How to repurpose your shed for the 21st Century

Over the past couple of years Ben has built three sheds in our garden and demolished one!  Only one of those newly built sheds is really being used as an actual shed.  It’s one of those metal ones and he swears he’ll never put one up again!  It took around 2-3 days to build the thing and he didn’t enjoy it at all.  I’m not even sure why we went for metal.  I think it must have been on offer or it was the allure of it not rotting (though plastic sheds do not rot either).

Last year he built a flat pack wooden shed which is used as a garden workshop for his reclaimed wood furniture business. He also built a shed entirely from scratch last year as he then realised he needed storage for this furniture and the reclaimed wood!

So now we have three sheds in our garden!

When we moved into our property there was one wooden shed left by the old owners and it looked like it had been there for years.  It was a potting shed so it had large windows across one side.  We had hoped we could reclaim and repurpose this shed to give it a new life and also save ourselves some money, but sadly it was far too gone.  The floor was rotten through and the neighbour’s tree had grown through the roof!  I expect this was why the floor was rotten as the rain was coming through the roof due to the damage of the tree.

Reinventing the humble garden shed

We were pretty gutted to not be able to salvage this shed as we had many grand plans for it.  There are so many options for sheds nowadays, it’s as if the humble shed has been reinvented and seen a rise in its popularity, but for many alternative uses!

Sheds are not just used to store tools or garden equipment anymore, but are inventively turned into garden rooms of their own such as summer houses, art studios and even home offices.  If you have a shed that is not being used as a shed, then why not repurpose it into a useable space.

So how do you repurpose your garden shed for the 21st Century?

Garden specialists Oeco Garden Rooms shared with me some insights on how to turn your old garden shed into an effective space for the future.  Here’s what we came up with:

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Repair any issues first

If the shed has not been used in a long time then there are probably lots of repairs to be tackled first.  Leaks in the roof need fixing first to prevent rot, or further rot damage.  Then broken windows, wood rot and the flooring should be fixed if needed.

Once the structure is solid and sound then repurposing the inside and decorating is a lot easier.

Add thermal insulation

If you plan on using the shed all year round and as an actual room rather than a dumping ground, then you’ll want to consider insulation.  Thermal insulation will keep the shed cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  This also keeps it energy efficient and therefore more eco-friendly which will save you money.

Paint the shed

Nothing screams new and upcycled as much as a fresh lick of paint!  Once all the damages are repaired and the shed is leak proof then it’s time to paint!

If it’s to be used as an alternative room then use a bright colour to make it stand out and not look so shed-like.  Or for a secret garden room, paint it green so it blends it with the surrounding foliage.

As you’ll be using the room for something creative, don’t forget to paint the inside too.

Oeco Garden Rooms says ‘Treat the inside of the shed as another living space; neutral or muted colours are perfect for creating a relaxed environment, while bright and bold colours can help alertness and concentration levels.’

Install PVC-U doors and windows

Ben fit a PVC-U window onto his custom built shed.  He managed to pick a brand new window up for a bargain price on Facebook Marketplace that was just the right size for a shed window.  He managed to successfully fit it himself with some research and a love for DIY.

If you can, then a PVC door will really transform a shed into a room.

These windows will add some security to the building as well as allowing lots of natural light to flood through.

Install electricity

To ensure the room can really be used then you’ll need to run electricity down to it.  Unless you are trained in this area then you should definitely hire a professional to run electricity to your shed.  You’ll then be able to install proper lighting, heating and electrical sockets to use the room as you desire.

Add storage and countertops

Whether it’s a home office or a workshop, you’ll need a desk, storage and/or countertops.  You can choose to buy freestanding items or really test your creativity by building custom designed furniture that fit perfectly into the space.

Finally, it’s only going to feel like an extension of the house if you add some home décor.  So hang pictures on the wall, use a lightshade, add a rug, indoor plants and turn it into a homely space you never want to leave!

Next time you’re considering home improvements, why not see if you can improve your outbuildings and shed too?

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