From Storehouse to Headquarters: 6 Steps to Converting Your Garage into an Inspiring Home Office
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is separating work and home life. That’s when creating a home office can prove so beneficial. Having a dedicated space that’s set apart from the rest of your household can help you maintain the motivation and focus required to do your work at a high level. While a home renovation or addition is always an option, there’s a much more cost- and time-effective solution that can provide you with a unique and comfortable home office: converting your garage. This is especially a good idea if you use your garage for little more than storage space. If you want to make the most of the space you have and foster your work-life balance, here are some practical tips you should consider following.
Determine What You Need
First of all, you need to determine what kind of home office you want to design. What kind of work do you do? What hours do you work? Will you have visitors on a regular basis? No matter what your answers are, you want a space that fits your lifestyle, that you enjoy being in, and that inspires you to do your best work. This means choosing between ergonomic and custom furniture, extending your home’s phone line and Wi-Fi or adding them separately, carving out a nook in the corner of the garage, and making other design-related decisions.
Once you’ve decided what you need from your home office, you may need to get permits to convert your garage. This depends on where you live, so contact your local zoning department for more information. Obtaining permits will ensure that your plans comply with city/county building codes and ordinances for habitable spaces.
Clean, Clean, Clean
So, you’re set on a design and you have the permits. Now, it’s time to clean the garage. Start by decluttering everything in the garage and deciding whether to keep, throw away, give away, or sell each item. If you need to keep some items (e.g., holiday decorations, seasonal clothing, lawn equipment, etc.) in the garage, store them in boxes and keep them hidden. Also, be sure to thoroughly vacuum and wipe down the space to get it as clean as you can.
Consider a Hotspot Device
Most garages are not wired for the internet, and this leaves you with a couple of options: hiring a professional to install it or extend it from your home, or using a hotspot device. The former can be expensive, and if you have an unlimited cell phone plan, you may be able to put in a jetpack or global modem for much less money. Plus, you might be able to write some of the costs off on your taxes. Contact your carrier for details of how much this will cost.
Figure Out the Heat, Air, and Lighting
Chances are your garage isn’t climate controlled. This means you will have to extend your home’s HVAC, add insulation, or both. Doing both can be a significant investment, but it will also provide the most comfort and likely be the most energy-efficient solution long-term. Also, unless you have natural sunlight going through your garage, you will need to add plenty of lighting. A healthy mixture of overhead lighting and lamps can do wonders for boosting productivity.
Put on the Final Touches
Now, for the final touches. Consider painting the walls a light color to make the space feel more open, and choose a quality desk and chair. Depending on your needs, you may want to add other pieces, such as a bookshelf, sofa, armchair, and/or art and decorations.
Converting your garage is a great way to gain an inspiring home office. Once you decide what you need and get the proper permits, clean the space and determine how to set up the internet. Then, move onto the heat, air, lighting, and final furnishings. Before you know it, you’ll have yourself a home office that encourages and facilitates quality work.
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