How to re-purpose your shed for the 21st Century

Do you have an old shed in your garden? A tumble-down workshop, brick outbuilding or old garage perhaps? And what do you use it for? If you’re stashing clutter and storing tools, you could be approaching this valuable extra space all wrong. At least, that’s what I’ve heard…This week I read a news article on HouseBeautiful.co.uk about transforming your existing shed or outbuilding into a much more usable space. And it got me thinking. When the author said “sheds are more likely to have Wi-Fi access than a wheelbarrow” these days, I realised that yes, I could be using my outdoor space as an extension to my own home.Sure, I’ve just finished decorating my home office, but my artist husband really needs a space to work and our brick outbuilding could be just the thing. Okay, it’s full of spiders and motor oil at the moment, but it could be something much more impressive with just a lick of paint. Maybe that lick of paint should actually extend to insulation and plasterboard if we want to truly make it into an extra ‘room’ in the garden. I’ve been investigating the costs and suppliers and found that thermal insulation from Oeco Garden Rooms would be just the job to get it up to a liveable standard, and then it could be used all year round. I’ve already got some sheets of plasterboard left over from the false wall we built during our bathroom renovations so I’m raring to go!Here are the 6 things (according to House Beautiful) that you need in order to turn your shed, garage or outbuilding into a usable ‘extra room’:

  1. Repair any damage and stop leaks to make it watertight
  2. Add a layer of insulation and plasterboard for cosiness
  3. Paint the structure to freshen up and protect the external building
  4. Install sealed unit windows and doors to stop draughts
  5. Hire an electrician to run electric out to the shed
  6. Add storage and worktops to make the space user-friendly

That all sounds like a very practical step-by-step guide to me! I think it would even add a little bit of extra value to the property to have a functional office/studio space in the garden. Even if it was only being used as a utility room for a freezer, I’m sure the additional usable space would be worth something.Have you converted your shed or outbuilding to use it for something other than storing the lawn mower? If so I’d love to hear about your project – tell me all the details! And do let me know how your planning to update your outdoor space if you’re considering a shed/outbuilding conversion too by leaving me a comment below.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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