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How to build a DIY office in your garage for under 500 dollars

Updated on May 24, 2010

Have you always wanted a decent home office that is not shared in a bedroom or even the lounge? Somewhere where you can get away from distractions and be able to concentrate without being disturbed. I done this myself recently and is the best thing I’ve done in a while and enables me to get on with my day to day work in comfort. I have a standard double garage and have created an office space of 2.8m x 2.1m, which is more than ample for one person and all my requirements. You will need to pick a corner, preferably where there is a window for natural light and a power point – not a total requirement. If you are DIY minded, this really is a simple task and no planning permission is needed.

You will require 5 sheets of MDF board (or ply board etc) @ 2400mm x 1200mm x 25mm thickness, 20 metres of 50mm x 25mm pine batten, 12 L brackets (25mm), 60 or 65mm and 25mm screws. You will need an extra pair of hands to assist with the boards.  These materials are based on my size office. 

Mark out on the floor with a chalk line or a straight edge the size of office space you require. Choosing a corner will mean you will only require two new walls. Most garages will be just less than 2.4m in height, so it will easier to have your boards upright. Where your boards will butt up to the existing walls, use a spirit level and mark from ceiling height down to the floor – you can check this by using thin string with a weight on the end (plumb line). Lift your first board into place and secure bottom with 3 L brackets with 25mm screws, which should be inside office space. Cut a length of 50mm x 25mm to the length of the first wall you are working on (not the length of the first board) and fix to ceiling alongside you first board. You will need to make sure you can get a fixing to a timber inside the loft space when you screw it – don’t rely on just the ceiling board. When the 50 x 25mm batten is fixed to ceiling, screw through the board in to the batten every 400mm, now your board will be able to stand unassisted. You can now cut your second board to match the size of the batten which is remaining – you need to be very accurate with your cut to get a good finish. Apply a bead of wood glue down the expose edge of the first board and butt the second board (uncut edge) up to the first board – make sure both boards butt up tight to each other. Fix 3 more L brackets to the bottom of board and screw though the board into batten to secure the top. Now you are nearly halfway and not too difficult hey?

So you will now need to cut a batten to fit from the other existing wall to butt up to the side of the batten previously fitted on the ceiling, not on the end of the existing making it longer. Now put your third sheet into place creating a 90 degree angle giving a nice clean external corner – fix screws at 400mm intervals from top to bottom through second board into third board. Fix 3 more L brackets to the bottom length of third board and through board into batten at top, this is where you see the new office taking shape.  Fit the fourth board the same way as board two.  You will now have to cut the last board to fit the remaining piece of the jigsaw and once that is complete, you will have to make a decision where the door will go and the size of the opening. A standard internal flush door is fine and can be purchased relatively cheap. Whatever size you decide on, you will need to allow 3mm on each side (6mm total), 3mm for the top and enough to clear the floor covering you decide on. With the size of the door add the above measurements for clearance and this will be the size you cut out of the final board. Once you have cut out for the door, fix the last board using the same technique as the first board. Cut and fix 2 lengths of the batten to go around the top edge of the boards which will secure them in place and create a ’sandwich’ effect. Cut and fix batten to both side of the first and last boards where it goes from ceiling to floor.

Cut and fix 3 lengths of batten to the inside of the cut out you done for the door opening, this will create your door frame – screwed every 400mm. If you want to make it look a little more professional, fit skirting’s/trim to the bottom, inside and out, which will also serve a purpose of hiding the L brackets and any gaps that maybe visible. You can also fit a glass panel if you want additional light and this should be decided before you undertake this project.

I have fitted workbench (see picture) to create desk space, which takes up less space, but obviously easier just to move a desk into the new office space. Once you know where your electrical items (computer etc) will be, you will need to add a couple of power outlets – only undertake this yourself if you are familiar with electrics. I don’t use a main headlight, I find lamps easier on the eye. Paint the walls in a light colour and this creates a bigger feel – see my decorating hub.

Make sure you keep your levels straight otherwise you will incur problems as you go along – remember preparation is key.

Good luck and feel to ask any questions.

You can what you like when shell completed
You can what you like when shell completed
Batten securing board to ceiling
Batten securing board to ceiling
Skirting/trim for finishing touch
Skirting/trim for finishing touch
Drawing I done for layout
Drawing I done for layout


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    • Richard Hampton profile image


      8 months ago from Texas

      What a great idea. A neat, clean install with just the right amount of space to set up computer and filing cabinets, run cables and phone lines and you're all set. A cave within your 'man cave'.

      Richard Hampton

    • GarageDoorMart profile image

      Garage Door Mart Inc 

      4 years ago from 5800 E lake dr, apt.613, Lisle, Chicago, IL, USA 60532

      Perfect Article for Garage Doors. Interesting!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      How do you heat and cool it inexpensively.

      Window units are loud for an office...

    • profile image

      Mike T. 

      8 years ago

      I am in need of this. Perfect for my online business. I am not a all!! But if I was to hire someone to do this what would you think the cost would be if they were to follow your strategy??

    • Toolsonline profile image


      8 years ago from Up to my Neck in it!

      Great piece of work, I am in the process of building an office in a set of rooms that I have just built into the corner of our plot.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Very good idea! This would definitely be helpful, it's nice to work from home but it's nice to be "away" from things like that too. Good work here, it really looks nice!


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