New California laws have made it easier than ever to do a garage conversion on your property. Most homes in Los Angeles and Southern California either have an attached or detached garage, and both are suitable for a conversion. Homeowners today have many options to build out a garage conversion into a totally different and functional space. When homeowners need more space, buying a larger home is often an expensive option, while converting a garage to living space can be considerably more affordable.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable general contractors, we get inquiries every day about garage conversion projects – here are some of the most popular garage conversion ideas:
Garage Conversion Idea #1: Man-Cave (or She-Shed)
Plenty of LA homeowners are looking for ways to expand their home’s livable space, and converting a garage into a man-cave is one reasonably easy way to achieve this. A man-cave can create a great bonus space for family, friends, or just relaxation and can include a movie theater, a bar, poker table, games, etc. A she-shed garage shed plan could be a great space for relaxing, reading, crafting, painting, or enjoying a beverage with friends. If this space doesn’t require a bathroom, this kind of conversion project can be very cost-effective.
Garage Conversion Idea #2: Rental Unit
Now that ADU laws have changed and allow these spaces to be rented, many people are looking at their garage as a way to make some extra income. Converting a garage to a studio ‘apartment’ is reasonably affordable and can be achieved with a variety of ADU financing options. Even though they are small, these units are one of the most common ideas for remodeling a garage because they are popular among tenants and can provide a nice monthly cash-flow to homeowners. Rental rates in Los Angeles and Southern California are at an all-time high, so you may be surprised at the level of rental income you can achieve even for a small unit.
Related: Los Angeles ADU 2021 Rental Guide
Garage Conversion Idea #3: Guest House
One of the most common garage conversion ideas is to create a guest house, due to its flexibility to expand your home’s living space. A two-car garage can easily turn into a nicely sized bedroom, bathroom, and closet. In addition to using this space to host out-of-town guests, some homeowners might utilize the guest house for grandparents, a nanny, or a live-in housekeeper. It could also double as a great ‘separate’ space for kids’ slumber parties. Alternatively, a garage conversion can create a new master bedroom suite…in which case another, smaller bedroom can become a guest room.
Garage Conversion Idea #4: Investment Property
Real estate investors and savvy homebuyers have many garage conversion strategies as opportunities. These folks are purchasing homes with the intention of converting the garage into a separate living unit. They then rent out both the home and the new unit to separate tenants, essentially creating a ‘duplex’ from a single-family home. Having two income streams from a single property is a pretty spectacular and novel opportunity for long term cash-flow. Not to mention, the long-term increase in property value.
Garage Conversion Idea #5: Retirement Income
It’s not uncommon for seniors and retirees to find their long-time family home is too large for their current needs. But, they’re also reticent to move because they love their location near family, friends, or amenities. A great garage conversion idea for this group is to convert their garage or expand it to create an ADU that is optimized for retirees, creating a smaller home for themselves. By moving into an ADU on their own property, they get to stay in the same location while renting out their larger main home, creating an additional retirement income for themselves. Plus they get to keep an eye on their home & property to ensure it’s maintained properly and the tenants are responsible and respectful.
Garage Conversion Idea #6: Home Office
With a major shift now happening in the way people work remotely, creating a true work from home office is becoming a priority for some homeowners. Because many homes don’t have a dedicated space that can be repurposed into a real office, people are considering the idea of a garage conversion into an office for added privacy and storage space in their garage. This can be a reasonably simple & quick construction project, as creating a simple office doesn’t require adding a kitchen or bathroom to the garage. It’s even possible to create two office spaces from a standard two-car garage so that multiple people in the household can have their own private space.
Garage Conversion Idea #7: Post-College-Age Kids
So many post-college-age kids come back to live with their parents; this group has been given the name ‘boomerang kids’. These young adults want to come back and live with their parents to save money, but they also want to feel like they’re now independent adults. Some parents decide that the best way to accomplish this balance is to convert their garage into a separate unit for their child, so they can live independently without paying expensive rent.
Garage Conversion Idea #8: Fitness/Yoga Studio
As people spend more time at home, they are looking to create dedicated spaces for their hobbies or activities. Health & fitness has been rapidly growing in popularity with exciting products like the Peloton bike, but these activities need a reasonable amount of space. Some of the most popular garage conversion ideas for 2021 were turning them into active spaces. By converting a garage into a fitness or yoga studio, homeowners can create the space they need so that weights, bikes, and treadmills no longer have to share space inside a bedroom or living room. And for those people that wish to teach private fitness or yoga classes, creating a studio at home is an amazing way to earn some income without working at a gym or studio.
Garage Conversion Idea #9: Senior/Retired Parents
Families with aging parents often end up in a challenging situation once those seniors reach an age when they require some level of help or care. Once aging parents can no longer live independently, their housing options become limited to retirement or assisted living communities, which are often quite expensive. Another idea is to have mom or dad come live in the family home, but that can start to feel crowded and come with privacy issues.
That’s why people are turning their existing garage into a separate suite for their aging parents, with a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and all the other advantages of being near family.
Garage Conversion Idea #10: Music Studio
For both professional and amateur musicians, having a recording or music studio at home is often a dream come true. And many use a garage conversion to create this space. A garage is often the right size for a spacious music studio and a blank slate within which they can create the acoustic environment they want.
Garage Conversion Idea #11: Home Theater
Now is the ideal moment to construct a home theater, with many movies now having their premieres on streaming platforms. This project may be completed on a modest budget, although it does involve some electrical work and minor carpentry.
If you want to learn more about the process and costs of doing a garage conversion on your property, our friendly GreatBuildz staff would be happy to assist.
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person or learn more at www.GreatBuildz.com