Workshop Design – Layouts & Tips for Unique Spaces

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Workshop design – it’s time to be creative!

Having a really nice workshop seems to be a dream for lots of folks, but workshop design can sometimes be tricky. Growing up I always wished my dad could somehow get a better space for his tools. We used to watch New Yankee Workshop and drool over Norm’s amazing facility. For most people the first obstacle is having a space large enough, which is capable of supporting a shop full of power tools. Unlike Norm most of us just don’t have a handy old barn kicking around for a world class workshop.

Workshop Design

Basements, Attics & Sheds

The shop above is my new workshop. Believe it or not it’s located on the 2nd floor attic above my garage. Crazy right? I have to be honest, it’s been far more successful than even my dreams. Basements also work great for shops. My buddy Rob over at AConcordCarpenter.com uses his basement for a great workshop as well. While neither of these spaces is “perfect”, they do offer a solution to the space equation.  If you end up building a shop in an attic as I have, be sure you have the structural design checked for the heavy machine loads.

Workshop Design

The Key is Space Planning

When I built this shop I had tons of doubters. In fact, there were far more doubters than supporters. What none of them realized was I had designed the layout using a 3D model and input from several really good wood workers. By using a three-dimensional model I was able to design several options before I ever pounded a single nail. I used the Free Program SketchUp. Today it’s easier than ever to create 3D models for all kinds of projects. The models make space planning a breeze and reveal interesting conflicts.

The bottom line is a workshop in a single story barn would be perfect, but for many of us that is simply not possible. Get creative for your workshop design and the possibilities are endless.

Click here to check out more details from my “attic” workshop and start your workshop design today.

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Todd Fratzel is the editor of Tool Box Buzz and president of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web-based media company focused on the home improvement and construction industries. He’s also... Read more

13 comments on “Workshop Design – Layouts & Tips for Unique Spaces

  1. John S

    that shop does look great – especially the lighting. I imagine the built in shelves save a ton of space.. and it looks like there is plenty of room for your head so you arent bent over all day long…. great design!

  2. Bob

    Great looking space, looks tough to get long lumber or. 8 x 4 sheets but I’m sure you thought of that.

    Good idea to draw plans before you start.


  3. Dan

    That’s a good size footprint. What do you have for floor structure? I built my shop on posts with 2×10 floor framing and find it’s so much easier on the back and feet than a concrete floor. I’m sure you must find the same thing.

  4. James

    I’ve been considering using our basement for a shop but have had doubts. Seeing this makes me have a lot more confidence in doing a basement shop. You have a unique idea and I’m impressed with what you did.

  5. Mindy

    Thank you for your articles. I read another one you wrote on basement insulation mistakes. We are building a house, and we put 2″ foam board (pink board) on the outside of our poured basement walls before back filling. We did this all the way to the top of the exterior basement walls (even above grade). We also put 2″ foam board under the slab. We are still building the house, so we do not have any insulation or framing on the interior of the basement walls yet. What do you suggest on the interior of the basement walls in this situation? Or will we even need additional insulation?

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