The recent pandemic sent a variety of ripples echoing across the country, but many of us felt one common side effect: the need to get away! For most of us, traditional travel hasn’t been an option for over a year, and we’ve had to get creative with our vacation and “me” time. Basement game rooms, backyard oases and garage gyms have blasted their way into the everyday details of life.
The she shed craze is also surfing along in the wake of the pandemic. She sheds have been growing in popularity over the last few years, and there’s no doubt that quarantine and stay-at-home guidelines caused a surge in the intrigue. Though the term has become more commonly used and the available information is growing, many people are still asking themselves the same couple of questions: what exactly is a she shed, and how can I get one?
What Is a She Shed?
A she shed is commonly explained as the “female equivalent of a man cave.” They are stand-alone structures, usually built in a backyard, that are intended as a space to get away from the stresses of life. They can be made of a variety of materials, but most are wooden structures.
One of the most unique aspects of the she shed is its versatility. They’re often used as relaxation or entertainment spaces, but many people use them as a place for uninterrupted work. It can be a quiet space all of your own or a place to share with friends and loved ones. The nature of the she shed is beautifully eclectic; there's no right or wrong way to do it.
What is a She Shed Used For?
She sheds have been used in a myriad of fashions, and I'm sure there are plenty of ideas sill hatching. Some people create them as entertainment spaces and others create them for recharging and respite. They can be used to host weekend brunches, book club meetings and even regularly scheduled vent sessions! Cone of silence themed she shed, anyone?
A few quiet uses for a she shed include a sewing or craft retreat, an art studio, a tranquil place to read or write, a comfortable space for meditation, a yoga studio and much more! Use your bonus space to fulfill a new career path, exercise a hobby or simply exercise.
How to Build a She Shed
There are several ways to take a she shed from concept to creation, and due to increased popularity and demand, there are more options available than ever! How you build your shed can greatly affect how much it costs. You can hike up your bootstraps and get knee deep into a DIY project – with the recruitment of family and friends, of course – or you can hire a professional for the installation. No matter your skill level, there is a she shed for you.
Pro Tip: A popular size for a she shed is 10 x 12 feet (120 square feet). That’s likely because it offers ample space and many counties don’t require a building permit for a structure this size. How ever you plan to install your shed, be sure to check local regulations for any necessary permits.
A DIY Rebuild
This is probably the best way to build a she shed on a budget. Plenty of beautiful she sheds come from DIY “refabs” of existing structures that have recently been used to house righteous cobweb collections. Hey, we’ve all bought items that live out the majority of their days serving a completely different purpose… exercise equipment transformed into a temporary laundry rack specifically comes to mind.
Starting with an existing structure has lots of benefits. Reduced cost is the most obvious one, but convenience is also a plus – most of the construction is already done! You can upgrade to French doors, add a fresh coat of paint and maybe a window or two, but if you’re lucky, the majority of your DIY endeavor will be lipstick and rouge. Tool sheds, storage sheds and even greenhouses can be turned into a new fabulous backyard getaway!
The shed itself isn’t the only component you can up-cycle. DIY she sheds typically consist of fabulously refreshed furniture, fixtures and accessories. Re-cycled materials like used windows and doors can easily be salvaged and spruced-up with a bit of paint for reuse in your shed. Pro Tip: repainted dresser drawers make adorably unique window boxes for flowers and herbs.
A DIY New Build
A new build is a great option if you don’t already have an existing structure just aching to be turned into a brand new nook of the backyard. The easiest course is to buy a simple prefab shed or kit to assemble yourself – assuming you don’t want to start from total scratch, of course.
These options can be fairly inexpensive and are usually easy to assemble. Many of the components come finished, with most (or all) of the cutting done before delivery, and include step-by step instructions. Before you begin to doubt your mad shed-building skills, remember that the internet is swarmed with real-life, first-time DIY success stories and you could be one of them.
Prices for shed kits vary, depending on a lot of factors. Size, material, fixtures and accents all affect the price. Remember, you can always go bare bones with the structure and spice things up with your keen design know-how, or your certified YouTube education! A general price range for a new shed is somewhere between $1,400 and $5,000. Some dealers sell refurbished sheds, so you might be able land yourself a larger or more luxurious shed than expected.
You can find this available in a variety of methods. Companies like Studio Shed offer modern custom designed sheds, luxury backyard rooms and fully developed living spaces with seemingly endless options. They also partner with professional installers who are experienced with assembling Studio Shed spaces and offer different installation options.
Why not go all-in with a mini dream house delivered and assembled for you, eh? Well, the smallest base model rings in around $11,000 before choosing your exterior layout, door style, siding color, etc. – all of which come with additional price tags – plus installation. If you can swing the price of the shed, they do offer a DIY option with training tools and customer support to help reduce your overall cost.
If you’re set on having a new she shed but are rubbish at handy work (this girl), and are short on friends or family members equipped to help, hiring a local contractor or handyman is another option. Most home improvement stores, like Home Depot and Lowes, also offer installation if you purchase the shed from them.
How to Decorate Your She Shed
How you choose to decorate your shed should center around your intended use for the space. Starting with some basics, you can either leave the walls and floor bare wood for a rustic look, if that goes with the feel of your shed’s purpose. Or you can paint them and decorate with accents and rugs for more of a finished appeal. Whether or not you need to install insulation can also affect the look of your walls.
The interior color scheme should also match the purpose of your shed. For instance, if your shed is for meditation, you’ll want to use calming colors like blue or green. You can also keep the majority of your space a neutral white and accent with soothing hues.
Adorn your space with things that represent you and the reason for your shed. Continuing with the meditation example, you likely won’t need bulky furniture. Comfy cushions (zafus) and floor mats should do the trick. Accents like singing bowls, chimes and waterfall fountains can act as décor and useful tools for peaceful meditation.
If your shed is for entertaining, consider who will be your most frequent guests and what kind of activities you enjoy doing together. Will you create a red carpet movie house? Perhaps a posh wine tasting room? Maybe a breezy island experience to sweep you away during the winter months? The ideas are nearly endless and can land anywhere between a storybook and modern motif.
Designing, installing and decorating your she shed can feel overwhelming, but it can also be extremely liberating. You have the freedom to make something all for yourself, and in any fashion you choose. Sure, it'll take time, research and likely some grit work, but in the end you’ll have created something to increase your joy and peace of mind. A well-worthy investment.