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1.   Recycle wood from the garage 

During garage conversions siding and other wood boards are often removed. They can be revived using stain or paint and you have a rustic room divider.

Using recycled wood in your ADU
Using recycled wood in your ADU (Source

2.   Create a welcoming porch 

Every entry should have some type of awning or overhang for curb appeal and practical purposes. If you have enough space, you can carve a porch out of the garage footprint. In order to make your garage space feel more like a dwelling, you need to break that boxed-in-feeling.

Garage ADU's front porch
Garage conversion with a front porch (Source

3.   Match the style of the primary house 

Your garage conversion will be visible from the main house. Some homeowners want their ADU to stand alone as a unique dwelling. Some view the ADU as an integral part of the whole property. Therefore, this unit needs to complement the primary house in every way, from its broad pitched roof to the siding, fixtures, and paint scheme.

primary home and ADU
Principal residence with a ADU garage in the same style (Source

4.   Build a beguiling path 

Sometimes, separating the ADU from the main house is a big issue. A lushly planted pathway creates privacy and emotional distance for your tenants or guests. At the same time, this beautifies the property.

Pathway leading to a Garage conversion
Path leading to a Garage conversion (Source

5.   Clad the ceiling in wood 

The large wood panels like those on the ceiling of this ADU make a statement. They also add tremendous warmth to a small space. At the same time, wood molding on the windows and doors enhance the handcrafted feel. Using bead-board on ceilings is great too. These large panels give the unit a more contemporary feel.

Wood ceiling
Wood ceiling for a garage conversion (Source

6.   Use the vertical space 

When you create a one-bedroom ADU out of a 400 square-foot garage, your bedroom is likely to have dimensions like this one. Without wasting the vertical square footage, you can use floating shelves to maintain an open look yet provide lots of storage. The globe lamps that are being used are a lovely and practical touch.

Bedroom for ADU conversion
Vertical space used in garage conversion (Source

7.   Carve out a niche 

Residential walls are about 4 ½ inches thick, while walls with plumbing are 6 ½ inches. It’s easy to build decorative niches in between the structural posts in areas where there are no pipes or electrical wiring.

carved out niche
Carved out niche in bathroom of a garage conversion (Source

8.   Extend the floor tile into the shower 

This is a simple design trick to make small bathrooms look bigger. You can install a no-threshold shower and use the same floor tiles as the rest of the room. Your eye is drawn to the stunning shower wall tiles.

Extend the floor tile into the shower
Extend the floor tile into the shower (Source

9.   Design with the ADU in mind 

This garage conversion is wholly incorporated into the overall design of the house. It is the wave of the future. This is a beautiful way to increase housing density while maintaining a neighborhood’s character.

garage conversion
garage conversion design (Source

10.     Build a small sunroom for big impact 

This sunroom adds a dining and reading area and lets natural light pour in. It extends just a few feet from the main structure. The generous overhang and deck further enhance the space.

garage conversion with a sunroom
garage conversion with a sunroom (Source

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