7 tips to convert an old shed into more than storage space

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Published: May 3, 2016 · Updated: May 7, 2019

blue-shed-surrounded-by-trees-with-a-chair-in-front Gary Pettit/Shutterstock

In our multitasking culture, there’s rarely just one use for anything—and that includes the old shed in your backyard. Whether you’re interested in converting your shed into a quaint and cosy guest house or a tranquil studio, these seven tips, along with a trip to your nearest TIMBER MART, will have you on your way to creating something that’s so much more than storage space.

Seal the cracks

If you’re planning to spend any significant amount of time in the shed, the first thing you’ll want to do after removing all of the tools and other items is seal any cracks. A little weatherstripping and caulking will help cut down on drafts, mice, and bugs. That said, if it’s a really old shed, sealing cracks might not be enough. You may have to consider replacing a wall.

Install insulation

No matter how well you seal the shed from drafts and other intruders, you’ll need to install insulation to make it cozy and liveable. Even summer nights can get cool, and it simply won’t be worth all of the hassle if you can only enjoy it for a small fraction of the year. If you’re installing the insulation yourself, don’t forget to wear protective gear to shield your skin, eyes, and lungs from the fibreglass. Seal the narrow gaps, like those around the window and door jambs, with expanding spray foam.

Add a window

Chances are your shed didn’t come with a window, so you’ll need to install one. This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth the effort. Most sheds don’t have a lot of square footage, and if you don’t install a window, it’ll feel cramped and unpleasant. Ideally you’ll have two, each on opposite ends, that you can open to create a cross-breeze.

Include ventilation

Two windows will do wonders to get stale air moving, especially if you buy a standard twin window fan. But for colder seasons, when keeping a window open simply isn’t an option, consider installing a simple exhaust fan in the wall to ensure you always have fresh air circulating throughout the space.

Build custom furniture

To make the most of a relatively tight space, consider how you’d like to use it and build the furniture accordingly. Try to maximize the space with pieces that have multiple uses, like benches with built-in storage underneath, fold-down tables, or even a trundle bed, which the kids are sure to love.

Turn up the lighting

Even with the addition of windows, you’ll likely need to install lighting, since most sheds come equipped with a single bulb at most. If no form of lighting exists and you don’t want to go through the trouble of running electrical all the way out there, or if it’s simply not possible, consider opting for solar power instead. A simple solar power kit can run small appliances like lamps, stereos, and phone chargers.

Pay attention to the details

While cozy, well-fitting furniture, ample lighting, insulation, and proper ventilation are all essential in converting your old shed into something more than storage, you’ll want to pay attention to the finer details, too. A bright coat of paint, throw pillows, blankets, and some simple pieces of art can do wonders. And if you do decide to turn your shed into a guest space, you’ll also want to ensure it’s as inviting on the outside as it is on the inside, which may include installing a new door and adding a walkway from the house or cottage.

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