How to Convert Your Garage Into A Home Office

Guest blogger Sarah Landrum of Punched Clocks teaches us how to convert our garages into home offices. Score one for real estate and another one for a tax writeoff.

Whether you’re telecommuting or working to establish a new business, a home office is becoming more and more essential. Many people don’t look specifically for an office area when purchasing or renting a home, which can make it hard to find space for one. However, if you’d like a large area, and you aren’t afraid to take on a project, your garage can work wonderfully as an office space. It might currently be pretty cluttered, but the potential is there to turn it into a fantastic workspace. There are some steps you’ll need to take first, however:

1. Clear out! Most of the time, a garage is used for storage and cars. If you’re renovating, you’ll probably need to clear a lot of stuff out. Cars, lawnmowers, soccer balls and tools are all going to need to find a new home. It is feasible to keep some things in the garage, but it might not be the best idea to have all those things cluttering up your workstation. It can cause people, like clients, to make snap judgments about you, regardless of their truth. If you have clients that could drop by, you don’t want them walking into your garage and have it look like a garage. Try and make room for your work supplies, instead of just your home supplies.

2. Let the light in. There aren’t too many garages that have a lot of natural light. Windows and skylights aren’t exactly top priority for the area. However, you might want to consider having some windows or skylights added. In fact, you could replace your old garage door with a new one that has windows. This can actually kill two birds with one stone, since you’re able to give your office an updated, more professional look, as well as get some light in there.

3. Make sure you’ve got WiFi in there. Your business is going to require an Internet connection, and unless you already have a decent setup at your house, your garage probably doesn’t have the fastest download speed. Getting a proper setup might mean you should bring in an expert, especially since the garage isn’t a typical area for Wi-Fi. Try and avoid making a costly, messy mistake and have it done right the first time.

4. Insulate it! You probably don’t want to be working in the freezing cold or the sweltering heat. Garages are usually lightly insulated, if at all; but they aren’t likely to be connected to the heating and air conditioning of the rest of the house. In addition to needing to upgrade your garage insulation and make sure the windows and doors don’t leak outside air, you’ll also need to find a way to control the temperature.

If you’re on a budget, space heaters or a window AC unit should be able to do the trick and keep you comfy. If you’re willing to add it into your budget, you can also look at hiring an HVAC expert to come out and look at having the garage added onto the house’s central unit.

5. Design! Now that you’ve got the basics down, you can focus on how to design and organize your new office. Garages usually come with some storage space, but it’s designed to be functional, not attractive. Shelving, a desk and a chair are your basics; but an office is a big space. You’ll probably have room to add in some fun areas, like a reading nook for going over contracts in the evening or a mini-fridge to keep snacks in.

You might also want to consider throw rugs or laminate flooring. Concrete isn’t the most attractive, especially if it still has grease stains from the cars. Whatever you do, having a home office requires organization. Try and make things easy on yourself from the start and have plenty of storage space.

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