Designing a New Garage

As the size of the average new home has increased, so too has the demand for larger garages to house more storage space- and more vehicles. The importance of garage design has become more prevalent than ever.

designing a garage

A standard garage is not necessarily a costly endeavor, but cutting too many corners presents the risk of a final product that is less than desirable. When setting out to design a garage, here are some tips to keep mind that will help you build something unique that you can be proud of.

Standalone vs. Attached

Most new home developments feature garages connected to the houses. There are benefits to this: most notably, the ease of access in cold or wet weather. However, it’s important to remember that an attached garage puts limitations on the range of design of both the house and the garage.

When designing a garage, give yourself time to weigh the pros and cons of an attached and detached garage.

The Entrance

Modern new home developments commonly feature a large street-facing garage connected to the house. This usually means entering the garage through the house via a laundry or supply room. The entryway on the street side ends up being used very infrequently.

This design keeps your budget low, but at what cost? An elegantly designed foyer with storage space and benches could be a better choice.

Constantly Expanding

In the year 1971, 18 percent of homes built in the U.S. sported a single-car garage; 39 percent had garages that could accommodate two or more vehicles. Come 2007, these percentages skyrocketed: 63 percent of new houses had two-car garages, 19 percent accommodated three or more, and just 7 percent had a single-car garage.

A new standard has been set: the two-car garage, large enough for pickups, SUVs and even vans. Garages allowing for more than two cars are on the rise in upscale neighborhoods. Real estate agents will attest to this as a positive feature of these areas.

Optimal Facing

Instead of orienting the front of a garage towards the street, alter your designs slightly so the entrance faces away from the street. Ideally, you can angle it 90-degrees from the house, but 45 degrees will still greatly improve the effect that your garage has on the view of your home.

Living Space

It’s easy to plan a basic attached garage that doesn’t detract from your house’s street view. But it gets tricky when you want to add living space above your garage. Due to the demands of garage wall heights, on top of the height of the room above, the roof could end up being higher than that of the rest of the house.

It can be fiscally savvy to place a new office, TV room or guest room above your garage. But you will have an easier time of it with a standalone garage.

When adding a room over a garage connected to your house, aim for keeping the combined width of the floor slab and ceiling as close to 12 inches as possible, as opposed to the standard 18 inches.

The Look

architect garages

Many of the best garages out there don’t even have the appearance of a garage, but rather blend in with house that it’s a part of. Consider strategies to design your garage so that it looks like an extension of your home.

Make sure everything from the trim to the windows at the very least complement, if not match your house. The use of multiple smaller doors can produce an attractive, slim appearance, as opposed to the oppressive nature of a single, large door.


Stairs will be a necessity if you want to access the second floor. Construct your stairway on one side, then balance out the space by placing your workspace or storage racks on the opposite side.

If your second floor will be used as a bedroom, make sure to check in with your building inspector: an outside set of stairs will most likely be a mandatory feature for egress laws.

Anticipate Bad Weather

If snowing is common in your area, don’t forget to leave room for clearing, particularly if you use a snow plow. It can pose a challenge to plow well if your garage is positioned at the end of a long driveway.