Give your shed a makeover. Transform it into a place for hobbies or simply A RETREAT from everyday life. It’s easier than you think!
Modern shed transformations are the new must-have in the garden. Gone are the days when they were a dead space gathering cobwebs and not used for much else other than storing old bikes and deckchairs. Now everyone wants a shed where peace and quiet reigns and birdsong is the only distraction. It’s the answer to lack of space in our homes, providing a place to work on craft projects in peace or read the latest page turner (glass of wine optional).
“There’s a steady rise in people using sheds to follow their creative pursuits,” says Sally Coulthard, author of Shed Decor (Jacqui Small, £25). There are, of course, plenty of companies willing to set up an all-singing shed for you, complete with insulation, lighting and the latest mod cons but you really don’t have to spend a fortune going down this route. Instead transform your existing shed into a fully-functioning room – even the most basic model can be souped-up in style.
MAKE THINGS WATERTIGHT
First things first – your shed needs to be sturdy, watertight and leak free. After you’ve stripped it out, check thoroughly for any damp patches, flimsy panels and loose floorboards so you can fix any defects. In most sheds, just a single layer of slats is all that protects you from the weather outside. To give an existing shed a a specially formulated product such as Ronseal Diamond Hard. Fill any gaps in windows and doors with foam filler or draught-proofing strips from a DIY store. Adding a layer of secondary glazing film will make a huge difference too, and is widely available from companies such as Wickes and Arc Window Films (arcwindowfilms.com). Bear in mind that some ventilation is necessary to prevent condensation. A small solar-powered vent is a maintenance-free way to keep temperatures and humidity down in a small shed, and they are quiet to run too. Another plus is that they require no wiring during installation – have a look at solarshop.co.uk. Finally, as you will now be using your shed more frequently, you need to check the path leading to it is up to scratch.
POWER UP WITH ELECTRICITY
You may already have some basic electrics in your shed but crafting, writing and DIY all require a good level of light so unless you only intend to use your converted shed on sunny days, plan for lights, sockets and an electric radiator. The cable must be installed in accordance with local building regulations, so get in touch with a registered electrician to discuss your requirements. If you don’t want the hassle of electrics, there’s another option. Solar hubs are complete lighting and power kits in a box that are easy to fit anywhere there is no existing electricity connection. They are quick to set up (10 minutes!) and no tools are required. The SolarHub 16 kit from solartechnology.co.uk is enough to illuminate a 4m x 4m space and costs £120. You can also add expansion packs later if you find you need more power. The best part? No big electricity bills.
DO YOU NEED PLUMBING?
Be clear from the outset what you’re going to use your shed for. A shed for incidental use, such as hobbies, won’t usually need planning permission. But you may decide a sink would be useful if you are using the space for painting, DIY projects or would simply like to be able to make a cup of tea without trekking to the house. Adding plumbing will trigger the need for planning permission. Building regs don’t normally come into play as long as the shed has no sleeping accommodation. If you’re unsure, get advice from a builder and local planners. Find useful info on extrarooms.co.uk.
PICK A PAINT THEME
Take time to consider how the shed sits in its location. Do you want it to be a focal point of the garden or to be as inconspicuous as possible? Do you want it to reflect the decorating scheme in your home or opt for something completely different? Bright colours are ideal for creating a wow moment, whereas forest tones will help your shed blend in with planting. But really when it comes to decorating, anything goes. “Every trend that you see in the interiors world is reflected in sheds,” says Sally Coulthard. If you’re doing up a shed you’ve had for a while, use a fungicidal wash to remove any algae, lichen or moss, and if the wood has previously been stained, painted or varnished it should ideally be stripped back to a bare state. Paint the shed with a couple of coats of a dedicated product such as Cuprinol Garden Shades, £15 for 2.5 litres, from Homebase, which comes in bright colours such as Pink Honeysuckle and Zingy Lime as well as on-trend neutral tones such as Urban Slate. It can be sprayed on to save time and make the job easier. Alternatively, Homebase’s own Home of Colour Garden Colour range costs £12 for 2.5 litres. Add some scented climbers such as jasmine, supported by tensioned wires, to soften the look, particularly if you want your shed to blend in. When it comes to painting the interior of the shed, it’s a good idea to stick with a neutral paint scheme – if you go for something bold then change your mind once you’re in, that means a lot of upheaval if you want to redecorate.
PROTECT YOUR ASSETS
Check if your shed needs to be added to your buildings insurance policy. Most policies cover outbuildings against fire, vandalism or damage to the structure, but you may need to add to the cover. Avoid keeping valuables such as your laptop out there. Tot up the cost of replacing items such as furniture or gym equipment and you may find you need extra home contents cover, too. For lower premiums, it helps if house-quality windows and doors with key-operated locks are installed, with an alarm and security lights.
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