How to turn your garage into a workshop

For many DIY enthusiasts, their biggest dream is to have a fully equipped workshop. Whether you have a creative hobby or want to cut wood panels for your home, having a dedicated workspace will allow you to focus and keep everything in one place.

To help you turn your garage or shed into a workshop, Dominic Chinea from BBC’s The repair shop has revealed the top tips everyone needs to know with a handy DIY workshop guide, in partnership with homeware and industrial solutions provider BiGDUG. Here’s how you can make the most of your space…

1. Think about the layout

Creating your dream workshop starts with the layout. Decide how every square inch of the garage should be used, determine what tools you need regular access to, and whether there’s enough space to cut things, like wood. Storage spaces that use the floor will always make your workshop feel full and messy, so see if you can get creative with wall shelves instead.

“Think about the layout carefully, just as kitchens have a standard triangle layout between sink, fridge and oven, think about your equivalent for your workshop space,” says Dom. “Taking the time to think it through in advance and plan the layout carefully will help you a lot when using the space.”

2. Maximize storage

Keep your workshop clear and clutter-free by getting smart with your storage. Although organizing a workshop is not a one-size-fits-all project, some ideas to steal include using the height of the space (including the ceiling and even the roof), placing shelving above above doors and wall-to-wall pickup. -wall cabinets for tools.

Adam BurnGetty Images

3. Don’t forget the outlets

“Always install more outlets and power outlets than you think you need,” advises Dom. “When planning your layout, you can see which elements will need power, and potentially more than one circuit, but add more. There are always batteries to charge, kettles to plug in and even taking the radio to the other side of the workshop needs a plug.

4. Personalize your space

There is no limit to the imagination when it comes to your workshop. Consider painting your workshop walls a light color to create the illusion of more space, add posters to the wall, get a small kettle for tea, or make room for your favorite chair. Remember: “Not everything has to be functional or utilitarian to be a working environment.

a man uses a handsaw to cut a thick piece of wood

Catherine Falls CommercialGetty Images

Ready to turn your garage into a practical workshop? Take a look at the products you’ll need to get started…

10 products you need to get started

1. Workbench

The workbench is one of the most important pieces of equipment for completing projects. As a general rule, your workbench should be able to support the weight of your pieces, be resistant to impact and warping over time, and large enough for creative tasks. Yours can be either a center table or set against a wall.

2. Vice

“I’m probably biased, but I think a vice is essential no matter what your line of work,” Dom continues. “They look great and are so useful for various purposes. Even if you’re just using it as an extra pair of hands to hold something still, they’re so useful, and you can find them very cheaply online or at garage sales in many different sizes and finishes depending on your job.

dominic chinea's guide to turning your garage into a workshop

John Nguyen/JNVisuals

3. Good footing

Good bench stools can save you from back or knee pain. When shopping, consider whether you want armrests or prefer a height-adjustable chair. Tricky jobs don’t necessarily require a huge bench, however, if you’re embarking on a large DIY project, it might be useful to have a larger chair with wheels so you can move around.

4. Lighting

Garages and workshops can often be exposed to high levels of humidity and dust, so it’s best to research the right bulbs first. Once you’ve chosen your light, it’s time to decide on the positioning.

“Think about where you might need direct lighting, above the workbench, near specific tools, and also have a bright lamp, even daylight if needed, that you can move with you even if you really need a detailed look,” adds Dom.

stylish, modern, large light bulb mounted on a blue painted tongue and groove interior wall the light bulb is on, with filaments visible the light bulb casts a shadow on the table below conceptual with copy space

Catherine Falls CommercialGetty Images

5. Shelving

Regular storage and shelving is important, but I think shelving is just as essential, long lengths of wood or metal can be kept out of the way, large tools kept off the floor and shelving can be suitable for many purposes,” says Dom. “Or even if it’s just to hide all the bits you had in the garage before converting it!”

6. Heating

Workshops can get chilly when the temperature drops. Even in the winter, projects, repairs, and hobbies must go on, so Dom recommends getting an electric space heater that you can plug in next to you. In addition to keeping hands warm, this will help your project’s glues and paints dry faster.

7. Flammable cabinet

‘A combustible cabinet, large or small, is important in any workshop. There will definitely be some form of white spirit or paints,” suggests Dom. “Be sure to place it in a ventilated area, not near heaters or blocking an entrance (just in case!).”

dom china in workshop

John Nguyen/JNVisuals

8. Dovecote

Pigeonhole units are ideal for any busy workshop environment. Whether you choose floor-standing, cabinet-mounted, or wall-mounted options, they’ll help you keep things like screws and coils in one place.

9. Whiteboard/Blackboard

Keep track of to-do lists, ideas, or paint names using a whiteboard (or chalkboard, if you prefer something more old-school). Dom says, “I find myself scribbling on my workbench or on scraps of paper everywhere when a real noteboard would be much harder to lose afterwards!”

10. Toolbox

‘A toolbox for your most used essential tools is vital, you can take it with you in the workshop, take it on location, keep it under your bed at night…this collection of tools will become very precious !’

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