[info_box]Converting your garage is an affordable way to increase your living or working space. There are a lot of great things you can do with the extra room. Here’s an overview of the options you have for your garage conversion.[/info_box]

Garage converted to a kitchenGeneral Living Space

A new family room or game room is space everyone will enjoy. Common elements include home theater equipment, a pool table, book shelves, a game table, a gaming console and comfortable couches and chairs. A half-bath or full bath is a great addition if your home is already short on bathroom facilities.

The space could be turned into an apartment as well, with a bedroom space and a bathroom to accommodate an elderly parent you want close, an adult child who has returned home or to provide a place for frequent guests.

Work Space

Converting a garage to a home office is very popular since more people are working from home. Having a separate entrance from the house to accommodate work-related visitors helps you keep work and home separate. A comfortable, fully-equipped home office gives new meaning to building your business out of the garage.

If the work you do is more physical, converting the space to a workshop makes sense. Whether the work you plan is a hobby or a business upstart, having a well-equipped workshop at home has many advantages.

Master Suite

When kids get bigger and no longer want to share a bedroom with a sibling, many couples gladly give up a small bedroom in the house for a new master bedroom in converted space. With 300-500 square feet to work with, you really can put together the master suite you’ve been dreaming about.

Man Cave

Guys like their space, and they like to do with it what they please. Man cave themes are endless. Paint the walls in the colors of your favorite team or driver and add rugs, light fixtures, bar stools and other accessories featuring the logo. Hunters and fisherman love an outdoor theme with knotty pine walls featuring a few mounted trophies. If you enjoy a good cigar, turn the space into a cigar bar with a well-stocked humidor, wet bar and comfortable leather furnishings.

Education Center

Having dedicated study space will encourage learning in students of all ages. You can produce the right atmosphere by outfitting the room with school computers, good lighting and comfortable work areas while keeping distractions out. Color experts say that blue helps with concentration and is ideal for math and science. Green sparks creativity. Colors to avoid include orange, yellow and red because they make kids energetic.

Hobby or Professional Studio

You can turn your garage space into an art studio with plenty of natural light or photographic studio with a dark room or computer equipped with Photoshop. Add acoustical panels to the walls and you’ve got the ideal setting for a music studio.

As you can see, exciting possibilities abound. There’s no reason you can’t combine some of these too, or add your own ideas to truly customize the space to fit your needs and desires.

What About a Permit?

This question comes up often. The simple answer is that you need a permit for anything more than painting the walls and floor. If you add electrical, plumbing or mechanical improvements, you need a permit. If you frame in the space where the garage door was, you need a permit. Keep in mind that the permitting process protects you. The inspectors will make sure that things are done in a safe way. Plus, the work must be covered by a permit for insurance purposes. If you do work without a permit and the house burns down or gets flooded by a loose pipe, you’ll have trouble getting reimbursed.