If you’re the kind of person that routinely tackles DIY projects, has more hobbies than you can count, or even just loves having a place to kick back and relax after a hard day’s work – having a dedicated space to use for all of it is a must. For many, however, time was a limiting factor in turning that dream into a reality. Now, though, as most people are living under stay-at-home-orders due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many people have more free time than they know what to do with.
The remaining problem is, many homes weren’t built with general-purpose spaces like that in mind. That leaves many homeowners with two major options. One is to try and squeeze their hobbies and interests into mixed-use spaces. The other is to build an extension on their home. Needless to say, both options suffer from some serious shortcomings, even if you have all of the time in the world to work on them.
There is, however, a third option that may be possible for some. It’s to convert a shed or garage into a space suited for their specific needs. Doing it isn’t that difficult, and it’s a great way to put underutilized sheds to much better use than as simple storage. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to make use of your newfound free time that will pay dividends long after the coronavirus pandemic is little more than a bad memory. If that sounds like an option that will work for you, here’s how to turn your shed or garage into the hobby space, workshop, or rumpus room you need.
Make Your Shed Habitable
While most sheds designed for home-use are sturdy and solid structures, most weren’t intended for people to spend all that much time in. For that reason, they normally lack some essential features you’re going to have to add yourself. For example, if you’re going to be inside your converted shed year-round, you’re going to need to upgrade its insulation to protect you from the elements.
That’s just step one, though. You also have to worry about sealing up your shed to prevent bugs, rodents, and other animals from getting inside. The good news is that there are vermin seal products like Retroseal Domestic & Retroseal Superseal that make doing so very easy, even in existing structures like Peter did. With that taken care of, you’re ready to move on to some more comfort-related additions.
Add Ventilation and Windows
Another thing that many general-purpose sheds lack is ventilation because that’s not the kind of thing you’d need for outdoor storage. Humans, however, need adequate ventilation in any enclosed space they occupy. One option is sliding glass doors you can add to your shed.
You’ll gain extra ventilation once you add new doors or windows to your shed. They’re easy to install, look great, and will allow plenty of natural lighting to enter your newly-repurposed space. Before you get started, though, give the layout of the space some thought. Then you can make sure to place the windows where they’re most appropriate. For example, you might want a window above a workbench, but not opposite where you’ll install a television. Your particular application matters here, and since you’re designing your shed to suit, where you place every element is up to you. You can create extra ventilation to a shed by adding louvered vents or corro vents where appropriate and ridge vent to augment them.
Add Electrical Service
No matter how you’re planning to use your converted shed, there’s a good chance you’re going to need electricity to do it. In a workshop or hobby space, you’ll need it to power your tools. In a rumpus room, you’ll need it for televisions, video games, and other entertainment gadgets to keep you occupied. The only real question is how you’re going to get it.
You could choose to hire an electrician to extend your home’s existing electrical service to the shed. For applications that require heavy-duty appliances such fridge, cooktop, and washing machine, that’s almost always the best option. The only drawback is that doing so can be expensive, and there’s no DIY option available.
For light-duty applications, it’s sometimes possible to take your shed completely off-grid with a self-contained solar power solution such as solar panels. You’ll need enough panels and battery storage to suit your power needs, but these days that’s not much of an obstacle. If you’re confident in your skills, self-installation is also an option. If you’d rather skip the work, some manufacturers even make and install systems designed for shed conversions, which fit the bill quite well.
Consider Finishing Options, Amenities
At this stage, all that’s left to do is to decide what finishing options you’d like to add and what kind of extra amenities you’d like. For a workshop, you’re likely to want plenty of stand-alone shelving, a big workbench, and enough wall-hung pegboard for all of your tools. If you’re going to use the shed as a hobby space, wall-mount shelves are in order.
A rumpus room, however, often requires the most interior finish work. That’s because you’re going to probably have to frame out the shed’s walls and add sheetrock to create indoor walls like the ones in your home. They’ll allow you to decorate and paint as you would any ordinary household space, which will enhance your overall comfort.
Also, you might want to consider adding heating and air-conditioning, since you and your family will be spending your downtime in your newly-converted shed. If you’re going all-out, you might even opt to add a modular bathroom so that you won’t have to run back to your main home if you’re caught short. The options here are endless – especially when you consider the fact that sheds are now being manufactured as luxury homes.
The Space You Needed
When your project is complete, you’ll have the space you’ve been lacking. Be it a hobby space, a workshop, or a rumpus room, you won’t have to compromise anymore by squeezing those activities into your home. In truth, these uses are just a few of the ways that you can use a shed. If you require extra purpose-designed space, there’s no limit to what you can do with your shed. What are you planning to use yours for?