Is your home still “a work in progress”? One impactful way to get you a little closer to the finish line with your home’s design and completion is to finally take care of that unfinished garage.
Garages are commonly overlooked when home remodeling projects are being considered. It’s understandable that bathroom, kitchen, and floor renovation projects rank as the most popular home improvement projects year after year.
An unfinished garage deserves just as much love as those areas of the home, however.
One positive by-product of an otherwise difficult time living through the pandemic is that it’s shown us this: an unfinished living space doesn’t serve our needs to its full potential.
Why it’s time to complete your unfinished garage
Here are a few statistics that illustrate why completing an unfinished garage should be high on any homeowners remodeling priority list:
- Only 11% of homeowners say they’re satisfied with their garage and wouldn’t want to improve it. (Wall Street Journal survey)
- More than 55% of homeowners use the garage as their house’s main entryway. (Chamberlain Group study)
- A Garage Living poll found that 20% of homeowners can’t park in their garage because it’s disorganized.
- 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open. (Impulse Research survey)
- Garages ranked higher as a desirable storage space for homebuyers than basements or attics. (Braun Research survey of realtors)
A finished garage is simply a better garage
These revealing statistics provide us with five key takeaways that should provide all the inspiration we need to finish an unfinished garage:
- Most homeowners believe there’s room for improvement with their garages.
- We use our garages a lot (it’s become the new front door for many of us).
- Many garages aren’t being used for their primary function – parking vehicles.
- A messy, unfinished garage embarrasses a sizable number of homeowners.
- Garages are the most valuable storage space in a house.
An unfinished garage is like a blank canvas
As Garage Living’s Aaron Cash tells the National Association of Realtors, the company’s most common customer requests are to make their garages more functional and multipurpose.
The company’s co-founder says two of the ways they make this happen are by improving the storage capabilities of the garage and making it more hobby-friendly.
Most homeowners may see an unfinished garage as a dreary, disorganized space. Garage Living views an unfinished garage as a blank canvas, just waiting for some creative input to produce something beautiful that you can’t stop admiring.
Here are seven reasons why completing an unfinished garage to make it easier on the eyes and to make space for parking, storage, and hobbies is well worth the investment.
1. Having an unfinished garage is so last century
For the vast majority of the time that the home garage has existed (about 100 years), it was a part of the house that was viewed purely as a utilitarian space. How it looked simply didn’t matter.
Over the past couple of decades, that mindset has shifted dramatically.
Merriam Webster defines “unfinished” as “not brought to an end or to the desired final state” and “being in a rough state”. Yep, that nicely sums up the state of about 90% of the garages out there!
Is a home really finished if the garage is unfinished?
Most homes are left with unfinished garages (and sometimes basements) when the builder constructs a house. Calling them “finished homes” isn’t exactly accurate then, is it?
For so many years, it was easy to just get used to having an unfinished garage and adapting to how it looked and functioned, even though it was coming up short in both areas. Most garage interiors are not even primed and painted, if they’re drywalled at all!
Even when an effort was made to add some extra functionality to the room, it usually came in the form of ugly brown pegboard for hanging things, a few screwed-in wall hangers, and maybe some long nails for hanging yard tools.
When you think about it, it’s rather amazing that we waited for so long to wake up to the fact that having clean garages with a swanky interior design and efficient storage is something we should have been aiming for decades ago!
Why settle for having an unfinished garage?
Most people may have an unfinished garage, but why settle for the status quo and mediocrity with such a large part of your home?
In the 21st century, the value of transforming our garages into a more functional room that complements and extends the rest of our finished living spaces is being realized by more and more homeowners.
Think beyond the type of garage environment you grew up with, which prioritized functionality over aesthetics. You can have both!
2. Most garages don’t pull their weight as a storage space
One in seven Americans have a room in their home they can’t use because it’s filled with things they rarely use, according to a ClearVoice Research study. The garage is often that room.
How many times have you said, “Just put it in the garage for now”? Before too long, the inside of the garage can start to look like a garage sale that never ends.
Poor usage of our home storage spaces causes us to do wasteful things like rent self-storage units. In most cases, simply making better use of the storage space we have (particularly in the garage) and taking the time to eliminate all of the needless junk we hold onto will significantly boost the usefulness of our homes for storing things.
Not all garage storage systems are created equal
Garage storage systems don’t all provide the same level of functionality needed to maximize the storage space in the room. These are usually DIY garage storage systems like repurposed kitchen cabinetry and homemade shelving racks.
Using cheap garage storage organizers can be even worse than making them yourself. Cheap products like plastic freestanding tool caddies, flimsy budget-priced storage cabinets that rust quickly, and pegboard panels that are only 1/4″ thick don’t last as long as they should. Most DIY and cheap garage storage systems leave a lot to be desired in the looks department, too.
Choose higher-quality storage systems that are specifically designed to be used in garages, have an attractive design that adds to the room’s appearance, and provide you with a healthy degree of storage flexibility.
Make your wall and ceiling space work harder
When Garage Living is looking for ways to get the most out of our clients’ garage storage spaces, we always look at the walls and ceiling areas first.
You’d be amazed at the wealth of storage potential just waiting to be tapped in these two areas. PVC slatwall panels with hanging accessories allow you to hang up a wide range of items to keep the floor free of clutter. Slatwall also gives the garage a stylish finished appearance that looks nicer than painted drywall.
The garage’s “fifth wall” (also known as the ceiling) offers a vast amount of storage space as well. Having heavy-duty overhead racks installed provides you with lots of room to store bulky items and things that are only used seasonally.
The other garage storage solution worth investing in is cabinetry. Garage cabinets are a perfect place to store tools and anything that can’t be hung on the walls or stashed up high in racking.
3. Finished garages are more comfortable and hobby-friendly
Considering half of the people who own a home use the garage as the primary entry and exit point for their house, creating a nicer-looking, more welcoming space that doesn’t require navigating around clutter every day should be a goal.
You shouldn’t only want a tidier garage because you’re passing through it so often, though. Remodel the garage to fit your lifestyle as well.
With the right design upgrades, your garage can become more accommodating for your family’s hobbies and passions. Here are just a few examples of what we mean:
- add a garage workshop with lots of storage for your tools
- set up a home gym
- create a beautiful car showroom that shows off your luxury vehicles
- use the garage as a crafting space
- create a space to relax and read, watch movies and sporting events, or listen to podcasts
Boost your garage’s comfort level
To add to your comfort level in the garage, you can add conveniences like a garage-ready mini-fridge, TV, better WiFi, and a reliable security system. For improved climate control, add insulation and a heating and cooling system so the garage can be used year-round.
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do to make your garage more useful. Once you’re done adding some of these quality-of-life upgrades in the garage, it’ll almost feel like you’ve added an extra room to your house!
4. Your vehicles deserve a proper home
Garages were invented to store vehicles, so why do so many homeowners not use them for that purpose? The fact that so many of us are unable to use the garage for parking shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Maybe you’ve never given it much thought but the next time you’re driving through your neighborhood, keep an eye out for how many vehicles are parked in driveways or on the street.
Getting the garage organized with storage systems that open up the floor for car parking is one of the best things you can do to protect the investment you’ve made in your vehicles. First and foremost, they’ll be far more secure in a locked garage.
Sitting outside 24/7 takes a toll on the body of a vehicle over time, too. Getting them under the cover of a roof will result in fewer car washes being needed, plus you won’t have to clear off ice and snow in the winter or wait for them to warm up for as long.
A car lift, which allows you to use your ceiling space to park one vehicle above another, is an additional solution for increasing the amount of parking space in a garage.
It’s a shame when bad garages happen to nice cars
Parking a luxury car in an unfinished garage is like displaying the Mona Lisa in a run-down art gallery with bad lighting, peeling wall paint, and terrible flooring. Each of them are still things of beauty, but they lose some of their magnificence because the unattractive space they sit in is such a bad fit visually.
Your luxury vehicles should be surrounded by high-end décor that is worthy of a beautiful car showroom, because it’s a shame when bad garages happen to nice cars.
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