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From playrooms and offices, to art studios and gyms – no longer does a garage have to mean a place to park your car overnight. Converting a garage to a useable living space can add 10% or more to the value of a home; with little disruption on a day to day basis as works are carried out. With the cost of moving ever on the increase, and the need for additional living space at an all-time high, people are getting more and more creative with their living spaces.

There are various considerations you will need to make before a garage conversion, so take a read through our guide before you start collating quotes from builders.

1.Your garage type

Garages tend to fall into three categories; each comes with its own considerations:

Attached or Integrated: A garage connected to the main part of the house, sometimes to the side but often projecting out from the front of the house with a bedroom above. These garages are can usually be accessed from inside the house, making the building works easier.

Detached: If a garage is detached it is more likely that you will need to apply for planning permission to change its intended use if it is a separate building.

2.Your garage size

A single garage can give you around 14m² of extra space and would be ideal for a home office, guest bedroom or playroom.

A double garage can add around 28m² meaning the additional space could be used for both living and storage – or even part remain as a garage.

3.But how do I know if I can convert my garage?

A good place to start is to call your local planning department and give them your address. They can usually tell you if you are in a Conservation Area or if there are any restrictive covenants that will mean you need planning permission.

You must also submit a Building Notice to your local authority or private building control company (this costs approx. £324). They will visit throughout the conversion and issue a final certificate to sign the work off at the end. They will be looking at:

  • Ventilation
  • Damp-proofing
  • Insulation
  • Fireproofing
  • Fire escape routes
  • Structural soundness

For more information on planning consent visit www.planningportal.gov.uk.

4.How could I convert my garage?

Most garages are long and narrow as they were built to house vehicles.  However converting a garage is still a possibility to make great use of the space whether it is a playroom for younger kids or den for older ones, a shower room, utility room or an office.  Stud walls can be used to divide space and maximise use, particularly when it comes to effective storage. Where garages adjoin the kitchen, knocking out the wall between the two in order to create one larger open-plan kitchen-diner is a popular option. Other uses could be a home gym, home cinema, additional bedroom or separate annexe (although this may be subject to planning consent).

You certainly need to do your homework first.  In many urban areas for example where parking is restricted, a garage can often be worth more than an additional room, so do your research on prices of comparable houses with and without garages before you make any big decisions.  Also don’t forget you will need to find homes for everything currently stored in your garage, so if its full of garden tools and equipment or your washer/drier lives there – factor in where those items will end up!

5.Design details

Making a conversion look like a natural part of your home is vital when it comes to the future saleability of your home. Before converting a garage, commission scaled drawings of the finished project and include details such as power sockets and furniture layout.  The garage floor will usually be lower than the floor level in the existing house so raise the ceiling if it allows, to avoid a step down into the room.

Consider fitting extra windows to give the space a room rather than conversion feel and wall to ceiling windows or bi-folding doors would work great if backing on to the garden. New windows won’t usually need planning permission but will need to be energy-efficient and double-glazed to be approved by building control.

Choose paint colours that give a feeling or space, mirrors will reflect the light and invest in furniture that is the right size; too big and the room will feel cluttered.

 6.What will it cost?

Typically a garage conversion costs from £5,000 for a basic single space up to around £15,000 for a basic double, but it can cost much more depending on spec and amount of work required. How well the garage is built will dictate the costs; converting a poorly constructed garage could cost the same as demolishing it and building a new extension.  Also cost varies greatly depending on where you live!

Apollo Interiors are expert design and build contractors, with vast experience in the Residential market.  We have undertaken many garage and loft conversions through to double story extensions and full property refurbishments.  Talk to us if you are considering converting a garage into a room or a general home improvement project and visit our residential page for examples of our recent projects.

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