How to Turn Your Garage Into a Safe and Cozy Place to Hang This Fall

Expert tips for making your garage your new living room—safely.

Lots of people host guests in their backyards or on their patios. But with unpredictable temperatures, plus rain and snow, why not look to the garage as a place to hang out with a little added warmth?

The fact is, you can transform this space usually used to store cars and household items into a stylish, (semi) outdoor spot to hang out.

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Start With the Floors

If you're going to do just one thing to your garage, it should be the floors, says Mark Tavolino, co-owner of Garage Living in Chicago. "Especially if you are going to be spending more time in your garage, you'll want to cover the concrete that attracts so much dust, fluid and dirt," he says.

Tavolino recommends using a Polyaspartic floor coating. The look is similar to epoxy but it has better abrasion, so you won't see the tire skid marks. Plus, it can be installed in hot or cold weather. The best part? Liquids wipe up very easily, so you can get rid of any car fluids that leak out before your gathering, or soak up any beverages before you park your car.

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Get Organized

Your garage may be spic and span, but many of the items we store there—everything from paint cans and basketballs to strollers and snow blowers—can be a safety hazard. Purge what you don't need and organize the rest, via slatwall panels with peg boards, or bins to remove the clutter. If you'll be hosting children in your garage, make sure to put any harmful chemicals or sharp tools out of reach.

RELATED: 7 Things to Get Rid of in Your Garage or Basement Right Now

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Add a Safe Source of Heat

Keep your garage doors open—and windows, if possible—for airflow. On chilly nights, heat will be key. This likely goes without saying, but live fire in a garage is a bad idea. Keep your fire pit outside.

The best way to heat a garage is by adding insulation or installing overhead garage heaters. If you use a portable heater, make sure it's specifically designed for garages (propane patio heaters won't fly). If you aren't sure, consult someone at your local hardware store or a general contractor.

RELATED: How to Stay Safe Outdoors While Using Space Heaters and Fire Pits (Plus Other Ways to Stay Warm This Fall and Winter)

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Get Creative

Using your garage to be social doesn't have to revolve around food or drinks. In fact, Tavolino is seeing his customers requesting much more creative options. He's had a few guests ask for a basketball hoop to be set up on the slatwall for rainy day play. Garage gyms have also been a popular request, as people section off a part of their garage to add rubber mat gym flooring and some equipment.

Others are thinking of garages as places to put a small art studio or even a small office as more people are working from home.

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