Build your ultimate she shed in a weekend

The Man Cave has always been a fixture in our gardens – the shed or workshop where dads seek refuge to potter and build and mend. But a new trend has emerged – the She Shed – which has seen mums across the country creating their own private spaces away from the demands of family life.

Some use it to work or indulge their hobbies, while others just want a cosy corner to call their own. Take a quick look at the #womancave and #sheshed hashtags on Instagram for evidence of how popular they’re becoming. But while some wouldn’t look out of place in an interiors magazine, She Caves don’t have to cost the earth or require a team of carpenters to build.

As our video above shows, you can buy a cheap shed from a DIY store (or convert an existing one) and transform it in a weekend. All it takes is a lick of paint and a little imagination. And with the Bank Holiday coming up and summer on its way, now’s the perfect time to realise your own dream garden getaway.

A word from a mum

Sarah Christie, the busy mum behind the family lifestyle blog and star of our new video, believes the trend is down to the fact that enterprising mums want to make the most out of their increasingly tiny living spaces. ‘No matter how small our homes, us women still want a space of our own to provide a sanctuary away from children’s sticky fingers and family life,’ she tells us. ‘It’s amazing what you can do in a tiny space.

‘And it’s not just for Londoners. Terraces in Lancashire, where I’m from, would be the perfect space for a She Shed, where mums can kick back, work on their hobbies and have a G&T. More and more of my female friends are getting their own She Sheds, particularly those who work from home and/or have their own businesses. But every mum should consider embracing it and, with a bit of creative flair, you don’t have to spend very much. You made my dream She Cave for only £565 and I couldn’t be happier.’

How to plan your She Cave

Tempted to give it a go yourself? We asked Emily Pirouet, the creative director behind our amazing shed transformation, for the lowdown on how to create your ideal She Shed over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

Day one

‘It’s vitally important that you decide what you want the space to be used for before you get started,’ says Emily. ‘Is it just a quiet place to chill out, a hobby or crafts room, a potting shed or a reading room? Once you’ve decided on the shed’s function, it’ll be a lot easier to plan your decorative scheme and decide how to furnish it.

‘Then clean out your shed of all the junk (be brutal), separating anything you’d like to upcycle from stuff that needs to go to the charity shop,’ she adds. ‘If you’re buying a new shed, head to the shops where a decent one should cost you approximately £350-£550. While you’re there, buy the paints, including any contrasting colours you’d like to use for any shelving or furniture. Finally, build the basic structure and file down any stray splinters so you’re ready to get painting the following day.’

‘I wouldn’t recommend putting plumbing in a shed,’ Emily warns. ‘It’s not necessary – especially if the shed is close to your house – and you may need planning permission. Also I’d use battery-powered solar lights or candles in lanterns to light your shed – it’ll save lots of money on electricity and an electrician.’

Day two

‘It’s time to get painting,’ Emily tells us. ‘I always use external wood paint because it’s more hardwearing. Pick a colour that really shows off your style and remember you can take more risks with the colour in your garden – sheds are easier to change and you’re less likely to get sick of it. If you’re more into keeping things simple, go for white paint and cram it with contrasting colourful accessories.’ It’ll take the best part of the day to apply two coats inside and out for maximum effect. 

Day three

‘After allowing the shed to dry overnight, it’s time to get creative with your interiors. I love using old pallets to create sofas – I get mine free from large retail warehouses. You can then jazz them up with inexpensive cushions from places like H&M Home or Ikea. I also love car boot sales and charity shops.

‘Cut some wood to create a peg board, making sure you secure it to the solid wooden frame rather than the thinner, weaker slatted walls. Upcycle furniture from your house with a coat of paint – old bookcases can be cut down and made into awesome shelves. And drill hooks into the walls to hang your knick-knacks or mugs. Think about adding a rug, too, as it’ll make the space feel instantly more luxurious. Old crates are great space savers and can also be used to make a Murphy Bar (basically, a cocktail cabinet).

‘Lastly, get creative with the greenery and be sure to put some plants and flowers outside the shed and house plants inside. You’re in your own little garden oasis, you want it to feel that way.’

Delighted with the new extension to your house? Feel even more smug by checking out home insurance deals right here.

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