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How to transform your garden shed into Santa’s grotto

How to transform your garden shed into Santa’s grotto

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to get the kids into the festive spirit or spread the holiday cheer from the house into the garden, here are some merry good ideas on how to transform your garden shed into a Santa’s grotto.

We transformed our sussex summerhouse into a traditional grotto, complete with twinkling fireplace, rocking chair and real Christmas trees. We’ve donated this to our friends at Stonebridge City Farm in Nottingham as a Christmas gift.

Here’s how you can get your own garden building into the festive spirit. And check out our Christmas conversion video at the end!

Pick a festive theme

christmas grotto shed
A traditional theme is always a safe bet

A traditional Santa's workshop might be just the ticket for your kids, but if you're looking for a Frozen theme, a gingerbread or another wintry adventure, check out our Pinterest board for some inspiration.

Tidy and clean

a unpainted and uncustomised garden shed
Create a clean canvas to work with

Whether you’re decorating the children’s playhouse, summerhouse or the garden shed, start by clearing out your garden building to create space for decorations and make sure it’s safe for little ones to explore.

If you can, store tools and gardening equipment elsewhere or tuck in a corner of the shed and give the shed a clean down.

Paint the shed

paint shed red
A lick of paint makes all the difference

Start by painting your shed to give your theme a direction. Paint your shed white or icy blue for a wintry theme or bold, festive reds and greens for an instant Christmassy makeover.

You can achieve a subtle effect by just painting the shed features like doors, window frames and fascias. But for maximum impact, use a combination of Christmas colours to paint the entire shed.

We have painted the veranda on our Sussex Summerhouse in red and white for a candy cane design and the window frames and fascia boards in festive red for a warm welcoming.

Add the key decorations

christmas decorations in a shed
The key to a great grotto

To bring your theme together add a couple of key decorations. If you’re opting for a traditional style grotto, go for a Christmas tree and a grand Santa’s chair.

For a winter wonderland theme, choose white or snow covered Christmas trees and a North Pole sign to add a sense of adventure for the kids.

We created a handmade wooden fireplace from spare timber to create the main focal point in our Santa’s grotto. You can create a similar effect using cardboard boxes and painting a brickwork effect with red and white paints.

Add the small details

small accessories in a shed
Use all those bit and bobs in the Christmas decoration box

Adding the small details to your Santa’s grotto will help pull the whole Christmas theme together, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

If you are planning to replace old Christmas decorations in the house this year, think about using the old decorations outside.

You can also pick up affordable decorations from budget stores and charity shops or even create your own. Why not spend an afternoon with the kids getting crafty making red and green paper chains or a wreath using plants from the garden?

Adding baubles and tinsel, decorative garlands, posters and pictures, you’ll soon start to see the festive design take shape.

Atmospheric lighting

Fairy lights in a festive shed
Fairy lights are perfect for warm, festive lighting

Adding Christmas lights to your garden shed will not only create atmospheric lighting but will sure cheer up the neighbours too.

We often decorate the front of our properties, but why not add icicles or colourful lanterns to the roof of your garden shed? Lead the way with LED reindeers or cover Christmas trees or bushes with twinkly net lights for the ultimate wow factor.

Use warm fairy lights inside the grotto for a cheerful interior. Using Christmas lights will add the finishing touches to your theme.


Christmas paper postbox
Perfect to accompany a traditional theme

A Santa’s grotto wouldn’t be complete without a Santa or fun activities. Dress up as Santa to surprise the children, use the grotto to write a present wish list or spend time with the family playing games, such as pin the red nose on Rudolph.

Give the kids a Christmas to remember by transforming your garden shed, with the grotto as the main feature in your garden.

Make the outside as impressive as the interior. Follow the festive theme, get creative with DIY Christmas decorations, and add atmospheric lighting to make the very best Santa’s grotto you can.

Have you decorated your garden for Christmas? We’d love to see how you are celebrating the festive season. Share your tips and photos on our Facebook page.

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