Equipping your garage: from a storage room to a workshop

Thomas Bott

The garage is not necessarily just a dry place to park your car. With the right equipment, the space can also be used for practical purposes. It’s important to have appropriate furniture or shelves. With the proper accessories, you can even turn a garage into a small workshop. But you are not allowed to store whatever you like in it. Find out here how to equip your garage.

A man is lying under a vehicle changing the suspension. The car is parked on a chassis stand.
© Getty Images

In this article

Legal aspects: what you are allowed to do in a garage

The legal regulations for garages are quite relaxed in Switzerland. You have to be careful when using it as living space, but we will come back to that later. Otherwise, you are allowed to do whatever you want with the space. Of course, this only applies to a private garage on your own property. The situation is different for rented parking spaces or places in a covered parking lot, where the landlord usually determines the permitted usage. But standard fire protection regulations also apply to private garages: you may only store up to 25 liters of fuel and up to 5 cubic meters of firewood.

Equipping your garage: a good parking place for the car

If you want your vehicle to be the focus of attention, simply design the rest around the car. This makes particular sense if you don’t have much space in the garage (link to “Building a garage” article). So you should give priority to arranging things around the car that are also related to it. There are tire stands you can set up for storing the set of tires that is not currently in use. Alternatively, you can simply hang the tires on the wall with special hooks.

The most important tools should also be placed on the wall. To keep things tidy, you can buy special prefabricated holders made of metal or wood. You can store accessories such as polish, rim cleaner, a spare battery and more in a small cupboard. Old metal signs and stylish pictures on the automobile theme are suitable as decoration. You can also set the tone when painting the interior walls, for example by using a color that matches the car or familiar patterns from motor sports.

A car repair workshop: make more out of your garage

If you have a bit more space for parking your car, your garage might even be suitable as a small private workshop. However, you will need some more accessories for this. A tool trolley is particularly worthwhile. It offers storage space for all the important tools you need for minor car repairs. As it is on wheels, you can easily move it around to the side of the vehicle you are working on. You can store larger items and devices such as cordless screwdrivers, polishing machines or a chassis stand in metal cabinets.

A workbench is ideal if you want to work on parts that you have removed from or wish to add to the car. A vice can also be mounted on it to fix parts. A jack is of course crucial too. You will need this to change tires, for instance. If the roof of the garage is high enough and you want to be able to work underneath the car as well, then maybe even a lifting platform could be a good choice.

Dirt soon gathers in a garage. So white walls may not be ideal. Instead, a shade of gray might be more appropriate – or you could opt for plastic walls that are easy to wash down. You won’t see the dirt so quickly that way either.

Several wall cabinets, wall brackets for tools, a worktop and tool trolleys can be seen. They are black with corrugated plate fronts.

A tool trolley is very useful in a small workshop. Washable plastic walls are practical too.

An amateur workshop: for a wide range of projects

You can also set up an amateur workshop in the extra space. If you like working with wood, you will need a circular saw, a workbench and the corresponding tools. However, local fire protection regulations must be observed when storing raw materials. The same applies if you enjoy tinkering with electrical devices. Soldering in particular can be dangerous. An emergency stop switch is also required for dangerous machines. This can prevent serious injuries and fires.

If you prefer to make clothes and other items out of fabric, a garage is also the ideal place for a sewing table. You can install the necessary work surface to lay out, cut and fashion the fabric properly. Tools that have no place in the house can of course be stored in the garage. This is a blessing for enthusiastic do-it-yourselfers.

A garage as a storeroom: storage space is everything

If you want to use your garage to keep things in, you will need a lot of storage space. Large cabinets, open shelves and additional hanging components are ideal. Everything can then be stowed away neatly. There might be enough space left for a bicycle or motorcycle to retain the original idea of the garage. But watch out: if the garage is too full, it will be difficult to reach the items stored at the back. In addition, access should always remain free. This is also important for fire protection.

The design of the walls probably plays a minor role in a storage room. Light colors make the room seem larger and make most objects a little easier to find. However, if items are placed against the wall, depending on the material and the level of soiling, they can leave unsightly abrasion or dirty marks behind. This is something you should bear in mind when planning your storage area and stowing things away.

A garage as a hobby room: a special case from a legal point of view

A garage is normally not regarded as part of the living space of a house. But that will change if you turn it into a hobby room. This could cause problems, for example in terms of the floor area ratio. After all, you are only allowed to use a certain proportion of the property as living space. If the rooms of the house already reach the maximum authorized ratio, you can’t add extra living space in the garage. In this case you should obtain information in advance from the relevant building authority. Once the legal issues have been settled, you can start thinking about equipping your garage.

If you want to create a party room, for instance, you might want to install a pool table with a matching lamp above it, a comfortable sofa at the side, a stereo system, a games console and a small TV. A minibar is ideal for providing a supply of cool drinks as you play. You can create a cozy atmosphere with darker wall colors and indirect lighting. A garage is also a good place to build a model railway or set up a table for your model aircraft collection. What you do with the room depends entirely on your personal interests.

A person is about to hit the white ball on a billiard table with the tip of the cue.

Relax and play a game of pool with friends: a garage can also be used as a hobby room.

Conclusion: a garage can be equipped in many different ways

Whether you decide to use the garage as a parking space for your car, as a small workshop, for storage or perhaps even as a hobby room: with the right equipment, you can make more of the space in the garage. In most cases there is not much to take into account. Make optimal use of the space by attaching items to the wall. Good planning in advance will help.

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