8 Tips From a Pro on Turning Your Garage Into Extra Living Space

Already using every spare inch of your home? Think again.

Carrie Locklyn in her  garage, which she uses as a studio for Casper Sleep brand and a guest room. / Photo courtesy of Carrie Locklyn

Meet your garage, an oft-overlooked space that can realistically be transformed into an extra room. Here’s how to start.


This is step number one. The clearer and cleaner the space, the easier it is to start reimagining.

Split into sections

Garages are the OG multi-use rooms and will likely need to stay that way: a long tool bench to create an open workspace; a designated workout area that houses weights and other related equipment; possibly a corner chair with a side table and lamp to delineate a quiet spot to read. By defining the purpose of each area in your garage, you’ll get much more out of it.

Focus on flooring

With stuff cleared out and all areas defined, start at the bottom — flooring. Laying luxury vinyl planking (LVP) or even just a large outdoor throw rug quickly turns a concrete box into a living space.

Revamp the walls

Those four walls are the key to your serenity. If yours have drywall, break out the paint. If not, hang floor-length drapes to cover them up. Now we’re really starting to bring in some personality!

Add lighting

Adding a floor lamp, taking out the generic overhead lights for a chandelier (why not?), or even putting up some string lights further softens the space, giving good vibes you never knew could exist in a garage.

Save space

Of course, you’ll still need to store some belongings, so go vertical with ceiling and wall-mounted storage. Reserve that precious floor space.

Control the climate

Install fans to get the air moving in the summer and floor heaters to keep you cozy in the chillier months. You can’t create a welcoming environment without them.

Don’t rush it

Personal spaces are exactly that — personal. Take your time, and relish the process of creating your new multi-functional bonus room.

Carrie Locklyn is a South Jersey-based designer for HGTV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible. @Carrie_Locklyn.

Published as “Room to Grow” in the December 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.