Plans showing proposed building in Chester

The potential of outbuildings

Posted on 13/07/22

With many of us having found new hobbies or past-times during the pandemic lockdowns, not to mention the workplace changes which have led to full-time home working or hybrid working, space to be able to comfortably do these things is at a premium. 

If your garage or outbuilding has become a dumping-ground for an accumulation of junk and detritus from over the years (we’re all guilty of stashing old bikes and half-used paint cans), there is ample opportunity to re-utilise these spaces for new means. 

We’ve provided some suggestions below for how these places can be transformed to suit your new working lifestyle or interests: 

Home office

One of the most popular transformations for an available space is into a home office. Placing this in a garage or outbuilding is an excellent way of keeping your work and home life separate, so you’re not working at the kitchen table or trying to shut out the noise of home life from the other room while trying to make calls. It will provide a private and quiet place to work, whether it’s for a WFH role, used part-time whilst mixing hybrid working, or for running your own business from home. The added benefit is that at the end of the day you can shut the door on your work, and ‘commute’ back into your house, feeling that you have transitioned away from work-mode to home-mode, which is hugely beneficial to mental wellbeing.


Another popular conversion idea is to convert a garage or outbuilding into a gym. Whether you’re into your weights training, cross-fit, cycling or running, having the equipment at home can provide a great way to stay fit and healthy, without costly gym membership fees. If you have space, why not also invest in a hot tub, to soothe worked muscles?

Craft room/Workshop

An interest in traditional crafts saw a huge surge during lockdowns, and new-found hobbies have continued on, and even become a business means for some. Whether for work or for leisure, turning a garage or outbuilding into a cosy craft room or a workshop for metal or woodworking can provide an ideal location for potentially messy or noisy activity, as well as plenty of space to spread out tools and materials.

Room for fun

Whether you’re looking for a space to create a ‘man cave’, a designated area for music, films and games, or to create playroom/teenage hang-out room, converting a garage or outbuilding to this purpose is another great way to add another layer to your home. Similar to creating a home office, it would provide a space which the door can be shut on, keeping the mess and noise away from the main house. The multi-functionality of this room would also allow it to adapt over time for family member’s interests to change.

Home bar

Another popular trend during lockdown was the building and conversion of spaces into home bars. Although pubs and restaurants have re-opened, these can still be a popular way to wine and dine family and friends. They can have a unique look and feel to them; whether you’re trying to encapsulate the look of a traditional pub, to replicating a fun beach-hut style bar you loved to visit on a previous holiday, these are sure to make a statement and be a great way to enjoy a space home-from-home, especially whilst travelling abroad remains so expensive and a potential minefield. 

Home extension

Of course, you may find that you would prefer to utilise a connecting garage or close-by outbuilding by incorporating it into your existing home. By extending your home this way, you can add more rooms or create larger open-plan rooms and therefore space, such as for a growing family, or just to solve issues of cramped living areas, such as a kitchen, lounge or dining room. There is also the potential to build up, creating more space upstairs too. Some areas have restrictions on what can be done to the outward façade of a garage, so it is best to check local planning regulations to see whether you would be able to remove a garage door for new windows, or if you would have to retain the door and find new ways of incorporating light into the space.

At NWD Architects, we are experts at reviewing a space, working around unusual features to produce something innovative and impactful. Speak to our team to see how we can create a unique design from your under-utilised garage or outbuilding, that will work for you, your home and your interests.

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