Know what garages, sheds, and sunrooms all have in common? They’re all ways you can make over your home exterior. Better yet, these additions (or renovations) not only beautify your property, but they also give you additional living and storage space. After all, where else are you going to store all five thousand one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork made by your incredibly gifted offspring/niece/cousin/random child offering you construction paper stick figures?

Here Comes the Sun(room)

If you’re interested in more living space (or are pro-sunshine but anti-bugs and pollen and such), a sunroom is the perfect solution. It’s outdoors adjacent, which means all of the fun and none of the precipitation!

Keep in mind that sunrooms and four-season rooms aren’t the same thing. Sunrooms are really meant to allow for full enjoyment of mild weather (think al fresco dining and autumn fire pit season). You should expect that extreme cold and heat may make this living space less than comfortable. Four-season rooms, on the other hand, well, their name says it all, no?

There are lots of factors to consider when deciding which route to take (and the experienced pros at HPI can help you determine what will best meet your needs). You’ll have to consider what materials you want to use, how you plan to use the space, and how much you’re willing to spend. And while you’re figuring out your project budget, you should make sure to include the added expense of heating and cooling this space as well. Here’s what else you should know before adding a sunroom (or a four-season room).

So now that you’ve figured out where the people will fit, it’s time to factor in where to store the stuff. Like your cars or the crates of pictures you’ve been swearing for the past two decades that you were finally going to scan to your computer.

Enter the Garage

It’s not just a place to park your vehicle(s). Let’s be honest, many of us have garages and still don’t have room for cars in them. So here’s the question you should ask yourself: What would be the most useful way to designate this space? The answer will depend on what’s most important to you.

Do you like rolling out of bed and tripping out to your car and off to work, the gym, wherever you’re going without having to set the alarm for thirty minutes earlier than you’d like to so you can clear off ice, bugs, sap, or other gifts of the seasons? Then decide your garage will be for vehicle use (and make other plans for whatever other nonsense might be stashed there).

Do you desperately need storage space (and find ice, bug, and sap removal invigorating)? You can customize a garage with built-in shelving and then buy stock in plastic storage tubs. Need some creative ideas to corral your belongings in the garage? Start here.

Do you like tinkering with projects, but fear reprisals if you get paint or wood shavings inside the house? A garage is the perfect place to set up a workspace (as long as whatever you’re “working” on isn’t sensitive to temperature changes).

Know what else a garage is good for? Anything you can think of—like a place to send the aspiring rock stars living under your roof, or a place to put that elliptical machine before you’re tempted to break your twenty-day exercise streak because it’s raining outside, or some place to hide after the nine millionth time someone says “Mom” in a row. (Mama is coming, honey—she just has to alphabetize the paper products in the garage. For the next hour or so.)

But what if you have the aspiring musicians and a hatred for cleaning off your car and the need for a place to hide gather your thoughts?

Shed Those Worries

How about a shed? Minus the car parking magic (unless you go ham with the size of your shed), a shed provides you many of the same benefits of a garage. And we’re not talking about your grandma’s shed, with the rusty nails and the cracks where the spiders get in. There’s even a whole new language for what’s possible to do with a shed. Think man cave or she-shed (or tiki bar or writing nook). Google “tricked out sheds” for inspiration (like these).

The answers to your living and storage space issues are as close as your own yard!