If you’re lucky enough to have both a garage and an outdoor shed, perhaps it’s time to consider a few shed design ideas to repurpose the space and turn it into a home away from home, the adult version of a kids’ tree fort. Find a place to store the garden tools and the lawnmower in the garage, and take advantage of a retreat to your own backyard.
If you plan to use your shed year-round, you’re going to want to make sure it’s wired, so make an appointment with your electrician to get an estimate of what’s involved. Don’t forget to install a light on the outside of the shed too so you can see to get back to the house after dark. In really cold climates you’re probably going to want to add insulation as well.
Create a craft room
An old woodshed is a perfect space for crafting, especially if you install a skylight and some more windows. Most older sheds are lit with a single overhead fixture and are designed for storage, not habitation. That won’t work for crafting. But hopefully, you can repurpose some of the things that have been stored there for years. Old doors make great craft tables, and if you have three or four of them you can create a U-shaped work area just by removing the doorknobs and laying them on sawhorses or attaching metal table legs. Bonus: the holes from the knob openings will let you thread electrical cords through your craft tables so you won’t trip over them in a small space. If the shed’s big enough, you might even be able to invite friends over for a weekly craft night.
Make it a she-shed
Home decorating is, in many ways, the art of compromise. Furniture and paint choices aren’t a solo act when you live with others, and often practicality wins over taste, especially if you have young children. Whether your personal taste is frilly, feminine and pink or white-with-splashes of color and blond wood, a she-shed is the place to create a room full of things you love. That includes pieces of art that bring you joy but make the rest of your family cringe. It’s also the perfect place to curl up in a comfy chair, indulge in your favorite “guilty pleasure” TV viewing, or read in peace and quiet.
Even small sheds should be able to hold the equipment you need for a home gym, whether it’s a recumbent or stationary bike, a rowing machine, a hula hoop, a bench and weights, a mini trampoline, or just a yoga mat. Think of all the time and money you’ll save on commuting and a gym membership. If you design your shed like a dance studio with a back wall of mirrors, the space won’t seem as small and you’ll be able to check your form to avoid injury.
Shed as music room
Whether you play or just listen, most sheds are quite a bit larger than music room practice cubicles, and that may be just what you need if you have a youngster in the early stages of mastering a musical instrument. Giving your kids some privacy to practice without an audience may save everyone’s sanity, whether they’re learning violin or drumming. As they grow up, the shed could become a rehearsal space for your teenager’s band. Or you could start your own string quartet.
Home office/artist studio
More and more people are telecommuting on either a part-time or full-time basis. Unless your home has an extra bedroom, it may be difficult to carve out the space you need to concentrate on working from home. An insulated shed with good lighting, a coffee maker, kettle, and bar fridge makes for a perfect home office.
If you’re a visual artist or a potter, you can renovate your shed only to “studio” specifications: no carpeting, a floor that’s either easy to clean or that you don’t plan to clean (other than sweeping), and a constant source of natural light whenever it’s available. You’ll need a nearby source of water for brushes and pottery wheel clean-up, but chances are good you’ll be able to use your garden hose for at least eight months of the year.
When thinking about transforming your shed from just a storage space to a room you plan to occupy, try to think of it as an addition to your home. And if gardening is one of your passions, there’s nothing wrong with turning your shed into a space for potting plants, drying herbs, and starting next season’s seedlings.
Find more ideas on taking advantage of outdoor space in our Outdoor Design channel.