A more polished answer to the "man cave," the "she shed" is a must-have backyard hangout come summer (and beyond). From opulent, all-out clubhouses to more modest escapes, she sheds come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of your budget or square footage, these expert tips will help make the most of your space.
The first step to a great she shed? A clean shed. Before setting up shop, get rid of the usual backyard clutter and decades-worth of dirt. "These places are often collecting spots for things that don't have a good space of their own in the main home," says interior designer Erica Reiner, owner of Eco Method Interiors. "Donate and trash everything that doesn't get used and be free of it. Don't be afraid to get a power washer in there if you can, and even a cleaning service for a deep clean."
State Your Purpose
Before designing your shed, think about what you'd like from the space. "Figure out what you want to do in your shed," says Marty Basher, a home design and organization expert with Modular Closets. "Will it be a quiet place to read? Do you want to craft there? Or perhaps it's a meditation space? Defining a clear purpose will make decorating easier."
Shop Your Home
Before purchasing new furniture and décor for your she shed, shop around in your own home. "Look for chairs, rugs, and tables that are languishing inside," advises Diana Hathaway, an interior designer, and owner of Gorgeous Color. "Mismatched furnishings look creative and cozy when you keep them in your color scheme." However, resist the urge to "make it work" when it clearly doesn't. "Even on a tight budget, don't let your she shed become a storage space for anything that doesn't enhance your retreat's relaxing vibe," adds Hathaway.
Let There Be Light
Great lighting is the secret behind many a next-level she shed. "When approaching any space in need of some love, I start by assessing lighting," says Denise Morrison of Denise Morrison Interiors. "If your she shed has existing garage doors, I'd consider replacing them with large glass and iron doors to flood your space with natural light. To really anchor the space, add a unique, feminine light fixture to the center of your room. I love crystal chandeliers for she sheds because they are such a pinnacle for feminine design, and can scatter natural light as if it's dancing around the room."
Spin the Color Wheel
Just as wall color contributes to the mood indoors, it will have a big impact on your she shed, so choose accordingly. "Everyone has their own preference on relaxing colors, but soft cooler colors seem to feel right for most. For instance, light sages and skylight blues are often associated with spa-inspired rooms," says Hannah Yeo, a color and design expert with Benjamin Moore. "There is also some research indicating that greens and blues are considered the most relaxing to our eyes."
Make It Your Own
While a living room should be comfortable for the whole family, the she shed is all yours. In short, you do you. "Your she-shed can be a place where you are surrounded by the very things you love, even that creepy doll collection that scares everyone but you," says interior designer Courtney Warren. "It is your space. Go wild." Take the same approach to color. "Do you have a home of gray neutral paint but a secret love of bold color? Use this outdoor space to let those inhibitions fly," adds Warren. "Paint it a bold new hue that makes you happy, while knowing you can shut the door when you are ready."
Bring the Outdoors In
While crystal chandeliers are great, don't forget to nod to the outdoors. "The shed should be a continuation of the natural space surrounding it," says Stephanie Thornton Plymale, CEO, and President of the Heritage School of Interior Design.
Consider a Professional
If it's in the budget, consider spoiling yourself and hiring a professional to design your she shed. "Professional designers can always help, especially when making a space your own," says Leigh Spicher, National Director for Design Studios at Ashton Woods. "They will help you think through your ideas and add a layer of detail to make it perfect and personalized for you. They can also help to ensure the fundamental principles of design are in place, so your space works the way you intend and looks good at the same time."