The garage is a versatile space, able to be used for many forms and functions. And while many use their garage as a carport or a glorified storage unit for the junk they don’t use — but aren’t ready to toss — a few visionaries have converted their garages into casual hangout areas for friends and family. And while many garages lack the electrical hookups for your flat screen TV, garages can be the ideal hangout for a big group of friends during the summer. Here are a few ideas for your next get-together.
Most garages don’t come with many — if any — outlets, and lighting up your space can be more trouble than it’s worth. Assuming you do not have an outlet handy and your garage is unattached, snaking an extension cord across your lawn may not be worth the hassle. Never fear: toss some lawn chairs in your garage, crack open the door on a nice summer night, and maybe get a small mobile fire pit for your driveway (far away from your garage and any trees).
If you have electricity or are close enough to an outlet for an extension cord, you can even trick your garage out with a wall or ceiling-mounted TV. The best part of a garage hangout is its proximity to both fresh air and the creature comforts of home. There’s nothing quite like leaning back in a lawn chair with your favorite movie and a nice breeze blowing through your open garage door. Bluetooth speakers let you play your favorite jams without worrying about electricity, and there are plenty of games — from beer pong to Scrabble — you can play in lieu of the TV.
Many garages inherit your home’s old refrigerator, and converting your space into a hangout can make use of an old fridge. Of course, if this isn’t available, you can bring out a couple of coolers and some ice.
For furniture, lawn chairs or folding chairs are usually the best bet: they seat all your friends without breaking the bank and are easy to store when you’re not hosting. The same goes for your tables — foldout tables can be stored easily and work well for card games or pong. They’re also excellent if you plan on serving dinner or firing up the grill and need a place to eat.
A lantern is a must-have once the sun goes down — assuming you don’t have lights rigged in your garage. Even if you do, the lantern can give your space a rustic, outdoors feel. You can also adorn the walls or ceiling of your garage with posters, flags or tapestries, depending on how much of a man-cave you’re trying to create. If you feel like going all-out, you can even install a screen to keep the bugs out. Otherwise, just use some citronella candles.
Anyone hosting a large party knows the benefits of casual party games. Obviously, the game you choose depends on the space available in your garage and the group you plan o hosting. Garages are usually great, regardless of what you had in mind, as they’re generally more accustomed to wear and tear than indoor rooms, and spilled beverages are generally much easier to clean up without carpet involved.
Garages are even better because they allow your friends to play outdoor games — throwing footballs, bags, etc. — without really separating from the rest of the group. Those who prefer to play pong or watch TV can chill inside the garage while others hang around outside, tossing the pigskin or enjoying the fire. Garages provide the best of both worlds.
Garages have a couple of benefits over other hosting options. Both setup and cleanup are much more straightforward, given that you’re mostly using cheap outdoor furniture. Cracking your garage door gives you the benefit of a beautiful summer night, and you can even provide your space with electricity if you need to. Hosting in a garage gives you the best of both indoor and outdoor get-togethers.
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