Sure, sheds can hold shovels and rakes, but why should garden tools have all the fun? Start with an existing shed, kit or pre-fab, and transform it into a teahouse, library or secret nook for afternoon naps.
This artist’s retreat began as a simple garden shed. Custom touches like skylights and French doors let in lots of natural light, while slat-wall panels hold paints and pails of small tools. Need a work table? Put a board on hinged brackets, so you can fold it down and out of the way when you hang up your smock.
The same storage shed, available from Lowe’s, says “om” when it becomes a yoga studio. Keep the look serene with rugs made of natural materials and rice paper shades on space-saving lamps. Accessorize one wall with meditation bells. If you can’t find the real deal, separate bell-shaped wind chimes and let them sub while you practice your downward dog.
Yoga Shed: Interior
Now it’s time to meditate. Tuck a softly burbling fountain into a corner of your yoga studio (have a pro wire it for power), or opt for a wireless speaker and your favorite playlist. A freestanding wooden storage unit corrals fresh towels and bottles of spring water.
Coastal She Shed
You don’t actually have to do anything in your shed; it can simply be the escape you’ve always dreamed about. Danielle Driscoll, who blogs at Finding Silver Pennies, brought the beach to her backyard with a cottage-style retreat topped with a nautical weathervane. Screened windows and double doors on the side let cool breezes blow through.
Coastal She Shed: Interior
Everything’s just “beachy” inside Driscoll’s shed, too, from the palm tree waving in the corner to the sun-loving succulents in a faux clamshell. White shiplap walls reflect the light, while oceanic colors like blue and aqua keep the theme going. Extra headroom makes the space feel open and airy.
Library Shed and Retreat
Blogger Kristin Whitby of Ella Claire partnered with The Home Depot to create this cozy getaway/reading retreat. Transom windows help illuminate the interior (sheds are usually dark places, since lawn mowers don’t need much light), while curtains on each side of the wide doorway can be lowered for privacy. Need to hide an air conditioning unit or other necessity? Try a wooden trellis, like the one shown here.
Dual Guest Cottage Sheds
It’s great to have company — until you’re ready to climb into your sweats and veg out with a bowl of ice cream in front of the TV. Here, two 10′ x 12′ sheds from Modern-Shed connect via a breezeway to make a spacious guesthouse. One shed serves as a bedroom, and the other is a living area. Now your visitors can have some privacy. So can you.
Dual Guest Cottage Sheds: Deck
Power and water were installed in this guest cottage, so visiting chefs can whip up gourmet dishes or midnight margaritas in the outdoor kitchen. There’s even a fire pit on the deck so you can roast marshmallows for s’mores. The danger, of course, is that guests staying here may never leave.
Dual Guest Cottage Sheds: Interior
The living area in this guest cottage holds a wall-mounted TV and a desk and laptop, so you can work — if the spectacular views don’t distract. When you’re shopping for a shed, ask if it can be modified to handle your needs for water, power, the Internet and a landline phone, if you need one. Keep electronics and other valuables secure by upgrading the locks on the shed doors.
Hot Cocoa Shed
You don’t have to start with an existing shed or even a kit. If you’re handy with saws and hammers, you can make your special space from scratch. Colleen Paulsey of Life on Kaydeross Creek turned what was once a rustic lean-to into an Adirondack-style hot cocoa bar.
Hot Cocoa Shed: Interior
There’s no rule that says your shed must be heated and cooled, or lighted and carpeted, or anything else. Here, tree branches and rough-sawn pine are used for a serving bar. Paulsey filled glass jars with marshmallows, peppermints and other hot cocoa fixings, and stenciled signs on leftover wood scraps. While the shed is a stop for hot drinks in the winter, Paulsey said it could be a lemonade stand in the summer or a hot cider stall in autumn.
Home Office Shed
If your shed is more about work than play, make it into a useful home office. This Modern-Shed does indeed look modern, thanks to its low roofline and minimalistic design. Tall, vertical windows on the sides and smaller windows on the front open for cross ventilation. A glass door gives the illusion that the shed is bigger than its actual 10′ x 12′ dimensions.
Home Office Shed: Interior
The walls inside this home office are birch. The owner opted to use locally grown bamboo flooring, but you could substitute a poured concrete slab or a treated wood flooring system; ask a building about your choices. The owner brought in her own furnishings instead of using built-ins, so she can move her desk and chairs around.
Asymmetrical wood paneling, natural colors and simple, clean lines help this 14′ x 24′ shed blend beautifully into its woodsy setting. Clerestory windows and a glass door let natural light flood the space, used as an art studio by two abstract painters.
Art Shed: Interior
The artists chose to paint the walls of their shed white to set off their colorful canvases. Track lights keep things bright even on cloudy days, and strategically placed beams don’t block the outdoor view.
Photography Studio and Sleeping Shed
Once a pair of rundown sheds, this structure is now one large sleeping cottage. The owner uses it when her primary home is rented out on Airbnb. She also pops into the shed when she’s doing a styling and photography shoot. It features a functional bath and kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows that admit plenty of lovely light. Shingles with architectural interest, like the ones on the roof, are a custom touch. Courtesy of She Sheds, by Erika Kotite (Cool Springs Press).
Photography Studio and Sleeping Shed: Interior
Inside the shed, a chandelier made from sea shells hangs over a sofa that doubles as a bed. Muslin window coverings soften the sunlight that washes over the white walls. Few of the owner’s belongings were purchased; most were given to her, or found and salvaged.
Sewing and Quilting Shed
While their home was being remodeled, the owners hired a professional to build a sleeping shed, a sort of temporary bedroom, from a kit. They added heat and insulation, and later converted it into a space for sewing and quilting. Another goal: an uncluttered space with white walls so the owners could shoot professional-quality blog images. Courtesy of She Sheds, by Erika Kotite (Cool Springs Press).
Sewing and Quilting Shed: Interior
Once the owner’s noisy sewing machine sat in her kitchen. Now it lives in the former sleeping cabin, where storage units hold fabric, books and other items she needs for her sewing, photography and quilting. There’s even a movie projector in the loft, so the family can catch the latest flick on one of the white interior walls.
Hobby and Craft Shed
Like many other shed owners, Katrina Sullivan of Chic Little Housewanted a place for photography and sewing, as well as her crafts and other interests. She turned a Tuff Shed into a cottage-style studio, painted it to match her home and trimmed it in white. To soften its exterior lines, she sawed a trellis in half and nailed it to one corner of the shed. A potted honeysuckle vine, trained to climb the trellis, perfumes the air when it blooms.
Hobby and Craft Shed: Interior