how to repurpose a shed

How to repurpose your shed for the 21st Century

In the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, many of us find ourselves craving a more purposeful and sustainable way of living. Amidst this pursuit, an often-overlooked gem lies right in our backyard – the humble shed. Once a storage space for tools and seldom-used items, the unassuming shed has the potential to be transformed into something extraordinary – a place where creativity, functionality, and sustainability unite.

My repurposed sheds

Over the past couple of years, I have built three sheds in our garden and demolished one!  Only one of those newly built sheds is really being used as an actual storage shed.  It’s a metal shed which we use to store the lawnmower, bikes and other gardening tools. I wouldn’t normally opt for a metal shed however, this shed was on offer and the allure of a rot-free design was hard to turn down (though plastic sheds do not rot either). For a comprehensive guide on plastic sheds, take a look at this article which I completed recently:

BillyOh metal shed
BillyOh metal shed

Last year I built a flat-pack wooden shed which is used as a garden workshop for my reclaimed wood furniture business. I also built a shed entirely from scratch last year as I then realised I needed storage for furniture and a place to set up an office. So the humble wooden has now been repurposed. I have a workshop, garden office and storage space.

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 quite some time.  It was a potting shed so it had large windows across one side.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t repurpose this shed for our needs but managed to sell it on to someone who could.

Modifying your existing shed

Garden office interior

When it comes to repurposing your existing wooden shed, the only limit is your imagination. With a little creativity and some practical adjustments, you can transform your sturdy structure into a variety of functional and appealing spaces. Here, we explore some exciting possibilities for modifying your wooden shed:

  1. Home Office: Say goodbye to the monotonous office cubicle and embrace the idea of working amidst nature’s serenity. With proper insulation, electricity, and internet connectivity, your shed can become a private, productive haven. Customise the interior with a comfortable desk, ergonomic chair, and personalised décor to foster an environment that inspires creativity and focus.
  2. Workshop: For the DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists, converting your shed into a workshop is a dream come true. Organise your tools and equipment efficiently, and create ample workspace to bring your artistic visions to life. From woodworking to crafting and everything in between, a well-equipped workshop provides the ideal space to explore your passion.
  3. Home Gym: Save on expensive gym memberships and convert your shed into a personal fitness sanctuary. Install rubber flooring, mirrors, and adequate ventilation to create a motivating workout environment. Whether you prefer cardio, weight training, or yoga, your home gym will encourage regular exercise and a healthier lifestyle.
  4. Art Studio: Embrace your inner artist by transforming your shed into a captivating art studio. Natural light, a crucial element for any artist, can be enhanced by adding windows or skylights. Set up easels, organise art supplies, and surround yourself with inspiring works of art to stimulate your creative flow.
  5. Games Room: Create a playful escape for family and friends with a games room in your shed. Outfit the space with a pool table, dartboard, board games, and comfortable seating. It becomes the perfect spot for friendly competitions and cherished memories.
  6. Guest Room: Add a touch of hospitality to your property by converting your shed into a charming guest room. Insulate the walls and install heating or cooling options for year-round comfort. Outfit the interior with a cosy bed, nightstands, and tasteful décor, ensuring a warm welcome for your visitors.
  7. Greenhouse: If you have a green thumb, turn your shed into a mini greenhouse. Incorporate shelving and hanging hooks to accommodate your favorite plants and flowers. With proper ventilation and temperature control, you can grow a thriving garden all year round.
  8. Reading Nook: Create a tranquil escape for relaxation and contemplation. Outfit your shed with comfortable seating, soft cushions, and bookshelves filled with your favorite reads. This cosy reading nook will be the perfect hideaway for some quality “me time.”

Remember, when modifying your existing wooden shed, safety and practicality should be a priority. Ensure proper insulation, electrical wiring, and ventilation based on your chosen purpose. Moreover, make the space aesthetically pleasing by adding your personal touch through decorations and furnishings.

Shop new arrivals

With a dash of creativity and a willingness to experiment, you can breathe new life into your wooden shed and craft a space that complements your lifestyle and aspirations. Whether it’s a productive office, a soothing studio, or a lively games room, your repurposed shed will undoubtedly become a cherished and cherished part of your home.

How to modify an existing shed

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

How to repurpose your shed for the 21st Century.png

Repair any place rotten or damaged structural issues

Before embarking on your shed’s transformation, it is essential to address any structural issues that may compromise its longevity. Over time, exposure to the elements can lead to rotting wood and worn roofing felt. Restoring these elements will not only ensure the shed’s stability but also set the stage for successful repurposing. Here’s how to repair and replace rotten wood and roofing felt:

Repairing Rotten Wood

Assessment and Removal: Inspect the shed’s exterior for any signs of rotting wood. Focus on areas most susceptible to moisture, such as the base, corners, and joints. Gently remove the affected sections to reveal the extent of the damage.

Treat and Strengthen: Treat the remaining wooden structure with a wood preservative to prevent further decay. Depending on the damage, reinforce the weakened parts with wood epoxy or fillers, restoring the shed’s structural integrity.

Replacement: In severe cases, where the wood is extensively decayed, consider replacing the damaged sections entirely. Use pressure-treated or rot-resistant wood for longevity and added protection against future decay.

Replacing Worn Roofing Felt

Inspect the Roof: Ascend to the roof and carefully inspect the roofing felt for signs of wear and tear. Look for cracks, tears, or areas where the felt has lifted, allowing water ingress.

Remove Old Felt: Peel off the old roofing felt carefully. Make sure to clear away any debris or remnants to ensure a clean surface for the new installation.

Install New Roofing Felt: Roll out the new roofing felt across the shed’s roof, ensuring it overlaps and covers the entire surface. Secure it in place using roofing nails or staples, maintaining a watertight seal.

Seal the Edges: To prevent water from seeping underneath the felt, seal the edges with roofing cement or adhesive. This will provide added protection against water infiltration and improve the overall durability of the roof.

Insulation and temperature Control

Before embarking on any modifications, it’s a good idea to properly insulate your shed. Insulation helps maintain a comfortable temperature year-round and prevents extreme heat or cold. Consider using foam boards or a multi layer insulation blanket to create an energy-efficient space that suits your needs. You can read more about how to insulate your shed or summer house here.

foil backked bubble wrap insulation for shed

Mini log burner or heating options

For colder climates like the UK, a mini log burner or a portable heating unit can add cosy warmth to your repurposed shed. Not only does it provide comfort during chilly days, but it also creates a rustic ambience for relaxation or work.

Increase natural light

Amplify the shed’s interior by adding more windows or even a skylight. Natural light enhances the overall atmosphere and reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day. Well-placed windows can offer inspiring views and connect you with the surrounding environment.

Seating and comfort

shed with seating
Summerhouse seating

Depending on your shed’s purpose, choose comfortable and stylish seating options. Whether it’s a cosy armchair for reading, a sturdy workbench for crafting or cushioned seating for a gathering area, the right furniture can elevate your space’s functionality and aesthetics.

Electrical wiring and lighting

For modern use, ensure your shed is equipped with adequate electrical wiring to power lights, devices, and other electronics. Consider installing LED lights to minimise energy consumption and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

cosy summerhouse painted

A new paint job can breathe life into an old shed. Choose colours that resonate with your desired theme or purpose. Bright and vibrant shades can infuse energy, while muted tones offer a calming vibe. The right paint can transform your shed’s appearance and complement its new identity.

Veranda or outdoor BBQ area

shed with veranda

Extend your shed’s functionality by adding a veranda or outdoor BBQ area. This addition creates an inviting space for outdoor gatherings, leisurely evenings, or even al fresco dining. Consider using weather-resistant materials for durability.

Skylight for Starry Nights

If your shed is to be used for stargazing or nighttime relaxation, installing a skylight can be a captivating addition. Watching the stars from the comfort of your repurposed shed can be a magical experience.

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.

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.

shed shelving

Remember to tailor the modifications to your specific needs and preferences. Personal touches, such as decorative elements and furnishings, will add character to your repurposed shed and make it feel like a true extension of your home. And it’s not just your shed that can get repurposed. Why not try repurposing some old furniture into your repurposed shed for the ultimate upcycled vibe. You can get super creative with your projects like the ones mentioned in this article: Upcycled Treasures: 7 Creative Ideas To Repurpose Old Furniture

As you undertake these modifications, prioritise safety, functionality, and aesthetics. Seek professional assistance if needed, especially when dealing with electrical work or structural changes. With thoughtful planning and a touch of creativity, your repurposed shed will emerge as an enchanting retreat that fulfills your desires and enriches your daily life.

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?

Leave a Reply