Reclaiming your unused car space at home

Driving less and thinking of getting rid of your car? If so, you may be about to find yourself with extra space in your garage or outside your home.

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Do you ever look at your front driveway or garage and wonder what might be?

A few years ago, converting your front garden into a driveway was seen as an good tactic to add value to your home, while adding a garage was a sure-fire way to add around 5% extra value.   

But now, with the future of car ownership up in the air, it may just be the other way around.

More people than ever are currently working from home, which is part of the reason car sales plummeted in 2020.

Instead of owning their own vehicles, people are now thinking about other ways to get around. The number of people joining car clubs continues to grow year-on-year, while driverless cars are now tantalisingly close.

So, as people start to need fewer vehicles in their lives, there’s a good chance we could do away with our driveways and garages, and convert the space into something a little more charming.

If you’re thinking of doing away with your unused vehicle and reclaiming the space it once consumed, here are five ideas of how to use that space instead…

 

1. A lovely new front garden

Not only could a front garden add instant kerb appeal to your home, it’ll also give you something fun to do if you’re spending more time around the house.

Depending on how much space you have, your design could range from fairly simple, to a small jungle. You could even add features such as a playground for the children.

If it’s a large job, or if you’re planning to do something complex – such as laying concrete – you may want to call in the support of a landscape gardener and a builder.

But once you’ve got a plan, all that’s left to do is rip up the driveway and start laying turf, paving, plants or anything else your heart desires.

Bear in mind that, if you live in a Listed property or conservation area, you may need your council’s permission before making changes to the front of your property.

2. A paved social space

If mowing the front lawn and tending to plants doesn’t appeal, you can always opt for something simpler by paving your front yard with a new patio, adding a table and chairs and turning it into a social space.

This could make it the ideal area to while away summer evenings.

And it’ll be easy to decorate. A few potted plants and a new fence could really make the space feel special.

The good news here is that you may be able to recycle the surface you used to create your driveway, or simply pave on top of it, to save money.

3. A hobby workshop

An empty garage is every crafty person’s dream. So, if you’ve managed to free up some space where the car used to be, there’s only one thing left to do: kit it out with all your hobby gear.

In 2020, we heard stories of people converting their garage space into everything from print studios to microbreweries, to woodworking workshops.

Our advice is to invest in some space-saving shelving solutions before you start ordering bulky equipment. This will help you take stock of exactly how much space you have to work with.

You may even want to think about some changes to the fixtures and fittings, such as the lighting, and converting the garage door into something a little easier to operate.

Most importantly, always make sure your space has a suitable fire exit and a fire extinguisher, especially if you’re going to be working with heat.

4. A garage games room

Why not convert your unused garage into a social space for you and your friends?

With the right installations, you can easily convert your garage into a den. Keep your eyes peeled on second-hand websites for equipment such as pool tables, dart boards and other fun bits ‘n’ pieces – they often go quite cheap.

And of course, don’t forget to add a sofa, carpets, wall decorations and a television to make the space feel more homely.

If you’re feeling crafty, you may even want to think about building your own bar. It’ll make your house the firm favourite among friends when it comes to hosting parties!

5. An extra room for your home

Whether your garage is part of the same building as your home, an extension or detached, it still counts as part of the floor plan.

Converting a garage into another type of space causes minimal disruption and can usually be completed under permitting development rights, meaning you probably won’t need planning permission (although it’s always a good idea to check with your local authority first).

So, all that’s stopping you converting it into an extra bedroom, living room or home office is the materials.

If your garage is built with cinder block walls, you may want to rebuild with bricks and plaster, which are better at retaining heat. And, if you have a concrete floor, you may want to replace this with floorboards or carpet. You may also need to consider plumbing and electrics.

But once the essentials are ticked off, all that’s left is to add furniture and decoration – and bish, bash, bosh, you’ve added a whole new space to your home!

Hungry for more inspiration?

These are just five of the many ways you can get the most out of your space.

But of course, the only limit is your creativity.

Remember, don’t dive into any construction project until you’ve consulted with a professional and your local authority.

But if you’re serious about improving your home, you’ll find loads more great advice on our homeowner-tips page.

Sources for this article: Zoopla, romans, como, homesandproperty.