7 Things Every Great Garage Needs
Garages: indispensable for keeping your car out of the elements, doing messy projects without cleaning up after them, and for storing items out of sight and mind. But if you’re dissatisfied with the dark, oil-stained outbuilding on your property, read on for simple additions that can help you get the most out of this utilitarian outpost.
With all of the tasks that happen in and about the garage—from woodworking projects to fixing a busted radio to repotting plants—a sturdy work table is a must. Go the traditional route with a waist-height option, or position it so it’s tall enough for you to stand and you won’t even need to find room for a stool.
An easy-to-operate and stylish garage door invites the family to use the space. And the best thing about garage doors is that there are designs to suit any taste. Find one with windows if you want to maximize natural light. If you can’t replace the door, a coat of paint and new hardware will make it look like new.
However you use your garage, increasing storage is a must. Wall-mounted pegboard or slats keep your tools clean, organized, and easy to find. Whichever you choose, create a system to make sure everything ends up back where it belongs after use. For instance, draw tool outlines on pegboard with a paint marker so it’s easy to spot a missing tool and hang it back in place, or create a system for your kids to remember to return their playthings before coming back indoors.
Oil spots, cracks, and stains moved into your garage? It might be time to upgrade to bright, clean, and easy-to-maintain floors. A self-leveling epoxy fills in cracks and creates a stunningly smooth surface, but can yellow with UV exposure. Alternatively, polyurethane coatings are flexible, UV-resistant, and less slippery but won’t self-level—so try a mixture of both for best results.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Spring, TX
Many garages have a single flickering fluorescent fixture. That’s not ideal—they’re slow to start when it’s cold and the quality of light isn’t sufficient for working. So swap it out with pendant or recessed lighting fixtures. If you don’t want to hire an electrician, simply attach a few portable work lights to your work station. That way you’ll have low-effort task lighting for any project, day or night.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Bothell, WA
A controlled climate is a must for any great garage. Whether you use the space for woodworking, car maintenance, or off-season storage, a comfortable temperature can help keep you comfortable and safe. But before you pump heat or cooling into the garage, ensure that it’s properly insulated. Bonus: If your garage is attached to your house, additional insulation can save on your household energy costs.
A slop sink in the garage can help you manage and clean up after almost any project—and keeps you from tracking mud and dust indoors. In addition to adding in plumbing, consider maximizing your electricity. Extra outlets can help you keep a space heater running at the same time you’re running a table saw. But no mater how many electrical outlets you have, learn its limits. You don’t want to trip the breaker by overloading the system.