How to Turn a Simple Shed into a Livable Oasis

How to Turn a Simple Shed into a Livable Oasis

(StatePoint) Once the domain of lawnmowers and gardening tools, today’s backyard sheds are being repurposed into unique, functional spaces (think: she-shed, bunkhouse or even a bar pub) complete with plumbing and electricity.

Here are tips from the experts on how to turn a simple shed into a backyard oasis.

“Quite often, we are seeing that homeowners are adding electricity to backyard sheds and using decorative interior lighting to make a statement, just as lighting would be used in the interiors of a home,” says Jennifer Kis, director of marketing communications for Progress Lighting.

Backyard sheds are widely available at garden centers, hardware and home stores in a variety of architectural styles, from traditional to modern. Sheds range in size, from small (under 80 square feet), medium (approximately 90 to 120 square feet) and large (ranging from 144 to 288 square feet.) Choose a size appropriate for the use — for example, a gardener’s getaway or she-shed may be on the smaller size. A bunkhouse or bar shed will need to be larger.

Decide whether this will be a DIY project from the ground up, or whether a prefabricated shed best meets your needs. Check with your local planning department to comply with codes and guidelines. Decide if the shed will mirror the architectural features of your home. Keep in mind that because sheds are not tall, the roof will be visible and should be considered as part of the design.

When turning a backyard shed into a dream bunkhouse at her lakeside home, designer, artist and owner of Meme Hill Studio, Amie Freling Brown put this to the test.

“I’m obsessed with the tiny living concept and the she-shed movement,” says Freling Brown. “When we decided we needed more sleeping space for our 750 square foot lake house, we knew it was time to create our own tiny house.”

Choosing a 10 by 12-foot classic backyard shed with a gambrel roof, gable vents, transom windows and 7-foot walls to give top campers in the bunk beds more headroom, Freling Brown transformed a simple shed into a bright, nautical farmhouse-inspired bunkhouse, complete with electricity for an overhead light, two wall lanterns and electrical outlets.

The hand-painted wood grain texture of its overhead pendant inspired Freling Brown’s choice of reclaimed wood paneling for the ceiling, creating an unexpected décor detail. She added vinyl plank flooring that would stand up to sandy, wet feet from the lake. Beadboard paneled walls painted in a semi-gloss white make the most of the reflected light, adding to the small space’s open, airy feeling. As a contrast to the light palette of the bunkhouse interior, she used color in coordinating bedding, nautical decor and navy furniture, as well as accessories make it warm and inviting.

For more lighting tips, trends and inspiration, visit Progress Lighting at

By transforming a shed into a livable oasis, extending your home’s living space is both trendy and easy.


Photo Credit: (c) Amie Freling Brown and Kristin Leitten of Meme Hill Studio