Converting a Garage Into a Bedroom in Orange County

There are several benefits to having additional space in your home. In Orange County, where real estate is pricey, purchasing a new house or constructing an addition may be impossible. But, as a result of California’s newly loosened ADU regulations, turning a garage into a bedroom is now a practical choice for many homeowners seeking to add much-needed space to their houses.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable general contractors, we get inquiries every day about converting a garage into a bedroom in Orange County – here are some key points you need to know.

Ideas & Strategies for Turning a Garage into a Bedroom in Orange County

You have two primary alternatives for maximizing your existing square footage to increase living space: turning your garage into a guest quarter or converting it to an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

To make a guest quarter, you must construct a bedroom along with a bathroom that includes a toilet, sink, and shower. As the name suggests, a guest suite is for guests and family members. It cannot be rented on a long-term basis.

A detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU), on the other hand, is a considerably more complicated undertaking that comprises a living room and/or bedroom with a complete bathroom and a kitchen. It has a separate entrance and is available for rental as an apartment.

In either case, it is essential to ensure that your garage conversion designs comply with your city’s requirements. Building codes differ from municipality to municipality; thus, it is advisable to engage a local general contractor with expertise in garage bedrooms during the early stages of planning and design.

Converting a Garage Into a Bedroom in Orange County 1

Things that garage conversion contractors/designers want you to consider

  • Windows. Most garages lack windows for natural light and ventilation. These are essential for converting a garage into a living area. Most building rules stipulate that windows must comprise a minimum area or proportion of the total garage wall space.
  • Walls. Insulating the walls is a crucial step in creating a comfortable garage bedroom. Also, you’ll need to install new drywall for a completed look. You must also determine if you will replace the garage door with a new wall. If not, it may be prudent to insulate the door, too.
  • Ceiling height. You should strive for a minimum ceiling height of 7 1/2 feet. This can be difficult, however, as many garage conversions require the floor to be raised to the same level as the rest of the home.
  • Illumination and outlets. The majority of garages have only one lighting fixture. To make a pleasant living area for guests or renters, you will likely need to increase the number of ceiling light fixtures and plugs for lamps and other electrical devices. Check local building rules for outlet spacing requirements.
  • Cooling and heating. The temperature in garage bedrooms must be maintained at a comfortable level. This may need the expansion of your central heating ducting. You may also add electric baseboards and wall heaters. Also, some cities with hot summer temperatures will need HVAC cooling in rental apartments.
  • Hidden utilities. It’s not unusual for home builders to install furnaces and water heaters in the garage. When designing a new living area for guests or tenants, you do not want these items to be prominent. It is usually impractical to relocate them, but you may erect non-load-bearing walls around them to keep them out of sight and out of mind.
  • Storage and parking. Turning a garage into a bedroom will result in the loss of parking and storage space. Some towns may mandate replacement covered parking if you convert your garage to a guesthouse. If you reside in one of these communities or if you dislike the notion of having your car outside exposed to the weather, you may choose to construct a carport.
    • You may have closets installed into your garage conversion for additional storage. If you intend to rent an ADU to long-term renters, it is preferable to construct a separate storage shed or invest in off-site storage.

window curtains orange county garage conversion

What are the advantages of turning a garage into a living area or bedroom?

In areas such as Orange County, where real estate is costly and relatively narrow lots make it difficult to add-on to homes, converting a garage is a simple method to maximize existing square footage.

Your new living area may be utilized to accommodate adult children returning from college or aged parents, as well as live-in nannies, housekeepers, and caretakers, assuming you construct a full guest quarter.

You may generate additional cash by renting out your ADU as an apartment. A studio ADU in Southern California may generate between $1,300 and $1,900 per month, while a one-bedroom unit can generate between $1,500 and $2,500 per month.

How much does it cost to convert a garage into a bedroom in Orange County?

The cost of your garage conversion will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the converted space, the project’s scope, and the materials you select.

In general, converting a garage into an accessory dwelling unit will cost between $95,000 and $125,000, which includes the expenses of contractor labor, raw materials, and finish materials. A guest quarter bedroom that lacks a kitchen and separate entrance would be less expensive.

In either case, there are numerous ways to save money while turning a garage into a living area. An expert garage contractor can help you clarify your alternatives and develop a budget and needs-appropriate plan.

RelatedADU Financing Guide for Homeowners Converting a Garage Into a Bedroom in Orange County

small airy kitchen garage adu

How do I convert a garage into a bedroom in Orange County?

Employing an architect/designer to draft drawings is the initial stage of the garage conversion project. Keep in mind you’ll need to be a bit patient in the beginning stages of transforming your garage into a bedroom in Orange County.

Even if the external load-bearing walls are already in place, the architect must consult a structural engineer to assess if extra structural elements are required to assure the safety of the residents of your garage bedroom. In drafting your plans, the architect will also consider local building, fire safety, and zoning regulations.

When you have approved the blueprints, the architect will submit them to the local building department for review. Depending on the number of projects awaiting permission at the building department, this can take anywhere from two weeks to many months. 

Now is the ideal time to initiate contact with general contractors to discuss your project and obtain quotes. We recommend comparing at least three bids. Be sure to consider both the bottom line and the scope of work provided in each bid to verify that you are comparing “apples to apples”.

Construction should take between two and three months once the building department has authorized your drawings and your general contractor’s crew is allowed to begin work.

Converting a Garage Into a Bedroom in Orange County 2

How to locate the most qualified general contractor for your garage bedroom conversion

There are a lot of ways to approach the process of selecting a contractor for converting a garage into a bedroom in Orange County. Our recommendation is to always hire someone you know and trust. If you have a reliable neighbor or acquaintance who recently finished a similar job, their contractor may be a good starting point.

If you don’t have references like these, it might be tough to find a contractor that is honest, trustworthy, and ethical, as well as available and within your budget! Thankfully, with GreatBuildz, it has never been simpler to identify the top contractors with our free service. Simply phone us and describe your garage conversion job, and we’ll put you in touch with three qualified general contractors that specialize in the work you’ve outlined.

RelatedHow To Find a Contractor For Converting a Garage Into a Bedroom in Orange County

At GreatBuildz, we are pleased to have cultivated a vast network of reputable ADU contractors. No matter where you reside in Southern California, you can rest easy knowing that you’re dealing with the best pros in the area.

How do we know? We have interviewed every one of our general contractors, checked reviews, spoken with their references, confirmed their insurance and licensing, and conducted additional screening. Each contractor passes our stringent screening procedure and signs our 20-point code of conduct defining expectations for professionalism and dependability.

When it comes to finding the best contractor for converting a garage into a bedroom in Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura or San Diego – GreatBuildz is simplifying the contractor search. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners 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 about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information:

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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