Between the tools, toys and empty boxes, a garage can be an obstacle course. See how to treat the space like a room in the house—a place that can look good and be super functional.

By Jody Garlock
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Park the car. Stow the mower. Curse the clutter. Repeat. If that sounds like your garage reality—and you wish it didn't—it's time for a tune-up.

Make a list of your storage needs, then put precious perimeter and overhead spaces to work. And consider an allover coat of fresh white paint. Ahhh.

Kim Cornelison

Upper Deck Clear floors and surfaces by utilizing every inch of wall space; put hazardous stuff out of reach in upper cabinets. These garage-specific ones from Gladiator are corrosion-resistant and built for heavy loads.

Cold Play Booting an old fridge to the garage is the typical move, but if you’re buying, consider a garage model. They’re built for temperature extremes, and some have a pedal for hands-free opening.

Retooled Space A mobile tool chest rolls neatly under a workbench. If you want a stool, choose one that can fold up or tuck away between project sessions.

Marty Baldwin

Board Room Pegboard is a budget-friendly classic. Have a home center cut a piece to your desired size. (You can roll on paint to cover the drab brown.)

Hang Tight To store tiny odds and ends, screw jar lids to the bottom of a cabinet and twist jars in place. (You will need to drill a hole through the lid first.)

Pot Hole DIY a potting bench with a hole for sweeping away dirt or plant trimmings.

David Patterson

Upward Mobility A pulley system that suspends bikes from the rafters allows for easy retrieval of summer rides. For basic ceiling or wall storage, use heavy-duty hooks.

Adam Albright

Instrument Panels The upgrade for classic pegboard? A modular slatted wall panel system, with click-in-place hooks, bins and baskets. Home improvement stores sell starter kits.

David Patterson

Ride the Rails Affordable rail-based storage systems keep tubs off the floor (no more pulling one from a stack, Jenga-style). Tuck bulky toys or a mower underneath.

David Patterson

All in a Row For extra ease and accessibility (especially with kids' gear), replace one shelf with rows of shallow drawers.

Brie Passano

Floor Plan

Look down! Here are four options for elevating a drab, oil-stained concrete floor.

Paint This is the fastest, cheapest (and least durable) solution. Fast-drying latex is easier to apply; oil-based paint will require a primer. Plan for touch-ups every year or so.

Epoxy Available in many colors, these two-part industrial coatings create a high- gloss, chip-free finish. For max durability, choose 100 percent solids kits (like EpoxyMaster) over solvent- and water-based.

Tiles Snap-in-place cover-ups, such as Gladiator’s tread plate floor tiles, are an alternative to coatings. The downside? They’re generally more expensive.

Polycuramine For a superstrong finish, roll on Rust-Oleum’s RockSolid Floor Coating Kit. Available in finishes like marble and metallic, and touted as being 20 times stronger than epoxy, it’s drivable 24 hours after application.