We talk about tuning and personalizing cars all the time – it’s an important topic here at CD player, after every thing. Over the past year, I’ve been putting the same level of thought and care into customizing my garage. The dream is to make my workspace not only functional but also a fun place to hang out. The experience was a treat that more people should try to take advantage of.
Now I’m always eager to show off the auto decorating tools I’ve collected. But the real reason I write about garage decor is because I feel like it’s an underappreciated aspect of enjoying cars. For example, many of my friends and family members (who also work in cars) store and work on their cars in unfinished, unfinished cell garages. If this also describes you, I recommend adopting my mindset when it comes to crafting a garage aesthetic: A garage isn’t a junk home staircase, it’s a bedroom for your cars.
Why bother sprucing up the “car bedroom” because cars can’t see or appreciate art? Well, the main reason is that if your garage is more fun, working on your car will be less miserable. And I don’t care how much you love the mechanics – there’s always a little pain and misery in the mechanics.
Light Home Renovation is a fun way to apply the same problem-solving skills you use to build a cool custom car… in a different format. You have to choose priorities (how to optimize the space), a coherent visual theme, evaluate the different parts (hardware), and then get to grips with the tools. You probably already know all of that. What I’m trying to tell you is that it’s worth doing.
For a little more inspiration, I’m going to run a rundown of what I’ve done in my place so far. When I set up shop in this tiny two-story basement I have here in New York’s Hudson Valley, a lot of heavy renovation work had already been done. All the walls were sheathed with sheetrock, and the wiring for the large overhead lights was in place. Upgrading my existing lighting from fluorescent to LED was pretty simple, and painting the walls and ceilings white came together to make it the brightest room in my house by far.
Functionally, I made a small workstation with a piece of counter that a friend was throwing away. Then I made some computer stands with bits of wood and hardware I had lying around. I added shelving around most of the perimeter, in part to make a cleaner visual transition from the sheetrock walls to the lower half of the concrete. The angles you cut on the wood shelf, and the stain of finish on it, help make it look more professional.
The blue and yellow accents are simply the colors I love, but I won’t deny that I drew some Napa inspiration for it.
Once I applied the paint, I realized I had kind of created a retro frame shop, so I headed into it with a few pieces of ’80s art mostly sourced on eBay. Of these, the coolest is the chrome and purple BMW M1 BF Goodrich decal. I don’t even remember what I was looking for when I found it, but I’ve since learned that it’s part of a chain promoting BFG’s Comp T/A radial tires. My sister-in-law later found the matching Corvette, and they looked so good together that I splurged on the professional framing. This enormous BF Goodrich sign I got for almost nothing from a farmer down the road from me – it was in his barn and I think he got tired of looking at it.
While moving around, I curated a few small exhibits–shrines to some of my favorite slices of car culture. Here, I’ll take you on a little tour.
You’ll see a lot of IH Scout stuff, Montero stuff, Baja and Dakar Rally stuff, and car tuner stuff that, yeah, basically sums up my core interests in cars. To be completely honest, I might enjoy hunting for trinkets as much as I love messing with real cars. And I love hanging out in that garage now, surrounded by treasures. Now my goal is to stop myself from collecting things before I end up looking like Millenial Car Enthusiast Chili’s. Or maybe I will have to build another garage.
So, if you’ve been lucky enough to own any kind of car storage unit or workspace, and you’ve been toiling there under poor lighting or a lack of decor, I hope you’ve been inspired to settle it down (maybe over the holidays?) and make yourself a little temple to this wonderful hobby. .
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