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Style Your She Shed

How to turn a garden-variety outbuilding into your own personal escape

  • Courtesy Modern Sheds

    Go for the glass

    Spring for as many windows as your budget will allow, recommends Studio Shed founder Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, whose own designs are known for their row of transom windows just below the roofline. “Natural light is a big benefit to smaller spaces and integrates indoor and outdoor landscape.” A glass door is also key, says Modern Shed founder Ryan Smith, who notes that while a sliding style works well, his customers tend to prefer double French doors that open wide to the outdoors. You can also opt for hinged doors that secure to front walls, with or without a breezy white curtain to serve as your entryway during warm, dry weather.

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  • Courtesy Modern Sheds

    Get out the chips

    Think in color pairings when you choose paint for your shed. Emphasizing trim or eaves in something like ochre or turquoise can bring those details to life in a fun way that you might be hesitant to try on your home’s exterior. As for your base shade, Smith says his customers are split between matching their shed hue to that of their main house and going for visible contrast, often as a "modern departure" from a more traditional home.

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  • Suzanne Kreiter, The Boston Globe, Getty Images

    Upgrade the ceiling

    If you’re converting a typical garden shed to your “me space,” resist the urge to drywall overhead (it traps too much moisture there.) Instead, cover rough spots between beams with planks or — for a tropical feel on a budget — something like bamboo fencing, which Laureen Clauson installed to hide nails poking through the roof. Then sling up a chandelier as a luxe contrast. (You don’t have to wire it if you lack electricity in your shed.)

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  • iStock

    Deck the walls

    To add some rustic charm that plays well with feminine accents, cover walls with shiplap — wider, horizontal planks that are a modern update to vertical beadboard. Or, if your space is a crafty one, tack up a wall of pegboard to hang supplies without taking up valuable desk space. On outside walls, planters or window boxes add interest.

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  • Courtesy Kithaus

    Extend your space

    Great sheds have an indoor/outdoor feel, and platform decks make the perfect transition, whether one serves as your foundation or is simply an a la carte add-on (Wayfair.com sells these as part of their she shed lineup). From there, get creative with planters, beds and outdoor furniture, and consider adding a rock path or something like concrete pavers to your home’s back door to integrate the overall landscape.

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  • iStock

    Sling up a hanging chair

    Hammocks or hanging wicker chairs were made for the laid-back feel of reinvented sheds. You can also hang small stools on the wall for extra seating if more guests arrive. Other great additions to tack up: a canopy (they need not be expensive; Clauson’s pretty white one on an eye hook above her daybed came from Target), or a string of twinkling party lights, which look great against rough-hewn wood in the evening.

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  • Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times

    Scale down the comfy furniture

    A small settee paired with a higher coffee table can create a cozy nook that works for reading or having tea. Armless sofas and chairs — in plush fabrics — give you that lounge-y feel without a lot of bulk.

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  • Courtesy Studio Sheds

    Try built-ins

    A customized shelf above a transom window lets you store a few eye-catching items or the novels you plan to read in peace and quiet. Or save valuable wall space by tucking in a floating bookcase behind a door.   

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