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Move over, man caves. She sheds are having their moment and we’re here for it.
What’s a she shed exactly? It’s a small retreat that’s literally steps away from home. But if you make it right, it’ll feel like you’re miles away. It’s a place to seek refuge from household chaos, dabble in a new hobby or entertain friends in a more private setting. And though it’s not necessarily a “no boys allowed” kind of deal, the idea is often referred to as the “female equivalent” or “woman’s answer” to the man cave. However, the two do have one distinct difference. While man caves typically take up a room in the home (such as the garage, basement or spare bedroom), she sheds are standalone structures. That makes them more than mini hideaways.
These structures can also be the solution to a problem many homeowners share: a desire for more space. According to NerdWallet’s 2017 Home Buyer Reality Report, the number one regret of homeowners is that they didn’t purchase a bigger home. When people want more livable space in their home, they’ll usually build a home addition or move to a bigger house. A she shed, usually built in the yard, creates additional space at a lower price than a home addition and with much less hassle than moving into a new home.
Ready to create your own backyard getaway? First, you need to find your she shed style and then you can get inspiration for decorating your own space.
Prefab, Do It Yourself (DIY) Or Kit?
If you already have a shed you can renovate, you’re already halfway there. If you don’t have a structure to work with, you’ll have to build one from scratch or install a prefabricated shed. Like anything, both approaches have their pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide which option is best for you.
A prefab shed is built in another location and delivered to your backyard fully assembled. If you want to skip the building process and move right to the fun stuff like painting, decorating and using your she shed, this may be the best option for you.
- The Pros:
- Requires less design and building expertise
- Requires less time and physical effort to create
- Requires fewer tools
- Lower risk of injury
- Many are backed by warranty
- The Cons:
- Quality of construction and materials used may not be the best
- May be more expensive, especially bigger or better-equipped models
- Less room for creative input and customization
The DIY She Shed
A DIY she shed is one that’s built from scratch and requires you to purchase all of the raw materials needed including the base, lumber, shingles, windows and doors. Building a she shed from the ground up is clearly the more ambitious (and difficult) option, but it does have its advantages.
- The Pros:
- More creative control and ability to customize
- More control over quality of materials and safety of the structure
- The satisfaction of building something from scratch
- Potential cost savings
- The Cons:
- Requires building expertise
- Requires purchasing all the necessary materials and building tools
- Requires time and physical effort
- No guarantee it’ll turn out right
- No warranty if something breaks or you make a building mistake
- May take more time to complete
If you’re looking at the cons and thinking you really don’t want to build your shed but you want the benefit of customizing your structure, consider customizing a prefab shed online. Just remember that the more you customize, the more expensive it will be.
She Shed Kits
There’s another option for those who want to take the middle road: she shed kits. Depending on the kit you choose, these may come with many of the supplies you need to build your shed including a design plan, materials list, shed base, roof, door, brackets and siding. You simply follow the instructions and assemble the precut pieces. Keep in mind that most kits don’t come with all the materials you’ll need, including the lumber required to build the frame.
When choosing whether to buy or build your she shed, it’s helpful to consider your budget, your carpentry skills, your level of interest in building something and the purpose of your she shed.
Choosing a Theme For Your Shed
Choosing a central purpose or theme for your space will also determine its layout, look and functionality. Struggling to find a theme? Here are five ideas for inspiration:
Readers find solace in the pages of a good book and writers could write their own inside a literary hideaway. The word enthusiast’s shed calls for built-in shelves to hold a book collection and a small writing desk to craft your next novel. Plant a big chair in the corner to curl up with a good read and keep a lamp handy for when your literary escapades go late into the night. If you prefer to read and write in coffee shops, bring that ambience into your own space with a small cappuccino machine.
Cozy Craft Cottage
Surround yourself in comfort as you knit, sew or quilt by adding a few pillows and chenille blankets over an overstuffed loveseat or soft, sophisticated chair. On cold nights, warm up to the glow of a decorative electric or wood-burning stove. Of course, organization is key when it comes to any craft space. Choose a small unit that features a few different storage options. You can show off your colorful array of fabrics and yarns in storage bins that fit into cubbies while you hide messier items behind cabinets.
Yoga And Meditation Retreat
The great thing about turning your she shed into a meditation retreat is that the minimalist design requires only a few items. However you meditate or practice yoga, decorate with intention. For example, you may opt for plush floor pillows or yoga mats instead of bulky furniture. Or you may choose candles, incense, a meditation gong or fountain to enhance your experience.
Since it’s all about relaxation, choose calming colors like cool blues or warm whites. Install bamboo flooring for an eco-friendly option that’s easy to clean and hang a few houseplants to add pops of color, purify the air and improve your mood. Large windows with sheer curtains will give you privacy without sacrificing natural lighting.
- Alpine Corporation Tabletop Fountain With Candles– $33
- 3-Pack Macrame Plant Hangers– $13
- Intelligent Design Azza Poly Chenille Square Floor Pillow– $38
Whether you’re entertaining friends or honing your mixology skills, a cocktail bar-themed she shed may be the perfect place to unwind after a rough week. You might not have enough room for a full bar, so display your liquor, mixers and glasses on floating shelves or a small bar cart. Craft your cocktails with the help of a chic bar toolset and keep your ingredients cold by installing a minifridge. Complete the look with a few swanky barstools.
- Deluxe Metal Oval Mirrored Bar Cart– $160
- Bhreatnach Bar Stool (set of 2)– $295
- Gold Bar Tool Set– $90
Glamping mixes rustic with glamour, so be sure to implement both into this she shed style. Think rugged natural elements dressed up in luxury, like a distressed wood table topped with gold votives, a worn leather couch draped with a cashmere blanket or an antique daybed decorated with metallic accent pillows. Install sliding barn doors to make the shed an indoor and outdoor getaway. Part of the glamping experience is camping, so set up a modern outdoor fire pit outside your shed where you can make s’mores paired with your best dessert wine. Make sure to check your local laws before you set up a fire pit, since some areas prohibit open burning.
- Parndis Stainless Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit– $340
- EFFORTINC Resin Antler Chandelier– $240
- GIGIZAZA Gold Velvet Decorative Throw Pillow Covers (set of 2)– $13
10 Tips For She Shed Perfection
Once you choose a theme and purpose for your shed, you’ll want to make it yours. That personalization comes when you outfit your space. Above, we provided décor ideas for specific themes. But no matter what type of she shed you choose, the following 10 tips will help you create the perfect space that’s completely you.
1. Express Yourself With Paint
Since this is your space, you have total say in how you want to decorate it. This includes choosing the interior and exterior paint colors for your shed. Color is a great way to express yourself, but when you paint your home you often choose paint colors based on the holistic design aesthetic of the home itself. Your she shed is a standalone structure so let loose and choose something bolder and more “you” than what’s in the main house.
2. Embrace Quirkiness
While some people may want to stick with traditional décor, others may want to embrace their quirky side and break free from the constraints of home decorating. Give the shed a whimsical shape or experiment with funky patterns, shapes and textures. Mix in unique features such as wallpaper made from the pages of your favorite novel, a porthole window or that eccentric art piece no one seems to love but you. This is your chance to create a space that’s 100% authentically you.
3. Don’t Skimp On Plants
She sheds have great potential for an open-air, indoor-outdoor feel. One way to enhance this effect is to keep lots of plants both inside and outside the space. If you don’t plan on visiting your she shed every day, choose indoor houseplants that can survive a little neglect. A few of these include Air Plants, aloe vera plants, philodendrons or kalanchoes. When it comes to outdoor greenery, create a welcoming interior with low-maintenance landscaping. If you want even more privacy in your hideaway, plant tall bushes, trees and climbing ivy to conceal your she shed.
4. Stock The Cabinets And Fridge
Don’t let hunger interrupt your personal time away from the house. Put a minifridge or storage system in your shed and stock it with your favorite treats to keep you from running to the kitchen every time you’re hungry.
5. Install Mirrors
Part of the appeal of a she shed is its cozy, quaint feel. Nevertheless, small spaces can feel cramped and claustrophobic. Installing mirrors will make a she shed feel more spacious without compromising its signature coziness.
6. Hang Festive Globe Lighting
Hanging festive string lighting is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to bring charm to any she shed. Use your Christmas lights or invest in some fairy lights or globe lighting to add that finishing touch. Just make sure to use outdoor lights for the exterior.
7. Explore Antique Shops And Flea Markets
If you’re decorating on a budget or looking to add instant quaintness to your space, consider browsing antique shops, flea markets and thrift stores for unique, unusual items that have an aged or retro look to them. Some gems you’re sure to find include brass candle holders, stitched quilts, antique rugs and vintage frames.
8. Put In A DIY Walkway
Add charm to your space by creating a walkway that leads to your shed. DIY walkways are inviting and can be made from a variety of materials such as brick, paving stones and gravel.
9. Change Decor With The Seasons
If you decorate your home for different holidays and seasons, why not extend that to your she shed? This can be especially useful if you’re using it for entertaining since you can host tiny seasonal parties there. And because it’s such a small space, it’ll be easy and relatively inexpensive to decorate the space.
10. Do It Your Own Way
This article is designed to inspire, not instruct. Remember that it’s your shed, so build and decorate it however you want! Ultimately, you’ll be happiest if you create and follow a unique vision based on your personal tastes, desires and needs.
Beyond The She Shed
There are a few things you need to create a she shed of your own: access to a yard, space to build one, permission (and sometimes permits) to build or modify one and the funds to buy a prefab she shed kit or the materials to build your own. If you don’t have space, permission or funding, don’t let that stop you just yet. There are other ways to make a place that’s just for you. Consider these spaces as alternatives to a traditional she shed:
- Converted greenhouse
- Spare bedroom
Looking for more tips for decorating your home retreat? We have tons of ideas just for you in the home decorating section of our blog. Do you have a she shed of your own? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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