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Journal

May 22nd

Are You Maximizing Your Garage?

Not every garage has to be this ultimate man cave, but a clean and useful garage can become an additional room for your home.

Hi! I’m Tina, the newest designer at Style on a Shoestring. I’m new at Style but I’m not new to design – I got into the field several years ago when I was interested in remodeling homes on my own. I’m really a Jill of All Trades who is just as comfortable with a power tool as I am a color palette!

Designers always talk about how you will use a space personally, since we all have different lifestyles. When it comes to garages, that’s even more crucial. For me, a garage is a combination workshop and relaxation area. For you, it might simply be a storage area for your vehicles and unused household items – a place you rarely spend more than a few minutes. But here’s the catch: your garage is the first thing you see in the morning as you leave for your day, and the first thing you see when you return home. It’s how most of us exit and enter our house, which means it shouldn’t be a forgotten space. If you start your morning in a chaotic garage, you are likely to be frustrated before you even back down the driveway. That means your garage should be beautiful as well as functional.

Fortunately there are numerous storage solutions that work well in a garage. Stop by your favorite home improvement store and you will see a selection of “systems” you can use to coordinate hardware, toys, sports equipment or whatever you might have cluttering up your garage. I prefer cabinets with doors because you can organize your items on the shelves and then close all of the doors for a clean look. If you use bins, be sure to label them on the outside with a permanent marker so you don’t always have to open lids to see what’s inside.

The Elfa system found at The Container Store is just one of many ways you can organize your garage.

The garage floor is another consideration. Since I do a lot of DIY work in my garage, I prefer the painted floor with the little fleck of color (sometimes these paints have metal flecks) because it is easy to sweep up. You can also get a plastic mat that comes in pieces you snap together to form a floor and provide some cushion underneath. Just be sure you know how you are using your garage before you do your flooring – if it is just to park a car, a waffle-style mat is fine. But if you plan to work in your garage like I do, the holes in that type of mat will trap wood shavings and other debris underneath, in which case a solid surface would be better.

Don’t forget to use your garage’s height too. If your garage has a vaulted or two-level ceiling, you can install an open platform for additional storage, accessed by a pull-down stairway. Hooks along the top of any garage allow you to hang bikes and other equipment when they’re not being used, giving you more floor space.

Finally, keep in mind that a Southern California garage can be a multi-purpose room. Whether that means a man cave, a little corner to play darts and watch TV or a gift-wrapping station, the garage (when it is neat and organized!) is like an extra room in your house.

If we can help you spruce up your garage, or with any of your design needs, please contact us.