Creating the Ultimate Garage Workshop

People invest thousands of dollars in kitchen and bathroom renovations, family room upgrades, and outdoor living spaces. If your garage provides more than just a home for the bike and storage space for other “stuff,” why not invest time, TLC and a little cash to transform it into the perfect workshop for restoring older motorcycles or maintaining your daily driver. Ivan’s Garage presents some helpful tips below.

Start with the basics

If your garage has become a disorganized repository for decorations, yard tools, outgrown toys, and a tangle of tools, start by decluttering and organizing. Pull everything out and determine what to keep and what to trash or donate. This includes all the shop manuals you have lying around.

Once you have all your items laid out, group like-items into piles. Many garages are tall enough to accommodate overhead storage. You can purchase pre-made ceiling-mounted overhead storage racks, or, as Family Handyman suggests, build your own. Use hooks, drop shelves, ceiling storage lifts, bike lifts, slings, and rafters to store nearly anything.

Pro tip: Don’t rely on cardboard boxes to store things safely. Instead, invest in heavy-duty plastic bins, totes or canvas storage bags, which protect what’s inside from moisture, bugs, and rodents. Plus, they’re easy to label.

Creating the perfect workshop space

According to your budget, install pegboard, shelving and cabinets to store hand and power tools. Most garages don’t include their own heating and cooling systems—many DIY make do with electric fans and heaters. But if you’re planning to work in the garage in all seasons, it might be worth it to explore the expense of adding HVAC to the space.

Building a garage from scratch? Check out these recommendations on Just remember to make note of all the changes you make to your property; the addition of a garage or the renovation of a current one can also raise your home’s appraisal value.

Breaking it down

A workbench is the heart of the garage—the bench should be sturdy, durable, large enough to be practical, and able to withstand abuse. Short on space? Build a fold-down bench that you can latch to the wall when it’s not in use.

Tool storage is critical to keeping your tools organized, handy and safe. Use drawer mats to keep tools from rolling around. Buying a metal movable storage case? Verify it’s rust-free and that the wheels move freely. Pegboard attached to the walls makes it easy to spot the tool you need. If this isn’t an option, you’ll have to get creative. Consider adding a table coated in magnetic paint, which will keep small pieces in place.

Since most garages lack all but the most basic lighting, make task lighting a priority. Track lighting works well for general illumination—but it casts shadows and isn’t directional. Include a work lamp or two that allows you to focus brighter light directly on your projects.

No one likes to work in the arctic. Natural gas heaters provide a good heat solution. You can use a propane or kerosene heater, too—but make sure to vent the area well. If you don’t have the ductwork to add AC, install a window unit or purchase a portable unit.

Flooring that’s durable and easy to clean like an epoxy floor finish provides extra grip or garage floor tile might prove a better option than concrete, which stains over time and collects dirt and dust that track too easily into your home.

Get the power! Whether you’re using pneumatic lifts, air compressors, different types of saws, or other electric-draining equipment, make sure your garage has enough outlets and can withstand the amount of power you’ll need. Dozens of extension cords become tripping hazards, so plan to add outlets near the workspaces where you’ll do most of your work.

Include entertainment. Whether you like to watch the game while you work or blast tunes, consider adding a wall-mounted television or splurge on a good stereo system. If you lack the space, get something simple like a portable speaker. Finally, install a dorm or full-sized refrigerator for drinks and snacks at the ready.

Start small

A garage workshop doesn’t have to break the bank. A workbench, basic storage including cabinets and shelving, and upgraded lighting should cost between $500 and $700. If money’s no object, you can spend thousands to create the perfect space for all your projects.

Image via Pixabay