If you need more space and moving isn’t an option, it’s time to get creative. Does your home office need to be turned into another bedroom? How about a nursery? With a little planning, you can move your home office into your garage while you make your next move.
Your home office will need:
1) Privacy. Is your garage free-standing, or can you access it from your house? Make sure you can secure the garage via the man-door. You don’t want to open the overhead garage door every time you enter or leave the office. Wash the windows if needed and add blinds to give you some control over the natural light.
2) Temperature control. You may need a space heater for chilly days, or a window air conditioning unit. Replacing your existing garage door with an insulated one would be a good investment as well. Better thermal efficiency and noise isolation will keep the bills down while letting you work in peace.
3) Flooring. Sweep out the garage and power wash or hose down and scrub the concrete. Consider adding a coat of concrete floor paint, or get yourself a nice indoor-outdoor rug for your desk space. You’ll want a professional feel while you work. If possible, paint the walls around your workspace to help it feel a bit cleaner.
4) Storage. If you currently have a heavy metal file cabinet but don’t want to move it, consider storing important papers in clear plastic tubs. Most people who work from home use their computer more than hard copy. Determine how much paper access you need and plan your storage accordingly.
5) Space to concentrate. It may be eerie to sit at your desk and feel the whole garage space at your back. Consider investing in free-standing screens, or put up a volleyball net behind you and cover it with fabric. As possible reduce the space around you to give yourself an insular sense.
6) Task lighting. While you may have desk lamps, your garage probably has a higher ceiling and may be a bit gloomier. If you need a new lamp or a glass top work table to brighten the space, invest in them. This is your office space, and even a temporary work space needs a bit of dignity. If you limp along on cast-offs in your garage office, you’ll get resentful and won’t be able to do your best work.
If you plan to use the other half of the garage for a car, consider building a wall of storage totes or boxes between your space and the car’s space. Work out a communication system with your partner so you get a heads-up when they’re coming home. That way, you can be out of the garage or at least have papers secured when the door opens.
Should you be planning a long-term or permanent conversion of this portion of the garage, build up. Depending on the height of your garage ceiling, you could create a platform for your desk and paper storage. Under the platform you could store tools, tubs, or whatever else you need to store. You could add flooring to the platform, or a rubber mat so you could eventually set up a standing desk.
Eventually, you may choose to frame in your office area and stay in the house. The shortened area between the garage door and your office wall could be a great spot to store bikes, grills, and garden tools.