For years, I was hiding a dirty little secret! In fact, it was a big secret, and the worst kept one at that!
My garage had slowly become a disorganized catchall for everything from baby gear that we no longer needed, to athletic equipment for sports we never played, and home to approximately 9 hammers because it got to a point where it was just easier to buy a new one rather than sift through the cluttered chaos in hopes of finding the ones we already owned.
I think most people would confess to having a junk drawer, or a junk closet, or maybe even a junk room, but when that room is your garage, there’s no keeping it a secret from the entire neighbourhood. Especially on garbage day when the door slowly raises to embarrassingly reveal the disaster zone in its entirety. So, instead of continuing our covert 2am garage-to-curb garbage missions, my husband and I resolved to clean up our act, and not only make our garage more organized and efficient, but also a well-designed extension of our home.
With a modest budget, a heap of DIY elbow grease, and a dash of creativity, we set out to put the “fun” in functional and tackle the garage transformation ourselves. After a massive purge (which led to the discovery of the 9 hammers), we began to prioritize our projects, and here’s how we completed our dream garage makeover…
1. Consider the garage an extension of your interior
Just because the garage isn’t necessarily a room inside of your home doesn’t mean that you should pass up the opportunity to introduce finishes and a colour scheme that act as an extension of your existing interior.
We spent a weekend installing finished drywall and insulation to the walls and ceiling which immediately made the garage feel more like a room, and then we painted everything a soft gray and added durable and practical rubber baseboards. As much as I would have loved an HVAC heated space to work in during the freezing winter months, we decided to forgo the hefty installation cost and instead look for a high-performance space heater.
And, well, timing is everything!…
Dyson recently connected and asked if I would be interested in test driving their Pure Hot + Cool Link, and I was obviously super stoked to give it a whirl! I spent a few chilly nights last week DIY-ing at my workbench, and let me tell you, it was SO nice to work in a toasty space without having to wear bulky layers to keep warm!
Not only does the Dyson unit heat, but it also cools which will be amazing during hot and humid summer days…. annnnnnd my absolute fave part it is that it triples as an air purifier!!! Since the garage is so exposed to the outdoors, the fact that this magical machine automatically removes 99.97% of gases, fumes, allergens, AND pollution from my workspace is a giant BONUS! I’ve also connected the unit to the Dyson link app on my smartphone, so I can pre-heat and purify my workspace from inside my house before I go out to work! Can you tell I’m legit impressed?!?!
This little sucker is some seriously COOL. STUFF.
And HOT. STUFF. *Wink*
2. DIY your own showroom worthy floors
After the initial garage purge, we could finally see the floor for the first time in… ahem… almost a decade! We noticed that our existing concrete floors had extensive automotive oil and paint stains, pitting from wear and tear, and they were long overdue for a cosmetic overhaul. After extensive cleaning, an application of Moisture Stop to seal the substrate, and patching of all cracks and divots with concrete Fast Patch, we were ready to apply a top coat. My husband had always dreamed of a glossy fresh finish …like something you would see in a luxury car dealership, but we didn’t want to invest thousands of dollars into a lengthy and expensive application by a pro. After researching various options, we discovered Rust-Oleum’s RockSolid flooring kit with an anti-skid additive that created a marbleized glass effect, and we were beyond thrilled by how easy and affordable it was to DIY our own showroom worthy floors.
3. Maximize vertical and overhead storage
Another obvious project priority was the introduction of smart and savvy storage solutions. We wanted to maximize vertical space as much as possible, and by adding a combination of slat wall, overhead mounted bike hooks, and moveable modular storage cabinets all from Gladiator Garage Works, we could finally get items up off the floor and onto the walls AND ceiling.
We also included a bevy of slat wall accessories such as a double golf bag caddy, mesh bins for sports balls, and wire baskets for bike helmets mounted low to the ground for the kids to grab easily. I tarted up the loft space by drywalling the underside and adding small LED pot lights, I trimmed out the front facing edge with leftover rubber baseboard, and purchased a half dozen matching storage bins to hold all of our seasonal items… with labels on front, of course!
4. Upcycle a stylist storage solution
For added storage, I had the idea of upcycling an old wood dresser to stylishly stash small bits and bobs such as screws, paint brushes, sandpaper, etc. I quickly realized that a solid wood piece might not fair well with the extreme seasonal climate changes inside the garage, so I went on the hunt for an alternatively thrifty option. Thanks to Kijiji, I scooped up a vintage metal library cabinet for only $20… score! With a quick wire brush cleaning to remove loose rust, and a coat of rust inhibiting Tremclad in Sun Yellow, my frugal find became a show stopper of a storage solution.
5. Build a space saving workbench
High on my garage makeover wish list was the addition of a dedicated workbench, but I quickly realized that if we intended to park two cars in the garage (which we could now finally do), there wouldn’t be enough room for a permanent work surface. After a mini brain wave, I decided to DIY my own space saving work station by affixing a stained pine board to a pair of folding wall brackets from Lee Valley. The simple solution now allows me to raise the table when I need it, and then fold it away against the wall when we want to park a car in the garage.
To create a crafty and colourful tool storage solution above the table, I simply primed and painted a pre-cut piece of pegboard, and then framed it out with some inexpensive mouldings. Now, there is place for everything, and everything in its place… including the hammer.
Since the completion of our DIY garage renovation, the only secret left to confess is the fact our garage is now officially (and ironically) the nicest room in our house!
Disclosure: This blog post is in partnership with Dyson Canada. The opinions on this blog are my own.