A medium sized shed can offer 90 - 120 sq. ft. of space, much like an average tiny house.
It’s easy to see why people are inspired to convert their unused garden sheds into a tiny home or living space. And with more and more homeowners doing their own home DIY projects, transforming a shed into a tiny house has become a popular idea.
So should you transform your shed into a tiny home? If you have to move in somewhere as soon as possible and you don’t need the house to be mobile, then a converted shed could be the perfect option for you. It’s a very affordable alternative to building a tiny house from scratch.
Pros and Cons of Converting Your Shed Into a Tiny House
Most backyard sheds are used as storage areas for garden tools and other yard equipment. But over the last few years, homeowners have decided to convert their sheds into art studios, exercise areas, playhouses, “she sheds”, or even work spaces -- but rarely sleeping areas. Most homeowners don’t want to go through the hassle of connecting their shed to electricity or plumbing, much less installing appliances and making the space liveable.
The tiny house movement has shown that tiny spaces can be nice and liveable, as long as you think creatively and outside-the-box. A temporary shed house can also be good to have before getting a full-sized house, especially if you’re still saving up for one.
Still, you really have to think about the pros and cons of having a tiny shed house before investing in such a project.
|Tiny shed houses can be very affordable. |
Shed houses are some of the most affordable options for a tiny home, even if you purchase a prefabricated shell. Professional shed builders pay wholesale prices for the materials so it can cost you around $1000 - $6000, depending on the size and the quality of the build.
DIY converting your shed into a tiny home would be even cheaper, because you would have complete control over the materials used and you won’t need to pay much for additional labor.
|You might not have a lot of choices for customization. |
Because the overall structure is already built, you might not be able to transform your shed into your exact dream house. You may have to compromise on the overall floor plan or layout. However, you would still have full control over the design and colors you want so your shed can still suit your tastes.
|It is much faster to finish a tiny shed build.|
With a shed in place, the overall structure of your tiny house is ready so it won’t take as long a time compared to building a tiny house from scratch. It is much easier and faster to make a shed habitable, even if you don’t have a lot of skills or time.
|There could be legal limitations for building a tiny shed house. |
One problem with converting your shed is that not every state allows tiny structures to be used as dwellings. Zoning regulations and local codes vary depending where you are in the US so you’ll have to check with your local permitting office. On the brightside, tiny house sheds do usually pass building codes as these were made according to certain standards.
5 Steps for Converting a Shed Into a Tiny Home
There are many different options if you want to convert a shed into a tiny home; you can buy a ready-to-assemble kit, order a prefab shed shell from a professional builder, or renovate the shed yourself.
The most cost-effective choice is going the DIY route. Aside from having full control over the materials and the quality of the build, you can include built-in furnishings or other designs that suit your specific needs.
Of course, you will have to exert a lot of effort and thought into converting a shed into a liveable dwelling space. If you’re willing to do the work, here are the basic steps on making these changes happen:
1) Measure the Shed
You need the correct measurements of your existing shed in order to determine the right square footage so you can draft an inventory of the items and furniture you want to put inside. Think of your layout for the bedroom, living space, kitchenette and bathroom, then make several sketches based on your ideas. You can even add a small porch to your design.
It would be best if the interior is completely open except for the bathroom so you won’t waste too much space and energy building walls or partitions. Before beginning the build, be sure to clean the shed inside and outside.
2) Conduct Necessary Repairs
As your shed may have been unused and not maintained properly over the years, it’s best to check the space to see what has to be fixed. Make sure the ground has no moisture problems or loose soil as well before you repair the roof and the foundation.
Use caulk and weatherstripping, or add roofing plywood and shingles to your roof as needed. Fix any cracks and leaks to guard your tiny house shed against bugs, rodents, dust, drafty wind, and other problems.
3) Set Up Utilities and Insulation
Run your plumbing and electricity as needed; if you can’t DIY the utilities, it would be better to call in professionals. Although you may end up paying more, you will have more peace-of-mind with the work done on the house.
It’s important to run the utilities before you insulate and frame the walls. Once that is done, add double-pane windows with screens and color the walls with semi-gloss paint. Brighter colors like white and pastels can reflect light and make the inside of the home look more spacious. Don’t forget to add weather-stripping materials for all doors and windows.
4) Add In the “Rooms”
With an open floor plan, it’s much easier to build the different areas in your tiny shed house. Build a bathroom in a separate space and add a kitchenette to the smallest side of the shed, along one wall. Add your counter, sink, open shelves, and dorm-sized appliances once everything is finished.
5) Decorate the Interiors
Choose flooring material that doesn’t retain moisture, such as hardwood or tile. Avoid adding carpets if the area is exposed to dampness. Furnish your tiny home as minimalist as possible by choosing versatile, multipurpose furniture. Instead of a separate bed and sofa, opt for a daybed or a sofa bed.
For lighting, choose wall sconces over table or floor lamps to conserve extra space. Finish by adding storage such as counters, cabinets, shelves, hooks, bins, and boxes. Decorate with plants, trinkets, and important appliances for the final touches. You are now ready to move into your converted shed.
Live Out Your Tiny House Dreams
You don’t need to break the bank to build a tiny home. With a little imagination, you can easily convert an existing structure into a tiny house. A converted shed may just be a temporary dwelling but you can make the most out of it with proper design and construction.
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.