Shed Conversion Ideas

Aug 15, 2022

Your garden shed can be used for so much more than just storage. If you plan to spend more time outdoors this summer, consider transforming your shed or outhouse into an outdoor space.

Convert your shed into a gym, an art studio, an office for working at home, a she shed, a man cave or anything that takes your fancy. By adding plumbing, insulation, electricity, windows and comfortable furniture you can transform your shed into a livable, functional and productive space.

If you’re looking for shed conversion ideas then we have a ton of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Open up your mind and your home with some cool and crazy ideas to convert your shed into a usable space for the whole family.

Can You Convert a Shed?

If you have a shed sitting in the garden filled with a lot of bric-a-brac that you haven’t used in donkey's years, then we urge you to take a moment to consider all the possibilities that shed could offer you if it were a blank slate - which in actual fact, it is! Why not go ahead and Marie Kondo-it so you have a new space to transform.

If you don’t currently have an outhouse to convert, you can choose from Outposts large variety of options whether they’re our livable sheds, she sheds, or customisable shed conversions to give you a brand new canvas to work from.

Picture this, creating your own personal sanctuary. How would you do it? How would you use it? What would you put in it? We’ve put together some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing so you can give your DIY skills a new lease of life.

How Do I Upgrade My Old Shed?

If you want to convert your shed into a livable space then you will need to decide if investing in a few of the following upgrades will put you on the right track. 

Plumbing and insulation

If you plan on spending a lot of time in your new shed conversion in all seasons then plumbing and insulation can make your space that much more homely, comfortable and livable. This is a task that needs to be tackled early on in the conversion process so don’t dawdle on this decision.



Inviting natural light and fresh air into your conversion will work wonders for your transformation. You might not recognise your space from the inside with a few windows put in and this simple addition will quickly add some homeliness. Double panelled windows will save you money on your future electricity bills if you choose to heat or cool your shed and you can install a window air conditioning in the summer months if necessary. 


Some power outlets and lights will make your space instantly more workable around the clock and the year. If you wish to use air conditioning or heating, lamps, TV, laptops or simply charge your phone from a power source then adding some electricity outlets is a no brainer.

Create a blueprint for your plumbing, windows and electricity before you start your conversion, include how many outlets you will need and hire professionals for plumbing and electricity to ensure your conversion is up to code.

What Can I Do With An Old Shed?

There are endless opportunities for converting your old shed into a functional and useful space. But what you choose to do with your shed will depend solely on your preferences and hobbies. 

Who’s to say that your shed can’t include a combination of different activities? The best thing to do is to sit down and make a list of all of the things you love to do in your spare time or even during your work from home hours. Maybe you don’t have enough space in your home, maybe you would prefer to separate that particular activity, maybe you’ve been considering starting a sideline business and need some extra space. What would you include in your sanctuary?

30 Ways To Change Your Shed

If you’re not sure how to convert your shed into a functional space we have created a list of 30 ways to change your shed. We hope this helps to spark your imagination for a transformation:

  1. An office
  2. A games room
  3. A hobbies room
  4. A movie centre
  5. A DIY cave
  6. An art studio
  7. A kids playhouse
  8. A wine bar
  9. A cafe
  10. A chef’s kitchen
  11. A reading room
  12. A design studio
  13. A beauty parlour
  14. A walk-in closet
  15. A music room
  16. A pet grooming parlour
  17. A bakery
  18. A sewing room
  19. A pottery studio
  20. A recording studio
  21. A gym
  22. A yoga studio
  23. A craft shack
  24. A motorcycle room
  25. A she shed
  26. A man cave
  27. A club house
  28. A summerhouse
  29. A fishing nook
  30. A guest bedroom

This list is by no means exhaustive but hopefully it gives you some ideas of how to convert your shed in a way that suits you, your hobbies and the possibilities available to you.

Do I Need Planning Permission To Convert a Shed?

Depending on what you decide you want to convert your shed into, you may need to apply for planning permission. Here is an article we wrote about when building consent is required in New Zealand.

Before you start on your project, check with your local council to see what is allowed in your yard and whether or not you will need permits for certain additions to your property. This may depend on whether you choose to include water or electricity, how big the structure is and what materials it is constructed from.

How Much Would It Cost To Convert a Shed?

Converting your shed into a livable space depends very much on the following criteria:

  • Whether or not you have a shed already or are investing in a new structure
  • How much work is involved in your transformation
  • Cost of materials you wish to use, such as insulation, furniture, flooring, windows and doors
  • Cost of professional installation services such as plumbing and electricity. 

You could be looking at anywhere between $1,000 for a simple conversion or up to $40,000 for an all singing and dancing upscale outhouse with top of the range fixtures.

If you want to plan ahead and produce a rough estimate of how much your conversion is likely to cost, you can create a budget with all the aspects and materials you will need to consider for your conversion. Research the costs of these items and prioritise what is important to you within your budget.

How Do I Convert a Shed Into A Summerhouse?

The idea of a summer house is to provide shade and comfort in the hotter months while you can still enjoy the garden and be connected to the outdoors. Luckily we have a few tips for converting your shed into a summer house:

Open it up

Some sheds may not come with windows or if they do, they may be of lesser quality and small. To create a summer house out of your shed, you can install large windows or even open up an entire wall to create more light and openness into your summer house.

As well as letting more light in, windows can also add ventilation which can be extremely preferable in the heat and humidity of New Zealand summers. 

A skylight can also be a sound option for a summer house as it allows airflow, light, ventilation and frees up wall space for pictures, a TV, shelving or tall furniture.

Weatherproof it

Moisture and mould can infiltrate the materials on your summer house and create problems once spring comes around so make sure to weatherproof it effectively and to keep an eye on it over the winter.

Treating the exterior of your new summer house will ensure longevity throughout the season changes and extreme elements of the outside world. Use sealing foam on the windows and any gaps, apply a coat of weatherproof exterior paint in your preferred colour and invest in a door draft blocker to keep out drafts and bugs.

Add electricity

If your shed doesn’t currently have electricity then this could be a game changer for your garden. You could extend your evenings once the sun goes down by adding fairy lights or lamps, enhance your outdoor experience with some music, plug in your laptop and work from the garden or extend the use of the summer house into the autumn and winter with a space heater.

Consider your flooring

Maybe your current shed only has bare wood or concrete flooring, or if you’ve invested in a new structure you may have total control over some new flooring for your summer house. These floorings may be practical but you may choose to transition to tiles, rubber, treated wood, cork or vinyl. Any of these options may serve a better purpose for the usage, temperature and safer for bare feet walking during the summer.

Add furniture

You can really get creative with your summer house furniture and decorating options. This stage of the development might be where you want to exercise your interior design skills. Some ideas for summerhouse furniture include:

  • Rocking chairs
  • Swinging chairs
  • Tables
  • Hammocks
  • Rugs
  • Bean bags
  • Coffee or wine bar
  • Shelves or storage space for all your outdoor games and furniture

When considering what furniture to add to your summer house keep in mind your aim is to create a functional, comfortable and enjoyable space for everyone who will use it but it’s also important to enjoy the aesthetics.

Can I Turn A Shed Into A Tiny House?

Plenty of people are turning their outhouses and sheds into tiny home living experiences and with a little inspiration and know-how, you can too! 

Are you prepared to transition to the tiny house experience and living by the Marie Kondo method? A lot of people have recently admired this new concept of minimalist living but it might not be for everyone. Perhaps you're in a position where you need to downsize, save money, live comfortably in a small space or want to live more simply without the clutter of everyday consumerism. 

Turning your shed into a tiny home could be a really smart move and there are many advantages to tiny house living:

  • It can be cheaper
  • You can invest in better quality materials
  • It speeds up the process of building your home
  • You are more likely to secure financing for a smaller property
  • You can live more simply and buy less

If you’re looking to purchase a structure to create your tiny home then check out our Kitset Cabins. They are built tough and designed to meet and exceed the New Zealand building codes. Our kitsets offer beautiful exteriors and ample opportunities for designing the perfect tiny house living experience. 

All you need to do to make your shed your tiny home is add: 

  • Some plumbing
  • Electricity
  • Your belongings
  • Some necessary furniture
  • A tiny bathroom
  • A tiny kitchen
  • A restful place to sleep
  • Your personal touch 

We wish you the best of luck with whatever project you choose to create your shed into a functional and enjoyable space.

Interested in updating or adding a shed to your back garden? Contact Outpost Buildings today to learn more.

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