Why and How I Turned My Garage Into My Office Space 82

Why and How I Turned My Garage Into My Office Space

This is a guest post by Lexie Lu, a designer and blogger. She contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee close by. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter.

A home office should be a place of business, a haven to get things done amid the hustle and bustle of family life.

There, I confer with clients, hold teleconferences and create magic on my computer. My office is definitely not supposed to be a spillover laundry room or a refuge for college textbooks.


I needed a private, professional space that offered the convenience of working from home without the continual interruptions.

After dismissing the idea of an underground bunker, I took a good look around my house. The survey ended in the garage, a jumble of outdoor equipment, disorganized tools and items we’d just dumped, intending to put away “later.”

Inspiration hit: I’d turn this poorly used space into my new office.

The process wasn’t as simple as dragging my desk and chair out and making room between the lawnmower and rakes. There were issues to consider, preparations to arrange and modifications to make before I moved in. But, oh, it was so worth it.

Here’s how I achieved my workplace Nirvana.

Think, Think, Think

Before you set up shop in the garage, ponder these issues:

  • In reassigning the garage’s duties, you’re losing its current functionalities: tool shed, bicycle rack, miscellanea storage… even a place to park cars.

How will you handle those changes?

When you leave vehicles outside, you increase exposure to the elements and car thieves.

Also, in some cities, houses must have off-street parking. Will you still meet this requirement? Where will the rest of the garage’s inventory go? Is there room in the basement or attic? Can you install a storage shed?

  • Does the garage need serious renovations to make it habitable on a daily basis?

If so, you’ll have to obtain a local construction permit. Consider hiring a contractor to handle an extensive conversion.

You’ll have a highly operational space when you’re done… but it can be costly. Depending upon the amount of work needed, a garage reno can cost upwards of $20,000.

What will you do there? Do you need electrical outlets, phone or fax lines, internet access, dry storage space, or access to water or bathroom facilities?

Will you meet with clients? If so, you may have to make the space more presentable.

Become Inspired

garage turns into office space

Base the design of your new office on:

  • The layout and setup of the current space;
  • Your needs;
  • Your personal preferences.

If it’s a big job, or if you don’t have a design in mind, hire a professional.

This saves time and ensures a satisfactory outcome. You’ve already identified basic necessities such as electricity and cable connection. It’s time to consider:

  • What kind of lighting do you want?

Overhead? Desk? Strong? Diffused?

Base your selection on the type of work you’ll be doing. A photographer needs an entirely different setup than a CPA.

  • Do you like natural light?

If so, windows or skylights? Facing your desk, behind you or overhead?

Do you need space for speakers, or are tunes from your smartphone sufficient?

  • What style do you prefer?

Traditional, contemporary, modern, funky? This impacts decisions about layout, colour and furnishings.

  • Do you want vibrant or soothing colors for your workspace?

How about neutral walls? They’re not overwhelming, and you can liven them up with splashes of color from furniture, wall hangings or an accent wall.

  • The current cement floor of your garage is more warehouse than workspace.

Floor coating products are relatively inexpensive and can create a number of attractive finishes.

  • Is an area for client meetings essential?
  • What happens if your business grows? Might you need room to expand?

Organize Yourself

Okay. You have your vision and you’ve hired whatever additional assistance is necessary.

Next step: prepare the space for the conversion.

If it’s going to be a full room renovation, find new places for everything in the garage. If you don’t mind a combined work/storage space, that’s a different story.

Time to de-clutter. You have lots of storage options. Which you choose depends on what gets left behind.

For example:

  • If you’ll store seldom-used items, such as holiday decorations, seasonal clothing or camping equipment, look into installing a loft. It’s like a mini attic. You lose no floor space and access it with a built-in ladder. A rack design cuts construction costs and ensures ventilation.
  • Not sold on the loft? You can still take advantage of unused high areas with overhead shelving.
  • Need regular access? Install a slat wall with hooks. Tools, bikes and toys are off the floor. A place for everything and everything in its place.
  • If you have the floor space and don’t want stored equipment in sight, put in large cabinets. Purchase commercial storage lockers or have cabinets built in.

Unless you have a pristine space, switching your home office to your garage won’t happen in a few hours. It’ll take time — and money — to get it up to speed.

This is your work area, so don’t simply settle. Once you have a private, functioning area, the memories of hassles and expenses will quickly fade.

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What the Richest People in the World Have in Common 4

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common

Getting rich is something everyone dreams about.

For those facing financial hardships, getting rich seems the only way out to tide over shortage of money. For the bourgeoisie – the working class – getting rich conjures up visions of stuff they want to buy for luxury or higher social status. Millionaires also wish to get rich: they want to become billionaires and enter Forbes List of the world’s wealthiest people.

Unless you inherit a fortune or get lucky at lottery or sweepstakes, getting rich can be quite tough.

Yet, there are countless rags-to-riches stories around the world. Enterprises such as Amazon, KFC, Facebook or SpaceX have become runaway successes within a short span. The reason: their founders have several things in common, which is rare among other people.

Here we look at various traits that the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs have in common.

The Common Traits of The World’s Richest People

The Common Traits of The World's Richest People

1. Serving People.

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it,” said John D. Rockefeller, who laid the foundation stone for America’s giant petroleum industry and his own enterprise, Standard Oil. The same adage holds good today.

Facebook, for example, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin to allow Harvard University students to share profiles and pictures

There are countless such examples of ordinary people striking rich. However, they share one thing in common: serving people. The main objective of launching these enterprises was to make life easier or enjoyable for people rather than earning money.

2. Reading Books.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, celebrity TV show host Oprah Winfrey, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Berkshire-Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and several other extremely rich people of the world have one more thing in common: they are avid readers.

Bill Gates reads at least 50 books every year – an average of nearly four and a half books per month.

Elon Musk owes his success at SpaceX, the project to open space tourism to his love for books and the knowledge he gained from them about rocketry. Oprah Winfrey attributes her success to dozens of books, including some 70 top titles she read on her way to success while Warren Buffet spends about 80 percent of his day reading books.

3. Long-Term Financial Strategies.

A report by CNBC states, all wealthy people depend upon long-term financial strategies rather than short-term gains. They utilized their earnings and savings to invest in safe stocks that would assure gains in the long run rather than indulging in risky trading that can offer high returns.

Such financial planning and decisions ensured they do not lose money. Further, they invested money in their enterprises without the hope of immediate returns.

These wealthy people first focused on building a brand, offering value for people to identify with the brand. And later, popularize the brand through word-of-mouth publicity, which is more effective than traditional advertising.

4. Never Say Die.

Yet another common character trait shared by the world’s richest people is, they are not quitters.

Like every other human on Earth, these wealthy folks also witnessed ups and downs in life. Some of these were so overwhelming most ordinary people would have called it quits and gone in search of easier ventures.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Bleckharczyk, founders of Airbnb, the world’s largest hotels and accommodations aggregator were plagued with financial problems.


Heavily encumbered with debts, bankruptcy was staring at these entrepreneurs in the very eye. Yet, they did not budge. They innovated their service that made Airbnb the world leader in its field today.

Another excellent example is Colonel Harland Sanders, whose recipe for fried chicken was rejected as many as 1,009 times before it was accepted. Col. Sanders is the founder of global chain Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.

5. Accepting Criticism.

Most people flee from criticism of any sort. Rather than learning from negative comments arising out of their behavior or work, they take umbrage rather quickly. Yet, they do not bother to amend their behavior or work pattern.

All wealthy people, however, are different. They are willing to be criticized for introducing new ideas or thoughts.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, rightly says that those who will try and do something new must be willing to draw criticism.

Steve Jobs, founder, Apple, Inc. puts it in even stronger words: “If you want to make everyone happy, do not become a leader; sell ice cream instead.”

The success of Amazon and Apple proves their founders were right when it came to accepting criticism.

6. Out of The Box Thinking.

how regular life looks like and why it won't make you happy

Thinking outside of the ‘box’ or a typical mindset is often impossible for most people. Understandably, because everyone draws their mindset from factors and circumstances they are raised and educated in.

This mindset eventually becomes a formidable fetter for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. Generally, most people follow the flock and take professions they falsely believe as best suited for their skills. Others try to follow footsteps of their parents.

The wealthiest people in the world never followed flock or took lucrative professions of their parents.

Mark Zuckerberg’s father was a dentist and mom – a psychiatrist. Bill Gates’ dad was a banker father while his mother was a lawyer.

Despite coming from wealthy families, they chose to follow their passion rather than confine their thinking to the proverbial boxed mindset. Col. Sanders had lost his parents at a young age of six years and had to shoulder responsibilities of his siblings.

Other Examples of What The Wealthiest People Have in Common

As we can see, these qualities or personality traits are common to the world’s richest people. It sets them apart from others. Most of them launched small enterprises with the sole purpose of bettering the lives of people. Their products or services gained popularity because money was never their consideration. Widespread use of their technology, products, and services eventually led them to become wealthy.

These traits are not typical to the US or the western world, as one may mistakenly come to believe. A glance at some richest people in India and elsewhere also reveals, they share the same characteristics with their American counterparts. This amply proves that richest people around the world share something in common, regardless of where they live and flourish.

Another common trait that all rich people share in common is philanthropy.

Since childhood, they believe in giving back to the society and helping the underprivileged. They practiced charity when they were not so rich and continue to donate money for the betterment of the society even after becoming billionaires.

These richest people on the planet never waited to become wealthy. Instead, they were philanthropists since childhood – a trait most other people pathetically lack or try to foist upon themselves to gain popularity.

In Conclusion

It is not easy to become wealthy. Or everyone would become a millionaire. People who do make it to the top have a different way of thinking combined with an undying zest for learning new things and educating themselves.

They do not consider conventional learning at universities as the end of their education. Instead, they try and acquire new skills every day and find ways and means to become better humans rather than focusing on fattening their purses.

The world’s wealthiest people also share one common trait: they are not people pleasers, despite their generosity and willingness to serve the society. Because they know, trying to please everyone will get them nowhere and could mean possible failure.