10 Ways to Alter Your Existing Floor Plan


Make a Great Garage

This couple turned their garage into a home office.
This couple turned their garage into a home office.

Is your house feeling cramped or overcrowded? Evict your car and turn your garage into a spectacular party room or man cave! Garages are a great way to add square footage to your living space with relatively minor modifications. And they're also usually roomy enough for plenty of layout options.

Before diving into a garage renovation project, be sure to consider what it will take to make the space habitable. Is your garage currently wired with electricity? If so, space heaters may be all you need to keep warm in winter. Do you need a bathroom in your garage get-away? If so, adding a plumbing system will substantially increase the scope and cost of the project.

If you want to keep your car's parking spot, consider building a yoga space or art studio on top of the existing garage. In that case, you'd begin by removing the roof and building a floor that can accommodate the added level. Just be sure you've sealed the lower level ceiling so that carbon monoxide and other gases don't penetrate the space. You might still want to include fans and plenty of windows in your above-garage abode just to be sure the air is kept clean. Once you've framed out your new space, just replace the roof and voilá ... you have a fabulous new room.

One potential problem with converting garages into living spaces is zoning. Cities vary greatly in their tolerance of such renovations, so be sure to check with your local zoning office.