Every hard-working homeowner deserves a private retreat to pursue hobbies or just get away from it all. This is why so-called “She Sheds” and “Man Caves” have recently become all the rage in property improvement options.
It’s true that there are lots of creative uses for backyard sheds that allow you to add purpose-built space beyond the walls of your home for whatever activities you enjoy. However, She Sheds, Man Caves, and art or music studios are some of the most popular custom uses for our sheds here at Backyard Unlimited because they promote relaxation for busy adults.
These unique uses, along with others that promote more serious pursuits — like workout sheds to house home gyms, office sheds that allow you to work from home with fewer distractions, and more — give you a little space on your property that’s just for you.
Today we’re taking a closer look at various livable shed options to inspire you to build your own and claim a little fun and personal space in your own life!
She Shed Ideas
If you frequent Pinterest or other social media hubs for creative home improvement ideas, you’re undoubtedly familiar with She Sheds (aka Lady Lairs, Lady Lounges, or Femme Dens).
The She Shed is the feminine equivalent of the Man Cave (more on those in a moment) and gives busy women their own private space on their property that’s separate from the shared family living areas inside the house. This physical separation of spaces is the whole point, which offers overworked moms, grandmas, and all other women in need of a little “me time” a place where they can let their hair down and enjoy some peace.
The She Shed is a sanctuary, and there are plenty of great ways to customize! Some of our favorites include:
Add stylish lighting
Do you ever see a lamp or light fixture that you just love, but you know it won’t fit the style of your home’s interior, or you know that you just don’t have space for it? Your She Shed is the perfect place to add these lighting options in any way you want! Choose a power package from our extensive list of construction options for your new shed, and you’ll be all set to design a lighting scheme you’ll love.
Create a reading nook with a comfy sofa or chair
If you enjoy reading for fun, you know how distracting it can be to attempt to settle in with a book in your home’s living room. Children, pets, your spouse, and others all seem to demand your attention while you’re trying to relax. Escaping to the cozy couch or recliner in your She Shed (and maybe locking the door behind you) will certainly afford you a little peace and quiet while you enjoy your book.
Make a friendly entertaining space
Looking for an area to entertain friends that’s not your home’s kitchen or messy family room? She Sheds are perfect for Girls Night! Incorporate lots of seating, a wine fridge, and a shelf for board games or craft supplies and gather together for fun! And if the laughter gets too loud late into the night, you don’t have to worry about waking the kids or bothering anyone else who lives in your house!
Who doesn’t love crafting in one way or another? From sewing to scrapbooking and floral design to jewelry-making, you know that your favorite craft hobby has outgrown the spare bedroom in your house.
Imagine having space for all of your tools and supplies, plus room to spread out! And, since your She Shed is just for you (as opposed to that poorly lit corner of your basement rec room), you don’t have to worry about cleaning everything up between work sessions!
Man Cave Ideas
You’ve heard of converting your basement or den into a Man Cave, but what if you don’t like to hang out underground (or in the house at all)! Transforming a new, well-built backyard shed into your own personal manly space is a much better idea.
First of all, you don’t have to deal with an interior remodeling project that will likely be dirty, loud, and inconvenient to everyone in the house. (And let’s be honest – if you plan to do a DIY basement remodel, how many years is that project actually going to take?)
With a Man Cave located elsewhere on your property, you will have space to make as much noise as you want, use dangerous tools (if that’s your thing) without the risk of them getting into the wrong hands, or hang out with your buddies in a “judgment-free zone.” Just like the She Sheds that the women in your life all have their eyes on, you can customize your Man Cave in nearly infinite ways to make it your own.
A few ideas we love include:
Set up your dream workbench
If you’re a woodworker or just enjoy doing DIY projects around your property, you probably already have a workbench in the basement or garage. Of course, you may not be able to see the bench top anymore under the layer of clutter. Even if you are a hyper-organized sort of person, you probably would do things a bit differently if you were building a new workbench from scratch. So why not do that in your new Man Cave?
We can build a variety of storage options into the structure of your shed, or you can add the perfect free-standing bench later.
Create the ultimate game room
Whether you’re a video gamer, a tabletop/board gamer, or just like to throw darts at a dartboard, your shed-turned-Man Cave is an excellent place to set up the games you most prefer. Trick out the space with all the latest electronic equipment for online or console games, or add a pool table and invite the guys over for tournaments. You’ll never have to worry about playing late into the night and disturbing your family in the house!
Bring your favorite bar home
Do you spend too much time at the neighborhood bar? Or maybe your favorite establishment closed down years ago, and you still have an empty place in your heart for the old watering hole. Why not recreate this hangout spot on your property? All your buddies will love having a comfortable place to put their feet up with their favorite beverages. And you’ll be a local legend for having the coolest Man Cave around!
Considerations for How to Convert Your Shed into a Room
Do you have an existing shed that you’d like to convert, or are you planning ahead for installation and know that you’ll be creating a She Shed, Man Cave, or other livable space after construction is complete? There are some renovation details you’ll have to consider, including insulating your shed and finishing the interior with flooring and wall material. You’ll also need to decide whether your use will require running water, power, and comfort (heating and cooling) amenities.
Additionally, it’s important to check with your municipality or local government authorities before undertaking a shed conversion project, since there may be building code rules you’ll need to comply with depending on your planned use.
Weatherproofing and insulation
Most traditional backyard storage sheds aren’t insulated, though they are typically weatherproof to assure that items kept inside aren’t damaged by rain, snow, high winds, or certain other forces of nature.
If you build a shed with us here at Backyard Unlimited, we’ll work hard to assure that your shed offers strong protection against the elements, but it will be up to you to add insulation and finish interior spaces for livability (unless you purchase a finished demo).
Water, power & other amenities
If your Man Cave is going to include a wet bar or your She Shed will be a creative outpost where you work on craft projects, you’ll likely want running water plus electricity available in your shed. The way you go about adding these features may vary, but depending upon your approach, installing water and plumbing (supply lines and drains) can make your shed project quite costly. This means it might not be a possibility if you’re creating your livable shed on a budget.
Luckily, power is a bit less of an investment, and can actually be planned for during the building process here at Backyard Unlimited by adding an electrical package. Almost all creative uses for sheds will require electricity, and running numerous extension cords from your home just isn’t practical or safe.
Don’t forget to consider whether you’ll want gas service to your shed if your home has a connection to a gas service provider. And you’ll also want to think about heating and cooling, too. While you can easily install a portable air conditioning unit or space heaters in your shed (once you have power), you may want to consider more permanent HVAC systems like “mini-splits.”
Lighting and windows
We have a wide variety of window options, sizes, and styles available for all of our shed types, or you may choose to have no windows in your shed and rely solely on light fixtures for illumination. Think about whether you want to prioritize privacy and security in your new shed or whether your space will need lots of natural light, as most artist or crafting studios do.
More Creative Shed Ideas: Backyard Studio for Artists and Musicians
If you’re an artist or a musician, you know how much physical space your hobby or “side gig” takes up. Whether you develop your own photos or record your own albums, creative pursuits are usually difficult to properly set up at home since certain aspects of those spaces (like lighting or sound-proofing) need to be carefully controlled. And renting space elsewhere can be cost-prohibitive, especially if art or music is something you do “just for fun.”
Here at Backyard Unlimited, we meet the needs of specific studio building projects by offering our Studio style sheds, which are designed to optimize light and usable floor space in ways that other styles can’t.
More Creative Shed Ideas: Gym Sheds
Do you enjoy working out, but don’t live close to a gym or just hate paying that monthly membership fee? You can convert your backyard shed to a personal workout space that only includes the equipment you care about. For instance, if you’re a weightlifter, you can pack your home gym shed with only weights equipment and forget about all of those space-hogging cardio machines like treadmills and stair climbers.
If you’re more into yoga, you can make your gym shed a perfect, relaxing retreat. The point of the workout shed is that it’s just for you, so you don’t have to let other people see you sweat (or look at other sweaty people)!
More Creative Shed Ideas: Home Offices
One of our favorite creative shed uses is the home office. After all, if you own your own business or often work from home, you know the challenges that come with working in space you share with your family. Even if you have a separate room in your house for your office, you know that being “at home” encourages people and pets to interrupt you all day long.
In putting more physical space between your work zone and possible disruptions by locating your office in an outbuilding on your property, you can discourage others from bothering you as you’re trying to talk on the phone or get other important things accomplished. You can even take professional meetings in your home office shed!
Gardening Shed Ideas
It’s true that many people garden as their hobby, and while you may already use an unfinished backyard shed as a potting or gardening shed, imagine how convenient your hobby would be with a sink, power, and upgraded storage in your space. While you probably don’t want to add a lot of surfaces and fixtures that aren’t easily cleanable (no carpets in the garden shed!), several of the ideas we discussed in the She Shed and Man Cave sections above, such as adding stylish lighting or creating your dream workbench, also apply to your modern garden shed. Add the right windows for ventilation or create a temperature controlled environment with heating and cooling amenities to make your gardening shed the envy of the neighborhood.
Or, better yet, consider your options in building a maintenance-free greenhouse!
Choose the right shed style for your unique requirements
When designing your new She Shed, Man Cave, studio, or any other creative shed building project, finding the right style that meets all of your expectations is key. As we discussed previously here on the blog, the right shed style for you and your property has plenty to do with personal taste and aesthetic preferences, but there are distinct advantages to each style’s functionality, too.
Browse our shed gallery to discover all of our high-quality and unique, Amish-constructed sheds. Then, get in touch with the shed experts at Backyard Unlimited to bring the backyard oasis of your dreams to life.