Adding a Second Story Above the Garage to Increase Living Space

Our homes reflect our identity and feelings. Simply put, when we transform our homes, we transform our state of mind. House renovation projects are especially important now since nothing is certain about the pandemic. In these crucial times, you need a space that will bring you joy and comfort instead of frustration. So, if your house doesn’t meet all your needs and expectations, why not spice it up a little?

master bedroom suite above garage

Increasing square footage is the best way to do this. If you don’t want to compromise backyard space, you can always build up! It will not only increase your freedom, but it’s also a brilliant investment for the property. For those who have a garage, we suggest adding a second story on top of it. This way, you will maximize the potential of the structures you already have built. 

Plus, with every home addition, you design a space from scratch and can satisfy all your needs and goals. For example, adding a second story above the garage can be perfect if you want to add a guest room or if you want to start a new hobby, like pottery, but don’t have enough space. Depending on the size of your garage, you can also build an entirely separate apartment that you can later rent out.

To keep things short, a second story on top of the garage is a great investment that can bring many benefits for you to reap. Read below and find out more about this super-popular home improvement project:

Build a Room Over the Garage

If you want to build up on a budget, a room over the garage is the perfect option! The main reason is that you already have an existing foundation, so you won’t have to pay for groundwork.

Since adding a story takes less time than building from the ground up, you will also save a ton of money on labor and logistics. This will cut a large portion of your spending, and you can later use the money for finishes and interior design.

Plus, building on top of the garage or other existing foundations makes sense because these spaces already have logical room to grow. You can create any type of space and even add outside access to it. However, we recommend you avoid building an in-law suite. Seniors can have a tough time climbing stairs, so creating a second-story home for them is not the best idea. But, you can always convert your garage to make extra space for your family’s elderly members.

An Addition Over the Garage Can Be the Perfect Man-Cave or Craft/Art/Music Room 

As we mentioned, when you are investing in a home addition, you can use it as an opportunity to fulfill your wildest dreams. Whether it’s the music room you always dreamed of or a home office where you can truly relax and get the privacy you deserve, a second story over the garage will significantly improve your daily lifestyle.

second story addition of tv room, office and bathroom

Some other popular ideas are an arts & crafts room, a man-cave, an extra entertainment zone, a family theatre, and a guest room. If you are into yoga or exercising, you can also build a mini private gym above your garage.

Because there are tons of options, you might get into a small conflict with the rest of your family members. But don’t worry, everything has a solution! In this case, you can create a neutral zone that everybody can use, or if your garage is big enough, you can separate the second story into different rooms. 

What About Adding a Room Above a Detached Garage?

Don’t be afraid that your detached garage won’t look good with a second story! With the right guidance, you can create an amazing home addition anywhere! In fact, building on top of a detached garage is even better than building on an attached one. Since a detached garage is further away from the main house, you will have more freedom in choosing how you use the new second story.

second story added to detached garage with architectural flair

The noise won’t bother anybody, so it’s a perfect space for creating a recording studio for a new podcast or for making music. A room on top of a detached garage is also great for starting a small business. You can create an office hub, or build a film or photography studio, a sewing room, or a tiny print shop.

A room on top of a detached garage is an amazing space for loosening up and putting worries aside. So another unique idea is creating a special relaxation zone like a sauna room, a private library, or simply an extra bedroom.

The most popular option, though, is renting out the second story. It’s a clever way to make extra income. Plus, you can use the money to upgrade the space even more. However, for families with teenage children, we recommend using the recent addition as a separate apartment for your kids. This way, they will get the freedom all teens crave and learn adult responsibilities at the same time.

Tips for Building a Second Story Above the Garage

We know home additions can be exciting, so chances are you are already thinking of ideas for your extra space above the garage. However, you also need to focus on the practicalities. Nobody wants to be stuck in a home improvement project because they forgot to ask for a building permit or thought they could finish the project by themselves. To help you avoid some common mistakes, here are the best tips for building a second story above your garage:


For every construction project, foundations are key. That’s why it’s crucial to have an engineer evaluate the garage before building on top of it. Find out how much weight it can support and whether the foundation is in the right condition.

Building Codes

Some neighborhoods have strict building codes. Before you plan your new home addition, it’s best to check with the local rules and regulations. They might have height restrictions.

Architectural Features

Many homeowners make the mistake of doubling the height of a rectangular build. This can look good if you are a fan of minimalism and simplicity. Otherwise, we suggest consulting with an architect or contractor to find ways you can spice up the design. For example, you can add pitches, balconies, overhangs, and porches.

Architectural Style

Don’t miss the opportunity to increase curb appeal! Just like with every home addition, when building rooms above your garage, you need to focus on aesthetics as well. We suggest you match the style of your new story with the rest of the house.

Think of installing the same window types, shutters, and columns. Of course, you can always experiment with design styles, but if you do, make sure it’s approved by an architect.

The Benefits of Adding a Second Story Above Your Garage

The benefits of home additions are many, especially when you are building up. Here is everything you need to know:

large room above garage addition to home in northern Virginia

A Second Story Above the Garage Is a Smart Investment

The most obvious advantage of building a second story is the investment opportunity. Everybody knows that by adding extra square footage, you are boosting your chances of making a sale when you decide to move away. You are also significantly increasing your home value, especially if the other houses in the neighborhood are smaller.

Keep in mind, non-usable spaces are not that beneficial for your home value. Buyers are willing to spend much more if the room is accessible and usable. That is why room conversions and home additions are so popular among homeowners. When you convert a neglected basement into a luxurious guest room, everybody will be prepared to lay more money on the table. The same goes for second stories and converted garages. In fact, second-story additions are one of the home improvement projects with the highest ROI. It would be a genuine pity if you missed the chance to make a profit just because you didn’t finish the space.

It’s important that the room is ready to use on selling day. But, if you decide to build a home addition just for the sake of increasing profit, it’s recommended you create a neutral room and design it according to recent trends.

A Second Story Will Save Your Backyard

If you choose to build a home addition from the ground up, you will have to compromise outdoor living space. Luckily, there is another solution! You don’t have to cut off parts of your backyard just to build extra usable space. With building a second story on top of the garage, you will get to keep your garden’s original look and expand square footage at the same time. There is no denying it: it’s the ideal solution for every family!

Remember that the backyard is an essential part of curb appeal. Preserving its appeal will have a big impact on future buyers and will secure a higher price for your property. Plus, maximizing outdoor space is especially important now, after spending over 2 years in lockdowns.

Increasing Visual Appeal

At first, people used garages only for parking and car maintenance. Today, they are becoming statement pieces. Think about it! The project with the highest ROI is a garage door replacement. It’s simple and affordable and yet, people love it!  Plus, more and more homeowners are converting their garages or upgrading them with a more modern design. And building a second story is the optimal way to revamp your garage space.

This way, the garage won’t awkwardly stand out on its own anymore. Instead, it will become an essential part of your property, complementing the main house and increasing curb appeal. So make sure your two-story garage is a showstopper and use all your creativity in the process. It’s definitely an improvement project worth considering!

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