If you’re one of the many people who work from home—at least part of the time—you understand the need to separate work and home life. You also understand how challenging that can be without a dedicated workspace that facilitates productivity. Most households are pretty full, so it can make you feel like your hands are tied.
While it may be possible to squeeze your workstation into an unused attic, hallway closet, or corner of the living room, an alternative solution is transforming your garage. Having a workstation that’s set apart from your main living area equates to space to comfortably work and receive visitors, yet you have all the comfort and convenience of being at home. Such an update may even boost the value of your home.
A Healthy Career details how to create a productive workspace in your garage.
Clear the space.
For the first order of business—clear out your garage to make room for the transformation. If you’re like most people, your garage has a lot of stuff in it. If you’ve decided that you don’t mind parking in the driveway, it’s time to address any tools, equipment, and/or household items that you have stored in the garage. Moving everything outwill create a blank slate, which makes it easier to envision your future office and formulate a design plan.
If you’re limited on storage space in your home, consider renting a self-storage unit for any overflow items. Renting a storage unit will cost some money, but when you compare that to the cost of renting an office space, you’ll be saving a significant amount.
Another suggestion is to add a shed. If you have some space at the side of the house or in the backyard, it gets your belongings out from underfoot and keeps them close at hand. Big retailers like Home Depot have prefab models as well as custom versions, and installation can be arranged when you purchase.
Establish temperature control.
You will want to make sure that your garage office has heating and air conditioning. To help with temperature regulation, consider adding an extra layer of drywall to the space—or at least insulation. Then, get estimates for how much it would cost to extend your home’s HVAC to the garage compared to adding a separate unit.
Along with putting up insulation/drywall, you need to make sure your garage door is well-sealed. Otherwise, you risk heat and air leaking out, which can result in high energy expenses. Some people find it a worthwhile investment to have a new garage door installed.
Establish an internet connection.
Since you’re working from home, it’s likely that internet access is vital to your business. Most garages are not wired for an internet connection, and you will need to get that in place before you put the final touches on your space. It can be expensive to bring out a professional to wire your garage. So consider using a portable WiFi device, such as a global modem or jetpack. Chron points out you may even be able to write some of your internet usage off on your taxes as well.
Decide on the flooring.
There’s one more thing you need to do before putting the final touches on your garage office (i.e., painting, furnishing, decorating): determine what kind of floor you want. If your garage has a concrete floor, treating the floor and adding an area rug or two might be the most cost-effective way to make the space attractive and comfortable. Or you can install laminate flooring. It really depends on your vision and budget for the office.
Find tax relief.
If you’re adding a home office space in your home, you may be able to write off much of these expenses. Speaking of taxes, if you’re revamping your garage for a budding business venture, think about starting an LLC. An LLC allows you to take advantage of pass-through taxation; essentially, this allows you to avoid paying taxes twice. An LLC also offers asset protection, and it’s easy and inexpensive to establish if you use a formation service.
Your garage could provide the ideal work area for you to focus and be productive. Prepare your garage to be transformed by thoroughly cleaning it out, establishing temperature control and internet access, and determining what to do with the floor. Then, you’ll be ready to put the final touches on your new home office through furnishing and decorating!
Emma Grace Brown lives her life by her rules; and it works! When she’s not snuggling puppies, Emma promotes female empowerment through her website. Her mission is to help those who live with self-doubt to realize they don’t have to mold themselves to conventionality.