A garage apartment, also called a garage suite or coach house, is a self-contained apartment built within or on top of a garage. Whether the garage is attached or detached, the apartment itself is completely separate from the main house.
Garage apartments are one type of accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in urban planning. ADUs are apartments that are smaller than the main home but still on the same lot or parcel. Like other ADUs, a garage apartment is an integral part of new urbanism, a trend toward finding environmentally friendly and innovative ways to house people.
Who Needs a Garage Apartment?
A garage apartment can be useful for many people, including homeowners looking to create a separate living space for friends or family. Similarly, if you have elderly family members, a garage apartment keeps them close without sacrificing independence or privacy.
It can also be used for guests or as a rental unit for extra cash. Often, garage apartments are cheaper to rent than a house or a full-sized apartment, so they can be attractive to renters on a budget, such as college students.
Another option is turning a garage apartment into a short-term vacation rental. The accommodation is self-contained, so you have privacy while making vacation rental income.
How to Design a Garage Apartment
Does a garage apartment sound like the right choice for your property? Here’s what to consider when designing your new space:
1. Determine Which Renovations Are Necessary
Before you can plan your garage apartment, you have to consider whether you’ll be building an apartment on top of or within your current garage. What renovations are necessary to create a self-contained apartment?
Do you need to add walls, windows, insulation, and plumbing? Is your garage door in good condition to support an apartment, or will you need to renovate it before constructing an apartment?
2. Consider Security Needs
Your garage may be secure already, but you should consider additional security for an apartment. While your garage may have door and window locks, you will need more robust options for an apartment, such as a deadbolt for the main door.
Another option is to add a security system with lighting, which will make your apartment rental more attractive to potential tenants.
3. Think About Insulation, Heating, and Cooling
Basic insulation is often enough for a garage but won’t do for an apartment. Be sure to consider insulation, heating, and cooling to ensure efficiency and comfort for tenants. Likewise, ensure you insulate the walls, ceilings, and floors to reduce heating and cooling costs.
4. Pinpoint Plumbing and Electricity Costs
It’s likely that your garage doesn’t already have plumbing for bathroom or kitchen fixtures and water supply in the apartment. You will also need additional electrical for apartment lighting, outlets, and appliances.
Consult with plumbing and electrical contractors to determine exactly what you need and how much you’ll need to invest in your apartment space.
5. Create a Layout That Fits Your Needs
Apartment layout is an important consideration, especially if you’re working with limited space. Consider how your rooms will be placed, how the foot traffic will flow, and how to optimize the space for utilities, natural light, views, and privacy.
6. Pick the Right Garage Door
The door to the apartment should be functional but should also complement the look of your garage and property. Make sure the door offers security and insulation first and foremost, but then you can find designs that work with your existing garage. If you prefer, install a new garage door with a matching apartment door.
7. Minimize Excess Noise
You don’t want your tenant disturbed by the sounds from your home – if attached – or the garage itself. Use soundproofing to minimize the noise between your property and the garage apartment. Simple options include acoustic insulation or solid core doors.
8. Choose Appropriate Flooring
Flooring is also essential. You want your apartment flooring to be suitable for the rooms, durable, and easy to maintain. Consider the comfort and moisture resistance before aesthetic appeal. Depending on the size and design of the apartment, you may want tile and hardwood or laminate flooring.
9. Make Wise Decoration Choices
The apartment should have an attractive design, but it can suit your taste and the look of the rest of your property. Think about window treatments, color palettes, and furniture (if you plan to furnish).
10. Trust the Experts
Designing and building an apartment garage is no small undertaking. Consider working with an expert like Austin’s Greater Garage Doors to maximize the space within your budget. As the top garage door contractor Austin features, we can help you plan your new apartment garage to ensure it meets your requirements. Contact us to discuss your plans and needs.