Detached Garages & Workshops

If your home has a detached garage that isn’t being used, why not convert it into a space that serves a good purpose? Just because you don’t park your car in the garage, you can still create a functional space that will enhance your personal needs and lifestyle. With some creative planning and a garage remodel, the design possibilities are endless.

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Although a detached garage doesn’t offer direct access to the house, it does offer numerous advantages for building specialized spaces. Whether you have an existing garage or you’re planning to build a new structure, it’s important to plan a space that’s functional and efficient for your needs.

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Heating, Cooling, and Insulation

Regardless of how you intend to use your detached garage, it’s essential to provide adequate heating, cooling and insulation for year-round comfort. Without it, you won’t enjoy spending time in the space. When heating, cooling and insulating your garage, you need to consider the size of your garage, your intended use, and your budget. Here are some important tips:

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There are three good heating options for a detached garage – forced-air garage heaters, infrared garage heaters, and electric garage heaters. Portable electric heaters require very little maintenance and don’t burn fuel, so they provide safe heating with no possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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The best cooling options for a detached garage are window units and commercial A/C floor units designed for warehouses and factories. Window units will be less expensive, but they need proper ventilation. If you don’t have a window in the garage, you’ll need to vent your unit through an exterior wall or the garage door.

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To turn your garage into a comfortable space, you will need proper insulation for the ceiling, walls, and garage door. Fiberglass batting will provide good insulation for the ceiling and walls. It’s easy to cut to size and install. Garage doors will need fiberglass batting or foam panels, as well as weatherstripping around openings.


Design Options

With a detached garage, there are endless design possibilities for the space. Depending on your personal wants and needs, your lifestyle, and your budget, here are some great design options to consider:


If you enjoy building things, a detached garage is a perfect place to create a workshop. You can build in shelving, storage cabinets, and pegboard walls with hooks for all your tools and equipment. Add tables, work benches, saw horses and your favorite power tools for your DIY projects. If you work with paints and stains, make sure you provide proper ventilation for the fumes.

Home Office

A detached garage provides a great space for a home office. While it’s close to the house for convenience, it offers privacy and a quiet setting to decrease household distractions and increase efficiency and productivity. If you work from home on a regular basis, a detached garage is a great way to reduce the added cost of renting office space.

Man Cave

Turning your detached garage into a man cave will provide a private place for the man of the house. It’s a great way to entertain friends and watch all of those noisy sports casts without disturbing the rest of the family. A comfortable sofa, chairs and large-screen TV will provide the perfect setting for those afternoon ball games and outdoor cookouts.

Art Studio

If you love to sketch or paint, a detached garage provides a private space with plenty of room to store canvases, paints and easels. You can line the walls with your favorite drawings and paintings and shelving to hold all of your supplies. With concrete floors and convenient drop cloths, you can paint to your heart’s content without worrying about the mess.

Workout Studio

Instead of spending money at the gym, why not transform your detached garage into a great workout space? You can include various workout equipment, as well yoga mats, dance bars, wall mirrors and storage cabinets for workout essentials. For the ultimate workout routine, include a music system and large-screen TV for your favorite dance music and workout videos.


Turning your detached garage into a playroom for the kids is a great idea. You can include a fun activity center with tables and chairs, games and puzzles, as well as a relaxing TV area for movies and videos with comfortable ottomans or floor cushions. Your kids can hang out with their friends in their own space, while staying close to the house for supervision.

Guest Bedroom

A detached garage makes a great bedroom space for overnight guests. By adding comfortable furnishings and accessories, you can create a private retreat with convenient access to the house, pool and spa, or other outdoor amenities. If your garage is large enough, consider adding a small bathroom that will provide complete privacy and convenience.

Garden Center

Turn your detached garage into the perfect garden center where you can organize garden tools and supplies, create a greenhouse environment, or divide the space so there’s room for both. Install heavy-duty wall hooks for hanging shovels, rakes, clippers, and other tools. Place a table in the corner for potting plants, and shelves along the walls for starting seedlings. You can install grow lights and heat lamps for a complete greenhouse environment.


Building a New Garage

If you’re planning to build a new garage, think about the advantages and disadvantages of an attached garage vs. a detached garage. Do you want a secure space to park your car every night or a custom space for certain activities? Both types of garages offer advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your property size, garage size, intended use of the space, and your budget, you will need to determine which type of garage works best for your needs.

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Attached Garage – An attached garage is equivalent to a large home addition. You’ll be adding a large space to your home’s structure, but your contractor will be able to utilize pre-existing walls during the building process. This can save you money on construction costs.

Detached Garage – A detached garage is equivalent to building a small house. This includes digging out and pouring a foundation, and then building your new garage from the ground up. It’s a little bigger project, so you may incur more costs, but you’ll have more design options for different uses.

Building costs will depend on the size of the garage, building materials, and interior finishes and amenities. For example, a brick or stone structure will be more expensive than a wood structure. Windows, ventilation, heating and cooling, and insulation will increase the overall building costs, but they are essential if you plan to spend time in the garage. For stability and long-term durability, garages need to have a poured concrete base, which will increase the total building costs. Although the costs of an attached or detached garage will vary, you can expect to spend about $25,000 on an average size garage.

Before you make a major structural change to your property, it’s important to consider the impact on your home’s visual appeal and resale value. Talk to a design-build firm about advantages and disadvantages, building costs, and design options that will enhance your home and your lifestyle.


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