Optimizing Your Garage Space

By:   Devin Morrissey

If you’re like most people, your garage needs a little love. Usually garages are so filled with stuff that there’s no room to comfortably park a vehicle.

If you stripped it down and took everything out, what would your dream garage look like? Whether it needs a complete makeover or a few basic DIY organizational upgrades, it’s time to give the old garage some TLC, even if no one ever sees it but you.

Here are seven ideas to get your garage to function like you want and look good doing it! After all, it’s more than just a space to park your car.

Paint the Floor

The abuse a garage floor takes throughout its lifetime is probably unlike any other floor in your house. Oil stains, paint spills, and coolant leaks are all bound to happen at some point. Applying an epoxy coating to your untreated floor will help — not only to improve the appearance but to increase the resistance to stains and longevity of the floor. Epoxy painting can be a time-consuming process, but it is a project that many a DIYer chooses to tackle. Analyze the need for any floor repairs first, and make sure that the subfloor is in good condition before slapping a coat over the top of it.

Replace Lighting

If you do a lot of work in your garage, one of the first improvements to make is upgrading the lighting from fluorescent bulbs to LED bulbs. The switch will brighten up your garage considerably. You could replace the fixtures with new ones, but the cheaper option would be to convert the existing ballasts. However, it might be worth it to go ahead and purchase new lighting fixtures for roughly $20 to avoid any problems reusing old fluorescent fixtures may cause.

Install Slat Walls

If building or installing shelves don’t seem practical or convenient, consider installing slat panels to maximize storage space in your garage. A slat panel project is easy for a good DIYer. Slat panels look sharp and free up cluttered floor space. You can store your tools, ladders, bikes and gear directly on the walls. One downside is that slat panels tend to be pricey compared to other methods of wall storage. If you’re tired of looking at your shovels, rakes and tools propped up against the wall, a practical slat wall system will get everything off the ground and give the garage a more finished look.

Fold Up Workbench

For those who do actual work in their garage, a workbench is a must-have. For handy types, building a workbench is super easy and can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. A workbench that folds up against the wall is a big space saver. You can buy ready-made collapsible units or make your own from scratch like the one in this YouTube video.

Turn Junk into Art

For the creative garage owner, there are endless ways to re-purpose  your old auto parts. Who knew that scrap metal, hubcaps, tires and lug nuts could all be turned into really cool art? Car part art is a thing. You could hang your masterpieces on the garage walls or give them as gifts to friends. Check out some of these clever uses of recycled junk car parts.

Insulate the Walls

It’s fairly common for garages to be not insulated, which is a bummer because your heating and electric bills go through the roof as a result. If you want a completely finished garage, insulating the walls is a must. Foil insulation and polystyrene panels are two options. You can buy kits and do this project yourself. It could cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000 depending on the square footage and what materials you decide to go with.

Use the Ceiling for Storage

If you have a tiny garage and all your valuable garage real estate is being taken up with the important stuff that’s being used on a regular basis, you could install ceiling-mounted racks for overhead storage. Maybe it’s where your seasonal decorations or gear go when not in use. Just make sure you don’t cut corners on installing a sturdy system. You wouldn’t want bins crashing down onto your car or people walking underneath.  

Your garage storage solutions will be as unique as you are. It’s a practical space, but a garage is also like a canvas for you to create a room that fits your style and personal needs. A clutter-free, clean and classy garage is the result of your vision and effort.


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