5 Garage Makeover Ideas on a Budget

The room with four walls that often gets overlooked. Out of sight, out of mind. There will come a day when you get so tired of looking at unorganized junk. Let me help you achieve a garage makeover on a budget.

When we bought our Riverdale Ranch in 2020, we were moving from a series of very small apartments. We never had a garage to park cars in, much less space to store extra stuff. So when the previous homeowners left a significant amount of paint, tools, etc., we didn’t think much of it. With very little of our own things we added to the mix and still had plenty of space.

Fast forward almost 2 years, 30+ DIY projects later, no real organization plan and our spacious garage was so full you could not walk through it. I didn’t love it, but I also don’t necessarily mind “organized chaos” as long as I have a general idea where everything is, and don’t have to look at it everyday. My husband on the other hand was at his wits end. He insisted I clean and organize the garage before I start another DIY project this year, so my hand was forced to address the elephant in the house.

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Garage Makeover Ideas

Garage Makeover Idea #1: Get Organized

First things first- if you are going to makeover your garage, none of the new beauty will matter unless the space is tidy and you can see it. I know undertaking a task such as cleaning out and organizing an entire garage can seem overwhelming. I recommend taking everything out, and putting it in categories such as a:

-Trash pile for things that are broken or of no use

-Donate pile for things that are used but may be of use to someone else

-Sell pile for things that are still in great shape but you no longer need (if you aren’t interested in taking the time to sell, these could also be donated)

-Keep pile for the items that still serve you

Garage Makeover Ideas

When moving things back into the clean garage space, its best to create zones to remain organized, including: lawn & garden, sports, workout equipment, utility items, bikes, tools, and automotive equipment. For more information on this five step process, you can find the dedicated post all about organization here.

#2. Spray Paint Walls

After I took the time to reorganize the entire garage, I wanted the aesthetic to match. Although nothing was functionally wrong, the unfinished walls were a bit of an eye sore. I enjoyed the ease of storage between the studs for leftover trim, pallet wood, etc. To keep the storage and studs easily accessible for hanging heavy items, I decided to just paint the studs, no drywall necessary.

These unfinished wooden walls were rough, and I was finally faced with a project that would require a paint sprayer.  The excessive prep is the reason it took me so long to buy and use a paint sprayer. Traditionally, I do very little paint prep. I prefer to spend a bit more time painting than prepping. But I knew I would have to spend significant time prepping on the front end with a paint sprayer, and was dreading it. First I wiped down all the walls to remove dirt, dust and debris. Then I hung a 12 pack of plastic drop cloth sheets using painter’s tape to secure them.

Garage Makeover Ideas

I chose the Graco 360 paint sprayer because you don’t have to thin out your paint, thus saving time. To paint, hold the gun about 10 inches from your wall and keep moving at a consistent pace. Allow your spray to go beyond the wall to the top and bottom provides the best and most even coverage, rather than trying to stop right at the top, or right at the floor.

My walls were looking good after 2 coats, and nearly perfect after I touched up with a third! I primed and painted on a warm spring day with the garage doors open, so the primer and paint dried quickly. Once I finished using the paint sprayer, I watched a YouTube video by Graco to ensure I cleaned everything properly.

For a supply list with direct links included, and a detailed step by step tutorial you can find the original garage painting post here. If you are looking for more information regarding painting garage walls, Bobby at Garage Mastermind has a great post here to outline considerations and tips if you choose to upgrade your garage with paint.

Garage Makeover Idea #3. Storage Cabinets

If you are lucky, you already have cabinets installed in your garage for storage. If not, I recommend finding some affordable old kitchen cabinets and adding them to your space. I have installed a kitchen bar cabinet before, and published a tutorial here to help.

Once the cabinets are installed, the sky is the limit as far as creative updates go. I had decided to paint mine, install hardware, and update the countertops. Since this was a garage project, I didn’t want to spend much money.

My first time painting cabinets was during the pop up camper flip, and I have the entire process and supply list outlined. I chose the color Cyberspace by Sherwin Williams, and was more than pleased with the outcome.

Garage Makeover Ideas
Here was the first rough sketch to streamline my dream and help visualize all the pieces.

I installed affordable hardware, in a combination of knobs and handles. All you need to install is a template to mark the spacing on each drawer, a drill to make holes and screw in the hardware. The gold pops, and adds such a fun touch.

Lastly, the countertops were old and stained plywood. Using supplies I already had on hand, I decided to reproduce the terrazzo look I created on the floor of my pop up camper. I rolled on a coat of primer, then white paint. While the paint was still wet, I sprinkled decorative terrazzo color chips on top to add some pizzaz. I love how they turned out, and especially the affordability of this countertop solution.

#4. Install Pegboard

After the fresh paint job every surface in the garage space received, the raw plywood “backsplash” was just not cutting it. It was also wasted space, just waiting to live up to it’s full potential.

Garage Makeover Ideas
The blank canvas, just waiting to be madeover

Pegboard seemed like the perfect solution for this space to add storage and functionality. I tend to be someone who forgets where something is (or that I even own it) if I can’t see it. So visible storage that allows me to see where everything is, is a win/win.

You can buy raw pegboards from your big box home improvement store, and piece them together as needed to fit your space. I spray painted mine white, used the old plywood I removed as a guide, and used caulk to fill in the gaps between the pieces for a seamless look.

Garage Makeover Idea #5. Refrigerator Refresh

Last but not least, this adult beverage garage fridge had turned into an eye sore in such a fresh and made over space. I wasn’t sure if this idea to add paint and wallpaper would work, but I was willing to find out.

I prepped, primed and painted the front of the fridge the same shade of blue “Cyber Space” to match the garage cabinets and accent wall. The handle got a coat of Rub ‘n Buff, while the sides got plastered with a floral wallpaper pattern to pull in the rest of the colors in the space and add some whimsical fun. You can find the step by step tutorial and supply list linked on the full post here.

These 5 garage makeover ideas are beginner friendly DIY projects that can bring order and beauty to your space. It’s also a great opportunity to get more comfortable trying a paint sprayer for the first time, or get more comfortable with wallpaper or installing hardware before trying it out on a larger scale somewhere inside your home. I’d love to see your creative masterpiece if you give any of these project a try, be sure and tag me on Instagram!

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  1. Hazel Avery

    August 15, 2022

    I love the cabinet colors! I’m trying to get a fresh cabinet refinishing very soon, and this was really helpful to me. Thanks for the article!

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