You can build a recording studio in your garage, much like you would turn any other room in your home into a recording space. Soundproofing and acoustic treatment are essential, and you’ll likely want to build walls or rooms as well.
My name is Donovan, and I’m a home studio enthusiast and lifelong musician. I love to write, record, and produce as often as possible and spend most of my free time in the studio. I’ve built several studios over the years and know what’s involved with a garage build.
This post will show you how to build a recording studio in your garage. I’ll provide you with some key considerations and steps you’ll want to follow to transform a garage into an effective recording space.
Let’s get after it.
- Key Takeaways
- How to Build a Recording Studio in Your Garage
- Costs to Convert Garage to Recording Studio
- How to Build a Soundproof Room in a Garage
- Final Thoughts
- Building a recording studio in your garage is much like building it in any other room of your house.
- Soundproofing and acoustic treatment are essential starting points for decent sound and recording capabilities.
- You’ll also likely want to build false walls or other design aspects to get your studio space up to snuff.
- There are many different possibilities for setting up a garage recording studio, and there isn’t one right or wrong way to approach it.
- The cost of a garage studio can be more than using a bedroom because you will need to do more in terms of build-out and soundproofing to get it ready for recording.
How to Build a Recording Studio in Your Garage
Building a recording studio in your garage can be a good location for any home recording setup. The build process for this is slightly different than using a bedroom or other place in your home, so it’s good to know about a few considerations in play.
Garages typically aren’t as close to studio ready as another room in your home might be. This means the costs of converting a garage into a studio will be higher. There are other factors in the mix too, but that’s a major one to consider if you are still choosing your location.
I’ll break down all the factors and steps you need to know about when building a studio in your garage here. Every garage and studio build can be slightly different, so this is not a step-by-step guide exactly, but it will get you pointed in the right direction.
Step 1: Make a Budget
The first thing you’ll want to do when building a recording studio in your garage is make a budget. And this will likely start with the total amount you have to spend on the build, which will dictate your choices in equipment and design.
Without a budget, you will likely spend more than you want or need to. By making informed decisions and having a solid guideline for where you spend your money, you can keep on track without seeing too many extra costs.
It’s pretty common for budgets to change during the course of your build, but it’s still a good starting point. You can get by on a lower budget if you have construction experience and just want a basic studio, but things can get expensive quickly with uncontrolled spending.
I’ll get into the exact cost breakdown in the next section, but for now, just set a budget of how much money you have or want to spend before you make any concrete moves on the build-out.
Step 2: Make a Blueprint/Design Layout
The next step is creating a blueprint or design layout for how you want the studio to be built. Garages are larger spaces than other rooms you’d typically use for a home studio and can require additional construction to make the space work.
You can get a professional blueprint done or make a rough sketch, so you have something to work with as you build. You want to lay out where your control room will be and any specific construction you’re doing to the garage.
You also want to include any electrical considerations in the design, like outlets or holes in a wall to run cords. It’s easier to plan for these ahead of time during your build rather than retrofit outlets after the studio is mostly completed.
This blueprint can also help you make necessary budget or equipment choices based on the layout of your space. For example, If you don’t have room for a piano, you’ll know that before you purchase it.
Step 3: Clean the Garage
Most of us have garages full of car parts, tools, storage items, and all sorts of other clutter. You’ll want to get all this out of the way before you start building and setting up your home studio. If you don’t, it will make the building process more complicated.
Once you have moved all of the larger items out of the way, sweep and vacuum the garage as well. You don’t want to build on top of dust and dirt, especially if you do proper construction with a new floor or walls.
You don’t need to scrub the garage completely clean like you would a kitchen, but you want to ensure it’s relatively clean. If it’s a dirty old garage, spending the time to clean it up now will pay off later.
Step 4: Soundproofing
Soundproofing is a major consideration for a garage studio. It’s an essential aspect for any recording studio, but a garage presents more possibilities for external sound to sneak in and the noise for your studio to sweep out.
Soundproofing can be an aspect of your build, and you might have floating walls or a floor already included in your design. But if you don’t know anything about soundproofing, check out this other post dedicated to the subject.
If you aren’t approaching soundproofing directly from your build, you’ll want to consider some ways to do it more practically. You can hang heavy blankets around the garage door, main door, and windows. This won’t be as effective as in-depth soundproofing, but it’s a start.
Step 5: Start Your Build
Now it’s time to start building your studio. If you’ve hired this part out, you can stand back and wait for things to get completed. If you’re doing it yourself, it’s time to put on your tool belt and get to work.
You’ll likely be building framing, floors, installing carpet, dealing with electrical, and handling many other tasks. If it’s your first time building a studio, take your time and make sure you do things properly.
Safety should be a big priority as your doing your build. Wear safety goggles when using power tools, and make sure you turn off the power if you’re dealing with wiring. You don’t want to get hurt along the way.
If you aren’t doing a major rebuild of your studio, you can skip this step and simply start setting up the space how you want it.
Step 6: Acoustic Treatment
Acoustic treatment is another crucial aspect of any home studio build, and it’s important in the garage as well. This will heavily influence how your recording space sounds, impacting your ability to get accurate recordings.
The placement of acoustic panels, foam, and furniture all are part of acoustic treatment. There is an in-depth science to this, but a few fundamental principles will get you a long way. Check out this post for more in-depth tricks and tips on acoustic treatment.
Acoustic treatment helps prevent unwanted sound reflections and also helps absorb waves that are bouncing around your room. This is an integral aspect of studio design and performance and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Step 7: Set up the Studio
Once you have the room built how you want it, it’s time to start bringing in all your furniture and music equipment. Depending on the size of your space, you’ll likely want to be strategic about how you go about setting things up.
Bring in any larger furniture items or instruments like pianos before you set up the smaller items. You want to get the larger items in place so you don’t have to move them around later once you have gear in place and plugged in.
Getting your studio desk and control room set up is a good starting point for the studio. Since this is the brain of the studio, you can set it up first and then work around it. And since a desk or console can be one of the largest items in the studio, it’s good to set it up first.
Once you have all of your large items in place, you can start bringing in your equipment, like instruments, interfaces, cables, and anything else. Stay organized as you set things up so you get going on a clean start.
Step 8: Test Run
After you have all your equipment and everything set up, it’s time to fire up the studio and go through a test recording run. This will help you know if everything is operational and working correctly before you have an official recording session.
You might run into some logistical issues during this test run, such as faulty cords or realize that you want to change something with the design or construction of your studio. Approach any of these changes as they come, and know they won’t go away if you ignore them.
Step 9: Open the Studio
If your garage studio is just for personal use, you’re now ready for action. If you are hiring out your space, you can open it up for business and get to work on whatever recording projects you have in the pipeline.
Either way, your garage studio is ready to go. Remember that these steps might vary slightly, depending on how extensive of a build-out you are doing and other factors surrounding the build. But now you should have a general idea of what’s involved with a garage build.
Costs to Convert Garage to Recording Studio
Here is a breakdown of some common costs to help you understand what it might cost to convert your garage into a recording studio. Depending on the equipment you use, these can vary quite a bit, but the information can help you make a budget.
Garage Recording Studio Construction Costs
- Framing (lumber, hardware, drywall) – $2000-$5000
- Soundproofing (floating floors, vinyl wrap, etc.) $1000-$5000
- Venting and electrical – $200-$500+
- Miscellaneous materials – $100-$1000+
- Labor costs (if not doing work yourself) – $1000-$5000
Garage Recording Studio Equipment Costs
- Furniture – $100-$1000
- Computer – $1000-$5000+
- Audio Interface – $500-$5000
- DAW – $250-$750
- Microphones – $50-$5000+
- Instruments and other equipment – $1000 to unlimited high end
How to Build a Soundproof Room in a Garage
Building a soundproof room in a garage is a significant consideration to help you turn it into a recording studio. You can purchase a stand-alone isolation booth or build your own floating room to do this.
Getting a stand-alone isolation booth is a great idea if you don’t want to go through a large construction project. These booths can be ordered pre-built, or you can put them together in your garage. Either way, it’s an easy solution for soundproofing.
If you want to build a soundproof room from scratch, you’ll want to use floating floors and walls. This effectively creates a room inside of a room effect that will help improve the overall sound of your garage studio.
I can’t provide all the step-by-step directions for building a soundproof room here, but check out the in-depth guide to soundproofing for a better idea of what’s involved.
Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to how to build a recording studio in your garage.
How much does it cost to turn a garage into a recording studio?
You can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $25,000 or more to turn your garage into a recording studio. You typically have a lot of construction costs with a garage build because you need to build walls and do other things to set it up as a recording space.
How much money do you need to build a recording studio?
Building a recording studio from scratch in your home or garage will typically cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000. There is a wide range of costs because of the construction you might need to do and the choices you make for recording equipment.
Is it worth it to build a recording studio?
If you like to record music often and don’t want to spend money at another studio, building your own can be a great idea. You will have to float the initial costs of building the studio, but then you won’t need to pay for recording expenses afterward.
Do you need planning permission to convert a garage into a studio?
You might need building permits or other paperwork to convert a garage into a studio, but it depends on where you live and the rules in place there. It’s a good idea to check with local regulations to know what you might need to start a garage studio build.
How high should the ceiling be for a recording studio?
Ten to fifteen-foot ceilings are usually ideal for a recording studio, but you can get by with lower or higher if needed. Really low ceilings are not as ideal, and really tall ceilings can cause sound abnormalities. Acoustic treatment is vital for any studio, regardless of size.
Building a recording studio in your garage can be a daunting project. But if you make a game plan ahead of time and go into it with a realistic budget, you should be able to pull something off to your liking.
The steps for building a recording studio in your garage shown here should get you pointed in the right direction. Remember that every build is different, and you might encounter some issues or additions I didn’t mention in the post.
Have you ever built a recording studio in a garage? Do you have any tips for others who want to do the same? Let me know in the comments below.