What Is a “She Shed” and How Do You Build One?
A she shed is a small building that a homeowner constructs on their property as a place for activities, hobbies, and interests. This isn’t your typical shed. Instead of using the building to house tools and equipment, she-shed enthusiasts dedicate their space to arts, crafts, or whatever type of pursuit they choose.
“This is a place they’ve designed that is just theirs, that they can do with it whatever they want, and I think that really is a modern woman’s prerogative,” says Erika Kotite, author of “She Sheds: A Room of Your Own.” In an interview with NBC News about why she sheds are the new man caves, Kotite discussed the different types of she-shed structures and uses.
She sheds are becoming more and more essential for women at a time when they’re burned out. Since working from home became a thing for many women, there’s no separation between work life and home life. According to NBC, 16% of women report being burned out, in comparison with 9% of men, and 37% of women are stressed about work. A she shed gives women a place to relax, do self-care, and find some balance.
A she shed could be a restored metal shed, a tiny glass house, or a structure composed of recycled materials. While you could turn a basement, garage, or an external structure into a man cave, the she shed is, by definition, an external structure. As such, it’s the perfect place to get away and indulge in some therapeutic hobby time. Find out more about how to transform any old shed into a deluxe hideaway.
What Is a She Shed Used For?
You can use a she shed for whatever your heart desires. Here are some particularly popular and appealing purposes for these backyard havens:
- Music room;
- Craft shack;
- Visual art creation space;
- Yoga and meditation;
- Workout room;
- Relaxation and conversation station;
- Coffee and tea parlor;
- Entertainment and games;
- Reading room/home library;
- Writing space.
There are as many uses for she sheds as there are people. In other words, you are free to do whatever you want with your lady shack, and that’s the beauty of these spaces. They’re a safe space where women can do the things they want to do most.
How Much Does a She Shed Cost?
The cost of a she shed may vary a great deal based on several factors. These include:
- Location on the property;
- Building materials;
- Its intended use and level of complexity;
- Whether it’s a renovation of an existing structure or a new structure.
Your she shed could stand alone like a tiny house, which would come with a higher price tag than a shed that is simply insulated and furnished. Whatever you do, the structure will need to stand on a solid foundation and it should be able to withstand the elements.
The price tag of a shed or playhouse can range anywhere from $100 to $15,000, or $15 to $150 per square foot. Or, if you’re looking at renovating an existing structure, the average cost will be anywhere from $459 to $1,444. But let’s be honest here — this is more than just a shed. A high-quality she shed with custom specifications for maximum comfort and durability could cost you up to $30,000, including the building permit, if necessary.
However, you can create a quality space at a reasonable price without skimping on all the customizations your she shed calls for.
How to Make a She Shed
Your first step to creating a she shed is to do some comprehensive planning. What’s the best location? What’s its primary purpose? What type of materials are optimal? Can you find a deal that includes installation and labor, or is this a completely DIY project? To make your she-shed concept a reality, start by analyzing your available space.
Find a Space
Take a look at your property and determine the best spot for your she shed. You want a level piece of ground, otherwise you’ll have to put in some extra work to prepare the area for a foundation. If the spot isn’t relatively level, you may even need to invest in more concrete and lumber than you would otherwise.
A great option is to convert an existing storage shed into a she shed. This way, you won’t need to scrounge for space on your property and you’ll be looking at a lower price tag. If you need to build out, you can do so, and your storage shed is a good foundation on which to start. Just make sure the shed’s foundation isn’t compromised with any cracks that let in moisture.
Not everyone has a storage shed they can give up. However, if you have any extra yard space on your property, you can get an inexpensive she shed with wood or metal siding customized to your size specifications. You can even ask for eco-friendly fiber cement siding. All you have to do is locate a suitable area, whether in your backyard, on the side of your house, or elsewhere, and measure the square footage for your custom-built she shed.
Pick Your Purpose
How you intend to use your she shed will make a big difference when it comes to the design. For example, if you want it to be a yoga or exercise space, consider an open floor plan and include plenty of windows to get that natural light. The dimensions of the room should accommodate your preferred exercise equipment and you’ll need lots of headroom. A hardwood floor is optimal for this type of space.
The purpose of the space will help you nail down details such as dimensions, materials, wiring, and amenities. If you want a multipurpose shed, you should still think about your main priorities. A reading and writing room will need shelving and desk space with plenty of lighting, while a craft room will need cabinets and, optimally, a sink. Oh, and don’t forget room for the all-important craft table.
Think about the purpose of your she shed and then draw up the dimensions, pick out materials, and plan out customizations accordingly.
Make It Functional
When it comes down to it, the most important aspect of your she shed is its functionality. Think of it this way: if you feel comfortable spending a night or even a week living in the shed during any season, you’ve created a functional space. Here are your main considerations in this regard:
- A sturdy and moisture-free foundation.
- A pest-proof structure without any entryways for rodents.
- Insulation between the sheetrock and siding.
- Durable, waterproof roofing with a pitch suitable to the weather in your area.
- Double-pane windows.
- Ductless heating and cooling system or portable heating and cooling units.
- Electrical wiring with plenty of outlets and lighting fixtures built-in.
- Plumbing, depending on the purpose of the shed.
- Hardwood, laminate, linoleum, or tile floors for a more active space, or carpet for comfort.
Get all of these basics down and you’ll have a structure worth spending some time in. Your two options here are to work with contractors or do it all yourself. Your primary consideration is time.
Do you have enough time — and hopefully some help from friends — to do it on your own? This could easily take three to six months. If you don’t have that type of time, consider getting a pre-fabricated building customized to your specs.
Indulging your creativity with your she shed is the fun part. It’s also the part that will make this space the most enjoyable. Start with considerations such as a front porch to create a tiny-home feel. Aim for aesthetic appeal with things like the roofing (wood shingles create a cottage-type look), the paint colors, the door, and the interior accents.
Here are some ways to get creative with your she shed:
- Go for a rustic look by building a mini-barn with antique furnishings.
- Build a structure complementary to the landscape features and plants in your yard.
- Paint a mural on an exterior or interior wall.
- Build stairs to a rooftop patio.
To get inspiration, search Pinterest or Instagram and look at what other people have done with their she sheds. But whatever you do, don’t forget to give it your own special touch.
Personalizing your she shed is about investing your own personality and your unique purpose into the building. Maybe you want a skylight where the moon will appear every night at midnight. Maybe you just want a truly functional space that makes use of materials you scavenge anywhere you can find them. The she shed is your oyster. Do with it what you will, invest some care in it, and you’ll have a place to call your own.