Transforming your shed, summerhouse or insulated garden room into an inspiring space is easier than you might think. But, if you want a special place to relax, work or entertain, where do you start?
To find out, we turned to the people who know best – designers and creative shed owners who’ve already blazed the trail. Here are our favourite interior design tips for creating the garden room of your dreams.
Paint is your friend
Paint is the quickest and least expensive way to transform your shed or garden room into somewhere you’ll enjoy spending time. A lick of light-coloured ‘satin wood’ will make the space look bigger and more welcoming, and try a feature wall to introduce texture, colour or pattern.
Jeska at Lobster and Swan has painted her floor to look like exotic tiles using a stencil pattern, but large checkerboard squares look great too. And while you’ve got your paintbrush out, Jeska recommends giving mismatched furniture an inexpensive and cohesive look:
Give cheap or found furniture a new lease of life with Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax.
Want to save money and the environment? We love the tip from Victoria Haynes over at The Owl and the Accordion. She says, “try Community Repaint - it's a paint recycling scheme which means you don't have to spend a fortune on the stuff!”
Make an entrance
Painting your shed, inside and out, protects the wood and brightens its appearance. But even if you only use your shed as extra storage space, creating a grand entrance is a great way to express your personality.
Cassiefairy over at My Thrifty Life recommends painting the inside of the doors in a fun colour. She says:
Choose your favourite hue and then, when your shed is open, it'll bring a splash of vibrant colour into the garden.
Adding window coverings (blinds made from a water resistant fabric are ideal) creates a cosy feel and conceals any valuable belongings.
Add some personality
If you plan to use your shed or summer house all year round, insulate the space and hire a professional to install electricity. Alternatively, invest in an Insulated Garden Room with double glazed windows where you can create a cosy work space, set up an extra lounge room or even accommodate an occasional guest. Once the essential amenities are taken care of, you can get on with the more glamorous details. Torie Jayne’s shed is brimming with charm and character. Take a leaf out of her book to inject a shot of individuality:
Make your own soft furnishings, DIY a lamp shade, dye old tablecloths or make paper flowers. Use inexpensive postcards to decorate the walls
And the team at His for Home recommend getting your hands on a couple of rolls of colourful, vintage wallpaper for a feature wall: “Mix & match or clash colours and patterns for an affordable, one-of-a-kind shed interior.”
Your garden room should inspire you. Whether it's a yoga studio, office, craft room or somewhere to learn the drums, have a bit of fun and don’t be constrained by the same rules that apply to your home. Read Sally Coulthard’s guide, 'How to Decorate Your Shed' if you want some specific style ideas.
“I decorated my shed on a really tight budget. I don’t think you can really tell, and it looks just as good now as it did two years ago,” says Ana Mum Diary blogger Amanda. Before you reach for the car keys, she says:
One of my main tips is to shop your home first. So look for items that you [already] have that would work for the look you want to achieve in the shed… then go to thrift and charity shops looking for bargains.
Piles of fluffy blankets and colourful cushions create a welcoming space. Sally Coulthard recommends choosing smart furnishings that are suited to indoor and outdoor life: “Water-repellent fabrics and easy-wash covers are perfect for shed soft furnishings and the instant way to add comfort.” And if you want instant luxury, invest in an outdoor rug.
Quirky storage solutions
Once you’ve decorated your shed, summerhouse or garden room, the trick to keeping it looking great is clever storage. It’s easy to let it become a dumping ground for clutter. Your room will look much bigger if you keep the floor space as free as possible. Alice in Scandiland blogger Alice Collyer has imaginatively exploited the height of her shed:
There’s a rack on the ceiling to store away wrapping paper and posters... using an otherwise unusable space.
And Sophie Robinson, interior designer and presenter of BBC 2’s Great Interior Design Challenge says wire shelves create the illusion of space. While designing a craft shed she upcycled everyday household items to give everything a home: “storage is key so we covered washed out food tins in colourful patterned wrapping paper...these tins are ideal to store pens, brushes and haberdashery.” Check out her incredible craft shed below.
Inspired to create additional living space in your shed? Check out Walton’s Shed Conversion Guides for even more help and information.
Or, if you have any shed decorating tips or images you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Just head over to our Facebook page and drop us a line.