Convert a Garage to a Home Office

As we’re all now aware, the Work from Home (WFH) revolution is now upon us. According to recent surveys, more than half of us prefer to work from our home and only occasionally go into an office. But we all like to have a clean, private, and comfortable home office. One option many people might explore is to convert a garage to a home office.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover all the things you need to know before you consider converting your garage to a home office.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, or San Diego with reliable garage conversion contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about how to convert a garage to a home office – here are some considerations, ideas, and tips to get you started.

Why Convert a Garage to a Home Office?

convert a garage to a home office space

If you have plenty of room in your home or a spare bedroom, that would certainly make an ideal space for a home office. But for many people, their house doesn’t have the adequate space to create an ideal, private home office space. But most of us do have an ‘available’ garage space that is currently used to house our cars or our storage.

A garage, especially one built to house two cars, is a large space and can certainly be converted to a home office, with room to spare. You might even consider converting half of the garage to a home office and leaving the rest for storage, etc.

Is it Hard to Convert a Garage to a Home Office?

It’s true that a garage isn’t built as ‘living space’ like the other rooms in your home. On the other hand, it has many of the same elements. It clearly already has a room, a floor, and walls. But, it also likely has electrical outlets and lights and it may have insulation and windows.

Therefore, to convert a garage to a home office, you’re not building a room from scratch, so the costs can be reasonable and fit many budgets. Assuming you don’t plan to add a bathroom or a kitchen, you don’t need any plumbing in your new garage office; a major cost savings versus doing a complete garage conversion or a guest suite.

How to Convert a Garage to a Home Office

In order to convert a garage to a home office, you’ll start with some idea of the size of the space you want to create. You’re going to be adding walls, among other systems, to your garage, so you might need a very simple plan designed by an architect or even a contractor. Your city will likely require a permit for this type of project, and they may require a plan to be submitted to their building department.

You can also use this plan, along with a remodel checklist, to get contractor estimates for this project. Keep in mind, that the more detail you can give the contractor about your scope and your material selections, the more accurate their estimate will be.

Construction Elements to Convert a Garage into a Home Office

convert a garage to a home office room

Drywall – if your walls and ceiling are just bare studs, you’ll want to hand drywall to give the space a clean, finished look. The drywall will need to be taped, mudded, and painted to complete the job.

HVAC – Your garage doesn’t have any climate control, so you’ll want to install some sort of HVAC system to keep the space comfortable. A fan will probably not be sufficient, but you could either extend your current home ducts into the garage or install a mini-split system.

Insulation – Before you close the walls and ceilings with drywall, you should insulate to help maintain the temperature inside and keep noise out.

Electrical- You probably have some electrical outlets in the garage, so you’ll just need to extend your system to add enough outlets to accommodate your new home office.

Lighting – Although you might have some basic lighting in your garage, it’s probably insufficient for your new home office workspace. You’ll want to add quality lighting such as recessed.

Internet – don’t forget to run any low-voltage internet lines you need for your work.

Flooring- you can certainly leave your floor as the existing garage concrete slab, but it’s likely that the floor is dirty, stained, or cracked. The space will look much cleaner and nicer if you add a flooring surface like laminate or vinyl plank. If you choose to keep the look of concrete floor, you can do so by polishing the existing slab.

Storage/cabinetry – You’ll certainly want some storage or cabinetry in your garage office space for your files, office equipment, etc. You can buy this as furniture or have it built into your garage to office conversion.

Windows/skylights – A garage usually doesn’t have much natural light, so you might consider adding a window or a skylight to the new space, making it much more conducive to a healthy work environment.

Cost to Convert a Garage to a Home Office

The cost to convert a garage to a home office should range between $15,000 and $30,000. It can be on the lower end of the range if you’re simply adding walls, ceilings, insulation, electrical/lighting, and extending your home’s HVAC into the space.

Alternatively, it will be on the higher end of the range if you plan to build out all the items discussed above such as flooring, windows, HVAC, cabinetry, etc. But, either way, that’s a reasonable price to pay to have an entirely new living space in your home.

 

Design and Size for Converting a Garage into a Home Office

convert a garage to a home office dog

You can use an architect/designer to plan and design a home office in your garage. Alternatively, you can probably plan it directly with your contractor if it’s not a very complicated plan. A small bedroom is approx. 10×10 feet or about 100sf. You can certainly fit an office into a small bedroom, so you can make your home office slightly smaller or slightly larger than 10×10 feet. If you have a 2-car garage and convert half of it into an office, you’ll probably get closer to 180sf…so plenty of room for an office, even one for two people to use.

Things to Consider When You Convert a Garage to a Home Office

One major thing to consider when you convert a garage to a home office is that you’re losing space for parking or storage. In terms of parking, most people plan to just park in their driveway. As far as storage goes, you might use a portion of your garage or even buy a shed for the backyard in order to accommodate your items.

Don’t forget that you’ll be using this home office everyday, so make sure you include items that will make it feel like a comfortable living space. Consider things like art, personal items to display, comfortable seating, and even maybe a mini-fridge.

City Permissions and Permits to Convert a Garage to Home Office

A majority of projects in Los Angeles and Southern California require a permit, with the exception of projects under $600 or things like paint or flooring. But to convert a garage to a home office, you’ll be doing structural (wall) work, electrical, HVAC, etc……all items that require a city permit. It’s not terribly difficult to pull a permit for a project like this  and the costs are not expensive.

Although some contractors will tell you that they prefer not to acquire a permit for this sort of project, that idea is ill-advised. By pulling a permit, you get a city inspector to come to your home several times and inspect the contractor’s work for quality. Without a permit, you have no idea if the work being performed meets today’s building code standards. The last thing you want is for your contractor to cut corners and not know it.

Finding a Contractor to Convert a Garage to Home Office

Because of the multiple trades involved in converting a garage to a home office, you will need to hire a general contractor with a B-license for this type of project. They are the only sort of contractor that can perform the work needed including structural, electrical, HVAC, etc. A general contractor either has pros on staff who are qualified to perform these tasks or they bring in qualified sub-contractors to perform these items.

There are plenty of general contractors in Los Angeles and Southern California, but it’s not always easy to find a reputable, honest one. So, the first step is to ask people in your network if they’ve worked with a great general contractor. If you can’t find at least three pros this way, you might contact a contractor ‘matchmaking’ company like GreatBuildz which has a network of pre-screened, vetted contractors that are well-suited to help with your home office project.

Construction Process & Timing to Convert Garage to Home Office

convert a garage to a home office desk

The construction process to convert a garage to a home office starts with removing or relocating any items that will get in the way of construction (lighting, plumbing lines, etc.). Then the contractor will frame out the new walls to create your space. They will then run any necessary electrical wires for lighting and outlets as well as HVAC ducts. Next, they insulate the new and existing walls and ceiling and finish it with drywall.

The drywall is finished and painted and the flooring is installed. Then any doors get hung and the trim gets added including baseboard and casing. The final step is installing the electrical outlets and lighting.

The timing to convert a garage to a home office is approx..3-4 weeks. It can take longer if you need a window or a skylight. Fortunately, you don’t need many materials that have a long lead time. The only items you should purchase well in advance are the flooring material and any windows you need as those can often take a while between order and delivery.

 

When it comes to planning and coordinating a garage conversion project, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your renovation experience.

 

GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened garage conversion contractors and provides project support from start to finish.

 

Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next remodeling project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com

 

 

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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