Is your Melbourne family home starting to feel a bit small? If your family’s outgrowing your house (or you’re just looking for a bit of extra space), then a commonly overlooked way to increase size is to convert the garage into an additional living space. A typical two-car garage occupies around 50 square meters. That’s space you could use to extend your living or working area. It may just give you the option to create more living space without having to purchase a bigger house, or undergoing a full-scale home extension.
Dymond Homes specialise in home extensions in Melbourne’s Eastern and South Eastern Suburbs. With full service from construction through to completion, why not give yourself that outdoor space you’ve always been dreaming of?
What Type of Room Can You Create with a Garage Conversion?
The type of room you can create with your garage conversion is entirely up to you. Feel free to think outside the box here. You are only limited by your imagination, budget and your local council’s building regulations. Your garage conversion can act as a whole new room added onto the house, or it can be opened up to provide more free-flowing space to your existing home space. Be creative – write down all your ideas (big or small), and that will help your imagination flow. You will start to get a sense of which ideas are exciting you the most. Not only will it create more space for you and your family, this kind of home extension may even add some value to your property.
Once you have all your ideas, you can then start to narrow down into which ideas will suit you, your family and your budget requirements the best. Any garage conversions will need to follow local building code requirements. Depending on your home’s zoning, there may be some restrictions. But fortunately, that’s where custom home builders really help. We take the time to understand your local building restrictions and engage with engineers to make sure your ideas can come to life. To help get you started, here are some excellent garage conversion ideas:
Guesthouse. This is a common garage conversion idea for families who are looking for a cost-effective and budget-friendly remodelling project. The garage’s solid structure, the big garage doors, and its open-plan space make for a fully functional and very nice new guest suite. Perfect when you often have family or friends coming over for the holidays.
- Home gym. Creating space for working out and fitness not only save you money from gym membershipsbut is also very convenient. You can use this private gym anytime you want and you don’t have to leave your home so you save on time. Converting the garage into a fitness/home gym is a great idea.
- Home office. Home-run businesses and working from home have been rising in popularity, especially this year. More people are now working from home and need the extra space for a home office. This makes garage conversion a great project during these times.
- Children’s playroom. This is another common option for garage conversion projects. If you have kids growing up, converting your garage into a children’s playroom is an excellent idea because of the open-plan space.
- Man Cave/She Cave. Create your own oasis, where you can take time for yourself and have your own special living space, just for you. The garage makes a great space for this, as it can easily be closed off from the rest of the house, and gives you a relatively large, open space to use.
Make the Space Count
You can use the additional 50 square meters of living space not only to add aesthetics but to also increase the market value to your home. The extra space can also improve your family’s living conditions if you use it wisely. Here are some important things to consider before deciding on your garage conversion:
- Parking. Ok, this one seems obvious! But if you’re converting your garage, do you have an alternative parking situation you can use? A lot of councils in Melbourne require parking permits on the street, so make sure you have this sorted before you say goodbye to your garage.
- Choosing the Room. Some people make the mistake of deciding too fast and regretting the conversion later. For example, instead of converting the garage into a kids’ playroom, it should have been an extra bedroom instead, or vice versa.
- Number of Spaces. Another common mistake is using the converted space for a single purpose. 50 square meters is a large space if you use it well. For example, you can divide the area and build a home office and a small bedroom for future guests.
- Room Swap. You might also want to consider moving your living spaces around to maximize the use of the garage. This allows you to reorganize the rooms so you can use them optimally. It can also provide a more open-flowing living area if you have the ability to swap certain rooms around.
When using a Melbourne custom home builder, we work closely with you from the beginning to make sure any ideas you have for room configurations (new or existing) are feasible and will work well with your existing home. You don’t want to be left with any nasty surprises half-way through your garage conversion project!
Planning Your Garage Conversion / Making Your Space Livable
The garage is pretty much an open space and its primary purpose means there may not be enough elements that make for a room where you or your family can live. Here are some considerations when converting your garage into a livable room:
Melbourne winters are…well…chilly at best! And the summer days can get pretty warm. So, you’ll need to install proper insulation before that garage can be livable. Spray foams are typically used because they are easy to apply and very effective in keeping the extreme heat or cold out.
Cooling and Heating
Your existing HVAC installation might already be able to cover the cooling and heating for your converted garage. An inspector will assess if your HVAC can accommodate the expansion and will give you recommendations if you need an upgrade or not.
Garage floors typically consist of concrete slabs, as that’s what’s most practical when housing cars and machinery etc. So, when converting your garage into a livable room (children’s playroom, for example), it’s important that new flooring is installed.
Most garages usually don’t have windows. Depending on the area you live in Melbourne, most building codes require that living spaces have a minimum number (or size) of windows. So be sure to consider the cost of adding windows and window fittings etc. Windows also add more natural light, so it’s nice to have windows installed regardless.
Depending on the room you’re going to be converting your garage into, you may need to remove or replace your garage door. Just remember though, if you think you want to convert the space back into a garage later on (e.g. when selling the house), then it may not be the best option to remove the door. In that case, the best room conversion could be a home gym etc.
After the garage has been converted, it’s time to put in the furnishings, décor, and wall coverings. You want to make this space livable, light and airy so it’s comfortable for the people who will be using it. Remember too, you will need those additional touches such as lighting, appropriately placed power switches etc.
Get the Right Building Regulations and Approval
Garage conversions mean you will be changing the way the space will be used, so building permits will most likely be required. These requirements will vary, depending on where you live in Melbourne. The council’s zoning department takes care of the garage conversion permits. When working with a custom home builder, we take care of this part for you. We also work with the architect who will draft the proposed plan, which is required when applying for a permit.
Permits ensure that the garage conversion plans are aligned with the local ordinances and building codes for living spaces. For example, building codes may set the minimum number (and size) of windows that need to be installed for a certain-sized space. There will also be requirements for the room’s exit location, the number of electrical outlets, the ceiling’s height, etc. If the project can’t meet some of the requirements, there might be a chance to apply for variances. The cost of garage conversion permits varies depending on some factors and if you’re applying for a variance, there will be additional fees.
As a custom home builder, Dymond Homes works closely with both the homeowner and the council to ensure all regulations are met. Also, remember that some homeowners’ associations rules and city ordinances might require you to have covered parking. If so, this can hinder you from converting that garage into another living space. If the project requires a permit, expect that there will also be an inspection to be done after the renovation to ensure that the converted space follows all zoning requirements and building codes.
Dymond Homes – Your Garage Conversion Expert
A garage conversion is a big undertaking, and it’s something that is better left to professionals. As a leading custom home builder in Melbourne, this is where Dymond Homes can help. We have helped hundreds of families across South East Melbourne and the wider Melbourne area build, renovate, convert or extend their homes. We have trained and extensively experienced professionals who can cater to all your garage conversion requirements. We’ll be managing the whole project from start to finish so you can relax and enjoy your new room. If you would like to see how we can help with your garage conversion, get in touch with our friendly team, or call today on 1300 764 734.