. She applies her trade at Property Institute and you can find her on Google+.

When thinking of a garage, greasy cloths, muddy footprints, empty boxes, and a car parked between the mayhem, immediately jumps to mind.

As décor takes on a life of its own, the most utilitarian space in the house becomes the focus of the ever-expanding world of interior design. You could do a simple clean out and splash some colour around the room, or you could go for a serious overhaul and create your dream outdoor space. Either way, you’re looking at a stylish new space to play in.

‘Garage Envy’ converted Jay Leno’s 17,000 square feet of chaotic garage space into a functional workshop and showroom for his eclectic car collection. Garage Mahal also visited the Leno abode and host Bill Goldberg said that “Jay Leno’s home garage was his hidden shame…;” clearly a shame we all share, regardless of status. As they set about cleaning Leno’s garage, the potential of the space became apparent.

Here are several inspirational ideas inspired by the great minds at Country Leisure that should motivate you to transform your grease hole into a designer haven.

1) Home Office

Tired of peeling lettuce leaves off your accounts? It’s time to move your office out of the kitchen. Transform your garage into a home office. Dutch homeowners remodelled their garage into an airy office by replacing the garage door with sliding French doors, laying light-coloured tiles, and a skylight. The difference is astounding, and stunning.

2) Man Cave

The garage is mans’ claim to at least one area of the household. It’s a wife’s junkyard, but hubby’s future man cave. Hollywood screenwriter Jack Olsen decided to run with the boyish dream. Ditch the La-Z-Boy and lay claim to your new man cave, just like Olsen did.

Man Cave

During Hollywood’s Writer’s Guild strike, Olsen converted his garage into a functional representation of his new hobbies. Dividing the garage into three areas; welding, carpentry and servicing, Olsen then made a welding table and storage lockers for each area, and set to work. He then realised that “You can’t get the car filled with sawdust and metal shavings. If you’re welding, you can’t have sawdust around it because it’ll start a fire.” So Jack installed a submerged hydraulic to elevate his Porsche when he needed more floor space. The final product would make any grown man cry with joy.

3) Girlie Locker Room

I know guys, the garage is yours. But if you want a happy lady, here is a great idea. Turn your garage into a colourful girly locker complete with functionality and style. By adding nifty storage systems such as lockers, bins, rolling drawers, you can inject life into your cluttered, concrete, and bland space. An office and mud room setup complete with KraftMaid cabinets, and extremely functional cork floors turn the whole space around. If you have large items to store, remember the walls and ceiling. GearTrack channels are great for storing larger items such as bicycles, garden rakes, ladders and hosepipes on the walls, as it makes for efficiency and ease of reference.

4) Fully Functional Living Area

Garages are the newest designer living space and people are becoming extremely creative with their visions of spacious living rooms. Turn yours into a large family room with laminated flooring, flat screen T.V. and Lay-Z-Boys. If you prefer a cosy den ambience then downlights are the perfect addition, however if you prefer more natural light then install more windows. Either way, your garage is definitely the most pragmatic space for a comfortable lounge area.

5) Home Gym

Dreaming of a home gym? Your garage is the perfect solution to your “I need to gym but don’t have the time to get there” problem. Add a nice workout space by tailoring your garage to suit your physical needs. Not only will you end up with a customised workout area, but the entire DIY exercise will have you breaking-a-sweat in no time. Or you could get the design experts to do it for you. Own your space and don’t be subjected to endless cycles of soap operas, bad music and horrible odours.

Garage Gym Transformation

Garage Mahal, converted a completed crowded garage into a resplendent private gym with space to park a car. The clutter was simply reorganised into neat storages unit which doubled as a gym accessory.  Closet organisation units are essential additions to any garage transformation. There are many stylish options out there to perfectly suit your style. This garage floor needed a serious overhaul; easily achieved with concrete resurfacing underneath a protective gym mat. Why go to town when you can go home and work off the stress?

6) Gourmet Kitchen

Maybe your current kitchen doesn’t have space for an island counter, the floor space is smaller than a shower, and the breakfast nook is non-existent. Many wannabe chefs have transformed their garages into gourmet kitchens complete with the functional beauty of a celebrity designer kitchen, with room to spare for an entertainment area.

Alfresco kitchens are becoming extremely popular. Outdoor living is the order of the day and it’s no longer about the boys standing around the BBQ while the girls sort the salads in the kitchen. Garage conversions have included entertainment areas complete with BBQ, dining and kitchen areas that combine and enhance the social experience.

7) Children’s Play Room

If you’re a décor visionary with the perfect home in mind it’s safe to say your sanity would probably fare better with a designated play room where children can safely play to their hearts content. You can’t say you’re turning it into a neat and tidy room, but more a wonder of organised chaos because there are kids involved, but your home will be a vision of neatness.

There are kids involved so the garage doors need to be child-proofed before throwing on a splash of brightly coloured paint. Next is the floor; a coat of paint won’t do because concrete gets cold and bumps on the head are serious issues. Gym-, playground mats, or rubber floor tiles are the perfect solution. There are many interchangeable options available to add brightness and fun to the playroom. Use exciting, and wacky colours, murals and storage units to liven, and neaten the area.

Once you’ve got the storage and colours in place then look at exciting additions such as games consoles, basketball nets and foosball tables to get the party started.

Garage conversions are exciting because the space is so versatile and the potential is vast. If you’re seriously considering transforming your garage, contact the professionals for advice or look around here for inspiration. No more muddy footprints, old dog blankets, greasy rags, and mouldy boxes to deal with. What an absolute pleasure.


  1. Thank you for the mention of my garage! It might just be my computer, but it appears as though you illustrated the ‘Man Cave’ section with a picture of a garage band. I’m not sure if this will work, but here’s a picture of the garage you’re talking about — or at least a link to it.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here