Creating a functional garage design

If there was ever a room to which the words design and decor didn't seem to apply, it would definitely be the garage. Whether it's used as a storage room, a workshop or a parking space, the one thing a garage rarely does is showcase the homeowner's design tastes.

Choosing garage decor is at once easier and harder than decorating the other rooms in your home. It doesn't usually require selecting paint colors or window treatments, and the flooring and lighting are often dictated by the type of space it will be. On the other hand, for whatever fixtures, garage furniture and garage accessories are required, there tend to be fewer options available. And because the garage tends to be more of a catch-all space than any other room, creating a functional garage floor plan can be a particular challenge.

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In order to get the most from your garage, you need to first decide what type of space it will be. If it's going to be a workshop, try to find another place to store that sports equipment; if it's going to be storage, look into creating another work area, perhaps in the basement.

Once you've decided on your garage plans, you have two major design pieces to decide on: the door and the floor.

Garage Door

Garage doors are quite big and usually dominate the view both within the garage and from the street. Thus, it is particularly important that a garage door is not only functional but also attractive.

Functionally, all you really need from a garage door is easy operation and hardy construction. Style-wise, you need the garage door to match the front of your house from the outside and the rest of the garage from the inside.

An overhead garage door, which lays parallel to the roof when opened, is by far the most popular choice. Early models were solid pieces of wood or steel that opened outward, but today, these doors are made from a variety of materials and generally consist of panels that slide up the frame and along the roof. Today's doors also tend to be automated - one touch of the button on a garage door opener and a motor moves the door along the track – no heavy lifting required! Just be sure the door has a handle, too; in case of a power outage, you'll want a way to open it manually.

Garage Floor

The garage is no place for hardwood!

Garage floors tend to take a beating, so they have to be durable. That's why concrete is a popular garage flooring material – it can stand up to almost anything. Just be sure to use a garage floor coating or sealant to protect against spills and messes. You can also liven up the look of the concrete with a little garage floor paint.

If paint doesn't offer enough of a departure, you might choose a garage floor covering instead. Garage floor tile comes in a variety of colors and patterns and offers a bit more style without much sacrifice in the way of durability. A garage floor mat will provide extra protection under heavy tools or equipment, or even under a vehicle! With numerous shapes, styles, colors, logos and pictures available, you're sure to find a garage mat that adds just the decorative touch you're looking for.

Garage Kits

If your home doesn't have a garage, adding one can be simple. If you're a real do-it-yourselfer (or you know one you can call upon), check out the many garage plans available online. You'll still have to purchase the materials and do the actual building (or hire a builder), but purchasing a pre-drawn garage plan will save you the hassle and cost of an architect or designer.

An even simpler way to add a garage is to purchase a garage kit. Garage kits have all of the parts you need – just a few tools and a little bit of elbow grease and boom! Instant garage.

If even that seems like too much work, an already assembled prefab garage may be right for you. Choosing this route may limit you in terms of material and design, but if it's convenience you're after, this is definitely the best option.

For those who want to protect their vehicles when they travel, a portable garage is a great solution. Similar to a tent, portable garages consist of a fabric cover over a metal frame. Available in a variety of sizes, they can house everything from a jet ski or a snowmobile to an RV or a boat, making them the perfect garage solution for the family on the go.