Convert Your Garage Into a Bedroom – 12 Creative Ways

In the hope of making every space in your home valuable, garage conversions have become pretty common. Many homeowners convert unused garages to usable spaces like offices or bedrooms.

If you want more living spaces in your home, you might want to toy around with the idea of converting your garage into a bedroom. This bedroom can be a good spare room for guests or a new room for a new member of the family.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Install large windows. The usual mistake made by homeowners converting their garages is keeping the garage look in their new bedroom. To remedy this, install big windows. This gives a roomy and livable kind of feel to your newly converted garage.

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  1. Transform it to a tropical paradise. Your original garage might look dry and sad, but your new bedroom does not have to suffer that same fate! Make your new space sunnier by adding tropical details. Go for pillows with palm trees and furniture that mimics tropical resorts. Wooden and rattan chairs make your space look classy and vacation-esque.

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  1. Turn it into a comfortable guest room. An extra bedroom in your house can be a comfortable guest room if you frequently have family or friends over at home. You can even put two beds to accommodate more people.

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  1. Insulation. This is an absolute necessary if you are converting a garage to a living space. Normally, garages don’t have adequate insulation. Installing insulation during conversion is an absolute necessity to keep guests or your family comfortable during the cold winters or hot summers.

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  1. Add a homey vintage feel. If you are already starting to decorate your new space, you might want to stay away from the old feel of your garage. Create a homey feel to your new living space by utilizing vintage pieces.

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  1. Go for colors. Ditch the dreary colors of your old garage by adding pops of colors all throughout your space. The easiest way to incorporate color in the bedroom is choosing bright sheets and pillowcases. If you are feeling adventurous and want to be bold, a brightly colored wall can add flair as well!

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  1. Change up the door opening. Nothing shouts “I’m an old garage” more than having the usual garage door still in place. When converting your garage, make it a point to replace the doors. You can experiment and go for interesting ones. Large sliding doors can make your bedroom look classy and more spacious. Depending on the look of your home, you can change up your door to match its architecture and design.

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  1. Keep it simple. After doing all the necessary steps in converting your home, the key to finishing it off is keeping things simple. You don’t need to go overboard with your bedroom (save your money for structural changes like larger windows, insulation, and changing your door). Just purchase the basic needs in a bedroom. Make sure you have a bed, mattress, dresser, and a bedside table. Once you get the basic needs covered, you can build on from there.

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  1. Go modular. If you had a small garage and you want to make every inch matter, you can go modular. Incorporate storage spaces under the bed and create multiple uses for some furniture. This ensures that you have everything that you need in one small space.

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  1. Turn it into a master bedroom. Large garages can be great for a master bedroom, especially if you need more space than what your home is already providing you. Transform it into a comfortable haven complete with a king-size bed and a nice dresser.

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  1. Incorporate modern pieces. One way to make your room look like it wasn’t even a garage is to add modern furniture. Industrial and contemporary decorations can make the room feel more current instead of drab.

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  1. Add rooftop elements. If you have money to spend, some rooftop design elements can make a huge difference in your garage conversion. You can add a roof deck or a simple dormer window to really mimic a livable space. This can be a fun addition to your home that your family will enjoy.

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** Written by Kristy Jones,the blog author of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener and Remotes Blog.

Wood Floors: Light vs. Dark

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Choosing the color and finish of the wood—whether on the floors or furniture—is one of the most important considerations in designing a new space. More so than the many species of wood available, the color of wood alone can make a huge impact. Read on to see some of the pros and cons of both light and dark wood to help you decide between these two stylish options.

Light Wood.

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A breath of fresh air in terms of flooring options, light wood offers airiness and ease with its upbeat and modern look. Some of the reasons to use light wood include:

  • It’s stylish. A simple but important point. Light wood is a chic alternative to other flooring, as it offers a modern, uptown loft feel to a space. It pairs well with several modern fixtures and furnishings.
  • Master of disguise. Contrary to popular belief, light wood flooring is very forgiving. For those with pets or small children, light flooring masks smalls scratches and scuffs. Forgot to sweep last week? That’s alright—light wood takes one for the team by hiding dust bunnies and debris in its light and bright layout.
  • The contemporary option. As mentioned above, light flooring is incredibly attractive in contemporary or modern spaces. It pairs beautifully with most modern design details and gives any room an instantly refreshed look.
  • It adds contrast as needed. One of light wood flooring’s most redeeming qualities is its ability to contrast well with nearly all finishes, especially darker ones. If you’re going for a moody tone, light flooring adds just the right amount of balance to make your space feel inviting but totally masculine.
  • Let the light in. Do you have floor-to-ceiling windows? Lots of natural light? Then light wood flooring might be your best bet. Perfectly accented by floods of light, blonde woods help create added visual interest when paired with dramatic windows.

While there are many reasons to love light wood, buyers should still be cautious of a few points:

  • Hard to choose. A good light wood can be difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Our advice? Select a style that doesn’t have any sort of red, orange or yellow undertone for the most refreshed look.
  • Living with it. While this may seem like an obvious point, it’s especially pertinent when it comes to a light wood floor. Unlike dark wood flooring, you will see every grain and rivet clearly, so it’s important that you really love your selection.

Dark Wood.

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A favorite among designers and homeowners everywhere, dark wood is the go-to selection for nearly every home of every style. Most appreciated in a transitional or traditional space, dark wood flooring is sophisticated and timeless. Some of our favorite aspects of dark wood flooring include:

  • Lots of variety. When you think of a dark wood floor, you don’t necessarily think of all of the different options you have. Between all of the types of wood, the grain of the wood, and the coloration, you have plenty of variety to select the perfect shade for your home.
  • It adds dimension. One of our favorite features of dark wood is its ability to create dimension wherever it’s installed. Pair it with a dark wood ceiling or one with beautiful exposed beams and you’ve got yourself a winning design.
  • Easy to match. Have we mentioned how easy it is to work with dark wood flooring? If you aren’t convinced, you should know that dark wood is very easy to match to your existing furniture. Nearly any finish—natural wood, metal, acrylic, glass—looks great atop a dark wood floor.

As you can tell, we’re big fans of dark wood. Some things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll see the mess. Unlike light wood, dark wood is not so forgiving. If sweeping escapes you, you and your guests will be able to notice quickly. This is also true for tiny hand prints or puppy paw prints.
  • Casts a shadow. If light is your problem, don’t go dark. Dark wood tends to make the area around it a bit moodier, and that can be a problem if you love your emerald green walls. If you’re looking to add a touch of brightness, look for medium or light wood tones instead.

Have you installed wood flooring recently? Which team are you on: light wood or dark wood?

**Hardwood flooring is a favorite design element for Kerrie Kelly, who heads up Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, Ca. Kerrie writes on her interior design ideas for The Home Depot. To research both the dark and light wood flooring discussed by Kerrie, you can visit Home Depot’s website.

Why Should Homeowners Care About Conserving Energy?

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Have you heard the buzz about going green? Homeowners across the country have started to embrace a greener lifestyle, but what’s in it for them? Here are just a few of the reasons why homeowners should be concerned with energy conservation!

Improves your quality of life.

Everyone wants to feel comfortable in his or her home, and energy efficiency can help homeowners reach a new level of comfort. Do you have to snuggle up under blankets to stay warm or turn on a ceiling fan for extra cooling? Do you have to wear socks around the house because of icy cold floors? These problems can easily be fixed with insulation, which will reduce your energy use and make you more comfortable. This is just one way energy efficiency can improve the quality of your life. The opportunities to make your home more comfortable are endless, which is why so many homeowners love tackling green home improvement projects.

Saves you money.

Perhaps the main reason why homeowners start to conserve energy is to save money. Most homeowners spend around $2,000 a year on home energy bills, but this can be reduced by 20-30% if you make energy efficient upgrades in the home. The less energy you consume, the less you will have to spend on water and electric bills every month. This means you will have more money in your pocket to allocate towards your mortgage, savings, or paying down student loan debt.

Helps the environment.

The less energy that is consumed by homeowners, the more society can save valuable natural resources. Energy conservation can also reduce air pollution. Everything from cars to power plants contribute to air pollution, so the less you rely on these things, the more you can help keep the air clean.

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Improves the economy.

Besides the benefits it can bring to you personally, becoming more energy efficient at home can also help the economy. Energy efficient projects, such as installing solar panels on the roof of a building for example, can build jobs. In fact, in 2010 alone, there were over 800,000 jobs in America related to energy efficiency. As more homeowners begin to conserve energy, manufacturers are forced to adjust to this new type of consumer demand, thus conserving energy sparks innovation. If every homeowner made an effort to be more energy efficient, the results would be huge and far-reaching.

Now that you know why you should care about conserving energy, are you ready to start living green? Here are a few easy ways you can get started:

  • Switch to energy efficient light bulbs, which use 25-80% less energy than traditional bulbs.
  • Install a power strip. Leaving devices on can waste energy, but did you know that devices plugged directly into the wall can still waste energy while they’re off? Plug as many devices as you can into a power strip, and then turn the entire strip off when it’s not in use to cut energy off at the source.
  • Install a programmable thermostat, which can help you make sure you are not unnecessarily heating or cooling your home and wasting energy when no one is there.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to start conserving energy in your home, so why not start today?

M/I Homes takes many steps to ensure that your new home is energy efficient. We build all of our homes to our Whole Home Building Standards, and always work to make sure that our homes are up to the best energy ratings.

** Uma Campbell is a green loving yoga instructor and freelance writer. She currently lives in Southern California where she enjoys writing about natural living, health, and home design.@Umajcampbell www.umajcampbell.wordpress.com

How to Stay Organized When Downsizing Your Home for Retirement

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We all know that moving is tough. Not only do you have to sort, pack and haul your items to their new destinations, but you have to let go of objects that hold sentimental value.

Staying organized through this process can seem close to impossible, but the key to a smooth transition into retirement is preparation.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Downsizing does not happen overnight. You will need plenty of time to sort, pack, and move your belongings. If you wait until the last minute, you are more likely to throw everything in boxes and have a huge mess to sort out in your new home.

Write a list of everything you cannot live without—all the things you really need, everything you love, and things that are irreplaceable. The list will help you stay organized and on track.

Enlist Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That could be physical help with moving boxes or emotional help with making the hard decisions. Sharing memories with your loved ones can make sorting and organizing less overwhelming.

Do you have so many belongings that you don’t know where to begin? Time to bring in the experts. Senior move managers are specially trained to help older adults through the process of downsizing. These professionals can help you develop your move plan, organize and sort your belongings, arrange the removal of unwanted items, and even unpack and set up your new home.

Measure Your New Space

Before you start to move, measure your new home. See exactly how much space you have to work with. Will your current furniture fit, or will you need to buy something new?

You have the opportunity to start fresh. Make organization a priority before you even move. Resist the urge to fill every corner with furniture—it will only create more places for clutter to pile up. Invest in organizational shelving and make sure everything has a place.

Divide into Piles

Go through each room of the house and methodically sort your items. Make large piles of items you don’t want to keep and then subdivide these into giveaway, throwaway, and sell piles.

Sorting can be the most difficult part of downsizing. It forces us to confront our own bad spending habits. Be realistic when deciding what you need. Those pants you bought five years ago with the price tag still on? The designer rug rolled up in the corner that you got on discount? What about the bread maker you got for Christmas one year? If you haven’t used these items yet, chances are you never will.

Don’t Forget Sentimental Value

You may not use it regularly, but does it bring you joy to own? Does it have a history that you can’t bear to part with? While you need to be strict with yourself when downsizing, you shouldn’t forget about sentimental value.  Don’t throw away anything you would regret later.

Create a separate pile for sentimental items and don’t let it get too big. Set the pile aside for a while, return to it later, and ask yourself again if you truly need it. To create lasting memories, you can always take a picture and then pass the item along to someone else.

Label Your Boxes

After you’ve given or thrown away what you’ve decided not to keep, you are left with what you want to bring. Do not try to fill all the empty space in your new home. Leave some room for future purchases—and to breathe.

With less stuff, it should be easier to sort your belongings and put them into labeled boxes. Try sorting by location—when you unpack, you can bring the boxes labeled ‘kitchen supplies’ right to where they need to be.

Keep Essentials Close

When moving, the last thing you want to discover is your medications got lost in the shuffle or that your favorite pillow got sorted into the donate pile.

Pack a bag of essentials like toiletries, reading glasses, medications, pajamas, and a change of clothing. Keep it separate from your moving boxes where you can easily get to it. You don’t want to be running to the store the first night in your new home because you can’t find anything you need.

Live with Less Stress

Downsizing into a new home can be a breath of fresh air. After all of the hard work, you can settle into your new place with just what you need, and no more.

Downsizing means less stuff to unpack when you arrive and less to clean once you get settled. It is easier to stay organized when you have designed your new home to be organized from the start. Be free from clutter and live your golden retirement years with ease.

 

**Tracy Layden is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Tracy leads the marketing efforts at Alert-1, a personal safety technology and consulting firm dedicated to helping seniors live safely and independently. Tracy holds a degree in mathematics from Scripps College and is an accomplished ballroom dancer and equestrian.

Create the Perfect Place for Kids to Dream and Play

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Not many rooms in your home have such a huge design potential as a children’s bedroom. While living rooms and kitchens, for example, have to meet certain functional criteria and more rigid interior design rules, when decorating this room, you can often allow yourself much more creativity and freedom. This is because you are creating a one-of-a-kind space that reflects your child’s interests and personality. So let your imagination loose and involve your kids in the process to get the perfect bedroom for them to play, learn, and dream. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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image source: decor.966v.com

A Corner to Play

Kids will always be kids whose favorite activity is to play. Try to set up a play area for them that they will love to spend time in. It does not have to be anything pretentious. Just a few toys and a colourful rug and you have already provided them endless hours of fun. Since play is an essential part of a child’s cognitive and motor development, make sure to add those toys that promote this development, such as building blocks, puzzles, balls, or musical instruments. But limit the number of toys in order to limit the amount of mess. And put plenty of baskets and shelves in the room with labels that will help your children put the toys back to their designated place after the playing time is over. This will teach your children organization from an early age.

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A Corner to Learn

Setting up a cozy reading nook is the best way to encourage your little ones to read. Just like play, reading also improves imagination and other cognitive skills. And fostering the love for reading and learning in your kids will later make school a lot less stressful for all of you. Place a comfy chair in one corner of the room and install bookshelves at a hand’s reach, so your children could grab a book whenever they want to set out on a reading adventure. Don’t forget a good light! To reduce eyestrain, put the reading nook close to a window and install reading lamps for bedtime reading sessions.

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A Corner to Create

Playing is fun and beneficial, but creating is even more so. Let your kiddos’ creativity reach its full potential by providing them with an art station. Stack this station with crayons, markers, collage paper, watercolours, notepads, and other art supplies that will inspire them. It is also an excellent idea to exhibit their artworks on the walls. This will lend a more personal feel to the room and make them feel proud.

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Whimsical Decoration

As we have already mentioned, a child’s bedroom is not meant to impress, but rather to amuse. This gives you the freedom to incorporate colors and décor details that you would not dare to use in any other room in your home. Wall decals are also a very popular detail in children’s bedrooms, since they are both effective and practical. If you are not artistic enough to paint a mural on your own, decals will do the job and you can take them down easily once your kids outgrow them. Wallpapers have also made a comeback. The colors and patterns of kids wallpaper are entirely up to your child’s preferences. You can also use leftovers from other rooms to make wallpaper collages. If you have not tried washi tape, you have to do it now. The things you can achieve with just a few rolls will leave you speechless. Besides, the tape is usually made of natural and recyclable materials like bamboo, hemp, tree bark, and rice, so it is completely child-friendly.

Your children will love and appreciate their personal space however you arrange it. Just keep in mind that safety comes first. So taking all measures of precaution should be your primary concern, especially if your kids are still toddlers.

**Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and renovation, which she does regularly for Smooth Decorator. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, as well as landscaping.

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