Most garages have lots of untapped storage and aesthetic potential. Interestingly, you may not notice this until you consciously examine the space with a fresh pair of inspecting eyes.
Whether your garage wall is unfinished or finished, there is seemingly a limitless number of garage wall covering ideas that you are yet to unlock or explore. The right idea can completely transform your garage into a functional and aesthetically appealing environment.
This article provides some wise upgrade ideas that can dramatically change the utility and appearance of every square foot of your garage walls.
These suggestions should work for any garage regardless of its size or design.
So let’s dive right in.
- Drywall Alternatives for Garage
- Drywall or Plywood for garage walls
- Pros and Cons of Hanging Drywall Vertically
Garage Wall Covering Ideas
Painting the garage walls
While many people opt to leave the garage with its traditional grey floors and unadorned walls, you can take a different route than that.
If you frequently use the garage for DIY home improvement activities or anything other than storing your vehicle, you will want the space to be livable. One way to make the garage space lively is to paint the walls.
Painting allows you to choose your preferred color or scheme that matches your home’s overall décor. This makes painting an excellent way to make the garage an extension of your living space.
Perhaps the main advantage of paint is that you can apply it on any existing surface on your garage walls: drywall, concrete, and more.
Depending on the look you want, you can match the garage wall color with the floors, cabinetry, and ceiling.
If you are into perfection, you could even factor in your vehicle colors when deciding the paint color for your garage walls.
However, if your garage is particularly small, you could paint it white to make it appear larger than it actually is. Incorporating white walls in any interior space is an accepted rule for making the small room appear more spacious.
2. Drywall, wallboard, or fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP)
Drywall refers to large panels consisting of rigid sheets and a calcium composite material used in the construction or finishing of the ceiling and interior walls.
If you are a hands-on person, you can install the drywall on your own. The material is designed for quick and easy installation as long as you have the required tools and knowledge.
However, if you are not up to the task, we recommend letting a professional handle the installation. While the process may be quick, it entails some elbow grease and requires a certain level of skill that you must possess to do it correctly.
Drywall is not only cost-effective but also aesthetically appealing. Their design can also go a long way in making your home more energy efficient.
And because they are quick to install, they always allow you the flexibility to decorate the space or change it whichever way you want.
Wallboard panels and fiberglass reinforced panels are similar to drywall and can be viable alternatives.
Once you decide to use a drywall material on your garage wall, you may discuss your options with the technician to see if either of these two alternatives would suffice.
3. Garage wall insulation
When you cover your garage walls with a drywall material, adding insulation on the wall before installing the drywall is recommended.
Drywall is often a quick and visually appealing way of sealing the wall to avoid having exposed framing studs and insulation in your garage.
Whether you use drywall or not, you could add insulation to your garage wall to improve its energy efficiency.
The garage is a major entryway for most homes. Your home can easily lose a lot of energy through the garage if it is not properly insulated.
When you decide to insulate your garage, you can choose from the four available types of insulation, namely:
- Fiberglass—this is the most popular insulation material for garages and comes in pre-cut blankets, batts, or rolls.
- Cellulose—this is an eco-friendly option made of recycled newspaper with a fire retardant treatment, often available as loose-fill.
- Rigid foam—this insulation material comes in rigid polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, or polyurethane panels. The contractor can cut the panels to fit practically any space.
- Spray foam—this insulation material boasts the highest insulating value of all. Its great air-sealing capacity helps block moisture and air gaps. As the name suggests, the material is available as a spray that your contractor sprays into the wall. The material solidifies into a high-impact barrier between your home and the outside environment.
If your garage is already insulated, the chances are that it has one of these popular insulation materials.
We recommend having a contractor inspect the insulation to determine if it could use an upgrade. In case an upgrade is required, you can add the same insulation material or change to a different one based on your preferences.
4. Slatwall or Pegboard
Most homeowners use the garage for all kinds of storage, and this is where Slatwall and pegboard storage systems come in handy.
The panels are uniquely designed to cover the garage walls while providing immediate in-built storage for farm equipment, tools, and countless other things.
This multipurpose wall covering does an excellent job of de-cluttering the garage space and creating more room for DIY home improvement activities and more.
Not all pegboards and Slatwall panels are the same. However, they all feature spaces for inexpensive, specialized hooks for supporting items of different shapes and sizes. This quality ensures it is easier to organize your garage space for a cleaner, finished look.
If you have a wide range of storage needs, these storage panels may be a perfect garage wall covering for you. Their flexibility and versatility will be handy in ensuring everything you want to store has somewhere to go.
The panels are typically made from a PVC material that is pretty easy to clean, making garage maintenance a breeze. Slatwall is also waterproof and very sturdy.
If you go for a pegboard instead, the wall storage material is often hardwood instead of PVC. The hardwood panel comes with holes spaced at even intervals for hanging your belongings.
Like Slatwall, you will need to buy various hangers and hooks to plug into the evenly-spaced holes for hanging your items.
Notice that pegboards may come across as old-fashioned, with Slatwall now the preferred wall storage system for modern garages.
5. Wood Paneling
The good old wood panels are still an excellent option if you want to cover your garage walls with something natural or rustic.
Wood panels come in various shapes and sizes for vertical or horizontal installation. Once you have identified the style option you want, you can buy your preferred panels from your local hardware store.
You will be surprised to note that wood paneling can be faster and easier to install than drywall. The installation does not require any taping joints or mudding.
Unlike drywall, wood panels provide better support for storage items like hooks, shelves, and more.
You can also paint the panels just the same way you would paint drywall. However, wood panels have the added advantage of staining. So if you prefer a natural look in your garage, you can stain the wood to make its grain pop.
6. Garage wall art
There is no limit to the kind of art you can mount on your garage wall. The choice fully depends on your personal tastes and preference.
Whether you want to have a large wall-to-wall mural of nature, car art, framed photos, or animal paintings, your garage wall is as good as any other place in your home for it.
Wall art can make your garage more inviting, especially if you frequently use the space for DIY activities, games, and more.
Do you love sports cars? How about hanging a large visual representation of these on your finished garage wall?
Whether your garage is a dual car or single, that extra space on the wall can be an ideal place to hang some beautiful murals to make the place look and feel like an extension of your main living space.
Wall art is one of the most efficient ways of covering a garage wall—it is easy to install, and thanks to its versatility, it can fit into any architectural or interior design.
The wall art can also be a great way to reflect some personality in the garage. Just ensure you keep it moderate and do not make the garage wall appear too crowded with the artwork.
7. Custom cabinet system
Since most people prefer to use their garages as their main storage area, custom cabinet systems are an excellent way to utilize every square foot available on the wall.
Once you have allocated enough room for your vehicle, you can build storage cabinets on the remaining wall space to solve your storage needs.
Mounting the cabinets on the wall can give it a distinct look that makes it stand out while helping keep all the clatter out of sight.
Such storage systems can go a long way in reducing accidents by keeping tools neatly out of reach.
The idea of a custom cabinet system is to ensure it strictly meets your exact storage needs. Additionally, the customization can ensure it the storage cabinets match the rest of your interior décor.
You will be happy to know that such high-quality cabinets can last much longer and save you money in the long run.
8. Garage wall shelving
If you don’t prefer to have everything tucked away and hidden from sight, you can complement your garage storage units with a freestanding wall shelving unit.
Such units provide storage space without keeping the items out of sight. This is ideal for items you want to readily access without having to search through rows of cabinets.
Shelving units allow you to choose your preferred style between freestanding and built-in systems.
Whichever way you go, the units can create a nice cover for your garage wall while remaining functional and useful.
Ensure you pay more attention to the material if you choose a freestanding unit. Such systems can look underwhelming unless you choose a high-quality material. We recommend investing in a sturdy product that will look professional and last longer in your garage.
9. Wall bumpers
Another practical way to cover your garage wall is to install wall bumpers. This is especially clever if you have a small garage with limited parking space.
Limited space means you can easily hit the car door on the concrete wall if you miss a spot by a few inches. Once such minor accidents occur while leaving or entering the car, you must spend money fixing the scratches or dings.
As you may know, fixing a car can be costly. However, a simple wall bumper system can cleverly eliminate that risk.
Even if you have a larger, modern garage, parking multiple vehicles in the garage can reduce the space, making protective bumpers a convenient means of protecting the car from dings and scratches.
While traditional wall art or photo galleries will cover only a section of the garage wall, wallpaper covers the entire section.
If you want to take your garage wall personalization higher a notch, wallpaper may be ideal.
You can add wallpaper over any garage wall material, including concrete, wood paneling, and drywall.
As you may figure, any of these garage wall covers are enough on their own, but adding wallpaper to cover the material can be a charming personal choice. The large art is an excellent way to personalize the garage space to your taste.
You could go for wallpaper with a dark theme for a large garage. However, a brighter theme will be more beneficial to a smaller garage. The latter reflects more light, creating the illusion of spaciousness.
Just like standard wall art, wallpaper can make your garage look livelier and more inviting.
11. Metallic wall panel
If you prefer a modern look in your garage, installing a metal wall covering is one way to achieve that outcome.
Wooden panels are what typically comes to mind when talking about wall paneling. However, the material does not have to be wooden if you prefer something different. You could opt for metal instead.
Metallic wall covers are admittedly less popular than their wooden cousins, but they are equally perfect for covering garage walls.
Metal is generally minimalist, making it an ideal way to achieve an urban or modern style in your garage.
However, notice that metal paneling can be pretty costly to install, making it less ideal for covering entire sections.
So, one way to incorporate the wall cover is to install the metal paneling on just one or two sides and use something more affordable like paint or Slatwall on the remaining sides.
You could also complement the metal panels with metallic sheets or trim hanging on the remaining walls for decorative and functional purposes.
Such metallic products are typically made of stainless steel or aluminum material and may be designed in the form of a rugged diamond plate.
The simple design of a metal trim means you can install it just about anywhere around the perimeter of your garage.
It is entirely upon you to decide whether to cover an entire wall with metal sheets or just a small section of the garage wall with a couple of sheets.
Additionally, you can opt for metal trim with different styles around the garage walls for decorative purposes.
12. Wall Lighting
Most garages depend on overhead lighting, often from a light bulb attached to the garage door opener. However, if you opt for a more modern look, you can challenge that idea and go for something completely uncommon.
One way to make your garage look modern is to install perimeter wall lighting seamlessly integrated into a coating material on the wall. Such an installation can transform an ordinary garage space into a unique, high-end setup.
Such wall lighting will not only play a decorative purpose but a functional one as well. The lights, even though dim, can help brighten the space and supplement the garage’s main overhead lighting.
A room with such decorative lighting is more inviting and lovely.
13. Tire Racks
Sometimes you may consider the type of environment you live in or the period, whether you are in winter or summer.
Notably, if your garage is set up in a northern climate that experiences significant snow that can result in snow tires, you should consider adding tire racks.
Besides, if you are storing tires on your garage floor, despite the arrangement, they will take up space that you would otherwise put to meaningful use. It could be worse if you have numerous vehicles with spare tires or running a commercial garage, as the space they occupy adds up.
As a result, consider adding wall-mounted tire racks to free up space in your garage. The metal tire racks offer space-saving storage and an accessible option to store your tires and other automotive parts properly.
Another advantage of metal tire racks is that they are durable and reliable, ensuring that your tires kept inside will be safe and protected. The racks are also affordable, saving money you would have otherwise spent at a tire specialist store.
14. Track rail and garage wall hooks
Our list of garage wall covering ideas would not be complete without the tried and true garage wall storage system, the wall hooks.
These are typically screwed into the drywall or wall studs and used for hanging all kinds of tools and equipment.
Once the entire setup is used for storage, it creates a complete system of belongings covering the garage wall and adds some visual interest depending on what you put there.
Alternatively, you could opt for a wall-mounted track rail for the same purpose and with the same effect.
Both garage wall products serve as handy space organizers and help de-clutter the garage space. Notice, however, that these are permanent, and you won’t be able to shift them around like you would with a Slatwall.
15. Use Folding Workbench
A folding bench is crucial when you want to free up your garage space until when you need it. You will not use a workbench throughout your garage, which is why choosing a folding type will be instrumental.
Install a wall-mounted folding workbench, especially when operating a small garage where you do not have a larger workspace.
The folding workspace is important when you will only need it occasionally. You, therefore, choose not to set aside much space for it. Also, you can choose a folding workbench when you are on a tight budget and cannot buy a new cabinet system integrated with a working countertop.
A workbench that will stay folded against your garage wall until you need it will provide your garage with extra functionality.
However, ensure the workbench you choose is reliable and characterized by safety mechanisms that will keep it in position and not get lowered unintentionally.
The video below shows how to build a wood Slat Wall in your home or garage space
Garage Wall Covering Ideas: Frequently Asked Questions
What can I use on walls instead of drywall?
Based on the environment you intend to create or the money you are willing to part ways with, you can choose from the following drywall alternatives; brick and masonry, wood planks, texture wall panels, plywood, sheet wood, cement board, veneer plaster, and vinyl siding.
Are tire racks good for tires?
Yes. The tire racks present a cost-effective solution and the best way to organize your tires in your garage, saving you much space. The tracks are easy to maintain and are durable and reliable, especially when you go for the metallic type.
What is a good color for garage walls?
Grey and beige colors are the best for garage walls. A good color for the garage walls should be easy to maintain and clean, and grey, tan, or beige colors are ideal options under this consideration. Also, the grey and beige colors make your design more flexible, unlike the white shade.
You can also choose soothing tones such as green or blue for your garage walls.
Should you drywall the garage?
Yes. Drywalls are a significant addition to your garage. The drywalls are highly protective and fire resistant. Your garage may contain certain flammable materials that put it at risk of fires. The individuals working in your garage may also use products that can easily catch power or cause ignition. As such, installing a material that is highly resistant to fire, such as drywall, will be a no-brainer. Make it your top priority.
Is shiplap cheaper than drywall?
Shiplap is a cheaper option to drywall when you consider the cost of purchase and installation. However, if there are no installation costs, the drywalls are a more budget-friendly choice than shiplap per sq. ft.
How much does it cost to finish garage walls?
To finish a garage wall, you will need between $450 and $2000, depending on the type of wall covering idea or finish you choose.
As you can see, popular garage wall covering solutions can perform several roles, including decoration, storage, and even finishing.
With the long, detailed list of garage wall covering ideas in this guide, you can be spoilt for choice. However, once you figure out the aesthetics and function you want to go for, you should find a perfect fit for reinventing your garage wall.
And share your experience with us in the comments.