Why is it that the garage, by default, has been relegated to male territory? What do women get in exchange—a kitchen? We already have that. Let’s look outside the sexist pre-assignments and consider why we gals might just want to claim some of that precious garage space as our own.

When you think about it, there is a lot of potential in the garage. It’s a blank slate, ready to be whitewashed with your dreams and transformed into a great craft room, an office, a family room, a gardener’s potting shed, a theatre room, etc. The list is nearly endless, especially if you think of this space as another room in your home, rather than the dingy old dirty garage.

We all know at least someone who has a man cave in his garage. With a little creativity, your garage could be transformed into an awesome diva den or ma’am cave. Putting your own decorative pizzazz on a tired garage can renew the space and add a functional and fun living area to your home. 

START DREAM-PLANNING

Dreaming costs nothing, but you’ll need to begin with a budget, so your dreams have some realistic boundaries within which to roam. Do you want to have a place to entertain your girlfriends? How about a place where you can spread out and work on your favorite craft projects? Maybe you simply want to expand your useable living space. Only you know what you would change given an opportunity to stake out more useable square footage.

If the garage will still be used as a garage for your vehicles after you’ve made your modifications, you’ll be more limited in your options. If, on the other hand, you’re evicting the vehicles and truly making the garage part of your house, you’ve got an entirely blank slate from which to whip up your very own diva den. Imagine a monstrous walk-in closet, or maybe you want a spacious family room. Think big! You can always adjust your vision later, after you have the general idea of how you want the space to look and function in its new incarnation.

Other factors to consider include construction and comfort details. If you plan to go all out on your garage do-over, you may want to finish the interior of the garage by insulating the walls, hanging sheetrock and adding decorative lighting. If you go this far, you’ll probably want to toss in a garage heater and add an air conditioner, so you can use the room year-round.  

Pinterest might become your best friend as you go about gathering ideas for your garage makeover. Pinterest—and YouTube, for that matter—will give you some ideas you most likely will not think of on your own, so approach this phase with an open mind.  HGTV, as any decorating aficionado knows, is the nirvana of trendy home ideas.  

GARAGE DOORS, SCREEN DOORS & WINDOWS

If you haven’t looked at the new trends in garage doors recently, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Garage door screens have become popular in the past few years. These handy additions to your garage come in a variety of widths and heights and operate separately from your garage door. Because they run on a separate track and are spring-loaded, they open and close nearly effortlessly. When the garage door screen is not in use, it’s out of sight and not in the way, but when you deploy it, it adds curb appeal and character to your garage entrance. Adding a garage door screen to your garage instantly makes the garage eligible to double as a screen porch on a warm summer evening, keeping you safe from pesky mosquitoes and other pests. Add a couple of windows to the garage and you can enjoy a gentle cross-breeze for added comfort.  

A new garage door can jazz up the look of your home and really be that statement you want to tell the world who you are.  Thompson’s Garage Doors & Openers in Rochester can help bring your vision to life. Whether you want an entirely new look or you just want to add a more serviceable garage door system, Thompson’s has you covered.

Quality Overhead Door, also in Rochester, offers a wide variety of fantastic garage door solutions. You can update your garage doors for a new look or have a garage door screen installed. The experts at Quality Overhead Door can help you decide which product will be best for your project.

GARAGE FLOOR STYLE & DURABILITY

One thing you’ll want to address during your garage makeover will be how you finish the garage floors. Do you want to leave them with a rustic, no-fuss, concrete—complete with oil stains and dirt and grime on the floor? Probably not. Or, do you want something a tad more upscale, that is easy to clean and is visually appealing? If your garage will still be used to house vehicles, you’ll want to address how you will handle the filth that inevitably enters the garage when you pull a car or truck into the vehicle bay.

There are several options to consider when choosing the garage floor treatment. Concrete floor paint is by far the least expensive option, but it will need to be reapplied every year or two. An epoxy finish is the most heavy-duty, and is economical, but it can be tricky to do it yourself. Concrete stain will leave your garage floor looking like natural stone, which will then need to be sealed. Concrete sealers are like a floor paint, but more durable. Another option is tile, which can handle heavier loads, is affordable and easy to install.

It may well be worth it to leave the flooring treatment to the professionals. Polytek offers durable and attractive floor coatings that are four times stronger than epoxy, easy to clean and will keep your garage floor looking fresh and new for years to come. In addition to being tough and long-lasting, Polytek’s floor coatings are available in a variety of colors to complement your decor. Something to keep in mind for future projects, Polytek also offers floor coating solutions for basements, laundry rooms, patios and outdoor walkways. 

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Once you have your vision for how you want to utilize your garage space, you’ll want to get quotes from vendors, obtain any necessary building permits and make sure your dream aligns with your budget. If you need to make some tweaks, now is a good time to assess your potential investment weighing it against how often you plan to use the salvaged garage space. Once you are confident that your plan is a go, it’s time to dive in and move into the demolition and renovation stage.  

Like any other home improvement project, there will potentially be hiccups in your plan. Anticipating and preparing for unexpected surprises will help you to roll with any delays or detours your project takes. Keep your eye on the prize and know that you will soon have a reclaimed and unique garage space you can call your own.  

Once complete, you’ll want to invite your friends over for a diva den/ma’am cave reveal party. Also, to pay it forward and show off your creative genius, be sure to share your brilliant and innovative results    on Pinterest and YouTube to inspire other gals to create their own garage makeovers. 

Cindy Mennenga, owner of Straight Talk Wellness, is a health coach and freelance writer based in Rochester.

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