Go ahead, call me crazy. Who makes over their garage, right? I won’t argue my sanity, but I did discover if you Google “garage makeover,” you will find some pretty intensive projects that are actually way more involved than mine. So, I feel a little better about my reaction when my husband suggested we spruce up our garage a bit. What he meant by that was slap on a fresh coat of white paint to brighten and clean the dingy walls and replace the dilapidated cardboard boxes that have housed our Christmas decorations for 15 years with some sturdier totes. Good ideas, but…my response was: Ok, I’m fine with the idea of fixing up the garage, but, if we are going to go to the trouble of painting, let’s add some color! And, if we are going to reorganize the storage section, let’s do it right! In short, I said we should give our garage some personality – our personalities.
Being intense game geeks (the board and card kind, not the electronic kind) we decided to extend the gaming theme that permeates much of our house to include the garage. I had quite a few ideas for how to do this, and had a tough time deciding, but finally chose cards and dice. These are the basic building blocks of gaming, after all. This meant white, red, and black for the colors, and dice and card décor for finishing touches.
Following is the step by step transformation.
Repaint the ceiling and top half of the walls white.
It was really nice to use the same paint on the walls and ceiling to avoid worrying about spillover at the edges.
We put small pieces of painters tape at 42″ from the floor around the room, to mark where we could stop painting. (No use wasting time and resources on the part that wasn’t going to be white!)
Add some color.
We marked 36″ up from the floor to show where the next color would stop (roughly – no hard line was needed, just a general stopping point to overlap where the third color, our black stripe, would start.) I was excited to be adding a splash of color to the garage, and red was definitely going to be more fun than the previously boring all-white. Playing card red is a pretty rich color, so it took two coats, but it was worth it.
We let that dry for a couple of days or so, then…
Paint a black stripe.
I looked up YouTube videos beforehand on how to paint stripes, and I asked friends for tips. I discovered everything from laser levels, to Frog Tape, to “measure with a friend” solutions. We decided to simply measure, tape, use a level to check the tape, then adjust as needed. (And it was needed…a lot.) This part of the process was, let’s say, less than fun. I have no desire to ever paint a stripe again. Although, I do think it was worth the effort in the end. We taped off the six-inch section between the white and red, carefully pressing down the tape edges with a putty knife to ensure no paint got under the tape. Another tip I found and used was to roll the paint horizontally rather than vertically, so paint is less likely to get pushed under the tape.
This is the part I was most nervous about. If the stripe ended up less than straight, due to measuring or taping poorly, or paint got under the tape and the edges weren’t sharp but lumpy bumpy splotchy messes, my OCD would simply not be able to handle it.
Praise the Lord, it turned out ok. We painted the six-inch black stripe all the way around the room, and I really like the results. A couple of imperfections after the tape was removed were easily touched up, and the line looks straight to me!
Create an organized and fun system out of the old ugly boxes that held our seasonal decorations.
To stay with the theme, we needed black and red storage totes. A search online yielded several results, with the best sizes for our needs and the best prices coming from Walmart.com. It was a bit of a math project to order the right combination of totes to fit on the existing garage shelving, and get the sizes we needed for our stuff, too. Adding to the challenge was the fact that the totes came in sets, not individual bins. We ended up with two sizes, large and small.
Here’s what we wanted to replace and no longer gaze upon:
Organize the contents of the new totes.
After loading up the new bins with the freshly sorted and organized decorations, I went about making labels for the totes. (I don’t want to have to peak inside all of them to find the one item I need, do I?)
We bought 3 1/3″ x 4″ packing labels, and I used a card-theme border I found online to design the stickers. (I searched for “playing card border” and got plenty of results to choose from.) Armed with my list of tote contents and an Avery template in Word, I printed up the labels.
Meanwhile…back at the beginning phase of the project, I consulted with a friend to help me design my other brainstorm for the makeover: His and Hers decals for the walls in front of each of our cars. Of course, just plain text “His” and “Hers” wouldn’t do. I wanted to incorporate the theme. I envisioned how I wanted to use dice in each of the words, found a font I liked, but had trouble finding the right clip art and getting it sized properly for printing, so asked a design-savvy friend for help. I think she did a fabulous job! I uploaded the PDF she created for me to http://www.walldecalworld.com and ordered 24″ prints. They turned out great!
The final touches.
We splurged and spent $4.00 on a new cheap mini blind for the window. The dingy old one of the same cost would have required more than $4.00 in labor to clean it up, so I think this was worth the investment.
The door into the house usually had a seasonal decoration hung on it to welcome us in. Now, however, this would be part of the new look too. A pair of fuzzy dice seemed very appropriate for the garage. Done.
Of course I couldn’t simply put back the boring white switch and outlet covers that were there before. Another online search, and I had fun covers on their way. (Tip – be sure you actually look at the outlet to check what shape it is before ordering an outlet cover. Standard two-hole ones won’t fit if it’s a GFI oulet – oops! I’m glad that company does easy exchanges.)
Take pictures of the completed project and write a blog post sharing the experience. 🙂
I am excited to now have a fun and inviting space to welcome me home!