Well-Planned Lighting Is A Key Element Of Garage Design

How the Right Layers of Light Can Totally Transform Your Space

When you consider the different aspects of garage design, lighting may not seem like a priority – but it should be. Proper lighting can make a space comfortable and highlight the room’s best features, just as poor lighting and shadows can create an environment that’s uncomfortable and fatiguing. 

Few design elements are as central to shaping a room’s ambience as the power of light. This is especially important if part of your lighting’s purpose is to display high-end automobiles or other treasures.


To put it simply: lighting is one of the most important elements of a garage space, whether that’s a home workshop, a professional space where mechanics work, or an automotive showroom with luxury vehicles on display. In service areas, having a well-lit space is indispensable. Ever try waxing a car in a poorly lit room? Or how about finding a dropped fastener?

As far as showrooms go, an automobile dealership wants to accentuate the beauty of a new car while ensuring it looks the same inside the showroom as it would out in the daylight. In a showroom, it is also vital to present color accurately, so, for example, silver does not appear light blue, or red doesn’t appear as orange.


The lighting requirements of many home garages are not much different from professional workshops or showrooms, yet lighting is an element that’s often overlooked in the residential market. This is evidenced by the limited number of fixtures that have been designed for the unique requirements of this space.

Lighting in most residential garages is woefully inadequate, usually consisting of a few incandescent bulbs or fluorescent cans hanging from the ceiling. In garages that lack windows – which is done for good reason, as direct sunlight can fade car paint and interiors – the situation is compounded by the lack of a natural light source. A poorly lit room can be an unpleasant place to work or relax, particularly if there is no natural light or if there are fixtures with ballasts that hum noisily.

Combining levels of light to transform your home garage


Designing your garage to be well-lit is crucial, and can immediately transform the feel and functionality of your garage. Like other rooms in the home, the garage should be illuminated in three layers of light: ambient (general or main) lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Each plays an important role in bathing the garage in three to five sources of overlapping light to eliminate shadows and dark corners.

Let’s look more closely at each level, as well as the unique value offered by decorative lighting and the emerging trend of LED lighting.

Lighting Level 1: AMBIENT LIGHTING. Ambient lighting will provide the majority of the light within your garage. As general lighting, its task is fairly basic: to produce a sufficient and uniform brightness and to create a safely lit environment. Ever pull your car into a garage only to run into something you didn’t see? It happens all the time due to inadequate ambient lighting.

Ideally, your ambient lighting should turn on instantaneously so that they do not take a long time to warm up before they produce adequate light. Some light sources can be affected by cold temperatures, so if the garage is not heated this may slow performance during winter months. For safety, it’s important to choose reliable general lighting sources that turn on instantly.

As far as placement, fixtures that are flush-mounted are the most common in garage with 9′-10′ ceiling heights or less. If the garage has extra tall ceilings, suspending luminaires on chains or cords can also be used. Fixtures that will bounce light off the ceiling will improve the lighting conditions within your garage.

It’s important to remember, though, that sources for general lighting should meet functional needs first, and aesthetics second. In other words, light requirements should be prioritized over style or form. 

TIP:  Consider wiring your general light source to a motion-detector so your main lights turn on if you walk into the space, or if your garage door opens. In addition, placing your ambient lights on a timer so that they shut off completely during unoccupied times will save energy.

Lighting Level 2: TASK LIGHTING. Task lighting is designed specifically to meet the needs of the tasks you want to accomplish. Fixtures should be placed within close proximity to your task – such as lighting a workbench area or tucking lights underneath your wall cabinets to better illuminate the work surface below. Where task lighting is concerned, the relevant criteria are good contrast rendition, appropriate luminance levels, harmonious brightness distribution, and elimination of glare.

TIP:  When selecting individual fixtures for task lighting, look for fixtures that can rotate, revolve, and/or swivel so that the light source can be aimed or concentrated at the specific task area.

Lighting Level 3: ACCENT LIGHTING. Accent lighting indirectly highlights an area or object(s) to create or reinforce the character of a room. Accent lighting is just beginning to be promoted for use in garages as an effective way to create mood. It can be used to catch your eye to spotlight a vehicle, artwork, wall sign, or interesting architectural features in the space, such as beamed ceilings.

Layers of accent lighting create drama

Accent lights that are focused on an object will help draw the eye toward that object in contrast to its background. Lighting aimed toward the walls and ceilings can make the room appear brighter than if light is directed downward to the floor. And lighting the corners of a garage will make the space seem larger than it really is – in this case, the eye will be fooled into seeing the space appear to stretch into eternity. 

Another accent lighting technique, very effective in automobile showrooms, involves spotlighting a vehicle within a soft pool of light that’s surrounding it. Your eye is led to the spotlighted car while the rest of the room recedes back, making the background disappear.

DECORATIVE LIGHTING. Though not one of the three primary levels of light, decorative lighting can go a long way in shaping the atmosphere of a garage space. With decorative light sources, the light fixture is a statement piece and is added to the layout to create visual interest in the room. Decorative lighting can be both stylish and functional – neon signs, hanging pendants, and gooseneck barn lights are just a few popular sources of decorative light. The soft warm glow of neon is a great example of how decorative lighting can be used to create visual interest and shape a space’s character.

Neon signage can create a mood

LED LIGHTING. One emerging garage lighting trend we are starting to see more and more is the use of LED lights, most commonly placed under wall cabinets to illuminate countertops, below base cabinets to illuminate the floor (handy if you drop a fastener), and in soffits to create ambience.

Under cabinet lights will highlight work surfaces

Bottom line, when planning your garage it’s very important to take into account the activities you’ll be doing in the garage, what you want to get out of your lighting, and what illumination level is best for what you are trying to accomplish. Using only one light source may result in shadows that limit what you can do with and in your space – but these limitations can often be removed by adding other indirect light sources.


That’s a lot of lighting know-how to take in. Luckily, we’re here to help you sort through your lighting needs. VAULT®‘s garage design pros can help you customize lighting solutions for your garage, shop, business, barn, showroom, or any other space you’re ready to bring out of the shadows. You can learn more about VAULT®‘s lighting solutions on our website’s lighting page. And when you’re ready to discuss your lighting project and see what VAULT® custom lighting solutions can do for you, contact us today at (310) 622-4477 to book your free lighting consultation.

Architects, Designers, and Home Builders – Don’t Overlook the Residential Garage Market


Many building trade professionals that plan, design, and build homes are missing out on a burgeoning market and leaving money on the table. Custom garage design is a market that’s young but growing fast, and one that’s moving closer and closer to the mainstream. Tapping into this market will allow industry professionals to address an expanding set of client needs and expectations, while also expanding the number of billable hours attached to a project.


Ultimately, a home garage should be as well-planned, well-designed, well-organized, and well-furnished as any other room in the house. Not only does the space itself demand it, but the behavior of homeowners points to the garage’s growing importance, as well.

Here are just a few reasons why garages matter more than ever:

Garages are a huge factor in “curb appeal.” On paper, the garage dominates the square footage of most homes. In addition, it’s one of the most dominant features, visually, especially when seen from the street. It also offers a more hidden value: it’s the only part of the home where neighbors, passersby, and strangers can peek inside the home. And what outsiders can see in the garage may ultimately reflect on the homeowner.

Many homeowners are unhappy with their garage situation, and are ready to act.  Even if the rest of the house is immaculately furnished and organized, a cluttered garage will define how outsiders view the entire home and its inhabitants. And homeowners are aware of the problem. One-half of homeowners say their garage is the messiest room in the homes (Harris Interactive). At the same time, though, more than half of Americans want garages their neighbors will envy (Impulse Research/Rust Oleum).

Homeowners are giving their garages more attention. A couple decades ago, pretty much every garage you walked into would have exposed studs, a concrete floor, and harsh, utilitarian lighting consisting of light bulbs screwed into a ceiling socket. But that’s changing. More often, you’re finding upgrades or new designs to make the garage space more habitable, sometimes even pleasant. Drywall, insulation, finished ceilings, more pleasurable lighting, and interior decorations are being added – the kinds of comforts that make you want to spend more time in a particular space.

No room in the home is as versatile as the garage, and people are finding new and creative uses for it.  Maybe homeowners are giving garages more attention because they’re finding so more uses for them – or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, the fact is that a garage is an incomparable space. Where else inside the home can you store and work with automobiles, gardening tools, sporting goods equipment, and car care equipment? As a result, the garage has become more than just a space for protecting cars and collecting clutter. Some have been transformed into home gyms, wood and metalworking shops, small business factories, and garden prep areas. And usually more then one of these at once.

The demographics of garage interest are wider than you think. Because of the garage’s traditional identity as a car storage space, many professionals have ignored the expanding demographic interested in this dynamic and versatile space. It’s not just the male car enthusiast that’s the garage enthusiast anymore. Women do not want a cluttered home, which is why a significant percentage of our garage design consult requests at VAULT® come from women, who are demanding that their garages be every bit as tidy, well-organized and functional as their home. 

Garages are must-have features for many homebuyers. When people are shopping for a home, the lack of a garage – or the right garage – is often a deal-breaker. 74% of homebuyers ranked the garage as the single most important amenity in a home (Century 21). And 82% of homebuyers said that the garage would be one of the factors in their decision to move when looking for a new home (Rust-Oleum). 


Despite all signs pointing to the ascendance of the garage as a premier homespace, though, many professionals are not seizing the limitless potential of this market. Perhaps that’s trepidation due to the market’s infancy – that builders, architects, and designers are waiting to see what this movement grows into in the years to come. 

The future of garages, though, can actually be best understood by looking to the past. Two other home design trends of the last couple decades were once seen by many as overly extravagant and perhaps even absurd, but have since exploded into ubiquity: home theaters and custom closets.

The Home Theater Revolution
With the availability of home video players in the early 1980s, the concept of home theaters was also introduced. For the next decade, though, the installation of a home theater was looked at as the height of extravagance: a high-quality video source and screen, multi-channel surround sound, and a custom-build space with furnishings to match. Those at all income levels saw this as some combination of pretentions and absurd. Who would dump money into such a thing?

Fast-forward to today, though, and no one’s asking that question. Because a home theater, in one form or another, has become so commonplace that even entry-level homes are wired for surround-sound and designed with an “entertainment area” in mind. In only a couple decades, the pretentious had become ubiquitous.

Even Closets Get a Chance to Shine
If a look at home theaters reveals that something seemingly elite can find a niche in every home, then a look at closets reveals that a huge market can be tapped for a seemingly pedestrian space. There was a time when closets were not a particularly important room. After all, most homeowners spend less than a few minutes a day, at most, puzzling over what shirts or dresses to wear, picking out some shoes. Yet pioneering companies such as California Closets were successful at convincing people that closets were crucially important to their day, important enough to drop $15k-$20k on a little-used space tucked in the back of an upstairs room away from plain view.

A closet simply stores clothes, and yet the custom closet market has exploded. Compared to a closet, though, a garage is both much larger and infinitely more versatile. A garage is a workspace, a storage space, an entertainment space, a gathering space, a display space, and more. If the closet market achieved such success with a one-dimensional space, logic dictates that the versatility and value offered by garages sets this market up for an even greater boom.


From looking closely at homeowner and homebuyer behaviors, to examining the evolution of comparable markets, one conclusion is certain: garage design is a growing market ready for a boom.

Garages are an indispensible part of new homes, but are also spaces being reimagined in existing homes in terms of their use and their features. And this is true across the spectrum of homes, from luxury to entry-level. So if you’re an architect, designer, or builder, it’s time to capitalize by engaging more actively in garage design and redesign. This means organization, storage, lighting, flooring, garage doors, décor… the possibilities and permutations are as limitless as your and your clients’ imaginations.

And we’re here to help. VAULT®‘s industry-leading garage-design experts are always happy to chat about the garage revolution. Feel free to reach out for a consultation about the industry or the latest garage design trends, or to ask how we can help turn your clients’ visions into reality. At VAULT®, designing organized and functional custom garages is our passion, and we’ve been doing it longer than anyone.

Customize Your Garage Cabinets – Choose a Powder Coating to Match Your Space, Vehicles, or Personality

All VAULT® cabinets are handcrafted and custom built to our clients’ exact specifications. This includes details such as custom built-to-size cabinets, countertop surfaces and handle options that can personalize a garage or shop to make it stand out from the crowd. One of our most popular customization options, though, arguably offers the best means to truly personalize your space and make it your own: a custom exterior finish.

Why Powder Coating Matters to You – The Most Durable, Reliable Protection of Your Investment

Powder coating is one of the most durable, reliable and beautiful protective coatings available to protect metal surfaces. The technology of powder coatings has become so advanced that most car manufacturers now powder coat parts that are exposed directly to elements, such as car frames and under-body parts (previously these parts were painted and highly susceptible to rusting).

If powder coated external surface parts can withstand the harsh conditions of rock chips and common road damage – and remain unaffected by salt/deicers, solvents, chemicals, or corrosives – this technology is more than adequate to protect your metal cabinets from day-to-day wear, hot, cold, and humidity to a degree that wood and aluminum surfaces can never match. An additional benefit of our powder-coated surfaces is that they are environmentally friendly, emitting no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

It is for these reasons that all VAULT® exterior cabinet parts are powder coated, never painted. No other surface protection offers our customers what they want, including unlimited color choices, appearance, gloss/smoothness, ease of cleaning and – most importantly – resistance to wear, corrosion, and abrasion.

You’ve Protected Your Investment – Now Customize It

Our reputation for the quality of our finishing is where we excel among other metal cabinet manufacturers. We offer customers an unlimited color palette in a smooth, automotive-quality finish that has a highly reflective, deep luxurious appearance that sets the appearance of VAULT® cabinets apart from all others in the world.

To personalize their VAULT® cabinets further, customers can choose from a variety of texture depths (matte and textured) or topcoat. Our custom finishes create a limitless number of possibilities to personalize each project so that your space can be uniquely beautiful.

The luminous effects of our finishing accentuate the craftsmanship of our cabinets and truly establish our metal cabinets as works of art, as our clients can testify to:

“We were VERY SURPRISED with the beautiful cabinets they show in their website, but the truth is that WE COULDN’T BELIEVE THE QUALITY OF WHAT WAS IN FRONT OF OUR EYES until received the merchandise on the jobsite: TOP CRAFTSMANSHIP AND ASTOUNDING FINISHES, with a specific and beautiful color we chose to fit our client’s requirements.

Last but not least, I have to say that the staff was always very available during the whole process, and I can VOUCH FOR THE HUMAN QUALITY OF THEIR SERVICE WHICH I PERSONALLY FOUND EXCEPTIONAL.”

ATA Avella Architecture Workshop

The Most Common Cabinet Built at VAULT® is ‘Custom’ – Let’s Collaborate to Create Personal Effects to Set Your Home Apart

Many of our clients have chosen finishes to maintain a home’s architectural harmony or to complement features such as walls, décor, flooring color or finish. Others have matched the exterior finish of their cabinets to match to the color of their vehicles, their favorite brand, or to honor their favorite sports team. Many have simply settled on a unique color that expresses their personal essence. Any and all options are on the table at VAULT®. Here are some examples to get your own creative ideas flowing.

Matching Sports Teams

A huge Cornhuskers Fan in Nebraska picked a deep scarlet to cheer on Big Red and match the rest of his Huskers-themed space.

An avid Los Angeles Lakers fan from Anaheim, California, commissioned us to coat his FORGED cabinets in beautiful royal Lakers purple.

Matching Vehicles

“Ferrari Red” is one of our most popular colors overall. Not surprisingly, it’s especially popular with our clients lucky enough to own red Ferraris.

“Ferrari Red” is hot, no doubt. But since your four-wheeled treasures come in other shades, as well, we’ve got you covered.  

Custom vehicle matching isn’t just for cars, though. For his garage cabinets, our client in San Diego turned to “Azur Blue” to match his favorite dirt bike.

Matching Personality

While some customers have a sports team, vehicle, or other furnishings they want to match cabinet colors with, many others settle on a color that simply speaks to them in one way or another, one that allows them to express themselves and feel truly at home in their space. Here are a few examples of some the more striking and unique powder coating colors we’ve had the pleasure of applying for our customers.  

Free Consultation

The possibilities for customization of your VAULT® cabinets are really only limited by your imagination. If you’re ready to talk further about cabinets, color, or anything else related to your garage project, contact us to set up your free consultation.

The Hard Rock Garage

There are some things that sophisticated, stylish men get fired up about. A perfectly-tailored suit. A Swiss chronograph wrist watch built with precision accuracy that never quits. Speedboats. The sound of a Ferrari revving through its gears. These are some things very likely to produce the words ‘awesome’ or ‘amazing’. In the right context, even the occasional ‘sexy’.

Some things, however, many guys might not be so quick to throw on that list:  cabinets, garages, great customer service. Here’s the thing, though. Those guys are dead wrong, and it’s most likely because they’ve never stepped into their garage and seen their gleaming, custom-built, made-to-measure VAULT® Professional Series cabinets for the first time. If that were the case, they’d likely share the sentiments of a grateful VAULT customer calling from deep in the heart of Texas:

First word I would use to describe the cabinets when you look at them – which doesn’t really fit with the description that is given to most garage cabinets, but you just got to say it – is they’re just sexy-looking and AWESOME. And it just brings a real pop to the room that they are sitting in… they bring a lot of pizzazz, and really upgrade the whole scenario”,
says the owner of this incomparable garage.

Awesome, Sexy Cabinets, Awesome Service

That’s right: sexy cabinets. Awesome, sexy cabinets. We’ve heard this complement many times before, and we are flattered. In this kind of story, things usually start simply enough: a homeowner or trade professional is shopping for garage cabinets, but they do not like what they see. Then they’re flipping through a magazine or surfing the web, and then, boom, they find us. VAULT cabinets pop right off the page or screen. The customer is compelled to reach out, and that’s when our renowned customer service kicks in:

I saw an ad in the magazine, just a little 4×4 ad, and I liked the way the product looked in the picture. So I did a little bit more research through the Internet and finally made the call and was able to talk directly to the owner [VAULT founder Chad Haas], and he answered my questions and was very forthcoming in the process. And I just felt comfortable with where the whole process would lead to”,
said the client about his first impressions.

The customer had a grand vision for the space that he wanted furnished. Along with a large bank of cabinets, he’d be installing top-of-the-line California Audio Technology (CAT) amplifiers and loudspeakers and displaying an extensive array of collectible guitars. Parked in front of this installation would be his collection of jet-black sports cars from Mercedes Benz and Ferrari.

Like always, we gathered all the information possible from the customer and worked together to build a plan. Our goal is make the process as easy as possible for the customer while still working to incorporate his or her input and vision as much as possible.

I am pretty busy – got lots of iron in the fire – but they made process easy. I just basically sent [VAULT] a floor plan, told him kind of what my ideas were. They were helpful enough [so that]  the first step was easy enough.

And then from there we went to the next step of picking out the finishes. And so, that was another easy part. I was pretty set on what kind of finish I wanted, [cabinet layout, etc.] and Chad was HONEST about the plusses and minuses of what I wanted”.

We custom-built a block of Pro Series cabinets, made-to-measure, to perfectly fit the dimensions of the space and to hold the clients audio and video equipped, with a Starlight Black powder coating finish to perfectly match the Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes Benz sports cars that would be parked nearby. We also delivered a couple of custom-made, porcelain and enamel neon signs. Both were meticulous re-creations of classic European sports car brands, one a Ferrari and the other a Lamborghini.  Restoration of a 1930’s-era antique Shell gas pump added additional visual interest to the space.

Hard Rock Garage

Going Above and Beyond

Unfortunately, during installation the customer’s property was struck by a bit of misfortune when a ceiling pipe ruptured, causing significant water damage when it flooded the home. The cabinets and signs would have to be moved offsite and sat in storage for several years while the home was repaired. When it was finally time to unpack the crates and outfit the space, the cabinets, of course, were still good-as-new. The electronics in the neon signs, though, were damaged from the water. They were past their warranty date for repair/replacement, but the customer reached out anyway to have a conversation. And we were more than happy to put our legendary customer service into action:

“I’d have to give kudos to [VAULT] for going above and beyond. My project lasted about four or five years. When it got time to install there were a couple of things that needed some repair work and they fixed those without any complaints. But even though it was well past the warranty period, once I explained how they had sat and all that, the customer service portions just solidified that I had the made the right decision in choosing VAULT to do my upgrades or my upscale cabinet work.

You know, these days most people they just stick by the warranty and say, “Oh well, man, your time passed up and we’re done with you.” But I have really been fortunate to find them [VAULT].”

This is another reason customers choose VAULT: exceptional customer service. Other companies’ efforts in this area just don’t stack up to ours. Customer service isn’t a priority to them. But VAULT goes above and beyond as a standard practice, not just in special situations. We do right by our customers every time, and we keep in touch to make sure they have everything they need to enjoy our products to the fullest. As an added bonus, we get to hear comments like this one, describing the cabinets themselves:

“Most of the time, [metal garage cabinets] are pretty generic and kind of cold. But, you know, the finish that I wanted and the way that it was able to be applied by VAULT products, it goes ABOVE AND BEYOND SEXY AND AWESOME because it really does look AWESOME… I used that word because when everyone walks into the room that’s the words they use. You know, they’ll go, ‘Gosh this room is awesome’, I mean they even use the word sexy – ‘Those cabinets look sexy,’ especially when you got some sexy-looking cars next to them.

These pictures don’t do justice to just how nice these cabinets really are.”

Even though the cabinets sat for almost five years after coming into direct contact with water from the flood, the client was impressed that the stainless steel construction was infallible and completely unaffected:

I am just so IMPRESSED with the mechanical workings of your cabinets – you could tell these are good (drawer) slides and good roller bearings (that allow) the drawers (to operate) real smoothly (unaffected from the water damage from the flood). They (our Pro Series cabinet’s) are put together really good.  And they weigh so much.  In one word, they are AWESOME.”

Add Some Rock-n-Roll to Your Garage

Unrivaled products and unsurpassed service, made to order. Ready to rock? Schedule your free consultation, and start outfitting a garage that will leave you and your neighbors astonished.

About the Audio/Video Equipment in this Garage

Hard Rock Garage

When VAULT founder Chad Haas first spoke to this homeowner in an initial consultation to design his garage, the client expressed his vision for a minimalist showroom that would showcase his passions for sports cars, music (guitars) and home theater.

VAULT partnered closely with Dallas, Texas home theater company HomeTronics to give this client the unique and high-end solution he never thought was possible.  Several custom built-to-order cabinets house all of the audio visual equipment, which include a total of four mammoth California Audio Technology (CAT) 600 watt mono-block power amplifiers that weigh in at a hefty 150lbs apiece.

The solution that VAULT came up with were extra-deep (29”-deep) racks outfitted with heavy-duty 650lb capacity ball bearings to allow them to roll-out effortlessly, and with even weight distribution, despite having to carry more than 300lbs of load bearing weight from the amplifiers and other audio equipment.  The slide-out racking system allowed the HomeTronics installation team to easily access the back of each component that included articulating cable carriers to provide effective management for all cables and power cords.

The power amps and supporting equipment to run the [CAT] speakers are exceptionally heavy, not only could the VAULT cabinets easily support the weight effortlessly, their high-end look complimented the high tech finish of the California Audio Technology Speakers perfectly,” said Greg Margolis, President of HomeTronics.

VAULT also partnered with California Audio Technology (CAT) to make sure that the cabinets matched the client’s selection of speakers and audio equipment.  In these pictures you can see that the custom equipment racks sitting between the 7-foot tall CAT loudspeakers, which:

are built from CAT’s proprietary material MBX105 (which is similar to synthetic countertop material) and weigh in at almost 700 pounds each loudspeaker, finished with a custom owner selected color.  These loudspeakers were drawn in CAD and then custom CNC’ed to ensure precise fit and detailing.  They were then calibrated / engineered on-site for the owner’s exact listening positions and preferences much like a race car I set up for an individual driver and track at the top level. All of this detail and work ensures a WORLD CLASS END RESULT and it was a pleasure to work with VAULT on this project as their values align so closely with ours (Made in America, custom, owner and design driven)”, said Alistair Levine, Director, Sales and Marketing for CAT.

About California Audio Technology (CAT)

CAT was founded in 1990 and delivers bespoke audio systems for a wide variety of spaces (Indoor, Outdoor and Marine).  CAT was founded on the core beliefs of engineering superior solutions utilizing best in class Formula 1 style materials (aluminum, stainless steels (316, 316L and 2205), and carbon fiber).  These solutions either blend into the spaces aesthetic (utilizing custom grilles, fabrics or wall coverings) or become focal designs of the space (often in conjunction with architects and interior designer’s collaboration).

The Mistake Of Choosing Trendy Over Timeless

It can often be hard to predict which home design trends will stay in fashion, and which are short-term styles that will go down in history as laughable missteps.

Trends Come and Go

In the 1950s and 1960s, Victorian fixtures such as claw-foot tubs were ripped out of bathrooms in favor of the modern, sleek-lined, brightly colored fixtures popular during the Atomic Age. Today, though, the designs of the Victorian era are recognized as timeless, and have transcended generations of fleeting styles. And now those same Victorian fixtures cast away in the post-war era are in high demand, and commanding high prices.

And remember when Avocado-colored tile, toilets, and baths were all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s? By the 1980s those fixtures and colors were branded as outdated symbols of an ugly, bygone era. The matching shag carpet didn’t help, either. Nor did the fake wood paneling on the walls. Look away!

Garages and Style

To some degree, garages have been spared many of the fashion blunders of the last hundred years. Until fairly recently, interior garage design was either ignored or simply fell victim to the same fashion crimes perpetrated elsewhere in the home. In the last couple decades, though, as people are starting to put more money and attention into this valuable space, it has become imperative that you ask whether your choices in garage design and furnishing are truly lasting.

Take diamond plate, for example – that textured, shiny pattern that started popping up across the country in garages, gyms, workshops, and pickup trucks a decade ago. Diamond plate may be a current and widespread trend in garage design… but will it last? What happens if diamond plate suddenly becomes outdated and no longer fashionable? Metaphorically speaking, you’re stuck with a garage-full of avocado toilets.

The best way to avoid the stress of these trend questions is to avoid having to ask them in the first place. Essentially, you want to find the Victorian equivalent for garage style: a look with undeniable appeal that will transcend the shifting tastes between one generation and the next. You want timeless. You want classic. You want the Fender Stratocaster guitar. You want a Rolex. You want a Shelby Cobra. That’s where VAULT comes in.

VAULT’S Timeless and Classic Garage Cabinets

As VAULT founder Chad Haas puts it, “You know that you’ve achieved a great design if whatever decisions you make will look great 40 or 50 years later. I prefer a design that is timeless, versus something that is trendy.  That’s my guiding principle.”

So what does this look like? It means no diamond plating. It means no garish, trending color palettes. What it does mean is graceful lines, beautiful detailing, the deep gloss of automotive-quality powder coating in tasteful colors, exposed exterior frames, and stainless steel handles and exposed surfaces. And it means symmetry and harmony when pairing these pieces and placing them throughout your space. It means a collection of features that form into a style and quality that will stand the test of time.

Timelessness Demands Durability

Timelessness means being unaffected by time, which is why choosing a cabinet built to withstand the test of time is equally as important as transcendent style. As Haas points out, though, some current design trends are prioritizing style to the detriment of durability:

Unfortunately for consumers, there is an epidemic of bad products flooding the garage cabinetry market. Melamine cabinets, for example, may look amazing the day they are installed, but they have to be ripped out five years later because that raw material is simply not appropriate for use in the garage – as such, it has a high failure rate. Same thing for cabinets built from aluminum. As a soft metal, aluminum scratches and dents very easily. And because aluminum cabinets have painted surfaces – which may look nice, but are not powder coated – they just do not hold up.

Bottom line, according to Haas, is that focusing on trending style and ignoring durability may be great for the maker of the cabinet, but it means a terrible return-on-investment for the homeowner. Clearly, some cabinet manufacturers just don’t worry about timelessness. At VAULT, though, achieving a classic, lasting design matters because our cabinets and tool chests will still be standing in 50 years – a fact that is not lost on our customers:

“Extremely happy with the quality of the cabinets, think they’ll be in good stead till well after my grandchildren are old!”
– JUSTIN GAN (Perth, Australia)

Durability and Style to Stand the Test of Time

We build each VAULT cabinet to be an heirloom – like a Rolex, a Fender Stratocaster, or a classic sports car that’s as thrilling to drive today as it when it was first built. VAULT cabinets are well made so that they can be passed down to children and grandchildren. They will last, so their look needs to, as well. In 50 years, when your grandkids are stuck with your diamond-plated garage cabinets… well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Instead, maybe listen to VAULT customer Don Cooper from Orland Park, Illinois:

“If you’re looking for the ultimate quality that I think will look just as good ten years from now as it does today, I would pick VAULT.”

Ten years, twenty years, fifty years, and onward – classic never goes out of style. So if you’re ready to take the first step towards building a classic and timeless garage, contact VAULT to schedule your free consultation with owner Chad Haas.

How a Humble Roll of Tape Can Help Make Your Dreams a Reality

There’s a school of thought that says visualization is the key to success. If you’re running a race, picture yourself breaking the ribbon in first. If you want a BMW, line your office with cutouts of Beamers. Want to turn your cluttered garage into showroom-quality space lined with gorgeous, durable cabinets? Lay your ideas out on the walls!

See It Before You Build It

Garage Tape Idea

Visualization helps bridge the gap between dreams and reality. Many homeowners and architects in the earliest planning stages of a new or redesigned garage struggle to imagine the finished space, and this struggle can keep them from moving forward with their project. Even if they have some general ideas in their head, they find it difficult to translate those ideas into the nuances and measurements of their unique garage. Here’s the solution: take blue painter’s tape and mask out your ideas directly onto the walls.

By masking out the footprint of your garage cabinets you can project a visual impression directly onto the space itself. This will help you visualize the height and width of your new cabinets so that you can easily and quickly make changes or adjustments. Most importantly, you’re getting the ball rolling on your project. Rather than just daydreaming about your perfect garage, you’re taking the steps to make those dreams a reality.

Why painter’s tape? Painter’s tape is our tape of choice for this task since it’s designed to peel away easily, without leaving adhesive residue behind. So it doesn’t damage your paint or drywall after you remove it.

Planning for Depth

You should also tape out the depth of your ideal cabinets onto the floor (the industry standard depth for base/lower cabinets is 24” deep). This will help you get a sense of how far the cabinets will come out into your space. You’ll get a feel for whether walkways are adequate, and whether there will be enough room between open car doors and the cabinets you’re envisioning. You might learn that your space can only accommodate one wall of cabinets – or maybe you’ll be thrilled to find you can fit three walls’-worth of glorious tool chests and armoires. One thing’s for sure: you don’t want to learn this after the fact, or else you might end up with a space that feels like a packed subway car instead of the spacious and comfortable garage you daydreamed about. No one wants to have to climb out the window of his Lexus in his own garage.

The Endless Practical Value of Taping

Taping out your proposed cabinets supports the rest of your garage redesign, as well. Knowing where your garage cabinets will likely reside can also help you visualize where neon or antique signs or other decorative accouterments will be placed. This knowledge is priceless, especially when it keeps you from jumping the gun on inserting fasteners or cutting holes into drywall.

Lastly, and perhaps most practically, taping out your cabinets and decorative materials can help serve as a tangible and specific guide for the electrician that will be wiring your space (or the plumber adding any new piping). Again, this planning means fewer holes in your walls, but it also means fewer return visits from specialists you’ll likely be cutting a check to.

Get Taping!

This taping tip can help you settle on a layout that will best meet your space, storage, and budgetary expectations before you’ve ordered your cabinets or cut a hole into drywall. It’s not only a practical tool for laying out your space, though – it can be an inspirational one. Visualization really is one of the first small steps towards making your dream garage a reality. Your next step, of course, should be your free consult with VAULT’s owner Chad Haas. When it’s time to fill those tape outlines with the most durable and attractive garage cabinets on the market, give us a call.

So tape away, my friend, and get your dreams out of your head and onto your walls. And let us know how it works out for you! We’re here for you and your garage project, every step of the way.

GAUGING THE QUALITY OF METAL CABINETRY – Looking Beyond the Thickness of the Metal

One question frequently asked by our customers is, “What gauge metal are your cabinets?” While metal gauge – or thickness – is certainly a factor when evaluating a cabinet’s quality, it’s by no means the most important factor. What really matters is how a cabinet is designed and how it is built.

A general rule of thumb is the lower the number the gauge, the thicker the metal, and therefore the stronger the material. Gauge alone, however, may not get you very far in terms of the top-shelf strength and quality you are seeking. In reality, how parts are designed and engineering, and what raw materials are used have more to do with the strength and durability of a cabinet.

The Underlying Question: Will They Last?

In our experience, when customers get fixated on gauge thickness what they really want to know is how durable and strong the cabinets are. How will they hold up over time? Are the drawers, glides, and shelves strong enough to hold the desired weight? Is the metal strong enough to resist scratches, dents, bending and twisting? Does the cabinet feel robust and sturdy? Will the finish stand up well to use?

Factors you will contribute and are questions you may want to consider when making a decision:

  • Because not all metals of the same thickness are created equal, what metal cabinets are made from is very important. Stainless steel, for example, that is the same thickness (gauge) as aluminum is going to be substantially stronger. Read more about metal choice.
  • Are parts engineered for strength instead of cost?
  • Double-walled construction instead of single-walled.
  • Stiffening flanges to reinforce panels to bring it up to the required strength instead of single panel construction. It also provides for sound deadening.
  • How are parts joined? Welded parts are stronger than fastened parts. Even fastener choice is important with screws and bolts stronger than pop rivets.

Unmatched Strength Means Unwavering Confidence

These are just a few of the ways VAULT builds strength and durability into every product. Our premium-grade stainless steel drawers can hold an astounding 225lbs with no fatigue. Each shelf can hold 400lbs with no fatigue. You may wonder if you will ever place that kind of weight in your cabinets. The reason we build them to this level of quality is make them less susceptible to being dented and scratched through normal wear-and-tear and to ensure you have peace of mind that your cabinets will last a lifetime of use in your garage. You’ll never have to worry about overloading your shelves, your drawers coming out of alignment, or your doors being damaged through everyday use.

If you’re shopping for metal cabinetry for your home garage or professional shop, take a minute to consider which quality and performance characteristics are most important to you. Is the aesthetic design most important, or durability? Is price important? Is rust or oxidation a concern? Or, is the long-term performance of the cabinet your main focus?

Unmatched Quality, Unmatched Service

If your answer is that you want everything – beauty, strength, durability, and value – you’ve come to the right place. Simply put, VAULT makes the most durable, well-built metal garage cabinet in the world. And our customer satisfaction is unmatched.

Ready to see for yourself? Contact us today for your free consultation.


Don Cooper knows a thing or two about longevity. His family has been in Orland Park, Illinois, for 160 years. In 1956, his father started Cooper Service Inc., which Don operates 60 years later. Over the last few decades, he’s learned that an unwavering commitment to quality work and customer service is the key combination for prolonged success. And as a result, he’s learned to tell the difference between something that will last and something that won’t.


It’s no surprise, then, that when Don went shopping for cabinets for his personal shop/garage he wasn’t going to settle for poor quality. He looked at Moduline brand cabinets, and came away unimpressed. He looked at the Home Depot “Guardian” line, which he described simply as “junk.” He looked at Baldhead’s cabinets and just shrugged, underwhelmed. But then he found VAULT®, and the game changed. Stacking Baldhead next to Vault, the choice was clear:

“It was kind of like looking at a Kia versus a Lexus.”

Once Don found the level of quality he was after, he put Vault’s customer service to the test. Don brought his own layout ideas to the table and worked directly with Vault’s owner, Chad Haas, to shape everything until it was right:

“Chad was great to work with. Very informative in his design. I gave him the layout of my garage and what I wanted to accomplish, and he changed my mind on some things. I think the changes that he made – and I think I’m pretty good at laying things out – what he did was definitely a plus… I don’t regret changing what I did.”


And what Don ended up with is, according to him, equal parts great cabinet and great art:

“It is not only is it a great looking cabinet – it’s a well-made cabinet.”

For his home shop – a “toy box” where he keeps snowmobiles, ATVs, and other equipment – Don and Chad laid out a row of about 20 pieces, a combination of chests, cabinets, and armoires. In terms of design, Don has been most taken by the function and strength of the pieces. He loves the fact that they float off the ground, allowing for adjustable counter height and underneath storage and cleanup. As far as the quality of the drawers, Don was pretty
clear where he stood:

“Their drawers work nicer than the $10,000 toolboxes that I have [at Cooper Automotive].”

Finally, though, there’s the weight-bearing strength of the shelves, which includes multiple wall units:

“For the weight we put in drawers, for the stuff I put on my countertops… you’d think that hanging from the wall that if you put weight on there it’s going to tweak these cabinets, where doors won’t want to open or it’ll bind things up. And it doesn’t happen.”

While the function and strength of Vault cabinets impresses our clients, it’s often the look that really stops them in their tracks. Don went with the classic Ferrari Red, which to his eye matched the look of old-school shop toolboxes. The quality of the finish simply blew him away: “I mean, it’s an automotive finish… I wax them like it would be my car.” What our clients often like most, though, is the mesmerizing effect Vault cabinets have on their houseguests. “Everybody walks into my garage, and they just go, wow,” says Don. “It’s a WOW factor, it really is.” Party guests that sneak a look at his garage are known to remark, “This is nicer than my house.” The Ferrari finish and stainless steel handles are a show-stopper, but Don is quick to point out the function and quality underneath:

“It’s a nice set up,” he says. “And to be honest with you, I have a business — that would be a cabinet that I would not be afraid to put in my shop… From a work standpoint, that cabinet can take the abuse of a production shop.”

Style and function. Vault offers the best of both worlds.


At this point, Don has had his cabinets for almost a year. “I’ve had no issues whatsoever,” he says.

“I’m amazed… Their craftsmanship, their quality is phenomenal.”

Looking back, Don is also grateful that Chad worked with him to get the design right the first time: “I think it was money well spent. I don’t have to spend it again to straighten it out.”

Keeping these statements in mind – and knowing that he’s already got his eye on a couple more VAULT armoires to add to the shop – it’s not hard to guess the nature of the advice Don is ready to share where garage cabinets are concerned. He’s thoroughly pro-Vault, and thinks you should be too if you value quality, service, and durability:

“If price is the only thing that’s important, you’re probably going to purchase a different line. If you’re looking for the ultimate quality that I think will look just as good ten years from now as it does today, I would pick VAULT. I mean, the construction, the beefiness – for the cabinet to hang on the wall like it does and for the weight that they’ll take and for the fit, the quality. My cabinets, I’ve had them in for a year, and they look like the day I put them up.”

We’re so proud to have the endorsement of someone who’s made a career of looking people in the eye and delivering top-quality work, job after job, year after year. At Vault, we strive for the same level of craftsmanship and customer service – every customer, every cabinet, every time. We’re not the least expensive garage cabinet craftsmen out there, but if you stack our work and service up against the competition it will be clear as day why. Don’s not going to lie to you – Vault will be the last garage cabinet you’ll ever buy. Until, of course, you can’t help but order more.

What Are The Best Raw Materials Choices To Build Metal Cabinetry?

It’s Not Only About the Thickness of the Metal that is Used

I am often asked about which cabinet materials are best to withstand the rigorous environment and weight load demands on a garage. While there are many aspects of use, performance, style, color and finish that influence your choice on what you will buy, material choice is a critical consideration if you desire cabinets that are durable, will last a lifetime and give you the best return on your investment.

In a previous article, I gave my opinion about wood-based cabinetry for the garage and why wood may not be ideally suited for the garage environment (you can read that article by clicking on this link). In this blog article, I will describe the performance characteristics of metal and why it is your best choice, covering which specific metals you can consider when making your selection.

Material Options for Metal Cabinetry

Aluminum, steel, and stainless steel are three of the most popular raw materials used in the construction of metal cabinets and each has a distinct set of properties and finishes across a wide range of performance and price points. Metal combines durability, beauty, stability and resistance to impact.
It is the reason why all professional mechanics and shops use metal cabinets for their tool and bulk storage, not wood.

Whether yours is a working garage, a space to display your collection, or simply a place to organize and store things, metal is a great raw material choice for cabinetry, but it is important to select the right metal.

ALUMINUM: Lightweight & Affordable 

While aluminum is typically not as strong as steel, it is also almost one third of the weight. If the weight of the cabinet is a concern, aluminum may
be the best choice because it is lightweight. This is the main reason, for example, why aircraft and trailer cabinets are made from aluminum.

Aluminum does not rust, so if your cabinets are being used in a high-humidity environment, they will perform well. However, aluminum is susceptible to oxidizing and in climates where there is ambient salt in the air they can experience galvanic corrosion, so it may be less suitable in coastal environments especially when differing metals, like steel, are used fasteners and drawer glides.

All things being equal, aluminum will scratch, dent, bend and warp more easily than steel of equal thickness. As with steel, aluminum comes in a variety of grades. Some grades have better performance characteristics than others.

What We Use at VAULT® and Why

At VAULT® we are of the opinion that steel, stainless steel and galvanized steel are superior to aluminum cabinets and are the better overall choice. Here is some information that explains our reasoning why we prefer these metals over aluminum and all other raw material choices.

STEEL: Strength and Reliability

Steel is strong and less likely to warp, deform or bend under weight, force or heat. Nevertheless the strength of steel’s tradeoff is that steel is much
heavier than aluminum. Steel is typically 2.5 times denser than aluminum. It is this density that increases the hardness of steel compared to aluminum.
Hardness is a material’s ability to resist scratching and denting. Harder materials are simply more durable and more resistant to abrasion and denting.

While steel can be subject to rust, in the case of VAULT®, all exterior metal components of our cabinets are fully encapsulated with a thermally reactive powder coating, automotive-quality, polymer finish. This durable finish provides rust protection as well as a bright, easily cleanable surface for years of trouble-free performance.

The main advantage to powder coating steel is in leaving a very durable finish to protect and preserve the metal. Once steel has been powder coated, it creates a very durable finish that is chemical resistant, making steel an affordable raw material and given its durability and performance characteristics, an ideal choice for garage and shop cabinetry.

By comparison, painted aluminum surfaces, while admittedly beautiful, can be more easily damaged by chemicals or scratches.


Another great option for metal cabinetry is galvanized steel. Metal galvanizing has been around for years and is a proven process for protecting metal. Unlike painting, galvanizing is a hot-bath coating process where molten zinc is applied to steel providing high durability protection against rusting.

The zinc acts as a sacrificial anode that provides protection even if the surface is scratched. The zinc galvanizing process creates an interesting surface finish inside our FORGED line of cabinets.

Galvanized steel has substantially greater abrasion resistant than paint, although it is less resistant to scratches than stainless. Yet, because the substrate is steel, it has all the structural benefits of steel. It performs well in high humidity in-land environments as well as coastal regions and is tough as nails.

In addition to its corrosion resistance, galvanized steel is an affordable alternative to stainless. It delivers all desirable the mechanical performance
characteristics of steel: strength, rigidity, load bearing and durability, but at a lower cost when compared with stainless.

Galvanized is perfect as an interior cabinet finish. It is bright, oil and stain resistant, easily cleaned and will provide years of carefree performance.
Our FORGED Series is the only galvanized steel cabinetry system on the market that was designed specifically for the garage. Take a look at this premium cabinetry for the working garage.

STAINLESS STEEL: The Alloy That Is Your Ally

Stainless is a steel alloy containing chromium, nickel and other metals that give it tremendous strength and durability, while preventing it from tarnishing, rusting or corroding. While the salt that present in the ambient air of coastal regions can have a damaging effect upon aluminum and steel cabinets, not so with stainless steel.

Of all the materials available for garage cabinetry, stainless steel is superior in its durability corrosion, chemical staining, impact resistance and its cleanability. All around, stainless is simply the best raw material from which to build cabinetry. Let me explain why.

Stainless is dramatically harder than other metals, particularly aluminum which is softer, scratches easily and is susceptible to ‘white rust’ and oxidation. Although stainless is more difficult to cut, form and machine, measure-for-measure, it produces the sturdiest cabinets.

While stainless is the highest cost among the metals used for garage cabinetry, it has the highest performance characteristics and will ensure years of unparalleled performance.

Only VAULT® builds cabinets from premium 304-grade stainless steel for the ultimate in strength, durability and protection. The chrome alloy and nickel that what is added to 304-grade stainless steel is what gives stainless its tremendous strength characteristics & properties that prevent it from
rusting or corroding. It is the chrome and nickel that give our attractive cabinet interiors their bright, beautiful surface.

So, even if you live in a very corrosive environment, where even the ambient salt that is in the air can have a damaging effect upon aluminum and even painted steel cabinets, only premium 304-grade stainless steel offers the ultimate protection against the corrosive salt-water environment associated with living near the coast.

From a hardness factor there is a dramatic difference between stainless and other metals, particularly aluminum which is a soft metal which scratches easily and is also susceptible to ‘white rust’ and oxidation.

From a durability perspective, it is hard to beat the strength of stainless steel. Why is this important? Because the weight that you are going to be storing in your garage cabinets, is generally going to be heavier and bulkier than other items you’ll store in your home or shop.

While stainless may have a higher cost than other commonly used metals for garage cabinetry, it has the highest performance characteristics and will ensure years of unparalleled performance. Today, modern day space shuttles rely on the durability and strength of stainless. It is the best raw material from which to build cabinetry. Even our competitors offer stainless steel countertops for these very same reasons.

Our VAULT® Professional and Designer Series lines of cabinets are the only stainless steel cabinets on the market, made in the United States, that are
designed specifically for clients wanting the very best performance. A perfect blend of brawn and beauty, check out these cabinet systems for the ultimate in garage and tool storage cabinetry, built to last a lifetime of use.

Note: All VAULT® products are manufactured in the U.S. in a ISO 9001 certified factory

Why Dentists Love VAULT: We’re Both in the ‘Smile’ Business

We’ve installed a lot of garage cabinets that have brought smiles to our client’s faces. We recently had the pleasure of installing a block of VAULT® Professional Series cabinets in the Cary, North Carolina home of Stefan Simoncic, DDS. Dr. Simonic is a highly regarded oral surgeon working in nearby High Point. Not long after installation, we received a message that can best be described as a huge smile-in-email-form:

“Cabinets are AMAZING…

At VAULT, we’re proud to say this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this particular mixture of grin-inducing excitement and surprise. It’s born not just from the top-notch quality of our cabinets, but from the fact that we go above and beyond to meet the specific needs of each client. This job is a great example of that approach.

Dr. Simoncic was interested in a small set of cabinets that his wife could use for gardening prep and garden equipment storage. Because space was limited, though, he originally looked into wood cabinets, thinking they were the only option for creating a truly ‘fitted’ space. But then he found VAULT.

We custom built this block of Pro Series cabinets, made-to-measure, to perfectly fit the dimensions of the space, while maximizing storage capacity for the couple’s garden equipment. We also included an ample potting area with a stainless steel countertop and backsplash, making cleanup a snap and beautifully matching the cabinets’ “Graphite Metallico” coating.

But VAULT’s commitment doesn’t end with building an exceptional product. We also delivered and installed the cabinets, saving a whole lot of hassle for our grateful client:

“Your installation crew is TOP NOTCH!! Flawless delivery, installation and clean up.”

We often encounter this level of amazement from our clients. Maybe it’s because other companies’ efforts or customer service just don’t stack up to ours. Maybe it is the durable construction, gorgeous lines, and luminous finish of our cabinets that blows people away. Maybe it has something to do with one of the refrains we keep hearing from our clients, Dr. Simoncic included – that our cabinets are:

“MUCH BETTER IN REALITY than your web site.”

We’re guessing the responses we’re so used to inspiring come from a mixture of those factors: unrivaled product and unrivaled service, made-to-order.

As an oral surgeon, Dr. Simoncic understands that a combination of top-notch function and top-notch appearance is the ultimate goal to strive for. He’s in the business of creating great smiles, just like we are. It makes perfect sense that dentists and oral surgeons value VAULT’s work so highly. But, of course, so does everyone else we’ve had the pleasure of delivering a garageful of smiles to (you can read more beaming customer testimonials here).

Tired of frowning at your garage? Call us today to schedule your free consultation, and get ready to smile.