Garage Apartment – What You’ll Need to Know

Are you looking for more space in your home? Do you have an adult child who needs a place to stay? Then a garage apartment is the answer – it’s the perfect way to add additional space that has privacy from the rest of your home.

garage apartment

But what is a garage apartment? How much work does it require? We’ll go over everything you need to know. Hopefully this article will help you determine whether or not a garage apartment is right for you. Let’s get started.

What Is a Garage Apartment?

First you need to know what a garage apartment is.  It’s exactly what it sounds like –  an apartment that’s above your garage. Think of an apartment that’s found above a restaurant. On the bottom floor is a public establishment and above is a private residence. That’s essentially what you’re building.

The space should be more than a single room as well. Apartments have bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms and so too should the one in your garage. Think of it like a separate living area on your property.

You’ll also have enough space below the apartment area to park your cars comfortably without disturbing the occupants above. Since the only access point will be a set of stairs with a door at the top, it’s basically like the restaurant/apartment situation we mentioned earlier.

Is there a Difference Between a Garage Loft and Apartment?

You’re probably wondering how this is any different than a garage loft. We’ve already written about garage lofts so wouldn’t this be more of the same thing? While there are some similarities, there are major differences that separate the two.

Let’s start out with what’s the same. Both require large-roofed garages so you can have a second floor above where you park your cars. That extra space can be used for anything you see fit but many homeowners use it for a living space.

And that’s where the similarities end.

A garage loft is created in a finished garage that has a large, vaulted ceiling. Garage apartments are built from scratch with the sole intent of having a separate area there from the start. Many garage builders offer apartment style garages.

Think of a loft as more of creating a single, small room attached to your garage while a garage apartment is an entire area that someone can live in that happens to be above a garage. The apartment needs to have a bathroom, kitchen and living space while the loft can be a single room just to entertain guests.

What You’ll Need to Consider Before Building a Garage Apartment

Since a garage apartment is more like a small residence, there are a few things it needs to have. When you’re working with the garage builders, make sure you have these features below.


Natural light is important for a living space – without it, you’ll be less productive and happy. You’ll want large windows that maximize the amount of sunlight you get into your garage apartment.

Another thing you’ll want to consider with windows is whether or not they’re operable. We recommend having windows that open so you can enjoy fresh air whenever you want. Otherwise, your apartment is going to get very stuffy, very quickly.

Energy efficiency is something you may not consider when buying windows, but you should start. If you’re going to heat and cool your garage, you’ll want to keep out the outside weather. Double pane, argon gas-filled windows are must.


If you or a family member are going to be living in your garage apartment, you’re going to need electricity. Without it, you can’t heat or cool the apartment, run electronics or turn on lights. You’d have to live like it’s the 1700’s and do everything by candle light.

We highly recommend you hire a professional to handle anything with electricity. They’ll be able to safely plan how you can run an electrical current from your home to your garage. There’s a lot of danger in doing this by yourself.

Running Water/Plumbing

Do you need to shower or use the bathroom? Then you’re going to need plumbing in your garage apartment. This is what turns a garage loft into a garage apartment. It becomes more than just extra space – its somewhere where you can live.

Much like electricity, allow a professional to handle any plumbing and septic routing. This can cause a lot of problems if done wrong and should never be treated as a do it yourself job.


We already talked about insulated windows but that means nothing if your walls are paper thin. You’ll want to make sure your walls are foam insulated when the garage is being built. This will prevent outside temperatures from getting into your home by passing through the walls.

Since your apartment is in a garage, we should also mention the garage door. There are foam insulated, steel garage doors that are extremely energy efficient. We would recommend these garage doors to anyone but it’s especially important if you’re going to be living in there.

Detached vs Attached Garages for Your Garage Apartment

One of the big advantages of having a garage apartment is the privacy you get. It’s like a tiny space of your own separated from the rest of your home. If you have an attached garage, however, you completely lose that feeling since it’s just another room in the house.

A detached garage apartment gives you the sense of freedom and privacy thanks to it being completely separate from the entire home. This is the perfect option for adult kids who are in between homes. They will have their own space including a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

Having a Garage Apartment is Great for Your Home

A garage apartment is the perfect addition to any home. It gives you the privacy and extra space you need  – especially if you have adult kids living with you.

Not only will you have the extra space, but it will also help improve the value of your home. Many homeowners are looking for separate spaces and this will be very attractive to home buyers. Plus, they look pretty nice and will improve your home’s curb appeal.

Danley’s Garage World is Chicagoland’s garage expert. We’ve been serving the area since 1959 and have built over 100,000 garages. Get a free quote now and get started on your new garage project.

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