You walk into a garage filled with clutter that covers the floor from wall to wall. Then you look up at the garage ceiling area and notice all that open space is completely unused. Meanwhile, the homeowner’s vehicles are left parked in the driveway.
What’s wrong with this picture?
This illogical scenario is more common than you might expect. Garage ceiling storage space is surprisingly underutilized.
Not taking advantage of your garage’s vertical storage space makes it much harder than it has to be to keep a garage organized and functional.
The 3 keys to maximizing garage storage space
Maximizing a garage’s storage space (for the ceiling and the entire room) is more simple than you might think. Here are the three keys to achieving this goal:
Reduce or eliminate the amount of clutter and non-essential items in the garage.
Strategically locate where your storage systems are installed.
Buy well-designed storage systems that are highly functional.
Seriously, that’s it. Follow these three golden rules and you’ll set your garage up to flourish as an efficient home storage space.
Let’s take a look at a few important things related specifically to garage ceiling storage, including why homeowners don’t use their garage’s overhead space more, some common garage ceiling storage systems, and items that are ideal for overhead storage.
3 reasons garage ceiling storage gets overlooked
1. The solution is hiding in plain sight
Sometimes the answer to a problem is staring us right in the face and it’s almost too obvious to see. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people never consider using the upper areas of their garage for storage.
The garage walls, another woefully underused storage space, also fall into this category.
2. It may not seem practical
Garages in older homes tend to have ceilings with lower heights (overhead clearances in the 8-10 foot range are not uncommon). It’s understandable that a garage with low ceilings wouldn’t be making use of overhead storage systems because it may seem unpractical.
You can still expand your storage space, even with a low garage ceiling height, however. Even if you’re adding smaller garage ceiling storage systems that hold fewer things than a large space can, every little bit counts. Of course, you don’t want to overstuff the garage with storage systems to the point where there’s very little room left to park your vehicles comfortably.
Look at it this way: if something can be stored up high in the garage, that means it’s not cluttering up your floor.
Another reason for the lack of garage ceiling storage space being used is simple – unfamiliarity. Most homeowners have no idea about the many types of garage overhead storage solutions that are available.
It’s the kind of thing that is easy to be in the dark about if you’re not in the process of planning a remodel and gotten an idea of which modern garage storage and organization systems are available. Or perhaps you haven’t had the opportunity to see a neighbor’s or friend’s relatively recent garage makeover, which can plant the seed for ideas in which your garage can be improved.
All of the bulky items stored in these overhead racks would be taking up too much of the floor’s valuable space.
6 common types of garage ceiling storage systems
10-15 years ago, most people’s idea of a garage ceiling storage system involved some DIY shelving mounted up high on the walls or sliding skis or spare pieces of lumber between their ceiling joists.
Nowadays, there are lots of products designed to take advantage of your garage’s ceiling space for storing items. Here are the most common types of garage ceiling storage systems:
Heavy-duty overhead racks: this is your best option for storing heavier items because of their high weight capacities (Garage Living’s overhead racks support up to 600 lbs). This type of rack, which has a wire mesh platform, is installed on the ceiling joists and anchored to the wall for additional support. Look for a model that has a durable powder-coated finish and can be adjusted.
Moveable storage lift racks: these racks have a metal platform that can be raised and lowered with a wire or rope pulley hoist system that is powered by a hand crank or motor. There are also storage lift racks that move up and down using a scissor lift-style system.
Storage hoist systems: these are similar to the wire/rope pulley storage lift rack system, but they don’t use a platform and are designed to store one specific item. Commonly, this includes things like wheelbarrows, ladders, kayaks and canoes, and car roof cargo boxes.
Ceiling-mounted tracks with storage bins: a system of rails or tracks are mounted on the ceiling and plastic storage bins can be slid in and out.
Ceiling-mounted storage hooks: this is the simplest and cheapest method to store things in a garage’s ceiling area since all you have to do is screw hooks into the ceiling joists to hang things. This is one of the more common bike garage storage ideas people use.
Overhead storage hangers: another type of storage product that is typically designed for one specific item. These hangers are installed on the ceiling or upper walls (or both) and have arms that will support items like ladders, skis and snowboards, surfboards, and kayaks.
This heavy-duty overhead rack is designed to hold bulky items and a lot of weight.
Items that are perfect for overhead garage storage
Many of the things that sit on the floor of messy garages are bulky and heavy. By simply moving them into the upper reaches of the room, a huge amount of valuable floor space can be freed up.
That instantly makes your garage more parking-friendly and capable of being used for other functions, such as a workshop or for exercising.
Here are just a few of the many things that are ideal for storing in a garage’s ceiling area:
sporting goods and outdoor toys
out-of-season patio furniture
out-of-season lawn, gardening, and landscaping tools
All of the above items are the more obvious choices for storing in a garage’s overhead space. Now think outside the box. How about one or more of your family’s vehicles?
Yes, even cars can leverage the underused vertical space in a garage with a car lift. This handy product expands the parking capabilities of a garage by raising a vehicle so another vehicle can be parked underneath it.
Garage ceiling storage isn’t just for things like storage bins, tools, and seasonal tires. Car lifts can also take advantage of this underused space.
We have garage ceiling storage solutions (and more)
Don’t let your garage’s valuable ceiling storage space go to waste while you deal with the headache of floor clutter on a daily basis.
Garage Living will change the way your garage functions with our storage systems for the ceiling. We also carry the best organization and storage systems for the rest of the garage, such as slatwall and cabinet systems.
Transform your garage into a high-performance space in both looks and function by scheduling a free design consultation with us.
Is your home still “a work in progress”? One impactful way to get you a little closer to the finish line with your home’s design and completion is to finally take care of that unfinished garage.
Garages are commonly overlooked when home remodeling projects are being considered. It’s understandable that bathroom, kitchen, and floor renovation projects rank as the most popular home improvement projects year after year.
An unfinished garage deserves just as much love as those areas of the home, however.
One positive by-product of an otherwise difficult time living through the pandemic is that it’s shown us this: an unfinished living space doesn’t serve our needs to its full potential.
Why it’s time to complete your unfinished garage
Here are a few statistics that illustrate why completing an unfinished garage should be high on any homeowners remodeling priority list:
Only 11% of homeowners say they’re satisfied with their garage and wouldn’t want to improve it. (Wall Street Journal survey)
A Garage Living poll found that 20% of homeowners can’t park in their garage because it’s disorganized.
24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open. (Impulse Research survey)
Garages ranked higher as a desirable storage space for homebuyers than basements or attics. (Braun Research survey of realtors)
An unfinished garage deserves just as much remodeling love as any other area of the home.
A finished garage can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe you need lots of storage. Perhaps you want to set up a workshop. Or maybe you want a garage that looks like a Ferrari showroom. Yes, this is the same garage as the photo above it!
A finished garage is simply a better garage
These revealing statistics provide us with five key takeaways that should provide all the inspiration we need to finish an unfinished garage:
Most homeowners believe there’s room for improvement with their garages.
We use our garages a lot (it’s become the new front door for many of us).
Many garages aren’t being used for their primary function – parking vehicles.
A messy, unfinished garage embarrasses a sizable number of homeowners.
Garages are the most valuable storage space in a house.
This Garage Living video sums up how most homeowners feel when they return home to their cluttered and unfinished garage:
The company’s co-founder says two of the ways they make this happen are by improving the storage capabilities of the garage and making it more hobby-friendly.
Most homeowners may see an unfinished garage as a dreary, disorganized space. Garage Living views an unfinished garage as a blank canvas, just waiting for some creative input to produce something beautiful that you can’t stop admiring.
Here are seven reasons why completing an unfinished garage to make it easier on the eyes and to make space for parking, storage, and hobbies is well worth the investment.
1. Having an unfinished garage is so last century
For the vast majority of the time that the home garage has existed (about 100 years), it was a part of the house that was viewed purely as a utilitarian space. How it looked simply didn’t matter.
Over the past couple of decades, that mindset has shifted dramatically.
Merriam Webster defines “unfinished” as “not brought to an end or to the desired final state” and “being in a rough state”. Yep, that nicely sums up the state of about 90% of the garages out there!
Is a home really finished if the garage is unfinished?
Most homes are left with unfinished garages (and sometimes basements) when the builder constructs a house. Calling them “finished homes” isn’t exactly accurate then, is it?
For so many years, it was easy to just get used to having an unfinished garage and adapting to how it looked and functioned, even though it was coming up short in both areas. Most garage interiors are not even primed and painted, if they’re drywalled at all!
Even when an effort was made to add some extra functionality to the room, it usually came in the form of ugly brown pegboard for hanging things, a few screwed-in wall hangers, and maybe some long nails for hanging yard tools.
When you think about it, it’s rather amazing that we waited for so long to wake up to the fact that having clean garages with a swanky interior design and efficient storage is something we should have been aiming for decades ago!
Why settle for having an unfinished garage?
Most people may have an unfinished garage, but why settle for the status quo and mediocrity with such a large part of your home?
In the 21st century, the value of transforming our garages into a more functional room that complements and extends the rest of our finished living spaces is being realized by more and more homeowners.
Think beyond the type of garage environment you grew up with, which prioritized functionality over aesthetics. You can have both!
The owners of this garage wanted to create more parking and storage space and update the decor to complement their luxury cars.
2. Most garages don’t pull their weight as a storage space
One in seven Americans have a room in their home they can’t use because it’s filled with things they rarely use, according to a ClearVoice Research study. The garage is often that room.
How many times have you said, “Just put it in the garage for now”? Before too long, the inside of the garage can start to look like a garage sale that never ends.
Poor usage of our home storage spaces causes us to do wasteful things like rent self-storage units. In most cases, simply making better use of the storage space we have (particularly in the garage) and taking the time to eliminate all of the needless junk we hold onto will significantly boost the usefulness of our homes for storing things.
Not all garage storage systems are created equal
Garage storage systems don’t all provide the same level of functionality needed to maximize the storage space in the room. These are usually DIY garage storage systems like repurposed kitchen cabinetry and homemade shelving racks.
Using cheap garage storage organizers can be even worse than making them yourself. Cheap products like plastic freestanding tool caddies, flimsy budget-priced storage cabinets that rust quickly, and pegboard panels that are only 1/4″ thick don’t last as long as they should. Most DIY and cheap garage storage systems leave a lot to be desired in the looks department, too.
Choose higher-quality storage systems that are specifically designed to be used in garages, have an attractive design that adds to the room’s appearance, and provide you with a healthy degree of storage flexibility.
Make your wall and ceiling space work harder
When Garage Living is looking for ways to get the most out of our clients’ garage storage spaces, we always look at the walls and ceiling areas first.
You’d be amazed at the wealth of storage potential just waiting to be tapped in these two areas. PVC slatwall panels with hanging accessories allow you to hang up a wide range of items to keep the floor free of clutter. Slatwall also gives the garage a stylish finished appearance that looks nicer than painted drywall.
The garage’s “fifth wall” (also known as the ceiling) offers a vast amount of storage space as well. Having heavy-duty overhead racks installed provides you with lots of room to store bulky items and things that are only used seasonally.
The other garage storage solution worth investing in is cabinetry. Garage cabinets are a perfect place to store tools and anything that can’t be hung on the walls or stashed up high in racking.
Most garage interiors are not even primed and painted, if they’re drywalled at all!
Cabinetry and overhead racks provide ample storage space in this finished garage.
3. Finished garages are more comfortable and hobby-friendly
Considering half of the people who own a home use the garage as the primary entry and exit point for their house, creating a nicer-looking, more welcoming space that doesn’t require navigating around clutter every day should be a goal.
You shouldn’t only want a tidier garage because you’re passing through it so often, though. Remodel the garage to fit your lifestyle as well.
With the right design upgrades, your garage can become more accommodating for your family’s hobbies and passions. Here are just a few examples of what we mean:
add a garage workshop with lots of storage for your tools
create a beautiful car showroom that shows off your luxury vehicles
use the garage as a crafting space
create a space to relax and read, watch movies and sporting events, or listen to podcasts
Boost your garage’s comfort level
To add to your comfort level in the garage, you can add conveniences like a garage-ready mini-fridge, TV, better WiFi, and a reliable security system. For improved climate control, add insulation and a heating and cooling system so the garage can be used year-round.
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do to make your garage more useful. Once you’re done adding some of these quality-of-life upgrades in the garage, it’ll almost feel like you’ve added an extra room to your house!
A finished garage creates extra room in the home for hobbies and activities like working out.
4. Your vehicles deserve a proper home
Garages were invented to store vehicles, so why do so many homeowners not use them for that purpose? The fact that so many of us are unable to use the garage for parking shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Maybe you’ve never given it much thought but the next time you’re driving through your neighborhood, keep an eye out for how many vehicles are parked in driveways or on the street.
Getting the garage organized with storage systems that open up the floor for car parking is one of the best things you can do to protect the investment you’ve made in your vehicles. First and foremost, they’ll be far more secure in a locked garage.
Sitting outside 24/7 takes a toll on the body of a vehicle over time, too. Getting them under the cover of a roof will result in fewer car washes being needed, plus you won’t have to clear off ice and snow in the winter or wait for them to warm up for as long.
A car lift, which allows you to use your ceiling space to park one vehicle above another, is an additional solution for increasing the amount of parking space in a garage.
It’s a shame when bad garages happen to nice cars
Parking a luxury car in an unfinished garage is like displaying the Mona Lisa in a run-down art gallery with bad lighting, peeling wall paint, and terrible flooring. Each of them are still things of beauty, but they lose some of their magnificence because the unattractive space they sit in is such a bad fit visually.
Your luxury vehicles should be surrounded by high-end décor that is worthy of a beautiful car showroom, because it’s a shame when bad garages happen to nice cars.
Luxury cars deserve a luxury garage to call home.
5. A garage should look as nice as the rest of a home
How many home garages have you ever set foot in that left a lasting impression on you because the décor looked so stylish and high-end? And of all the garages you’ve seen in an upscale house, how many of them looked as posh as the rest of the home? Very few, we suspect.
Fixing up the more visually unappealing aspects of an unfinished garage will go a long way towards transforming the room’s look from drab to fab. The floor is an ideal part of the room to start with.
Nicer floor, nicer décor
Simply by giving a grey, dusty, and cracked concrete floor surface a refresh with a high-quality decorative floor coating, any unfinished garage instantly starts to shed its outdated look and take a big step forward into the modern day.
Garage Living uses Floortex™ floor coatings for all of our flooring jobs because of its superior durability, decorative benefits, and because we can apply it year-round.
Hide the ugliness away
A lot of homeowners in the process of finishing their garage use plywood as a wall covering, but slatwall and painted drywall are much better options for both looks and functionality.
Most garages have unsightly things like exposed wiring, electrical panels, plumbing and central vac pipes, or ductwork out in the open. Exposed insulation is another eyesore. Have your garage remodel company tailor their design to cover them up with creative usage of cabinetry, slatwall, and drywall.
Before: This unfinished garage had unsightly wiring, an electrical panel, and a central vac system in plain view.
After: The garage design included custom cabinets with enclosures to keep the home’s utility systems hidden, while also providing room for storage in the other cabinets.
Put your garage (literally) in the best light
Adding better lighting is another essential when finishing a garage. In terms of the most noticeable things that tell anyone entering your garage the room isn’t finished, having one or two incandescent bulbs that don’t even have a dome covering them are right up there.
Choose a garage lighting solution that provides warmer, more uniform lighting coverage in the room. Modern pot lights or some LED lighting fixtures are more energy-efficient, look better, and make the space brighter (and therefore safer).
To give your garage an extra unique look, ask Garage Living about incorporating LED ribbon lighting into the room’s design for visual appeal.
Personalize your garage décor style
All of these improvements, combined with having a cohesive design theme that makes a garage’s appearance really stand out, are what transform an unfinished garage into not just a finished garage, but a finished garage that looks stunning.
According to a Thompson’s Company study, 52% of homeowners want to have a garage their neighbors envy. Well-chosen storage systems, along with product and paint colors that coordinate the look of the floor, storage cabinets, slatwall, drywall, and ceiling, will make a bold statement that makes others notice your home and wish their garage looked as impressive.
Ask Garage Living about our Designer Series collection of stylish design themes that help simplify the garage design process.
6. An unfinished garage hurts your curb appeal
The average garage door opens and closes 3-5 times per day. That’s up to 1,500 times every year where your garage interior is on full display for everyone to potentially see!
When your garage doors are open and staying open for a while because you’re going some work or gardening, no one should worry about anyone getting a glimpse inside their garage, like that quarter of homeowners we mentioned earlier.
It’s a common misconception that only the front exterior of a home counts for curb appeal. Because garage doors open so frequently, that naturally factors into your curb appeal. The sides and back of a home are part of its curb appeal, too.
A luxury house with an A+ exterior featuring stunning architecture and immaculate landscaping, but a garage that gets an F in the appearance department, ends up only scoring somewhere around a C in terms of curb appeal.
Speaking of garage doors, they’re a major factor in your curb appeal. They can account for as much as a third of a home’s front exterior, so outdated doors with faded paint and dents will get noticed.
When you’re having a garage remodel done, considering updating the garage doors to boost your curb appeal. Did you know that adding new garage doors has one of the best returns on investment of any home improvement project?
The average garage door opens and closes 3-5 times per day. The appearance of a garage’s interior affects your curb appeal.
7. Completing an unfinished garage adds value to your home
We live in the now, so not everyone puts a high priority on the long-term investment benefits of a home improvement project. It’s worth knowing, however, that a finished garage adds value to your home.
Finished, organized garages with lots of room for storage are highly valued by homebuyers. The National Association of Home Builders’ recent What Home Buyers Really Want report found that 85% of homebuyers want a garage with ample storage space.
Even if you’re not planning to move anytime soon, it’s always reassuring to know that you’re investing in something that most future buyers will covet. An attractive, tidy garage makes a great first impression on a potential buyer that very well may be the difference-maker in closing the sale of your home one day.
And in the meantime, your family reaps the benefits of having a beautiful, high-functioning garage every day. It’s a win-win.
If you’re finding it difficult to convince your significant other about why you should finally do a garage remodel, use these two facts to help get them on-board!
A finished garage adds value to your home. Future-proofing your garage with upgrades now will pay off later when you eventually sell your home.
Transform your unfinished garage
Just imagine the satisfaction of living in a home where there are zero home improvement projects weighing on your mind.
Bring your garage closer to the higher aesthetic standard the rest of your home has. Talk to Garage Living about transforming your unfinished garage into a space with superior functionality and the kind of “wow factor” any homeowner should want.
Two things that most garages lack is a satisfying level of organization and visual appeal.
A few hooks on the walls and some DIY shelving don’t exactly maximize a garage’s storage capability. They also don’t provide one of the undervalued functions of any worthwhile storage system – looks that add to a room’s aesthetics.
Garage storage cabinets can upgrade the functionality and visual presentation of this hardworking home space.
Here are several ways your garage can benefit from what a cabinet system offers, as well as what to look for when buying garage cabinets.
Types of garage storage cabinets
Not all garage cabinet brands and types are created equal. That’s why it’s worth doing a little homework so you make a buying decision you’re happy with long after your cabinets are installed.
Modular cabinets (the type sold in big-box stores) are mass-produced and have a pre-determined design. The individual cabinet sections are mixed and matched to create a system that assembles relatively easily.
Custom-fit cabinets are built to order and are a more personalized cabinet solution. Things like cabinet colors and sizes are customizable and more add-on features are available. Professional installation is typically required.
Semi-custom cabinets are a hybrid of modular and custom cabinets. Consumers have more design flexibility than what modular cabinets offer, while having more limitations than what is available with a fully custom-fit design.
3 essentials for your garage storage cabinets
You can go big or go small with the design of a garage cabinet system, depending on your budget, available space, and how the cabinets will be used.
Pay close attention to a few key details about the garage storage cabinets you purchase:
Metal thickness: steel or aluminum cabinets with flimsy shells aren’t built to last in most garage environments. Remember that the lower the number of a steel gauge, the thicker the sheet metal is.
Build quality/craftsmanship: prioritize buying cabinets with a high quality of craftsmanship. Cabinets with issues like doors and drawers that don’t open and close smoothly or that are poorly welded are cheap for a reason!
With the basics of cabinets explained, now it’s time to look closer at how they can improve a garage.
Get your garage organized and keep it tidy
Smart garage organization systems like slatwall and overhead racks work wonders to maximize a garage’s storage space. They accomplish this by utilizing the commonly underused wall and ceiling spaces in garages.
Cabinets function as a complementary storage system to these effective garage organization solutions. When has having more storage space and storage versatility ever been a bad thing? “Never” is the correct answer!
Getting a garage organized by creating a home for each item with a variety of storage systems makes the room more valuable to you in a few different ways.
Most importantly, having a tidy garage allows it to be much more functional for your family. Leaving your vehicles parked in the driveway because there’s no room for them in the cluttered garage becomes a thing of the past.
The average garage can hold a lot and many of those items, like hand tools, are small and easy to lose. Don’t underestimate the value of using effective storage systems that makes things easier to find and put back.
Set up your storage systems properly and you’ll drastically cut down on the amount of time that is wasted searching for misplaced items.
Garage storage cabinets add visual appeal
Matte red GL Custom Steel cabinets with black frames work perfectly in this Ferrari-themed garage (featuring the Performance theme from Garage Living’s Designer Series).
Having a higher level of organization in the garage with the help of a storage system like cabinets is a win for any homeowner.
If your cabinets can improve the garage with a professional, upscale look that makes your home stand out in your neighborhood, that’s a definite win-win.
Garage Living knows that cabinets play a major role in determining how a garage will look. We work with our clients to ensure the styles and color choices of their garage storage cabinets bring out the best in the rest of the room’s décor.
Our Designer Series collection of exclusive design themes was created to guarantee that all visual aspects of a garage remodel complement each other effectively. With the Performance theme, for example, the red and black colors of the cabinets blend beautifully with the red, black, grey, and white colors in the decorative Carbonite Floortex™ floor coating.
Garage storage cabinet systems can include additional decorative touches that provide visual upgrades:
Aluminum backsplashes in a variety of styles
Sleek countertops made from stainless or galvanized steel or butcher block
Attractive door and drawer hardware
Cabinets also give you ample space to keep stored items hidden. That eliminates visual clutter and helps to preserve the organized appearance of a garage.
Why custom and premium garage storage cabinets are worth it
A small, budget-friendly modular cabinet system with a no-frills look that can be installed yourself will be enough for some homeowners.
Others want a higher quality product and someone with expertise to handle their cabinet system design and installation. Garage Living specializes in creating customized garage cabinet solutions with our lines of modular, semi-custom, and custom-fit cabinet products.
High-quality garage storage cabinets don’t just look and function better than cheaper models – they’re built to last, too. Inexpensive cabinets found online and in big-box stores cut corners wherever they can to keep costs down. Those compromises result in an inferior product with a short life…and a long trail of customers with buyer’s remorse.
No two garages have the exact same layout and are used the exact same way by their owners. That’s why a “one size fits all” approach to choosing garage cabinets doesn’t always work well. Everybody has different design tastes as well, so the more cabinet and frame colors you can choose from, the better.
Made-to-order cabinets like the GL Custom Steel model can be customized to fit your garage to perfection, both physically and aesthetically. Because they’re constructed with superior materials and the finest craftsmanship, they’ll last for many years in your garage. Powder-coated finishes that protect against corrosion and scratches do their share of the hard work to extend the life of your cabinets as well.
Enjoy a safer, more secure garage
Things that can be stored in cabinets are things that are not left on your garage floor. That means fewer tripping and parking hazards and a safer garage.
Some items commonly kept in the garage, such as sharp objects and hazardous cleaning and lawn care products, are better off being stored out of reach or behind locked cabinet doors for your kids’ safety.
From a home security perspective, expensive tools that are stored out of sight inside cabinets are less vulnerable to theft. Your valuables can be even further protected from burglars by adding locks to some of your cabinet doors and drawers.
Cabinets are low maintenance and keep your things cleaner
Garage cabinets are very low-maintenance and keep your belongings hidden and dust-free.
Cleaning metal garage storage cabinets involves very little work. To remove dust, simply wipe them down with a clean, dry soft cloth or a light duster.
If a deeper cleaning is needed to remove grease, grime, and dirt build-up on the cabinets, the powder-coated finish is resilient enough to handle using some water or a neutral cleaner product.
Stainless steel doors can also have a stainless steel cleaner applied to remove fingerprints and dirt so the cabinets are restored to a “just like new” state.
Another way that cabinets cut down on your cleaning work is they keep everything being stored inside them virtually dust-free. With no items sitting out in the open for dust to collect on, the air quality in your garage will be a little better.
Get the best garage storage cabinets available
Don’t settle for anything less than the best garage storage cabinets to improve the functionality and appearance of your home’s most useful storage space.
Garage Living’s five lines of North American-made cabinets look stunning and can be tailored specifically for your everyday needs and design taste.
A small garage definitely makes it a challenge for a homeowner to get a satisfying level of functionality out of their space.
The constraints of a small garage don’t necessarily mean you have to make compromises with either of a garage’s two primary functions, however.
Parking and storage in a small garage are two functions that can co-exist – it just takes a little more ingenuity to make things work efficiently.
To get the most out of your garage’s limited square footage, use these small garage ideas and tips.
Exactly how small is a small garage?
By most people’s standards, the definition of a “small garage” would be a garage that holds either one or two vehicles. A 1.5-car garage size, which is less common, would also qualify.
But just because a small garage’s description says it’s meant to hold one or two vehicles doesn’t necessarily mean those vehicles can fit in the space comfortably.
The garage’s actual dimensions, the sizes of vehicles, and the contents inside a garage also need to be taken into account.
Common 1-car garage sizes range from 12 feet wide by 20 feet deep to 16 feet wide by 24 feet deep. That ranges from 240 to 384 square feet (calculated using the room’s interior dimensions).
2-car garages typically range from 18 feet wide by 20 feet deep to 24 feet wide by 24 feet deep (360 to 576 square feet).
Older 1 and 2-car garages are often smaller than the same types of garages that are built in new homes today. One reason is that back then, having a covered space for a parked vehicle was the main priority and less consideration was given to using the garage as a home storage space.
1-car garages in old homes are also more common because families typically only owned a single vehicle in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
It doesn’t help that vehicles keep getting bigger
When you look at some older small garages, it makes you wonder how the large vehicles from a few decades ago ever fit inside them.
The growing sizes of cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks is largely due to relatively low fuel prices and consumer demand for vehicles with lots of convenient features.
That can leave little room to spare when parking inside a small garage. Here are some small garage ideas that will help make things easier for you.
1. Get rid of the clutter
It would seem that an obvious way to get more functionality out of any garage would be to limit the amount of non-essential items (better known as clutter) that are kept in the space.
“Removing junk” ranked as the top answer from people who were asked how they could enjoy their garage more, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.
A Braun Research study found that a third of homeowners were unsure what was occupying their garage’s storage space, however. And although 75% of those surveyed wanted to have a tidier garage, almost a third of them rarely or never organized the room.
Every square foot is crucial in a small garage, which means things like old furniture, broken appliances, leftover building materials you’re not sure you’ll ever use, and old yard tools you replaced with newer versions years ago have no place there.
Taking the time to declutter the garage is worth it because it simply makes no sense to park expensive vehicles you drive regularly outside, while junk you haven’t touched in years sits inside your garage.
2. Maximize your wall storage space
This small garage uses slatwall to keep the space organized and is used as a home gym.
If your garage feels too small for your needs, it might seem like the solution is to undergo a construction project to make it larger or move to a home with a bigger garage.
In many cases, such drastic measures can be avoided if you let a professional like Garage Living help you to maximize your small garage’s storage space.
One of the best small garage ideas you can use is to have a slatwall storage system installed that includes PVC wall panels and hanging accessories.
Slatwall is superior to pegboard because it’s more durable, is easy to clean, offers more storage versatility, and can handle higher weight loads. Slatwall also has a decorative functionality that gives garage interiors a nicer, finished appearance.
With a slatwall storage system that allows the vast majority of items kept in a garage to be hung up, floor clutter becomes a thing of the past. Items like yard and hand tools, bikes, sports equipment, ladders, and power cords can be kept well-organized and grouped with like items.
Wall-mounted tire racks are an additional wall storage solution that will free up the space a spare set of tires takes up on a garage floor.
3. Take advantage of your ceiling space
Overhead storage racks are another type of effective vertical storage system for a garage. Not all small garages have ceilings that are high enough to add storage racks, but if yours can accommodate them, you should absolutely take advantage of that unused overhead space that is being wasted.
Bulky things like plastic storage bins, patio furniture, spare tires, and out-of-season items that sit on a garage floor can be the difference between being able to park inside a small garage or having to park in the driveway.
Choose heavy-duty storage racks that can handle a lot of weight and are properly anchored to your walls and ceiling for safety. It’s smart to invest in racks made with high-quality steel and a power-coated finish, which will prevent rusting and last much longer.
4. Increase parking space in a small garage with a car lift
A 4 post car lift in this 1-car garage doubles its parking space.
If you have two vehicles but your garage is only built for a single car, the solution to keep both vehicles parked inside is to get a car lift.
Once again, the height of your garage will determine whether or not a car lift can fit in the space. If your garage door opens at a height that’s too low, a high lift conversion would be needed to reconfigure the height at which the door opens.
2 post car lifts and 4 post car lifts are used in residential garages, but it’s the latter type you’ll want for parking purposes.
4 post car lifts allow vehicles to be driven onto ramps and hoisted up so another vehicle can be parked beneath it. This makes it ideal for maximizing a garage’s vehicle storage space. 2 post residential car lifts are suited more for someone who prefers to do their own car maintenance in their garage.
5. Choose the right cabinets for your small garage
A cabinet system is another great option for storage in a garage, but it can be a tricky thing to fit into a small garage.
Chances are it would have to be installed at the back of the garage if the room is deep enough, instead of along the side walls. And you might be limited with how big the cabinet system can be. Even a small cabinet system with a single stack of drawers, a few cabinet doors, and a small countertop can be quite functional, however.
It’s worth the extra cost to get storage cabinets that are made with sturdier, longer-lasting North American-made steel. Many cheaper cabinet models found online and in big-box stores are manufactured with inferior materials that don’t last.
Our GL Signature cabinet system comes with a shallow depth option that is perfect for smaller garages. Working with a garage remodel specialist like Garage Living also gives you more design and color options for a cabinet system that will enhance your garage’s décor.
6. Update your paint, lighting, and flooring
Lighter wall, ceiling, and flooring colors help make a small garage feel bigger.
Lighter colors help make a room look and feel larger. The effect is even more pronounced if you paint the walls and ceiling the same color or paint the ceiling one shade lighter than the walls.
Using a glossier paint that reflects lighter better than flatter paints will also help create the illusion of a larger space. Take these aesthetic small garage ideas into consideration if you’re having slatwall installed. Garage Living offers eight slatwall colors to choose from.
Lighting upgrades are another way to make a small garage look larger. Adding a number of smaller lights (such as pot lights) to a ceiling instead of having a single overhead lighting fixture will provide better light coverage and make the room feel bigger.
Many garage remodel projects involve giving the flooring an upgrade with a new floor coating. Ask your garage design consultant which coating color will work best to complement the rest of your interior décor and make your garage feel a little bigger.
7. Tidy up on a regular basis
Having the right storage systems in place will make it easier to keep a small garage organized.
You have to commit to regularly tidying up the room so that clutter doesn’t start piling up, however. If you neglect maintaining the space, it doesn’t take long for that 1-car garage to become a no-car garage.
A quick monthly cleanup should suffice and you can give it a more thorough cleaning that involves washing the floor and wiping down any surfaces a couple of times a year.
Ensure the right things are taking up your garage storage space. Here are a few things that should not be stored in a garage:
unused or partially used paint cans
food or wine
old electronic equipment
clothing and fabrics
old photos, paper, and cardboard
Upgrade your small garage
Hopefully these small garage ideas have shown you that you can still get plenty of functionality and enjoyment out of a room that doesn’t offer an ample amount of square footage.
After years of looking at your unfinished garage walls, you’ve decided that it’s finally time to consider some garage wall ideas to make improvements.
Along with a grey concrete floor, dim lighting, and an unfinished ceiling, those unattractive walls are a nagging reminder that your garage doesn’t look all that different from how it looked when the builder completed work on the home.
And if your garage lacks any decent storage systems there’s probably floor clutter to contend with, which only hurts the garage’s appearance even more.
Try these 17 garage wall ideas
The walls in most garages have a vast amount of untapped storage potential. And just as they’re underutilized for storage, homeowners don’t take advantage of this sizable amount of square footage to give their garage a more modern aesthetic.
Giving your garage walls some TLC with some wise upgrades can dramatically impact the entire room’s functionality and appearance.
When you’re contemplating how to reinvent your garage wall space as part of a remodeling project, you could look at the walls as a blank canvas. With the right design choices, those walls can transform into something beautiful and unique that also reflects your personality.
Let’s look at 17 popular garage wall ideas that cover everything to do with storage, finishing, and decorating the walls in a garage.
1. Add garage wall insulation
Your first step with the walls in a garage should be to add insulation to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Without garage insulation, your home loses a lot of heat when it’s colder outside and makes your air conditioner work harder when the weather is hot. Don’t forget about making sure your garage doors and ceiling are properly insulated, too.
The most common types of insulation for garage walls are fiberglass batts (pictured to the right), spray foam insulation, and blow-in cellulose insulation.
If your garage already has insulation installed, have a professional inspect it to determine whether an upgrade is warranted. Was it properly installed? Is it the right R-value? Does the insulation have water damage? The latter issue can lead to mold problems and make the insulation less effective.
Wall and ceiling insulation is even more important if you’re someone who enjoys spending a lot of time in the garage with a hobby. If you have a heater or some type of cooling system in the garage, insulation helps make the room easier to keep at a comfortable temperature.
Insulation also has soundproofing benefits. That can limit the noise that is audible in the rest of the home from, say, a power tool being used in the garage.
2. Drywall the garage
Insulation for the garage is a great investment, but the sight of exposed insulation and framing studs isn’t exactly visually appealing.
Get the garage one step closer to having a more finished look by hanging drywall. In addition to covering up a garage’s unattractive construction features and things like electrical wiring and a central vac system’s piping, here are three more reasons to install drywall in a garage:
drywall is cost-effective
it improves a home’s energy efficiency
drywall gives you more flexibility when it comes to decorating your garage walls and adding storage systems
Hanging drywall isn’t rocket science, but it is physically demanding and there is a definite skill to installing it correctly so that the wall has a seamless look without joints, tape, and screws showing.
Two other garage wall covering alternatives to drywall are fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP) and wallboard panels. Keep in mind that these products are used only for covering and finishing walls and aren’t designed to accommodate hanging storage systems.
3. Paint the garage walls
Once your garage drywall is hung, you’ll want to dress it up with a fresh coat of paint. This is where the decor of the garage can really start to take shape.
If you’re doing a top-to-bottom remodel with a garage makeover professional, the paint color chosen for the walls will be influenced by the colors picked for a new floor coating, slatwall, and cabinetry. Even the colors of your vehicles can be factored into your garage color choices to visually complement them better.
Many homeowners choose lighter garage wall paint colors because they reflect light better, make the room look bigger, and make us feel more comfortable. Neutral colors like beige, tan, and grey are also popular.
If it’s done tastefully, pops of bolder colors on a garage wall (whether it’s from paint or the color of a cabinet system, for example) can add visual interest as well.
4. Have a slatwall storage system installed
Slatwall panels provide versatile hanging storage space and give garages a cleaner, finished look.
With a garage’s walls being invaluable for storage and interior design upgrades, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a product that took care of both those needs?
There is such a product and it’s called slatwall. Our slatwall panels and hanging accessories are the best wall-mounted garage storage solution available and give garages a clean, finished look.
This complete wall hanging system involves installing PVC slatwall panels in your garage that are sturdy, easy to clean, and waterproof.
Using a wide variety of hooks, racks, baskets, bins, and shelves, this wall hanging system helps to keep your garage organized and maximize its storage space. Rearranging your stored items is easier with slatwall than it is with other types of wall storage systems, such as pegboard.
Eight slatwall colors are available that allow you to customize your garage’s design. There are several more ways that slatwall can be used as a decorative garage wall feature:
it can cover the entire garage wall and be used in corners and awkward spaces
slatwall can be combined with open drywall space
another slatwall color can be incorporated into the wall design for decorative effect (like the blue slatwall strip below the grey slatwall in the first photo)
ribbon lighting installed on the slatwall creates a unique, more inviting look
5. Add garage wall hooks or track rail storage kits
Perhaps the most common type of garage wall storage system are hooks that are screwed into the wall studs or drywall.
Wall-mounted track rail storage kits are also popular and involve installing thin rails a few feet long horizontally on the wall and hanging up items using the included accessories.
The benefits of these two types of garage wall organizer products is that they’re cheap and easy to install yourself.
They do have some drawbacks, however. Unlike slatwall or pegboard storage, you’re unable to change their location since they’re permanently anchored in the wall.
That creates problems when your storage needs change and you want to rearrange where your things are hung. Sure, you can just remove the storage systems from the wall and reinstall them in another spot, but then you’re left with holes and repair work.
Different brands, styles, colors, and brands of these products also tend to get bought over time. That results in a patchwork of storage accessories attached to the garage walls that don’t have a cohesive look and add to the room’s visual clutter.
6. Install garage wall shelving
One of the garage wall ideas commonly used for storage is built-in shelving or freestanding shelving units. Often, these two storage systems are of the DIY variety and made with wood.
While they are functional, most DIY garage storage systems don’t look very good. Painting or staining the shelves (and frame if it’s a freestanding unit) can help, but unless you’re a carpentry expert, these projects usually end up with that low-end DIY look.
If you do want to use a freestanding shelving rack, spend a little more to get a sturdier product that looks more professional and can hold more weight than one of those flimsy plastic shelving units.
Another option for your shelving needs is wire shelving that can be mounted to the walls of the garage.
7. Add tire racks
If you live in a northern climate that gets enough snow to warrant having snow tires, tire racks are a smart buy.
A spare set of tires stored on your garage floor, even if they’re all stacked on top of one another, takes up space that could be put to better use. And if you have multiple vehicles with a second set of tires, that space they’re occupying adds up.
Wall-mounted tire racks provide a dedicated space where an off-season set of tires can be kept, freeing up more room on the floor
If you store your spare tire sets at your local garage or a tire specialist store, the fees you’re paying could be invested in tire racks that would pay for themselves in a short amount of time.
8. Use pegboard wall storage
For years, when people thought of garage wall ideas, pegboard would be one of the first things to come to mind.
Pegboard storage was originally used for merchandising in the retail industry and someone eventually came up with the logical idea that the product could be useful for keeping residential garages more organized.
The design of pegboard (a hardwood sheet with evenly spaced holes) made it ideal for giving home owners more flexibility for how they stored their belongings on the garage wall. It was particularly useful for storing tools in a garage workshop with a variety of hooks and hangers.
Pegboard now looks somewhat dated, however, and has been surpassed by slatwall as a product that gives you a nicer aesthetic, more storage versatility, and the ability to handle higher weight capacities.
For a more durable pegboard product, you could spend a little more to get pegboard made with galvanized steel.
9. Invest in a custom cabinet system
This custom cabinet system is completely wall-mounted, giving it a distinct “floating“ look.
Storage cabinets are another smart way to make better use of your garage walls. It’s worth it to spend a bit more for a premium cabinet system that can be customized to match the rest of your interior decor.
The cabinet system pictured above was customized to make it completely wall-mounted, which gives it a “floating” look that really stands out. Garage Living also customized the design by adding drawers below the lockers on the left.
High-quality cabinet systems will last longer, are built with a higher grade construction materials, and simply give a garage a more impressive, professional appearance than any of the low-cost cabinets you’ll find online or in a big-box store.
Cabinets afford you more garage storage options and provide space to keep things organized, hidden, and locked up. Hand tools, power tools, cleaning supplies, car care products, and gardening supplies are ideal for cabinet storage.
And custom cabinets can do more for your garage than just give you more storage room. They can be used for a garage workshop and include specialty options like adding a sink or mounted TV.
10. Hang metallic trim or sheets
For garage wall ideas that have functional and decorative uses, some homeowners favor hanging metallic trim or sheets on their walls.
These products are made with aluminum or stainless steel and commonly have a rugged diamond plate design. The trim can be installed in any number of locations around the perimeter of a garage.
Some people cover their entire garage walls with decorative metal sheeting or may opt for a more subdued look and just add a strip of the trim in the middle of their walls.
Others choose to add metal trim with different styles to the top of their walls as a crown molding or use it for a wall base.
The eye-catching trim adds visual interest to a garage’s walls, which is why the material also works so well as a backsplash in a cabinet system’s design.
Metal corner guards are another way the material can be used on a garage’s walls. The guards are decorative and also help keep corners protected from scratches and scuffs.
11. Add garage baseboard
Let’s get a little deeper into the benefits of a garage baseboard and some additional wall base options. Installing a high-quality wall base in the garage:
covers up the gap between the wall and floor for a seamless wall-to-floor transition
provides an extra decorative touch that helps complete the look of the room
keeps drywall protected from water damage
cuts down on drafts
helps to keep out pests
You’ll want to stay away from using wood or polystyrene wall moldings because of the excess moisture levels found in most garages. The water that collects on a garage floor from rain and melted snow is another reason to use a more resilient type of wall base.
Vinyl and rubber wall bases are often used, which are sometimes referred to as cove base molding. They typically come in rolls with an adhesive backing. Although this type of wall base product is affordable and easy to install yourself, they don’t necessarily give you all the benefits listed above.
Garage Living offers a premium wall base solution by applying a Floortex™ baseboard coating to your wall base for striking, unique look.
The baseboard coating is the exact same mix that we use on your garage floor, which takes the concept of a seamless transition between the floor and wall to a whole new level!
Because Floortex™ coatings completely seal the base of a wall, you get a superior level of protection from pests, drafts, and water damage. Our versatile coatings can also be applied to the steps in a garage.
12. Install wall lighting
This remodel shows what design touches like adding perimeter wall lighting and a baseboard coating can do to give a garage a unique, high-end appearance.
Wall lighting in the garage traditionally hasn’t been very commonplace. That’s something that is slowly changing as more homeowners evolve their thinking and embrace the fact that the garage deserves to look as nice as the rest of their home.
Adding lighting to the garage walls can help supplement your main overhead lighting, but will more likely be used for decorative effect and to make the room look more inviting.
Some of Garage Living’s remodeling projects have included adding LED ribbon lighting below slatwall panels to give the wall an even more distinct and appealing appearance. The lighting turns on when the garage door opens and can also be activated with a remote switch.
A number of other wall lighting ideas could include installing sconces to give the room more ambiance and a different look.
13. Create a mini workspace with a folding workbench
A wall-mounted folding workbench can be useful for a few reasons:
if your garage is small and you don’t have the room to set up a larger workspace
maybe you will only use a workspace occasionally and don’t want to dedicate too much space to one
if your budget can’t accommodate buying a new cabinet system with a work countertop
A workbench that stays folded against the wall until it’s needed gives a garage some extra functionality without having much of a footprint in the room.
Be sure to invest in a reliable product that is sturdy enough for your needs, has secure safety mechanisms to prevent the workbench from being lowered unintentionally, and provides you with enough surface space to work.
14. Protect your car doors with wall bumpers
We all know how expensive it is to get any sort of auto body repair or touch-up work done, so wall bumpers may be a smart addition to your garage walls.
Wall bumpers will help protect vehicle doors from dings and scratches that occur when entering or exiting your car or truck.
They’re very practical for small garages, especially some older single car garages that are so narrow you wonder how in the world they fit the huge cars made during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
The protective bumpers are ideal even for larger garages that have several vehicles being parked in the space.
15. Have overhead storage racks installed
Most of the space in the upper areas of garages is underutilized. To maximize the room’s storage capabilities, you need to take advantage of every possible part of the room, including the upper walls and ceiling space.
Overhead storage racks take care of this. They’re installed on the wall studs and ceiling joists and provide convenient room to store:
things you don’t use regularly (like storage bins with holiday decorations)
out-of-season items you don’t want taking up floor space
Our adjustable overhead storage racks are made with heavy gauge steel that can safely support up to 600 lbs and have a powder coated paint finish, so they’re built to last a long time.
16. Hang garage wall art
This garage owner’s passion for Ferraris is tastefully reflected in the art on the left-hand side wall.
If you’re going to the time and expense to have your garage remodelled, you’ll want it to reflect your personality.
This can be accomplished a number of ways by adding framed photos or some other type of artwork that reflects one of your passions, whether it’s a car brand, a favorite sports team, or anything else.
For example, the garage pictured above utilizes the Performance theme from Garage Living’s Designer Series. The homeowner drives Ferraris and has a deep passion for the auto brand.
The Ferrari images on the wall, along with the red wall paint and red and black cabinet colors, gives the garage a bold look that beautifully complements the owner’s luxury cars and shows off their love for the automaker.
The key is to not overdo it with your garage wall artwork. You don’t want the wall to look too busy with a bunch of photos hung up, as that can make the room feel visually cluttered.
17. Add a wall-mounted hose reel
Wall-mounted hose reels are the last of our garage wall ideas. If you have a water connection in the garage, a hose reel installed on the wall is the best way to:
keep garden hoses organized
extend the life of your hoses
keep hoses off the garage floor where they’re a tripping hazard
Invest in a high-quality hose reel, such as the rust-proof aluminum alloy hose reel sold by Garage Living that comes with a 10 year warranty.
This versatile hose reel can be mounted either perpendicular to the wall or parallel to your wall and is the only hose reel on the market specifically designed to allow for either left or right-hand rewinding.
Transform your garage walls and interior
We’ve been making garage interiors across North America look beautiful for a decade-and-a-half and can transform your space with many of these garage wall ideas.
Garage Living will work with you to design a one-of-a-kind garage that looks incredible, operates more efficiently, and improves your home’s comfort level.