When converting all or part of your garage to living space, you’ve got plenty of good options to consider for the walls, windows and ceiling. This garage conversion guide will give you ideas for your project. See our pages on garage flooring, garage cabinets and other elements of the project for more ideas on how to pull the entire design together.
The simplest thing to do is to drywall and paint. It’s affordable, and you’ve got unlimited color choices. Adding cabinets to finished walls is easy. This is a good look for all types of living space, especially living rooms, apartments, master bedroom suites and home offices.
Wood paneling is an attractive choice for many types of conversions. Dark mahogany paneling goes well in a cigar bar, office or library. Oak is a great choice for a family room or game room. Knotty pine is ideal for a man cave with an outdoors/hunting theme.
Brick veneer and cultured field stone can be beautiful in the right setting. When used, these choices are often installed on just one or two walls or employed around a fireplace and chimney. Both brick and stone veneer come in a wide range of styles and colors to give you just the right appearance for your project.
Tile isn’t typically used to cover an entire wall, but it makes a great backsplash. If you’re converting the space to a kitchen, consider tile for above the countertops all the way to the ceiling. Subway tile is just one of the popular wall tiles you might like for your project.
Ventilation and light are essential for your project. Your window options are the same as if you were building a home addition or new home. For the front of the garage, a combination window using a picture window with sliding or double-hung windows is a popular choice. Avoid casement or awning windows that open outward over the driveway to prevent issues with parking or kids riding bikes. The same is true if you’ve got a deck at the back of the garage.
If you’ve got an attractive landscape in back, a bay or bow window can be a dynamic choice in a garage conversion to a living room or a home office. For extra light, consider fixed rectangle, round or half-round windows for high on the wall. If you plan to cool with a window AC, then single-hung or double-hung windows make sense. Of course, choosing a wall AC is another option, so you don’t have to sacrifice window space.
If your space is going to be used as a game room, kid’s area or man cave, consider ordering windows with glass that is resistant to impact or shattering. Impact-resistant glass is also a good choice if you’re concerned about security or for the front of the garage if there’s a basketball hoop out there. For windows facing south or west, consider having the glass tinted to keep out the heat and glare. Energy Star glass is also available that will help control energy costs in your conversion.
The most common ceilings for conversions are drywall and drop ceilings. Drywall has a more finished look, though drop ceilings can be attractive too. Lighting can be installed in either type, though drywall gives you better options for recessed lighting and track lighting.
Consider leaving an access door to the attic, so you can use the space for storage. Lay OSB or plywood across the trusses, and you’ll have storage for even very heavy objects. If you’re planning to locate HVAC equipment in the attic, don’t finish the ceiling until the equipment has been installed.