Garden shed ideas – 25 inspiring looks for your own outdoor room

The humble shed has had a facelift...
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  • With the evenings finally getting lighter, spring is on its way and we’re ready to begin tackling our outside spaces. A great place to start is with garden shed ideas as this will lead the way to how the rest of your garden works around it.

    Whether your shed just needs a simple lick of paint, or if it needs a whole new look and purpose, we have plenty of garden shed ideas to spark those creative plans.

    Garden shed ideas

    Even the simplest of outhouses can serve as so much more than just a dumping ground for tools, toys and bikes. Paint it up and dress it right and it can become a home office, a playroom, a cosy snug for relaxing or a gardener’s dream potting shed.

    Another great thing about decorating a shed is that it’s a small, self-contained project that can be completed in a couple of weekends. So if your plans for a perfect home still seem like a pipe dream, turn your attention to a little bit of heaven in your garden.

    1. Transform your shed into a bar

    Grey shed set up as outside bar with bar stools, on a patio beside the lawn. Party sign. Cocktail bar.

    Image credit: Future Plc/Joanna Henderson

    This clever shed will hold your garden furniture in winter, then opens out to make a bar for garden parties and alfresco sundowners in summer. Hang pots of herbs to use in cocktails, and hang signs and bunting to really make it a space to party.

    2. Make use of every side

    Side of shed used as a vertical living wall

    Image credit: Future Plc/Joanna Henderson

    Horizontal fence panels turn the side of a shed into a vertical garden for smaller plant pots and baskets. Painting it black will make green foliage really pop and larger, potted plants can sit below to frame it. It also means you’ll have a space to hang garden tools so pets or small children don’t get hurt by them as you go about your gardening.

    3. Potter about in a potting shed

    A potting bench in a wooden shed with flower pots, watering can, basket, bunting and straw hat.

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain

    Not all our ideas are about how to use your garden shed in a different way! With this idea, how about you use your shed as it is intended, as a space to pot up plants and keep your gardening tools? And just because this is a practical idea, it doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty! Storage baskets, open shelving and even bunting can help to achieve a pretty potting shed for a green-fingered amateur.

    4. Turn it into a place to entertain

    White garden shed used as space to relax and decorated with lights

    Image credit: Lights4Fun

    Give your garden shed a new lease of life by turning it into a place to entertain friends and family. With the unpredictable British weather a constant threat, it’s always a good idea to have a covered space in the garden, but also one where you can throw open the doors and embrace the great outdoors. A simple bench seat can provide a great place to sit, as well as storage for soft furnishings such as cushions and quilts.

    5. Make it pride of place in your garden

    Garden with wooden deck and small lawn and white shed on raised level.

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Giles

    Give your shed the spot it deserves in your garden and make it front and centre. No longer do sheds have to hide away at the bottom of the garden, a forgotten outhouse to store our overflow of belongings,  but instead they can be prettied up and made to sit pretty. Here, painting their shed an attractive cream shade, fitting a window box and displaying hanging baskets, the home owners have made their cut shed a feature of their garden.

    6. Dedicate a corner to a reading nook

    Wooden interior of shed with cushions on wicker basket

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain

    Whether your shed is a practical space or an extension of your home, a cosy corner can be transformed into the perfect spot to curl up with a book. A sturdy, wicker hamper topped with cushions and blankets, can become a great space to sit and while away a few hours with your favourite novel. Add a couple of flower-filled vases and pretty prints to your space and you won’t want to leave your newly created nook.

    7. Paint it all white for a brighter space

    Interior of shed painted white with potting bench and garden tools

    Image credit: Garden Trading

    Painting your garden shed white, will not only create a bright, light space inside to set up a potting station, but will also make the space seem roomier. Painting the outside white too, will create more of a summerhouse feel, and give any boring, brown shed a new look.

    Buy now: Moreton potting bench, £320, Garden Trading

    8. Lay down creature comforts

    garden shed with rug flooring and blue painted chair at desk

    Image credit: Cuprinol

    Instantly make your shed feel like a comforting space, whatever you use it for, with the addition of a carpeted flooring. A simple, sizeable rug should cover the majority of the floor plan – providing near total coverage, while keeping costs low. Adding a comfortable floor gives the space a whole new identity, rather than it merely being a cold outbuilding it helps to welcome a sense of warmth – creating a space you are more inclined to want spend more time pottering in.

    9. Turn your shed into a chic sanctuary

    garden shed turned into a cosy sanctuary room

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain

    Forget the ‘Man caves’ – we’re going potty for the ‘She shed‘. Find another place to store your tools – or pop them in a classy hamper or trunk that doubles as a coffee table. Then transform the space into your own little haven, away from the kids and the dog and the blare of the TV.

    If you’re ambitious, you could even have a sofa in there – though it might be best then to start with a new shed and build it up around the couch! Wallpapering overlapping or shiplap boards isn’t really an option, but you could cover an MDF board with fabric for an individual splash of pattern.

    10. Surprise with a pop of colour inside

    Black painted shed with orange painted inside door and blue pots on ground

    Image credit: Cuprinol

    This can be our little secret! The next time you’re staining your shed against the elements, why not have a bit of fun and introduce a pop of colour inside? It will always bring a smile to your face, no matter what you use your shed for!

    Use the idea to create an alternative space to work from home, using vibrant colours to stimulate the senses. An ideal work space for hot summer months, maybe move back inside for the cold winter months.

    11. Build a shed on stilts as a garden centrepiece

    Blue painted shed raised from the ground on stilts

    Image credit: Cuprinol

    Raising a shed up on stilts is a way to (literally) elevate its status in a garden – and paint it a bright colour so that it won’t be lost in the undergrowth. Simple additions – such as blinds for the windows – will ensure people view it more as a garden room than a dumping ground. Blinds also provide a little extra security if there’s anything of value in there.

    12. Experiment with a new decorating style

    Black painted shed turned into a summer house with hanging macrame seat

    Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

    Love a trend, but not quite ready to kit out your whole house in a global fusion/geometrics/velvet luxe look?! Then use your shed as a testing ground. Here, the owners have experimented with a relaxed and chic feel that reflects their love of travelling. Multiple seating options make it a great place to shelter from a summer shower or after dark.

    13. Squeeze in a slender mini shed

    Very slim grey painted garden shed

    Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

    Make the most of even the smallest of outdoor spaces with a slim shed design. These days, any garden can have a shed thanks to the myriad options, great and small. Kit out a mini shed like this with floor-to-ceiling shelving to make as much space as possible for tools, pots and whatever else you need to make your small garden grow.

    14. Use your shed as an extra bedroom

    Garden shed used a bedroom with double bed layered with bedding

    Image credit: Future Plc

    This chic bunk offers a secluded, snug and secure feel for the best night’s sleep for all ages – and the pull-out storage below means your shed can still offer a place to slow garden essentials.

    A shed can easily serve as a simple place to snooze for an afternoon – but if you’re considering it as an option as a fully fledged guest room, you will need to think about running power out so it’s possible to keep it warm. 

    15. Make your shed work hard as a home office

    Garden shed painted white and interior used as a home office

    Image credit: Future Plc/Dan Duchars

    With the number of people working from home at an all-time high, home office space has become an essential for many households. Finding somewhere quiet to focus on emails, reports and the like isn’t easy, however, and that’s where your shed can help!

    Building a study area at the bottom of the garden has lots of benefits – two being you’re away from the distractions of the rest of the house, and can physically separate your work and home life.

    Again, you may need to consider running power to your shed if you don’t have a laptop.

    16. Put a sink in

    Interior of shed with simple sink fitted

    Image credit: Future Plc/Caroline Arber

    Move an outdoor water supply to run inside the shed, to power a sink. Ideal for making the space feel more like an extension of the indoors, consider it an outdoor utility room of sorts. From filling the watering can to washing old pots ready for repurposing, an outdoor sink is invaluable for any keen gardener.

    17. Make an all-weather playroom

    Garden shed turned into a playhouse

    Image credit: Future Plc/Dan Duchars

    Make child’s play weather-proof by turning a shed into an outdoor playroom. Come rain or shine during the summer months the kids can play outdoors and benefit from the fresh air and enjoy a change of scene from the four walls of indoors.

    18. Go large for a summerhouse feel

    Shed painted pastel shades and turned into a summer house shed

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain

    Summerhouses are the ideal solution for creating a room within the garden but they can be very expensive. A great budget solution is to simply opt for the largest shed you can afford and decorate the space to feel more like a summerhouse, rather than a practical potting or storage shed. A lick of paint both indoors and out will go a long way to transform a shed, as will adding home furnishing and even lighting.

    19. Add a window box

    painted garden shed with window box

    Image credit: Future Plc/Spike Powell

    Enhance the view from your shed with the simple addition of a window box. Filled with brightly coloured foliage to enhance the views as you look out, as well as dressing the exterior too.

    20. Fashion a garden studio

    Teal painted large garden shed with small porch to front

    Image credit: Future Plc/Polly Eltes

    Go big AND go home with a large shed that can serve as multiple rooms. Perhaps a playroom for the kids and den for the grown ups, or a craft room for you and a workshop for them. To make the structure more solid, tile the roof.

    A side room for storage of tools and the lawnmower means you can take a more stylish approach to decoration elsewhere.

    21. Double up on sheds for different purposes

    Two garden sheds in raised garden one blue and one bare wood

    Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

    Alternatively, if there’s no space for one large shed, install two smaller ones. use one for practical storage and the other as a living area.

    22. Pretty up a potting shed

    Inside of a garden shed with potting bench and wicker chair and pretty floral prints on wall

    Image credit: Future Plc/Dan Duchars

    For purists, a shed is nothing more than a place to store tools and pot plants out of the rain. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty! Peg up pictures of your favourite blooms to inspire you, add a chair with cushions so you can take a break, and opt for a concrete or tiled floor that’s easier to sweep clear of compost.

    23. Build a potting shed out of bricks

    Garden shed built with bricks and flower pots arranged outside

    Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

    A substantial brick shed will stand its ground against the elements and offers extra security against wannabe thieves. It looks rather beautiful, too.

    24. Paint a shed serene green

    Garden shed painted pale green with white bunting to decorate

    Image credit: Future Plc/Sussie Bell

    If you can’t afford to replace your garden shed, simply give it a splash of paint to make it feel like new. With so many specialist outdoor paints, available at all good DIY retailers, it’s never been easier to do.

    A popular interior colour used outside can breathe new life into your garden. A serene green adds a gentle injection of on-trend colour that compliments the abundance of foliage that surrounds many a garden shed.

    25. Repurpose a shepherd’s hut

    Wooden shepherds hut in leafy outdoor setting

    Image credit: Future Plc/Polly Eltes

    Shepherd’s huts have exploded in popularity in the last decade, so the likelihood of finding an old one is increasingly slender. But you can’t deny they make an exceptional garden feature, and you may decide it’s well worth spending thousands on a new one.

    How can I make my garden shed look nice?

    There are plenty of ways to make your garden shed look nice, but one of the easiest is with paint! Whether you opt for a classic sage green, a bright creamy white or something a littler bolder, a shed can be given a whole new look with just a lick of paint!

    Another idea is to treat your shed like an extension of your home. So like you would when prettying up your house, add window boxes to windows, place potted plants be the door and even add lights to the outside too.

    When it comes to inside your shed, the list of ideas is endless! Depending on what you want your shed to be used as, you could try adding rugs to the floor, wallpaper or prints to the walls and cosy seating and cushions to make it more a living space. Painting the interior walls is a good idea too, but even a declutter and reorganise could help make your shed look nicer!

    Is it cheaper to build a shed or buy a shed?

    Unless you’re a proper Handy Andy and have building materials at hand already, generally it’s cheaper to buy a shed than build one. One way to keep costs down, is to buy the shed flat-packed and put it together yourself. Depending on what sort of shed you are going for, some companies will offer installation too, which is always good to go for if budget allows, as you’ll have piece of mind it has all been put together correctly, plus it should then come with a guarantee.

    What is the cheapest way to build a shed?

    If you do fancy getting stuck in and building your own shed, the cheapest way is to salvage pallet boards and repurpose the wood. Or check second-hand websites such as eBay, Gumtree and FreeCycle to see if you can land a bargain.

    Additional words: Holly Walsh

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