Exterior Sheds & ADUs

12 Garden Sheds You Could Actually Live (or Work) In

Whether you’re upgrading to a bigger building or find you no longer need your backyard shed to store lawn and garden tools, consider giving your old shed new life as a hobby room, guesthouse, or backyard retreat. With an ample budget, you can transform the space into a supplemental living area that rivals your own house, complete with electricity and luxe amenities. Yet even with a more modest budget, as some of these sheds show, you can cleverly transform an outbuilding into something beautiful and useful. If you crave more space in your house but an addition isn’t an option, a backyard shed with a few bells and whistles may provide what you need. Whether you’ll be upgrading, renovating, or starting from scratch, here are 12 outbuildings that prove that a backyard shed can be just as sweet as home.

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Shipping Container


Go big and your shed can pull double duty. This transformed shipping container houses both a potting shed and guesthouse. The structure also has a green roof and is eco-friendly, making it a triple threat.

Related: 10 Cool Shipping Container Houses

Grain Shed

houzz.com / julieranee

Seeing no need for the grain shed that lived on the property of their new house, this couple repurposed—and relocated—it. After moving it to secure more scenic views, they set to work tearing down interior walls, refinishing the hardwood floors, and furnishing it.

Backyard Escape


Given this shed’s location in a lush, green backyard, it’s no wonder the owners wanted to make it as open and airy as possible. The exterior is painted a subtle green that allows the retreat to blend in with its surroundings and provide some privacy despite its openness.

Traditional Shed


This traditional shed’s exterior was given a facelift with a coat of bright paint. The bare-bones interior is outfitted with a potting bench and supplies, but a bed and a lofted second level signal that this shed is ready for more than just gardening.

Salvaged Shed


You’d never be able to tell from looking at it, but this budget-friendly backyard retreat is made entirely from salvaged materials. The shed is even supplemented with a terrace where visitors can step outside and enjoy the garden.

Preserved Shed


Although the homeowners initially thought the decaying shed in their new home’s backyard was destined for the dump, a closer look revealed it might have potential. In fact, the couple (one is an architect) transformed the 280-square-foot structure into a living space that encompasses a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and dining area.

Beachy Shed


With the right pops of color and such accents as a sleeping net and driftwood awning, this shed was transformed into a beach paradise. To make the transformation complete, might we suggest adding an outdoor shower?

Modern Prefab Shed


If you don’t have a shed to rehab, fear not: There’s a prefab for that. This model is customizable with a variety of green features, including photovoltaic solar panels, low-energy lighting, and recycled-newspaper-based insulation.

Swedish Friggebod


You may not have heard of it until now, but you’ll be wanting one soon. Friggebod is Swedish for a small structure or shed. This modern prefab version is particularly tiny at just 100 square feet, which means its construction is possible in many areas without a permit.

Modern Conversion


With such distinctive design, it’s hard to imagine that this guesthouse had a former life sheltering tools and lawn equipment. The structure gets much of its wow factor from a striking exterior element, the redwood-clad wall that bisects the façade on a diagonal while also separating the interior rooms.



Another prefab on our list, this shed breaks the manufactured mold to offer a rustic rather than a modern look. An abundance of windows makes it especially appropriate as a greenhouse or garden retreat. If used as a guesthouse, it’s best reserved for those who like to wake up with the sun.

Related: Build Your Own Greenhouse – 11 Easy-to-Assemble Kits

Orla Kiely Flower Show Shed


This garden shed has been decked out to the nines. Designer Orla Kiely created the intimate home for a flower trade show, but we wouldn’t mind planning a weeklong getaway to the cozy structure this spring.

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If you are interested in more diminutive dwellings, consider:

10 Cool Shipping Container Homes

16 Tiny Houses We Love

Home, Home on the Road: 10 Houses on Wheels