With kids moving back home after college and in-law suites becoming a popular feature in new homes, the need for more space separate from the main living area is becoming a problem. On the other hand, some homeowners have unused space and want to use it for another source of income. Many homeowners are looking at their garages as the space to renovate into an apartment.
Depending on the size and if you are willing to give up a section of your garage on the ground level, you can create a living area with a loft for the bedroom and still have room to park your car.  Or, you can build an apartment over it. Whether you’re adding a new place for a family member, or you’re looking to add extra income by renting it out, you can definitely put this space to good use. It’s separated from the main house and gives the occupant and you both privacy.

Garage apartment with spiral staircase to bedroom.

When looking to turn your garage-loft into an apartment, an attached garage may be easier. Because it’s considered part of the main house, it’s not going to require extensive rewiring or plumbing to bring it up to a livable standard. This may also mean a cheaper renovation.
Before you jump into your project, make sure you have planned-out your project from beginning to end and it includes a floor plan, building code and permits, utilities and insulation.

Attached garage loft apartment.

You will need a floor plan that is designed to maximize your square footage. One of the best ways to maximize your space is with an open floor plan. This eliminates the need for interior walls that take up space and the openness will make the space look larger. If you have a smaller garage, an open floor plan with a private bathroom may be the way to go. Adding windows can help take your new space to a beautiful living area. Large windows can fill your apartment with lots of natural light; for extra room, you can replace a current window with a dormer window or install windows that extend vertically from your sloped roof.

Garage loft bathroom with plenty of natural lighting

You will need to design the apartment to meet building code. Building code consists of a large number of safety standards; legally, you won’t be able to rent out the apartment over the garage unless it meets building code and passes inspection. Meeting building code is also very important if you plan to sell the house later.
As far as utilities, an attached garage is not going to require extensive rewiring or plumbing compared to a detached garage which will pose a little more of a challenge when it comes to the installation of wires and pipes. Whether your garage is attached or detached, it will probably need a good dose of insulation in the walls, floors and ceiling. Spray foam insulation is a great way to control the temperature in the apartment above your garage. Not only does fill almost any crevice, but it also works as a soundproofing agent. Proper insulation and temperature control can significantly reduce the cost of your heating and cooling bills.

Access to detached garage apartment can be standard stairs or spiral.

What will be the best way to access the apartment? If the apartment over your garage is going to be for a family member and it’s already an attached garage, an interior entrance seems to make the most sense. However, if you plan to rent the apartment out, an exterior entrance may be a better fit for you. Your tenants will be able to come and go as they please without disrupting the main house.
Garages have proven to be a great alternative when it comes to additional living space. Whether it is for a family member or for rental income, your garage may become your second home.