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24 Tips for Turning a Shed into a Tiny Hideaway

If you have a storage shed in your backyard, it can be converted into a usable, livable space where you can work on craft projects, grow things, or create a she-shed, card/cigar room, music room, study area, or just a place to hang out and read. Consider these tips for converting your shed from a place to store garden tools to a place where you'll want to spend all of your free time.

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A New Coat of Paint, Inside and OutFamily Handyman

A New Coat of Paint, Inside and Out

Make a shed into a new space with interior and exterior paint. Since most sheds are small, this is a quick painting job you can finish over a weekend with the proper preparation. If the shed is distant from the house, you can choose its own color scheme (warm pastels and flower-like shades are popular). Otherwise, try to match your house color scheme so they don't clash. Plus: General painting tips to help projects go faster Plus: How to paint a room ASAP

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Seal Up CracksFamily Handyman

Seal Up Cracks

Garden sheds, particularly stand-alone sheds used for storing equipment, often need to be sealed to prevent drafts, bugs, dust and other problems. After cleaning out the shed, be prepared to break out the caulk and weatherstripping to help make the shed as airtight as possible. A very rickety shed may need to have walls replaced.

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Window to the SkyDiana Rui/Shutterstock

Window to the Sky

Install a skylight window in your shed so that you can get some much-needed sunlight (and moonlight in the evenings). It will brighten up your shed to make it a more livable and relaxing space. Some skylight windows can be opened to allow fresh air in, so you can close the door and enjoy some privacy for a couple of hours.

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Install Insulation

Install Insulation

Your shed needs to be comfortable inside if you'll be spending time there. Add insulation and, if necessary, drywall to turn your shed into a real room. Plus: How to install fiberglass batt insulation And: Tips on insulating walls Plus: How to weatherstrip a door

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Add AC/Heatingdoomu/Shutterstock

Add AC/Heating

In mild climates you may only need insulation on your new shed room. But more extreme temperatures require extra features. A small air conditioner and/or heater may be a necessary device for your shed, so make sure you have the space to install one. If your shed doesn't have access to electricity yet, then it's time for a wiring project first! Plus: How to rough-in electrical wiring Plus: Installing garage AC

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Install Better Lighting

Install Better Lighting

Garden and livable sheds typically make do with a single bulb or bench light, but you'll need more lighting if you're going to spend time there. Install both overhead lights and lamps to help illuminate the room for hobbies, reading, studying. You may also want to install an outdoor light if you plan on using the space during the evening. Plus: How to add a light Plus: All about outdoor lighting

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Convert Extra Storage Space

Convert Extra Storage Space

Many storage sheds and (hopefully) livable sheds will have leftover storage space like shelves, hooks and bins—and that's a good thing! Convert this utility storage space for other purposes, such as holding books, organizing hobby paraphernalia and displaying décor. Think twice before tearing out any shelves or storage spaces if you can still put them to good use! Plus: How to build shelves

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Add Windows

Add Windows

Chances are good that your current shed doesn't have many windows, if any at all. This needs to change, especially if you want to make a shed into a sunroom. Without windows, the room will feel cramped and unpleasant. So try to install new windows on as many sides of the shed as possible. Plus: How to Build an Outdoor Living Room Plus: How to Install a Window

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Keep the Old Benches, But Freshen Them Up

Keep the Old Benches, But Freshen Them Up

A workbench is a common shed amenity. If there's room, we suggest you keep it. This bench can be handy storage for games or movies, and may serve as a hobby. However, the current bench may be a little too rough, so think about sanding it down and giving it a fresh coat of paint or polyurethane while keeping its rustic style. Plus: Tips on sanding Plus: Building workbenches!

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Turn the Door into a Welcoming Area

Turn the Door into a Welcoming Area

In addition to making sure that the door is properly sealed, you should also make sure it's inviting and accessible. This may include adding a patio or porch area, building steps, painting the door, or installing a new door entirely. If you plan on leaving the door open most of the time, you will also need a screen door. Some shed conversions utilize sliding doors to both allow plenty sunlight in and create a more welcoming entrance. Plus: Door installation Plus: Sliding Screen Door Repair Tips

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Build Some Basic FurnitureFamily Handyman

Build Some Basic Furniture

When it comes to furniture, you will probably want a couch, a table or lamp stand, and a chair or two—at the minimum. We suggest either looking for old pieces you can reclaim and restore, or building your own furniture based on what you need. Plus: DIY Furniture

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Set Up Plants and DecorFamily Handyman

Set Up Plants and Decor

Turn the space into a pleasant living area by adding both plants and décor. A popular option is to plant a vine by a shed porch or wall so that it will eventually climb up nearby surfaces and make the shed look like a proper part of your garden. Indoor plants will also help keep the air fresh and add a little greenery to your new room. Plus: 10 Easy-to-Build Planters and Trellises for Spring

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Convert the Floor to a Durable, Comfortable Surface

Convert the Floor to a Durable, Comfortable Surface

If possible, install more durable flooring in your shed room (cork, tile, carpet, and much more is suitable), and lay down a rug for greater comfort. A good wood floor can typically be restored, but it's a big project. Remember that moisture and mold may be a problem if the floor isn't properly protected. Plus: How to Carpet a Basement Floor Plus: How to Choose Carpet

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Weather strip doors and windowsAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Weather strip doors and windows

When you have the shed walls insulated and the gaping holes plugged, then add weather stripping to the windows and doors.
  • Apply weatherproofing plastic to windows.
  • Apply sealing foam tape to the bottom panel of windows.
  • Add caulk to any drafty spots in the window as needed.
  • Slide a door draft blocker under the shed door.

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Brighten Things Up with String Lightspapa studio/Shutterstock

Brighten Things Up with String Lights

String lights aren't just for holiday decorating. They can turn a normally boring shed into a place you look forward to escaping to at the end of a long day. Use pushpins or Command light clips to hang string lights on the inside and outside of your shed and route them to outdoor electrical outlet.

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Solar-Powered ShedNaypong/Shutterstock

Solar-Powered Shed

With a solar panel kit, you can add a little power to your shed without having to route electrical from your house. The panel absorbs energy from the sun during the day and allows you to route it to other appliances, like lamps, electric saws, stereo systems, and chargers for your cellphone.

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Dealing with the HeatCherries/Shutterstock

Dealing with the Heat

On the hottest days of summer, being inside of a shed could feel like being in a sauna. Keep the shed cool by applying heat control film to the windows. This film blocks the sun's rays from coming inside, keeping the temperature down. Also, if you have a solar or electrical power source, use a portable air cooler in your shed to stay comfortable. Air coolers lower room temperatures by taking water from the hot air and emitting a cool breeze into the space.

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Warming or Cooling Pad for Your Pet

Warming or Cooling Pad for Your Pet

Part of being relaxed is having your pet buddy nearby, so make sure he or she is comfortable in your shed too. Buy a warming or cooling pad for your cat or dog (depending on the season) to keep in your shed. Pet warming pads use a very minimal amount of energy. Cooling pads don't require any energy source—they "recharge" on their own.

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Foam or Rubber Tile Flooring

Foam or Rubber Tile Flooring

Most manufactured livable sheds have hard plastic or wood flooring. Another flooring option that can go over the top of the original floor is rubber flooring. Because the tiles interlock, you can easily install this flooring yourself. It's an inexpensive and quick flooring solution that will provide shock absorption for your feet. You could probably even walk barefoot in your storage shed!

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Install Shelves to Stay OrganizedS.Pytel/Shutterstock

Install Shelves to Stay Organized

The better your relaxing shed space is organized, the more peaceful and welcome it will feel. If there weren't many shelves in your shed, install a couple shelving units on the walls to store items that will make life in your new getaway more pleasant.

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Ventilation/Exhaust FanYunava1/Shutterstock

Ventilation/Exhaust Fan

If you plan to enclose yourself in your shed to enjoy a book or do some woodworking for hours on a regular basis, be sure to install some type of ventilation system. An exhaust fan will allow air to escape and keep fresh air circulating in the space. If you want to avoid the hassle of installing a wall unit, get a standard twin window fan.

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Get a Retractable AwningYou Touch Pix of EuToch/Shutterstock

Get a Retractable Awning

Extend the area of comfort for your shed by putting a retractable awning at the front or back. With an awning in place, you can sit outside in the shade after finishing some work and enjoy a refreshing beverage. As an alternative to an awning, put an offset patio umbrella in front of your shed.

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Your Little GreenhouseAYA images/Shutterstock

Your Little Greenhouse

Turn your shed into a relaxing and inspiring little greenhouse full of your favorite plants. Picture this: A place all your own that's full of the smell of herbs, tomatoes and small lemon trees. This idea would require you to install additional windows on the ceiling and sides of your shed so that your plants get maximum light. Going to your shed to tend to your plants could become a peaceful and enjoyable hobby.

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Keep Bugs Away

Keep Bugs Away

One of the top reasons why some people avoid going outdoors is that they don't want to deal with pests like flies, crawling bugs and rodents. Here are some tried and true methods to keep pests away.