Who hasn’t dreamed about having their very own bar? Imagine – a big screen TV on the wall, a dark, polished bar with your own taps, beer signs hanging on the wall, and maybe a pool table in the corner. Is that dream out of reach? Not at all!
Your garage might be the perfect space to turn into a home bar. There is so much sheer potential here – it’s a blank canvas that can become anything you want.
A garage makeover is also a lot of fun. There’s no need to add to your home or forgo that guestroom. There is no point in dodging paint cans and having everything in the house covered in sheetrock dust during renovations. Your garage is close by but separate, and easy to customize.
How do you go about turning that empty space into a home bar, though? We’ve got a simple three-step process that will take you from beginning to end.
Remember that pool table we mentioned? Here it is! Image from Unsplash.
1. Create a plan
Let’s start at the beginning. What do you want to accomplish and what’s your budget?
By defining the ultimate goal of your project, you’ll be able to determine just how extensive the renovations are going to be. How simple or elaborate will your setup be? Do you want just a bar and a small refrigerator? Will you need tap lines, taps, and space for kegs?
Remember that a full makeover is going to take a lot more time, money, and preparation. You also need to think about comfort. If you’ll be in the garage throughout the year, chances are good that you’ll need to find a way to heat and cool your space (and you’ll want to pay attention to the insulation so that you’re not running your AC or heater nonstop).
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank to remodel your space. There are many changes you can make that don’t cost a lot. One of the simplest choices is to repaint the walls. A color change can breathe new life into any room.
You should also think about doing some of the work on your own. If you’re handy and have the tools, doing some of the work in the space can also save you a lot of money. Of course, that will require time and patience, as well as tools and knowledge. However, it can often be more rewarding than paying a contractor to do it for you.
Make sure you’re prepared for the project with an in-depth plan. Image from Unsplash.
*NOTE: While going the DIY route is fine with some things, others should be left to the pros. We’re talking about plumbing and electrical work that will require permits, as well as experience and specific knowledge. Otherwise, you could be in for a rude surprise when the inspector requires you to make some costly revisions.
Tips and Tricks
To really get a grip on how extensive your project will be, figure out how much space you’ll need to use, and then calculate your budget. From that point, you can start researching your needs and preferences.
If you have any friends or family members who’ve converted their garages, you can go to them for inspiration and help. It doesn’t have to be a bar conversion, either. Any type of garage renovation can yield invaluable information.
Finally, use your online sources wisely. Pinterest is probably one of the best options out there. Here’s a link to 50 other man caves. No matter what you want in a home bar, there’s something there to inspire you.
2. Do the prep work to save yourself time
If your garage is anything like most of them, it’s probably not the cleanest and best-organized area of your home. It’s likely cluttered with tools and equipment, old clothes, boxes destined for a yard sale or Goodwill, and so much more.
Before you begin cleaning, give yourself a chance to succeed by pulling everything outside. Once it’s out, you can start going through it. That will help you get more organized and will even give you a few ideas on things that you can get rid of.
Once you’ve gotten everything out and gone through it, you can start cleaning the garage. Start by removing dust, dirt, and mold from the walls, shelves, and anything else in the space, such as a freezer or refrigerator. When you finish that, move on to the floor. You want to deep clean it, and that means tackling those oil and rust stains.
Concerned that you don’t have what it takes to get those tough stains out? No worries. Check out this article from Gilmour, a watering, gardening, and cleaning company. It highlights what you need to know to really deep clean your garage floor.
Insulate the Space
Insulation is your best friend during this project. That applies to any garage – finished or unfinished. Insulation helps the space stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and also helps lower your utility bills (since the heater or AC won’t be constantly running). Pay close attention to the doors, windows, and other areas where potential air leaks might exist, too.
You’ll find that your insulation needs will vary depending on the type of garage you have. For instance, with an attached garage (the most common type in North America), you’ll need different levels of insulation throughout. The wall it shares with the home will need a different R-value (the measure of thermal protection provided by insulation) than the outer walls will. When it comes to R-value, the higher the number, the more protection you’ll have.
You will also find a wide range of insulation types on the market. For instance, there’s conventional fiberglass, but you can also go with spray foam, rigid foam, blown-in cellulose, and more. Each has its own pros and cons. Not sure which to go with? Check out this website to learn more. It’s easier than you might think to maintain the right temperature in your garage.
Consider the Garage Door
Take a moment to immerse yourself in this – you’re at the bar, pouring a drink, and watching the kids play in the backyard. That’s all possible with the right garage door, like this all-glass California design with a black aluminum frame.
Most garages have three static walls. The garage door forms the fourth. You need to consider insulation and protection here (there’s that R-value again). However, you’ll also want to make sure that the door you choose is the right style and color for your home. Consider windows, all-glass layouts, and more when shopping for a garage door.
Aesthetic and Window Considerations
You might be surprised at how much a new garage door affects the overall look and feel of your home. It’s important to consider a few things when buying a new door, beyond the thermal resistance it offers.
All-Glass – One trend today is toward all-glass garage doors. You might have seen these at restaurants. They also resemble the doors used on fire stations. All-glass doors let in lots of light, and they can be designed so that you can see out, but people cannot see in.
Temperature – If you live in an area where cold weather is common, you’ll want to reduce the number of windows in the door. All-glass doors are not well-suited to northern latitudes, but you can still let in natural light with well-placed windows. If you’re worried about condensation in the windows, a dehumidifier will help.
Will your converted garage become extended living space? If so, you’ll want the right garage door for the job, like this Princeton P-13 Design with clear panoramic windows at the top panel. The large windows let in plenty of light, and they come in a range of colors, including warm Desert Sand.
Maintaining Your Garage Door
You might think that you can say goodbye to garage door maintenance now that you’re turning the space into a bar, but that’s not the case. You’ll still use the door, just not as often. That actually means that maintenance is even more important.
Pay close attention to the weatherstripping. If it’s damaged, it can allow water, dirt, dust, and even leaves into your garage. Other threats can also occur – mice and other rodents can squeeze through even very small gaps.
Check your local area to find a specialist company that offers maintenance services. Work with them to ensure that your garage door is maintained correctly and that your weatherstripping remains in good condition.
Lights and Power
We’ve talked about paint and doors, cleaning, and more. However, lighting really makes your space come together. The light fixtures you choose will set the tone for your bar – do you want a low-key ambiance? Do you prefer something brighter and livelier?
If you’re not all that knowledgeable about lighting, check out this article from Juniper, a design and manufacturing studio in the US. It provides a lot of information to help you determine the right lighting for your space and to achieve your goals.
- Warm, indirect light offers a comfortable, low-key atmosphere
- Direct lighting is brighter and better suited to activities, like playing pool or throwing darts
You should also consider the number of electrical outlets and their placement. Even a basic bar will require a few outlets. You’ll need one for the TV, the sound system, any neon lights you hang on the wall…you get the picture.
*NOTE: For those who live in areas where it gets hot or cold regularly, it’s worth installing a heater and/or air conditioner. It will keep you more comfortable and also help prevent damage to items in your bar space.
You might not think much about the floor in your garage. After all, the concrete is just fine, right? Well, you do have options if you decide you want something warmer and more comfortable. You can even just paint the concrete if you want something different. Family Handyman has a list of different alternatives, including the following:
- Concrete floor paint, stain, or sealer
- Rollout mats
- Rigid or flexible tiles
Make sure to consider the pros and cons of each option before making your decision.
3. It’s time to decorate!
This is the part you’ve been waiting for – the decorating! This is where you get to go nuts with blacklights, neon signs, taps and kegs, and everything else. Let’s break it all down for you below.
- The Bar
The bar is going to be the largest part of the project. You can buy a premade one, sure, but you can also build one yourself with a little bit of effort and the right supplies. Check out this guide to learn more about the tools you’ll need.
Don’t neglect the bar-related accessories. A wine cooler, mini-fridge, and/or liquor cabinet will be needed to hold alcohol, wine, soft drinks, and the rest.
- The TV
What bar isn’t complete without a TV? You don’t have to go the sports bar route, either. Show screenings of your favorite sci-fi movies if you want. It’s your bar and no one is telling you what to do. So, you’ll need a decent-sized television and a sound system to make your space enjoyable. Wall-mounting is the best option here, too.
*NOTE: If the garage shares a wall with a frequently used room in your home, you’ll want to consider soundproofing it so that your merriment doesn’t intrude on what the rest of the family is doing.
While you’re at it, make sure you have comfortable seating. You can go the folding chair route, but why not add a sofa and some recliners to really increase the comfort?
Check out some ideas of home cinemas on Pinterest to whet your appetite.
- It’s Game Time!
You’ll want to add a few ways to relax and unwind. Those can include:
- Pool table
- Air hockey
- Poker table
Just make sure you have plenty of ways for your friends to enjoy themselves.
Give your garage the gift of a new door
You’re putting a lot of time, money, and effort into the interior of your home bar. Shouldn’t the outside of the garage reflect that? A new garage door is just the ticket.
At Overhead Door of Nova Scotia, our team of garage door specialists will help you make an informed decision for your space. Check out our 3 main styles of garage doors:
This stunning all-glass garage door is a California, 12' x 7', with a black aluminum frame and clear glass.
Get a free quote on your garage door and/or opener to plan your budget better
If you want a bit more visual inspiration, check out our Design Centre. You can upload an image of your garage and then add different garage doors and windows to see how they will look. We’d also be happy to offer you a free estimate by email.
Get the help of the garage door experts
Ready to choose your garage door? Need more information?
Go ahead and get in touch with Overhead Door of Nova Scotia at 902-455-5469! We’re happy to discuss your needs, budget, and options.
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