Once seen as utilitarian places to protect cars from the weather, garages have taken on a new role in recent years. Homeowners are tapping into products and organizational systems to keep their garages as presentable as the rest of the house.

While Americans may be proud to show off the inside of their gleaming garages, they prefer to downplay or even conceal them on the exterior. The design dilemma becomes how building and design pros can balance the need for access while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing public face.

Here are my tips on how to conceal a garage. See the slideshow at left for photos that correspond to each idea.

Place It Beneath the Living Space. This concept works well for urban lots or sloping sites where raising the living areas above the level of entry makes sense. Even though raising the living levels means that garage door will appear more, you can still conceal them within a singular, unified wall surface of vertical cedar boards.

Rotate the Doors. Turning the garage doors away from the street is an obvious way to minimize their presence at the main entrance. However, it increases the amount of driveway required, and that impact, with respect to the entry, should be considered.

Detach It. The detached garage can be a good option to pursue if there’s room – just be careful of zoning issues.

Apply Overhead Elements. Overhead elements can draw attention and focus it elsewhere. Trellises are used to create great effect in homes – they can suggest a path to the stairs and/or entrance.

Create Carports. If you  can accommodate convenient storage elsewhere in your homes and look at the fact that your garage is to simply protect  your cars, the carport is an attractive solution, especially from an architectural standpoint. 

How to Downplay a Big Garage: Break It Up
Upgrade the Garage with These 7 New Products