cute garden shed decorated with plants and accessories

Creating Your Dream She Shed on a Budget: Practical Tips and Inspiration

She sheds have been super popular in recent years, and it’s not a surprise. Providing a comfortable personal space to retreat to, she sheds have captured the imagination, creativity (and the need to escape the daily grind) of ladies everywhere.

 

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to create a space just for the ‘she’ of the house, or a shed retailer or designer looking for tips to design the perfect she shed for a customer, we’ll share some ideas and advice for budget-friendly she shed designs here. 

Before we begin: it’s important to establish what you want to get out of your she shed design

In order to plan or design your dream she shed, it’s important to first take a look at what elements would make a regular shed a ‘dream she shed’. By this we mean, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, “what would make this she shed ideal for my purpose”.

 

Here are some examples of popular uses of she sheds:

  • A personal retreat to escape it all — a place you can escape to for some peace, quiet, and ‘you’ time. (Read: hiding from the kids and/or partner).
  • A creative studio — a place for craft, painting, pottery, or whatever handy or creative hobby you are into.
  • Relaxing reading nooks — a quiet, comfortable space dedicated to reading.
  • Garden observation rooms — a space to enjoy a cup of tea while admiring your garden or watching birds and other nature outside.
  • Entertaining/tea rooms — a social space to gather with visitors and friends and enjoy a good catch-up.
  • Home offices — a space where you can think and get stuff done away from the main household’s distractions. 

As you can imagine, each of these spaces could be designed quite differently to maximise their enjoyment and function.

Designing budget-friendly she sheds

It’s also important to mention budgets at this point; it’s a good idea to map out how much of the budget is going to go towards the shed layout, shed features and shed build, and how much is going to be spent on the extras and fitouts. You can design a really amazing she shed space on a budget, but to do this you’ll need to know what your expected costs are going to be. 

 

It’s also a good idea to map out your priorities for how your budget will be spent. For example, the shed design, structure and layout itself is a crucial element, and one you can’t go back and change later; so prioritising getting this right over spending more on items like your interior decor and furniture initially is a smart move. Remember, some things you can upgrade as you go. Others you cannot.

 

When you look at budget allocation, it’s a good idea to write out a list of everything you need, want and would love, and then mark or highlight the bits that are most important to you, so you know to prioritise them. 

Dream she shed design tips

Make use of natural lighting

Utilise natural light as much as possible; it’s not only cost-effective but also is great for happy vibes and your well-being. It’s easy to do this — just opt for nice, big windows, especially in places that will catch the light. If you need to be able to create some shade within your she shed, big windows are still a good idea, so you can open them when needed — but just be sure to add good, effective blinds or curtains (blinds and louvres look great). 

Insulation is key

Proper insulation is key for year-round comfort, especially in the hotter / more humid parts of Australia. Be sure to tell your shed designer you’re keen for good insulation, and/or materials with natural insulation properties.

Design for cooling in general

A while ago we wrote a blog with shed design tips to keep a shed cool in summer (with plenty of great recommendations to do with positioning of the shed, airflow, air conditioning and other cooling options, etc). You can check it out here: How to keep a shed cool in the summer. Want the TLDR version? Just let your shed designer know you’d like design considerations for a cool she shed, and be sure to consider cooling features, such as fan installations, or even better, air conditioning. Adding flyscreens to your windows is also good so you can open windows and get the fresh, natural breeze without being swarmed by bugs. 

Think functionality and ‘space’

Be sure to consider how you’ll use your she shed, and what would make it the most functional — including the space you’ll need.

 

For example, if it’s a crafty space or a home office, you may want to ensure that your shed design allows for plenty of space for storage/storage furniture, or even incorporates storage options into the design (like vertical shelving units built in, or adding a mezzanine floor level if you’d like a fancier, bigger she shed). 

 

If your she shed is a creative space, you may want to consider big windows and a high ceiling, so that you can let your creativity flow. If your she shed is a reading nook though, you may like it to feel cosier and closer (like a warm hug).

 

If you’re looking to entertain friends in your she shed, you’ll want to allow plenty of space for comfortable seating, and probably some form of dining table or tea table.

She shed design tips based on your she shed’s purpose

Now that we’ve covered some basic she shed design tips, (and given a few examples of some specific design considerations for your she shed uses), let’s take a look at some more specific tips for each type of she shed’s design. 

Personal retreat she shed design ideas

If you’re designing a she shed for a personal retreat/an escape away from it all, your design will likely focus on creating a calming environment. 

  • Consider soft, calming colours, or minimalist colours, like whites and neutrals.
  • Add elements of nature to enhance the sense of escape and connect it to your outdoor spaces (some cute indoor pot plants, fake indoor greenery, or even strategically placed greenery in your outside garden will help a lot). 
  • Consider adding cute, budget-friendly elements like twinkling fairy lights for evening relaxation. 
  • Adding a comfortable seating piece, like a plush armchair or a hammock, can add to your relaxation and enjoyment, and act as a centrepiece. 
  • Alternatively, consider adding a reading nook or daybed piled with cute natural-colour cushions and throw rugs. 
  • If you want to add a little extra, ambient lighting and a small fountain or sound system can play soothing background noise, creating a spa-like atmosphere.
  • Big windows are great; and for a personal retreat she shed, so are blinds and curtains — then can help create a sense of space and privacy when a mental escape is needed.

Creative Studios

For She Sheds dedicated to crafts or painting, pottery, jewellery, or anything else artistic or hands-on, the layout must prioritise functionality, zen and inspiration. 

  • Having enough natural light is crucial, so consider skylights or large, light-facing windows. It’s also important to ensure that electrical lighting solutions will also provide sufficient light, especially at night or on overcast days.
  • Storage solutions such as pegboards, shelving, and drawers will keep your supplies organised and accessible. 
  • A large, sturdy work table with adjustable height can accommodate various projects, while durable flooring like laminate or tile makes cleanup easier. Or you may prefer more mobile workstations, depending on your art/craft of choice. 
  • Consider incorporating ways to display your artwork, or others’ pieces that inspire your creativity. 
  • Add a bluetooth speaker to play your best creative music. 
  • You’ll want to make sure you can keep cool, so you don’t have any distractions while you work your magic.

Reading Nooks

A cosy reading nook requires comfortable seating, excellent lighting, and plenty of book storage.

  • Add a couch, daybed, or build a platform you can place a mattress, and pile sheets, throws and copious amounts of pillows onto.
  • Natural light will make your space feel oh so lovely. Consider transparent curtains and regular blinds/curtains for your different light/shade/sun requirements.
  • Built-in bookshelves or a vintage bookcase can add character and charm to your she shed reading retreat.
  • A window seat with a view adds a lovely touch, providing natural light during the day and a cosy spot to unwind. 
  • Consider a small side table for teas or coffees and a quality reading lamp for evening sessions.

Garden Observatories

Designing a she shed with a focus on garden observation calls for maximising views with large windows, french or French doors.

  • Positioning the shed to capture the best angle of your garden is key. 
  • Indoor plants can help blend the inside with the outside, creating an interconnected garden experience. 
  • Consider adding a porch or verandah to your she shed, outdoor furniture, and large glass sliding doors that can be opened up; so you can enjoy your garden from practically within it, or from inside the comfort of your she shed. 
  • Add plenty of comfortable outdoor, weather-resistant furniture to your she shed’s deck area, and comfortable seating or furniture inside too. 
  • A shade cover added to the area over your deck will also help create interconnected indoor-outdoor spaces. 
  • Add plenty of greenery both inside and outside your she-shed.
  • Don’t forget to add a table for enjoying a cup of coffee, lunch, breakfast or a snack.

Home Offices

For a home office she shed, prioritise a layout that is set up for focus and productivity. 

  • A well-planned desk setup with ergonomic seating is essential. 
  • Include ample storage for office supplies and technology needs. 
  • Plenty of wall space for work calendars, vision boards and to-do lists will add to your inspiration and motivation. 
  • Sound insulation might help for conference calls or concentration if you have noisy neighbours (or kids). 
  • Incorporate a small break area with a coffee maker/kettle, mini fridge, and, if you can, water facilities (or a big water bubbler). Adding a comfortable chair for taking short breaks away from the workstation will help you take a short breather without becoming too distracted.
  • Big open windows, particularly those you can glance out at your garden through, can help uplift your mood (and, therefore, your creativity). Be sure you have the option to pull the blinds or curtains closed, though when you need to.
  • Good cooling options are a must, too.

Some final tips on she shed budget-savers to leave you with

  • Repurpose and upcycle where you can — whether it’s using paint leftover from your main house’s latest touch up, repurposing seating that never gets used, or getting handy and upcycling something for your new purpose, you can save a bunch of money in this way. 
  • Buy furniture, decor and the optional extras second hand — whether it’s your throw blankets, cushions, decor items or furniture, you can save a lot by buying second-hand, at op shops or on marketplace. 
  • Consider DIYing a new bench, table or desk with the help of a handy friend. 
  • Consider phasing your project — get the shed designed and completed first, with all the layout considerations and functionality in mind, and you can add all of the other fit outs and final touches later — you can even complete it in phases, like a ‘budget furniture’ phase initially, and then upgrade to comfier seating and cuter decor as you go.

Our final piece of advice is: have fun with your she shed design. Embrace the process, and let your she shed become a statement of your individuality and creativity. Enjoy the moment and remember, you totally deserve this space for you.