Having a home away from home, inside your actual home, is something like a beautiful dream. Having a room that feels separate and far removed from the rest of the house can be a perfect way to get away from it all, without even having to go anywhere.
The advances in technology that we have seen over the last couple of decades have caused prices to come down a fair bit in real terms, as some of these cool gadgets become ubiquitous and their general availability increases.
Remember those old-school computer monitors and televisions that stretched back further than they were wide, and just how heavy they were? Handily for all of us looking to construct our own little tech cave in the garage, devices are no longer that bulky or awkward to have around the room.
This is good, because you can now cram more in there without feeling claustrophobic and ending up tripping over a multitude of assorted wires. The ready availability of these devices also means you can pick up most of what you want on a single day, and get cracking in the same weekend – this no longer needs to be a years-long project, and can just be a fun way to make the best use of the space in your house.
Garages are typically full of dust and hoarded items, so the first thing is to give it a good spring-clean and find a new home for whatever rare finds await you, hidden behind the shelving from two years ago that you still haven’t put up.
Figuring out what kind of tech you would like to make the garage home to is also good, rather than just buying a load of stuff on a whim and sticking it on the walls. Otherwise, we’re sort of at square one again. If you want it to be a new movie theater and have all your friends round, audiovisual kit will be key, so before you buy, plan how to route all the wiring without needing to spend a day plastering.
Good planning can help to cut down on the time this all takes, and you should probably keep the rest of your household from getting too involved at the wrong moments, such as when you hammer your thumb instead of the nail you were aiming for.
If you fancy getting some incredible speakers in there to make music online, or you want to rehearse with your band or install some amazing surround sound to match the projector you have your eyes on, some soundproofing may help ensure you still get Christmas cards from the neighbors. One of the best means of soundproofing is to utilize both insulation and cavity filling, so any loud sounds don’t transmit too far away from the garage and earn you angry shouts later on during the weekend.
Insulation will also be of benefit if you want to spend time in there during the winter months, and from another perspective, some good venting is essential to both keep it cool and prevent a buildup of poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide.
There is no point in doing all of this awesome tech stuff and decorating it to perfection if damp gets in and gets all of your stuff moldy. Sufficient ventilation will also help manage any issues with damp, and effective insulation will keep the garage at a comfortable temperature.
The garage door is obviously a major part of the project, and given that it will usually occupy one entire side of the room, you need to give it due attention. Whether the door simply needs replacing, given a good lick of paint or modified to your needs, this aspect should not be left out.
It is worth mentioning that any upgrades that will significantly affect the size of the garage, or any plans to make it into a living space, could require planning permission and will have to comply with building regulations. There is little point in being near the end of your project and finding out that you will incur additional costs in order to conform, so check the regulations before undertaking any major renovations.
The emergence of smart technology also means all of the new devices in your garage could be controlled by your phone, and turned on and off with the tap of a touchscreen, which is sure to be an extra way in which to impress your friends. See what changes you can make to turn your garage into a tech den, and you’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without it.