Space of the Week: This Multipurpose Garage Is a Home Gym and Hangout Space

This chameleon of a detached garage does it all.

Space of the Week, Garage
Photo: Addie Chabot

A former teacher and the owner of Smart Playrooms, a design service in Rye, N.Y., Karri Bowen-Poole transformed her underused detached garage into a family-friendly gym and play space. Her three kids range in age from 12 to 25, so the area had to be flexible enough to suit everyone's needs—and still leave room for the car on the few occasions that called for parking out of the elements. Here's how she turned this blank slate of a space into a multipurpose hangout zone for the entire family.

Make It Comfortable

When the kids need to study, the low, plush cushions are far more inviting than desk chairs. A vinyl mat provides the same softness underfoot as a rug, but it's easier to keep clean—especially when the doors are open. A coat of white paint freshened up the entire space.

Use Every Surface

To allow room for the car (or a yoga mat), Karri added hooks for storing sports gear, monkey bars for climbing to the loft bed, and clips for hanging interchangeable equipment, like a swing or punching bag.

Leave Room to Grow

By making the space easy to adjust, Karri ensured it would meet the family's needs now and in the future. She's also helping her youngest practice independence at a safe distance. "I organized the walls so my 12-year-old and her friends can access whatever they want, but without my help," she explains.

Get the Look:

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Sky Swing

Colorful Sky Swing
Dicks Sporting Goods

A surefire way to take a boring garage and turn it into your teen's new-favorite gathering spot? Just install this colorful swing.

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Punching Bag

Target Punching Bag

When you need to let off some steam in between Zoom calls, this punching bag will be waiting. Plus, you'll keep up with your kickboxing skills on days when you can't make it to the gym.

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Skateboard Rack

Skateboard Rack
Container Store

Calling all parents who have tripped over their teen's skateboard one too many times: this storage rack will keep skateboards, longboards, and snowboards up off the ground and neatly stowed on the wall.

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Foam Mat

Stripe Foam Mat

Designed to cushion the tumbles and falls of unsteady toddlers, this stylish (and reversible!) foam mat also provides a soft-yet-supportive spot to lounge, do crunches, or stretch after a workout.

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Colorful Climbing Holds

Colorful Climbing Holds

Turn any wall into a rock climbing adventure by securing these colorful holds to the wall. Start preparing your acceptance speech—this idea is sure to win you the Fun Parent award.

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