Did you know that over 40% of the workforce in the United States now works from home full-time? Whether you’re a remote employee for a large company or trying to start your own small business from your own home, it’s important to have a space dedicated to your work.
And what better room to convert into a workspace than your garage? By creating a garage office, you avoid giving up any rooms you’re already using or trying to work in a corner of an existing space.
Although anyone can convert a garage into an office, it takes more planning and preparation than you might think. This is why we’ve put together a guide to pulling off the ultimate garage office conversion.
With these tips, you’ll be coming up with your next great idea in your garage office in no time!
1. Clean and Declutter
The first step is to clean and declutter your garage. Now, depending on how untidy your garage is, this could be quite a task. But remember your end goal, a stunning garage office, whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Depending on the size of your garage, you might be able to use a partition to separate your workspace from your storage area. However, moving everything out is ideal.
Go through your items and get rid of anything that you haven’t used in the last year, but especially those you forgot you even had. Move any sentimental keepsakes into the attic or a closet inside your home.
Once your garage is empty, it’s time to get cleaning. There are likely dirt and cobwebs galore, so take an hour or two to wipe down the walls, sweep the ceiling and floors, and give it a good mop.
If there are any grease stains on the floor, get rid of them by using detergent, hot water, and a scrub brush. Cover the stain completely with the detergent, let it sit for 15-30 minutes, then dip your brush in the hot water and start scrubbing.
2. Consider Insulating the Space
Those who live in a particularly mild climate might be able to get away without insulating when creating their garage office. But if you use your heating and air conditioning with any regularity, you’re going to want insulation.
You’re going to be working in this space, meaning you’ll be spending many hours every day within it. Do you really want to be freezing or burning up while you’re trying to work? Not to mention, you run the risk of ruining your expensive electronics by exposing them to extreme temperatures.
There are a few things to look into when it comes to insulation: insulating the walls, an insulated garage door, and connecting your garage to your HVAC system. This is going to be one of the most expensive steps but is necessary if you want a usable space.
3. Swap Out the Lighting
Most garages have harsh fluorescent tube lights to illuminate the space. And this is fine for a typical garage, but when you convert a garage into an office, you need to get better lighting.
Having pleasant lighting is important because, unless you have windows installed, you likely won’t have a great deal of access to natural light. There are many types of indoor lighting, but when designing your office space, there are two you should focus on – ambient and task lighting.
Ambient lighting is going to be your overhead light. It should cast light over the entire space, allowing you to see clearly. Then you have your task lighting. This is a more specialized type of lighting and will come from your floor or desk lamps. Having one or two of each isn’t a bad idea.
There’s also the option of purchasing a glass garage door. This can add a modern touch to both your office space and your home as a whole. However, this might not be ideal if your garage door faces the street.
Anyone walking or driving by will be able to see the entire contents of your office, which could make you vulnerable to a break-in. That said, a glass garage door is a great choice for those whose garage faces the side or back of their lot.
4. Furnish with Ergonomics in Mind
Whether you’ll be working in your garage office alone or with a team, you need to furnish the space with ergonomics in mind. This will increase productivity and keep everyone comfortable throughout the day.
With office furniture, there are three main components: your desk, chair, and computer. Here are a few guidelines for each:
Your desk should be large enough to hold all of your work essentials (computer, speakers, desk lamp, paperwork, etc.), and tall enough that you’re able to fit your legs comfortably beneath it.
If you can, get a desk with storage attached so it’s easier to keep your workspace clean. The best desk will have a space to store your keyboard beneath the worktop, allowing you to keep your shoulders in a comfortable position and not have to rest your forearms on the desk.
A garage office conversion can be expensive, which means you might be tight on funds once you reach the furnishing and decorating step. But if you can only splurge on one thing, it should be your desk chair.
A cheap desk chair is going to be uncomfortable, sure, and that might not seem like a big deal. But that discomfort can lead to chronic back and neck pain, as well as a decrease in both your productivity and energy.
Ideally, your desk chair will support the natural curve of your spine and rise all the way up to your head. It should be cushioned, but not so soft that it doesn’t support your body weight. Your chair should also be adjustable and have armrests.
When you sit in it, you should be able to rest your feet flat on the ground, with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Armrests are a good idea because they allow you to rest your forearms and shoulders in a neutral position as you type.
Last but not least is your computer. Many of us prefer laptops, as they’re just as powerful as desktop computers nowadays but with the added benefit of portability.
That said, working on a laptop isn’t the best for your neck, as it forces you to keep your head at a downward angle while you work. To prevent this, it’s good to have a monitor separate from your laptop.
That way, you can connect your laptop to the monitor during the workday and only use the computer as a keyboard, looking straight ahead at your monitor. When you’re done for the day, you can disconnect your laptop and carry it with you.
There’s no question that a computer is an investment, but stores and companies have laptops for sale all the time. If you keep an eye out for deals, you can get a fantastic computer at a fraction of the price.
5. Decorate for Productivity
No one does their best work in a bland, sterile environment. And though you want to avoid clutter to keep your and your coworkers’ health in good shape, you should have some decoration and personal items around the office.
One thing everyone should have in their home office is a houseplant. Adding some greenery improves both the look and feel of the room, and provides a wealth of health benefits as well. Don’t worry, if you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of houseplants that are virtually self-sufficient.
You should also hang a few pieces of your favorite artwork on the walls and bring in photos of your loved ones. If you’ll have a team working with you, invite them to do the same.
Luckily, concrete flooring is in fashion, so you don’t need to cover the existing floor if you don’t want to. That said, adding a rug to make the space more welcoming doesn’t hurt. With rugs, the bigger, the better – a large area rug will not only add softness but create the illusion of more space.
Build the Garage Office of Your Dreams with These Tips
As you can see, anyone can create a garage office in their home. It just takes a bit of time and hard work. If you’re planning to convert a garage into an office, the best thing to do is map out your design first. Then, determine how much your design is going to cost.
If you already have the funds, start building! If not, you’ll know exactly how much you need to save before you can get started.
Looking for more tips and tricks for creating the ultimate home office? Be sure to check out our blog!