Repurpose your humble shed to a gorgeous liveable space
The humble garden shed is often neglected, consigned to the end of the garden to be stacked full of rejected garden furniture and tools. But have you ever considered making a bit more of this space, perhaps even turning it into an extension of your home? This is a great way to bag a bit of extra room for your family, and the possibilities are endless. Even the most petite outbuilding can be transformed into a peaceful reading room, a cosy games room for the kids or a secluded office bolthole for home workers.
When we’re filming Love Your Garden, we’ll always try to make the best of an existing shed or bring in a completely new structure to allow the family to fully capitalise on their garden space. If you’re thinking this could be a project for you, read on for my top tips…
Prepare and repair!
The essential first step. Make sure the shed is in good nick before you start painting and making improvements – why risk your hard work getting ruined by a leaky roof? Re-tile, replace broken windows (perhaps with UPVC) and rotten wood, and even consider laying a new floor if it’s no longer fit for purpose. Vinyl and laminate flooring with underlay are great for protecting against damp. Make sure there’s plenty of natural light through the windows or even French doors, that will really bring the outdoors in.
Insulating the walls and ceilings is essential if you’d like to use your outbuilding all year round – it’s so worth the initial outlay! You might want to try having a crack at these jobs yourself, but make sure you’re safe and well equipped.
Getting your outbuilding wired up to the house electrics means you can enjoy WiFi, heating, TV, a telephone connection, lighting, music… the lot! You’ll be able to use the space all day long, all year round. Take a bit of time to research trustworthy tradespeople in your area, and if you decide to go ahead, don’t attempt it yourself!
Once the shed is watertight and wired up, let’s get to the fun bit! Treat your shed’s wall colours like you’d treat the inside of your house. Carefully select an external colour that will complement any existing colour schemes in your garden, or just plump for a neutral white, cream or grey for a classic, clean look that stands out from its surroundings.
Inside, have a think about what you want the purpose of your new room to be. If you’re using it as a workspace, consider bolder colours which have been shown to improve focus and concentration. For a more chilled out vibe, go for neutral tones.
Make it homey
There’s no point just putting a lot of effort into the outside and the bones of your outbuilding. This is a great chance to flex your design muscles, so have a think about the kind of atmosphere you’d like to create. Set up a spacious desk if you’ll be using it as an office, or consider a comfy sofa if it’ll be a chillout/gaming room. Soft furnishings make all the difference for comfort, so don’t shy away from cushions, rugs and blankets.
I’m a huge fan of mood lighting and house plants, which purify the air and add a tropical element to your space. Bring in some framed pictures, or favourite band or movie artwork to create a haven that feels all your own.
The usual purpose of your bog standard garden shed is a storage location for flowerpots, garden tools, the lawnmower, and loads of assorted half-empty paint tins and cleaning materials (or is that just me?!). The extra storage space this affords is super useful, so don’t feel that you have to sacrifice storage space for your luxury garden bolthole. Ready-made storage cabinets and units can be bought quite cheaply, or you could construct your own shelves out of repurposed crates – get creative!
Dedicate a wall if you’ve space, or just a corner to a bit of storage space. This means you’ll still have somewhere to keep spades, shears, garden twine… whilst also enjoying your new outdoor room.