Is it practical to turn your garage into a family room?

Turning a Garage into a Family Room

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Turning a Garage into a Family Room

We'd like to turn our attached garage into a family room. What's the cheapest and easiest way to do it? I'd like to have it permitted so we don't have problems when we want to sell. Is it practical to change a garage into a family room? Or are we attempting the impossible?

Turning a Garage into Family Room Is Easy

You actually have an easy job ahead of you, construction-wise. Since you want it permitted and permanent, you should go to an accredited architect and have him/her draw the plans up for him. Basically all you'll be doing is finishing a framed space. You'll be replacing the big door with a wall, running electric and other utilities in, insulating, and then finishing with drywall and flooring. Consider using the boxed laminate stuff. It comes with insulation/leveling mats and can be fitted together easily. It may cost a pretty penny, but if you keep your eyes open for sales and clearances, you may be able to cut the materials cost almost in half of the estimated total.

Don't Do It!

I was watching HGTV's Bang for Your Buck, and if you are planning on reselling your home, don't change the garage. People pay to have garages. It will bring down the value of your home.
Maureen (via Facebook)

Best of Both Worlds

We turned our garage into a family room without removing the overhead door and we were glad we left it. We built a wall in front of the big door with double French doors in the middle and two large picture windows on each side. The original door remains intact and still slides down right behind the wall. It's great for security. We painted the garage walls with light colored paint, then added a low pile carpet and a big screen TV. As a realtor, I know garages are a real "must have" for some families. By doing it this way, if you demolish the wall and rip out the carpet, your garage value is still intact. This has worked well for us for years now.

Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?

Increased Value of House

My dad did this many years ago. He applied for the permit and did the work himself or had a few friends help. He was able to take his time as it was only a garage to begin with and not being used for anything outside of that. It was the best thing he ever did and was the most used room in the house. It started out as a double car garage and ended up a very nice family room/dining room combination with a wood burning fireplace. After that job was completed, he was able to turn the old living room into a bedroom, turning a three-bedroom house into a four-bedroom house. It increased the value of the house and was a win-win situation. I definitely recommend doing it!

Consider Heating when Turning Garage into Family Room

Please remember that garages can be cold in winter! We made the mistake of a do-it-yourself makeover, which, while quite beautiful, could only be used half of the year. Do put in windows, even if you have to raise the roof.

Take the Next Step:

  • Do you need to finance your garage conversion? See if a HELOC is a smart option for financing this project.
  • Home improvements can be costly. For many projects, we can help you save. Just visit the Home Improvement section of the Dollar Stretcher Library before you start that next project.
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