Short on space? These 10 garage conversion ideas will give you more room 

If you’re in need of some extra living space, converting a redundant garage could be the ideal solution. Check out these fabulous conversions for inspiration.

If your garage is little more than a dark, draughty zone for storing garden furniture, tools and other bulky equipment, you might already be toying with the idea of transforming the space into habitable accommodation.  

What you can do with the space will depend on whether you’re working with an attached garage that integrates with the rest of your floorplan, or a completely detached structure. Either way, our inspiring guide to garage conversion ideas has got you covered – read on to discover a host of suggestions for your scheme… 

front of garage conversion showing timber facade of annexeCredit: Hugh Hastings / Marraum

1. Create a home office with style

Design a dedicated work-from-home space

home office in a converted garageCredit: Resi

In a recent survey of 2,000 homeowners by home improvement specialists Eurocell, more than a third (34%) listed an office as their most desired extra room. And the perfect place to create it? A 15sq m (161ft2) single garage.  

It can feel tucked away, which is ideal if you need somewhere quiet to reside or need to have meetings with visitors. Alternatively, if you still want to feel connected to the rest of the ground floor, you can include a half wall as a room divider so it’s partly open plan, or introduce a pocket door that slides open when you want to be in the mix. 

In this project by Resi, the unused garage was converted into a light-filled zone that doubles up as a snug and home office, complete with a front-facing bay window. “Use natural light to make the space feel larger,” says Oliver Burgess, architect and design studio manager at Resi. “Rooflights can also help with this as a cost-effective way to provide additional light through all aspects of the garage.” 


2. Design a hobby studio

Indulge in a space for you

hobby art studio in a converted garageCredit: Bliss Interiors

Whether you’re a passionate painter or want to set up a dedicated space for your sewing machine or a marvellous train set, converting your garage into a custom-built zone for crafty hobbies offers a fantastic way to repurpose the space.  

Garage conversion ideas that incorporate clever and varied storage solutions for your equipment will help maximise the area. And consider what sort of lighting you need: are you after a light-filled space full of natural light or would you prefer a room with lots of layered lighting, perhaps focusing on task lighting for intricate work? 

This garage conversion was designed by Bliss Interiors for a homeowner who wanted to transform the underused garage into a sunny art studio. 

3. Squeeze in an extra reception room

Create extra living space

small living room in converted garageCredit: Resi

Adding an extra lounge to your home could be a fantastic way to make the most of your former garage – especially if your existing living space is open plan, and you’re looking for a cosy, quiet alternative to kick back with a good book.  

“Multipurpose furniture is a godsend if you’re looking to make the most of a small space,” says Mike Vasiliou, director at DoBuild. For instance, investing in a fold-out sofa bed means the space can easily double up as an additional guest room when visitors come to stay.

4. Convert the space into a useful utility

Define a dedicated space for washing and household essentials

compact utility room in converted garageCredit: Tim Mitchell
Architect Your Home transformed the garage of this home into a useful utility

If your goal is to free up space in the kitchen, relocating laundry facilities, such as the washing machine and tumble dryer, to a dedicated utility room, could be a smart garage conversion idea.  

You may have a garage that already has a back or side door, leading out onto the garden – very handy to access the washing line. If you don’t already have an external door, think about adding one. Including a back or side door to this space means you have the option to double up your utility as a boot room – a place to kick off those muddy walking boots and dry the dog after a wet walk, too. 

If the garage space is narrow, consider designing the layout so that white goods stack on top of each other in a purpose-built cupboard. And place a sink and worktop on one wall in a galley-style design to give you space to move about and open washing machine doors comfortably.  

5. Create a downstairs bedroom

Futureproof your home with a downstairs bedroom

new bedroom and kitchen in garage conversionCredit: French and Tye

Whether you need an accessible downstairs bedroom now (or in the future) or you’d like a guest bedroom for visiting friends and relatives, converting a garage into a downstairs bedroom can be a huge advantage. Firstly, it means you don’t have to lose existing living space to accommodate an extra bedroom. Secondly, you can plan the space that you need – incorporating wide door frames and a level threshold, a downstairs shower room and WC, or access to outside, for example.   

In this wow-factor project by Archmongers, a 1980s house was transformed by converting the detached garage at the back of the plot into a bedroom. The new bedroom was then connected to the existing house via the addition of a single-storey courtyard extension. 


6. Extend your kitchen for a bigger entertaining space

Connect a garage to your existing kitchen to go open plan

kitchen extension in garage conversionCredit: Rachel Smith

If you have an attached garage, removing the dividing walls can add a significant amount of space to your existing living areas, such as the kitchen or living room. If you are planning a bigger scheme that involves structural work and layout reconfiguration, it’s worth bringing in a professional, such as an architect or builder, to ensure you get the most out of the improvements. “The help of a professional is invaluable,” says Vasiliou. “They have an eye for detail and can save you from making costly blunders.” 

In this project by DoBuild, removing the dividing wall between what was the garage and the rest of the house opened up a large family living space, allowing the kitchen to be relocated to the space that had once been occupied by the garage. The long, slim rooflight creates a feeling of space and height, pouring sunshine into the kitchen below. A Small Studio carried out the design work. 

7. Extend into the roof to form a multipurpose space

Use roof space to create a double-height ceiling

double height roof in converted garageCredit: Tim Mitchell

If your garage has a dual-pitched roof, you might have a void, like a loft space, above the ceiling of the garage. This offers scope to open it up and create a double-height space. “You can vault the ceiling internally to maximise head room,” says Burgess. “You can potentially use this area for additional storage, by creating small mezzanine spaces.” Zoning the space into separate areas helps to define the various functions that your new room will provide. Your new room could function as a living area, guest room and family games room, for example.  

In this project by Architect Your Home, a new mezzanine level has been incorporated into a space that once held the garage. The lower level provides a new family room for relaxation and entertainment, while the upper level provides a new sleeping platform, allowing the room to double up as a guest room. 

8. Build a home gym

Incorporate an exercise studio

garage conversion with gymCredit: Motive8
Designed by Motive8, this setup demonstrates exactly what your zoned gym might look like

A large garage could provide the perfect blank canvas for a personalised exercise studio. When planning the room, consider which types of exercise you enjoy. “Use the space to encourage a regular workout routine, whatever the weather,” says Sally Ottewell, gym and spa consultant at Motive8. “With a double garage, you can add fitness zones for cardio (bike/rower), strength (dumbbells, cable machine), functional fitness (kettlebells/weighted balls) and stretching (yoga and relaxation area).”  

In a single garage space, a multi-equipment piece of kit that can do a number of things will help utilise the smaller space. Alternatively, if yoga and strength training is more your thing, then you’d certainly have space for a yoga mat, ball and stackable weights. A mirrored wall could help the space feel bigger and brighter, too. 

9. Indulge in a cinema room

Create an at-home movie theatre

home cinema room in converted garageCredit: Paul Ward

If you have a bigger budget, you could kit out a double or triple garage as a wow-factor entertainment suite or cinema room. A well-fitted zone is a great space for spending time with friends and family. 

You’d need to consider sound insulation, wiring and audio-visual aspects when designing a cinema room. There are companies that specify home cinemas who will plan all this for you. 

Zebra Home Cinema transformed this triple garage into a cinema and games room, incorporating a bar and snooker table. The spaces were zoned between the cinema, bar, games area and a plant room for the electronics and WC.

10. Add an annexe for elderly parents

Create additional space for privacy and independence

annexe in garage conversionCredit: Hugh Hastings

Having additional accommodation that’s separate from the main house can provide elderly parents or kids returning home from university with their own sense of independence, privacy and space.  

In this project, Marraum turned a dark and underused double garage into a spacious, sunny annexe containing two bedrooms, an ensuite, a kitchenette and living area. The outside of the garage was upgraded with new timber cladding, helping it stand out from the original property. 

Change of use and planning approval

If you have an attached garage, you can likely convert it into an annexe under Permitted Development rules, which means you won’t have to go down a full planning route. If your garage is detached, then you need to apply for change of use, which would require planning permission.
Sometimes Permitted Development rules for garage conversions are removed by local councils, so it’s best to get in touch with your local planning authority to check.  

converted garage case studyCredit: Oakwrights

Real-life story

“How a garage conversion created much-needed space for our family-run business”

The owners of this oak-frame garage in rural Sussex, Martin and Julie Serjeant, plus their son Sam, wanted an outbuilding that could serve multiple purposes. One of their main goals was to create a space where they’d be able to showcase products crafted by their family business, Excell Timber Windows. They approached Oakwrights to develop the design for their scheme for a multipurpose, futureproofed space. 

“What started off as a three-bay cart lodge quickly snowballed,” says Julie. “Through conversations with Zoe Grey, a regional design consultant at Oakwrights, we identified that we could accommodate a nice new home office for our timber window company in the roof area.” 

The resulting garage features a spacious storage area on the ground floor, plus an open-plan kitchen-living-dining area, plus two twin bedrooms and a bathroom. The upper level accommodates the company’s new office. 

“An aspect I really like on this design is the internal staircase,” says Grey. “It really complements the building and makes the most of the space in the way that Martin, Julie and Sam wanted to use it.” 

homeowner in converted garage working in home officeCredit: Oakwrights

Garage conversion ideas: what to consider

Take time to assess the current structure

The first step is to assess the build quality and existing condition of your current garage, including any elements, such as insulation, that might need to be upgraded. According to Burgess, access to the rest of the house is a vital design consideration: “If you’re working with an attached garage, you want the new zone to be an easily accessible space, ideally from the main hallway.” 

Remember, if you intend to make significant changes to the exterior, it’s possible that you’ll need planning permission. Changes to the front of your house will increase the likelihood of needing consent. “Most councils want you to implement design details that are in keeping with the rest of the house. Therefore, consider the existing style of the doors, windows and materials to the front façade,” says Burgess. 

The second – and much more exciting – step is brainstorming ideas for how you will use the new space. Some projects, such as the installation of a home gym, will not necessarily require a complete change of use. “You can transform the space and cover the walls with panels, such as the ones offered by Garageflex,” says Serena Edwards, a design consultant at the company. This can create a clean environment for some uses, such as home gym or DIY workshop.  

At the other end of the scale, a full conversion will likely mean bringing in a builder to take away the existing garage door, and adding brickwork, windows and doors. “This can then be used as an office space, additional bedroom, and so on,” says Edwards.

How to get the most out of your garage conversion

There are many design routes to go down

Typically, a single garage provides around 15sq m (161ft2), a double garage offers around 30sq m (333ft2), while a triple garage serves up a whopping 50sq m (538ft2), so converting the space offers plenty of scope to boost the square footage of your property. Plus, the design of many large modern vehicles means they sometimes struggle to fit inside standard single garages. Virgin Money estimates that converting your garage has the potential to add between 10% and 15% to your home’s value, too.  

The great thing about converting a garage is you already have the structure in place, so there’s less building work to contend with. Plus, the majority of garages will already have electrics. Two big ticks. However, bear in mind that most garages were designed solely for storing cars, so they are typically gloomy and cold, with no insulation. Therefore, a big part of your conversion will involve bringing the building fabric up to standard and creating a way for natural light to enter the space. Once that’s done, you can progress to the fun part of your project – deciding exactly what you want your new room to be.  

Garage conversion ideas based on size

If you’re working with a small, narrow single garage, it’s important to maximise every square inch of space. However, there’s still an abundance of possibilities for what you can achieve without undertaking additional structural work to extend your garage’s footprint.  

If you have a larger space to play with, you might seize the opportunity to create a multifunctional area. “You can carve up the space to make better use of it through multiple zones,” says Burgess. “The spaces that are closer to the centre of the house will have the least natural light, so consider these for utility/storage/cloakrooms, where natural light isn’t vital.” 

If you’re converting a detached garage, or even thinking about building one from scratch, the world is your oyster in terms of what the new space can accommodate. But remember – planning permission is more likely to be needed for detached structures, especially if you plan on creating an annexe to provide supplementary accommodation. 

Rebecca Foster

Written by Rebecca Foster she/her


Rebecca began her journalism career writing for a luxury property magazine in Bangkok, before re-locating to London and becoming a features editor for a self build magazine. She is an experienced homes and interiors journalist and has written for many homes titles, both in print and online. She has expertise on a wealth of topics — from oak frame homes to kitchen extensions. She has a passion for Victorian architecture; her dream is to extend an 1800s house.