What makes a garage look expensive?
It’s not the cars. Putting a Lamborghini in your typical suburban garage won’t make it look expensive.
It’ll just look out of place.
In this article, I’ll share some simple design hacks that you can do to upgrade your garage.
But while they look expensive, the good news is that they don’t have to be expensive.
Let’s get started.
Keep It Simple: Why a Minimalist Garage Design Looks Expensive
The key to looking expensive is to focus on less, not more.
A minimalist design involves clean lines, simple shapes, and a focus on high-quality materials and finishes. It creates a sense of simplicity, elegance, and sophistication, which are associated with luxury and high-end design.
Every element is carefully considered and purposeful, creating a look and feel of refined luxury. Focus on high-quality materials, such as natural stone, wood, or carbon fiber, which add to the overall sense of luxury and sophistication.
Also, limits yourself to a neutral color palette, usually black, white, grey, or silver.
Finally, you want a design that is functional and practical. The goal is to create a space that is both beautiful and useful.
10 Ways to Make Your Garage Look More Expensive
With that in mind, here are 10 design tips to make your garage look more expensive.
Start With a Cohesive Color Scheme
The first step to creating an expensive-looking garage is to start with a cohesive color scheme. This means deciding on a primary color and one or two accent colors.
The goal is for anyone to walk into your garage and immediately identify your color scheme.
Your base color should be either white or light gray, which helps brighten up your garage and make it feel bigger.
When painting the walls, avoid beige and other earth tones entirely. Interior designers use them to make a room feel cozy and warm, which is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish.
The right accent color can add a touch of personality and vibrancy to your garage, but don’t go overboard. Buying Guards Red cabinets or painting a wall Harley-Davidson Orange is tempting, but it will only make your garage look cheap.
Designers use different colors to evoke different feelings. For example, red is often associated with passion and excitement, while black is typically associated with power and sophistication.
When trying to make your garage look more expensive, your best options will be black, grey, or metallic colors like silver or aluminum. Vibrant colors like reds, blues, or yellows are best used sparingly to draw attention to a statement piece.
Gloss or semi-gloss finishes on your walls can help create a more polished and expensive look. Higher-gloss finishes reflect light and create a smooth, high-shine surface that can add depth and dimension to your walls.
Glossy finishes are particularly effective in garages with natural or artificial light sources. It can create a dazzling effect, making the space feel larger and more luxurious.
Add High-End Finishes
Adding high-end finishes is another way to make your garage look more expensive. Popular examples include race-inspired materials like machined aluminum and carbon fiber.
However, there’s room for traditional materials as well.
Some garages use reclaimed wood or exposed brick to create an accent wall. While these materials can add texture and warmth, there’s a fine line between looking refined and looking rustic.
Wood trim and accent walls should complement other design elements in the garage, such as flooring, cabinetry, or lighting. This helps create a cohesive and unified look, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the garage.
That said, natural materials like wood or brick should only be used when they match the overall theme of your garage – and your cars. They would perfectly compliment a classic ’57 Chevy or a Triumph TR-6 but look out of place next to a C8 Corvette.
Steer clear of materials like chrome or diamond-plate trim. These cheap and tacky finishes can easily be found at your local auto parts store and only detract from your garage’s overall look and feel.
After all, you want your garage to reflect your style and sophistication, not a cheap imitation of the average Joe’s garage down the street.
Add Natural Light
Adding natural light from windows or skylights is one of the best ways to make your garage look more expensive.
Natural light helps create a bright and inviting atmosphere while simultaneously making the space feel larger and more open. It can also visually enhance the colors and finishes in your garage, making it look more vibrant and polished.
Installing windows is the most common way to add natural light to your garage. Even if your garage wasn’t designed for them, adding windows to the exterior walls is reasonably inexpensive.
A better option is to install skylights, if possible. Skylights provide a natural light source without taking up valuable wall space. They can be configured in various shapes and sizes and customized to open and close for ventilation.
Unfortunately, adding natural light isn’t an option for many garages, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
I found several YouTube tutorials showing how to create virtual windows. However, the best I’ve seen is from Drew from Drew Builds Stuff. He created a “window” in his basement by pairing three large TVs.
He mainly uses it as a ‘window’ to display nature videos while he works. However, he could also turn it into a massive entertainment wall for watching the next race or big game.
High-Quality Storage Solutions
Investing in high-quality storage solutions is another way to make your garage look more expensive.
A surefire way for your garage to look cheap is to be cluttered and disorganized. Investing in a set of cabinets and shelves, wall-mounted storage units, and garage organization systems can help get that clutter under control.
You can take that up a notch with a set of matching high-end cabinets.
Matching garage cabinets create a cohesive and unified look, which isn’t common in most homes. While most people won’t recognize one cabinet manufacturer from another, they will appreciate seeing a complete set of cabinets and workbenches.
That will automatically make your garage look more expensive.
Most garage cabinets can be customized to fit your specific needs and preferences. This includes the number of shelves, the height of the cabinets, and the type of materials used.
Matching garage cabinets showcase attention to detail and a focus on quality, often associated with high-end and luxury design. Investing in high-quality cabinets that match the other elements of your garage will make your garage the envy of the neighborhood.
Unique Garage Lighting
Upgrading your garage lighting is a great way to make your garage stand out from the crowd. And in this case, too much is never enough.
Bright, well-lit garages feel larger and more open. It can also highlight specific areas of the room, such as a car display or storage wall, and create a more polished and expensive look.
And best of all, you don’t have to break the bank to get great lighting in your garage. For around $250, you can add enough LED shop lights to turn your garage into the brightest room in your home.
Track lighting is another option if you have a special vehicle you enjoy showing off. It allows you to adjust the direction and intensity of the light, which helps to give your garage an upscale, modern look.
Some garages instead opt for smaller, unique fixtures that turn the lighting into a conversation piece.
Either way, choosing lighting fixtures that complement the other features in your garage can help create a more functional and stylish space that feels more upscale and luxurious.
Put Your Vehicles on Display
Whether you have a classic car or a high-end sports car, displaying your vehicles in your garage can add a touch of luxury and sophistication to the space.
There are several ways to display your vehicles, depending on the amount of space you have.
One option is to install a car lift. Car lifts can elevate your vehicle to create additional space in your garage while also providing an impressive and dramatic display.
Designing a car display area is another option if you have a larger garage. This can include adding a backdrop or a platform to show off your vehicle or lighting, banners, and posters to show your brand spirit.
Don’t go overboard, and remember to keep a cohesive color scheme throughout your garage. Choose finishes and materials that complement the other elements in your garage.
Displaying your vehicles in your garage can create an impressive and luxurious look and feel. Additionally, it can showcase your personal style and interests, creating a unique and personalized space that stands out from other garages.
Tasteful Car-Art & Decor
Similarly, adding framed artwork, decor, and other unique collector’s items is another great way to make your garage look more expensive.
This includes photographs, paintings, or other decorative items that reflect your interests and style. Framed artwork can provide a more polished and sophisticated look. Alternatively, classic race posters, canvas prints, or metal prints can add a modern and edgy touch.
I’ve seen a few garages with vintage steering wheels mounted on the wall. I’ve even seen a warehouse garage with a Volkswagen Beetle mounted on the wall.
Another option is to add mirrors to your garage to create the illusion of more space, making the room feel larger and more open. Mirrors also reflect light and make the garage seem brighter and more vibrant.
Create a Lounge Area
If you have the space, creating a lounge area or garage bar will definitely make your garage look more expensive. It can also add value to your home and create a unique, personalized space that stands out from other garages.
A typical expensive-looking garage lounge area would feature high-quality furniture, decor, and amenities that provide a comfortable and luxurious space to relax and entertain.
Here are a few items you might find in the lounge area of an expensive-looking garage:
- Comfortable seating: The lounge area typically features comfortable and stylish seating, such as a sectional sofa, lounge chairs, or stools. It should be upholstered in leather, microfiber, or other stain-resistant materials.
- Entertainment system: Add an entertainment system, including a flat-screen TV, surround sound speakers, and a media console.
- Mini-fridge or bar area: Every good lounge area should include a mini-fridge or bar area with drinks and snacks.
- Decorative touches: Every bar has quirky art on the wall, and a garage lounge area is no different. This area should house the unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that will get your guests talking.
- Lighting: Use the garage lounge for unique lighting pieces like dealer or bespoke neon signs.
Upgrade Your Flooring
Next to lighting, upgrading your garage floor will have the biggest impact on making your garage look more expensive.
The flooring is the crucial element of your garage’s overall aesthetic. It ties everything together and is often the first thing people notice when they walk in.
A sleek and polished floor can completely transform the look and feel of your garage, making it look more modern, sophisticated, and luxurious.
Luxury garages typically have one of these three floor coatings: epoxy, polished concrete, or interlocking tiles.
Epoxy coatings are durable, long-lasting, and low-maintenance coatings that can withstand heavy use and resist stains, spills, and chemicals. They’re available in a wide range of colors and finishes, including metallic, solid, and speckled, allowing you to choose a look that complements the rest of your garage.
On the other end of the spectrum is polished concrete. It’s a sustainable, cost-effective flooring solution that provides a smooth, glossy, and sophisticated finish. It is also durable, easy to clean, and low
maintenance, making it an excellent choice for busy garages.
Interlocking floor tiles are great for showroom-style garages because they allow you to completely customize your garage floor. Installation is quick, often taking less than an afternoon. Interlocking floor tiles aren’t permanent, so you can take them if you move.
Upgrading Your Garage Door & Entry Door
Upgrading your garage and entry doors can significantly enhance your home’s aesthetics and curb appeal.
Here are a few ways upgrading these doors can make your garage look more expensive:
Features such as glass panels, decorative hardware, and custom finishes can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your home’s exterior.
Your garage door can also add some additional visual interest and dimension to your home’s exterior, creating a more impressive and upscale look. Features such as arched or curved designs, window accents, and unique textures can create a more eye-catching and memorable look, helping your home stand out.
Finally, upgrading your garage door and entry door can help tie your garage’s entire look and feel together. Choosing doors that complement each other and the other elements you’ve selected will help create a more cohesive and expensive look for your garage design.