Add-on space: With slight modifications and some amount of careful planning, boring garages can be transformed into useful extensions of our living space. Vathsala V P tells you how..
The conventional meaning of garage is a room where vehicles are parked, and nothing more. A huge, dark, dingy unit of the house that no one cares much about. Not anymore, especially in a city like Bangalore where every inch of the space is valuable.
No wonder, we look for ways and means to utilise every inch of space available intelligently, and take great pride in the same.
Net result — today, garages are multifunctional and are considered to be ideal places for home offices, art studios, association meetings, summer classes and, last but not the least, day care centres! All these, apart from its regular function of housing cars, motorbikes, bicycles, tools, tyres and old knick-knacks we’ve accumulated over the years. In effect, it has become one of the ‘most-used’ parts of the house.
Converting a garage into a multi-utility space is no rocket science. All it demands is some amount of careful planning and some ‘space-commonsense’. A little bit of both can definitely work wonders in transforming a boring garage into a workable place.
First of all, to ensure that the garage is able to accommodate a whole lot of elements, right from vehicles to gardening equipments and mechanical tools, go in for shelves that are either built-in or pre-fabricated. These shelves not only save space, but also keep the various things in the garage in an organised manner.
Making optimum use of wall space, shelves can be made to run from ceiling to floor, so that the storage space is that much more. However, do bear in mind the convenience factor too, so that all the heavy tools are within easy reach.
Another workable solution is to go in for cabinets on wheels that can be wheeled to the area of work. Such cabinets are not only practical, but save time too, as tools and equipments are readily available while at work. And definitely handy.
Apart from shelf units, great space savers are wall mounts that not only add space to cabinetry, but also provide quality addition to the storage space in the garage.
These wall mounts, which are more like pegs in the walls, are simply amazing in their efficiency to hold anything from gardening tools and sports equipment to bicycles. Fixed vertically along the wall, they are renowned for their high adaptability and weight bearing properties.
The best part of these storage accessories is that they can handle anything that clutters the garage floor. The choice of storage accessories to optimise organising efforts is also mind-boggling. However, while deciding on space saving accessories for garages, it is advisable to keep your specific needs in mind to maximise space utility.
Talking of storage options, another great space saver is an attic to house all those things which we use sparingly. And of course, things that hold some sentimental value to you — that stool on its last legs your grandfather used, or the spade your grandmother used for her gardening.
And of course, spare tyres and electrical tools. Don’t worry about reaching the attic — foldable ladders available aplenty will just do. However, care should be taken to place the ladder in the garage in such a way that it doesn’t hamper movement. It is best to lean it against the wall horizontally at floor level.
For any place to be likeable, there should be enough circulation of fresh air and natural light. Especially so in a garage since it holds a lot of stuff from chemicals and paints to old toys and vehicles. Try and have large windows for the same. Skylights could also be an option. They are also very useful when we decide to convert our garage into a spare room for the guests or as our home office.
Another important factor that just cannot be ignored is the garage flooring. Gone are the times when garage floors meant hard concrete ones. A plethora of options available in the market can ensure a slick garage.
However, while planning on flooring for the garage, care should be taken to ensure that the flooring opted for is easy to clean too.
For, garage is one place that will see an accumulation of dirt brought in from the outdoors — everything from oils and acids to grease and common road grime. Mats are a big no-no as cleaning them can be a task in itself.
Now, don’t you agree with me that with some careful planning, we can actually make the garages in our houses places of pride?