The garden shed has come a long way from the dusty, cobweb-riddled outhouse of our childhood. As can be seen in programmes such as Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year, today’s sheds have in recent years undergone something of a renaissance. No longer simply used for planting or storage, many homeowners are getting really creative with this outdoor space, choosing to use it for something that little bit more quirky and extravagant. If you’re eyeing up your shed and fancy updating it for something new, but don’t want a simple summerhouse, here are our top five ideas:
A home brewery
For many, this would be the ultimate mancave. Making your own alcoholic beverages is really popular now and processes have come a long way from the exploding demi johns of the past. Home brewers are now able to source fantastic equipment online to not only make wine and beer, but also spirits such as gin, vodka and even absinthe. You can choose or forage for natural, fresh ingredients for your home-grown drinks recipes. By selecting seasonal ingredients, you can also be sure they’ll taste fresher and truer than shop-bought beverages. If you do decide to go the whole nine yards and invest in your own still, just be aware you’ll need a rectifier’s licence and a compounder’s licence, to comply with UK regulations.
Following on smoothly from the home brewery, why not set up a bar for you and your friends to enjoy? There are some amazing theme ideas out there – from a 1950’s American diner to a Hawaiian bar. You can source furniture cheaply, salvaging pieces from reclamation yards and using a furniture restoration specialist to bring them back to their former glory. In order to tailor your space, why not include quirky props and accessories? Available at a wide range of cost points, these items can really transform a space, adding a fantastic sense of theatre.
A hobby room
Many new homes today are cramped, with minimal storage, meaning the loft is full of boxes and there are no spare rooms for pursuing hobbies. If this is you, then maybe it’s time to upgrade your shed for a more sophisticated outdoor space, allowing you to indulge your favourite pastimes. A hobby room such as this can be used for anything from model railways to Scalextric, or for crafts such as jewellery-making, sewing or painting. In fact, having the space to explore your creativity can help turn a hobby into a small business, generating a healthy return on any investments made.
If you’d love to join a gym, but can’t afford the astronomical subscriptions, then why not consider using your outdoor space as a gym? The added benefit here is that you can exercise at the time that suits you, and never have to wait to use equipment, which is the reality for many who can’t visit their gym at off-peak times. You can rent or buy equipment and can tailor your training room depending on the sophistication of your outdoor space. Before planning your home gym, make sure to set your goals and your budget, designing them to fit your available space. Even if you only have lighting, weight-lifting equipment and items such as rowing machines can be installed. There are also some simple tricks to tailor the space: place rubberised mats under cardio equipment to reduce vibration; use rugs under aerobic exercise areas to minimise impact on your joints; and install a mirror in the weight-lifting area to maintain that health club feel.
An excellent idea for families with teenage children, your outdoor space can be used to set up a games room. You could incorporate cool seating such as bean bags, as well as games such as table football, a pool table or even a retro arcade game machine. By creating a ‘den’ where they can hang out with their friends, you’ll be providing your teens with the invaluable space they need, as well as getting some peace and quiet yourselves!
We hope this article inspires you to think about how you might benefit from upgrading your shed. However you choose to use your outdoor space, we hope you enjoy the freedom it gives you to express your creativity, and fulfil your life goals.