As more individuals and businesses experience the many benefits of telecommuting, working from home is rapidly becoming the new normal.
That’s no surprise when statistics show people who work remotely earn $4,000 more per year on average, and that 30% of telecommuters save approximately $5,000 per year.
As the trend toward telecommuting continues, creating the ideal home office is an appealing idea. Now, more and more Americans are converting a shed into a home office for more privacy and a cost-effective use of space.
Here’s how to transform your shed into the perfect home office.
Let’s take a look at the potential cost of turning your shed into a home office, what to do if you don’t yet have a shed to transform, and how to plan out your project.
Potential Cost of Converting a Shed Into a Home Office
Why are so many Americans joining the trend of turning a shed into a home office? A glimpse at the difference between converting a shed versus building onto your home will answer that question instantly.
Of course, the most important aspect of the cost will be whether or not you already own a shed. But a number of factors also create a wide range in the potential cost, such as how sophisticated your office will be.
Material costs, labor requirements, and office equipment all play a role in the final price.
Generally speaking, the cost to turn your shed into a home office will run between $2,000 and $32,000. If you choose to build on to your existing home, the cost of your new home office will skyrocket to somewhere between $20,000 and $65,000.
Choose a Shed to Start With
If you already own a shed, you’re all set to get started. If you don’t have a shed on the property, choosing the right type can jumpstart your project and lay the foundation for the ideal home office.
When purchasing a shed for the purposes of creating a home workspace, windows and flooring are a great starting point. From there, you can choose from a number of options depending on your particular preferences and needs.
- Utility Shed: This option gives you a blank page. If you’re willing to add windows and complete some other customization work, this is a great choice both for your wallet and your creative side.
- Garden Shed: If you’re looking for an attractive option that can fit beautifully into the backyard, the garden shed could be perfect for you. It already includes windows and a flower box, which makes the transformation easier.
- Premium Shed/Cabin: For a higher price, a premium option gives you plenty of built-in luxuries to work from. The most appealing aspects of this choice are the plentiful natural lighting and storage space.
Paramount to creating your ideal home office is making note of everything you require for that office. For example, if you’ll be using a computer and the internet, your plan should include power supply and an internet connection of some sort.
Consider items like air conditioning, lighting, and storage space requirements. Make a list of everything you need. Then create a simplistic drawing of how you plan to set up your desk and other furniture, helping you manage the space. This is where your shed’s layout and size will play a major role.
Transforming Your Shed Into an Office
With your preparations complete, you’re ready to turn your backyard into the perfect workspace. All it takes is eight steps to make it happen.
Step 1: Create or Replace Doors and Windows
If your shed doesn’t currently have windows, this is the perfect starting point. Natural light is a vital aspect of a productive, healthy work environment. This is especially important if you’ll be working from this home office for eight hours a day. One or two simple square windows will take care of this necessity, and you can add shutters for a more stylish look.
If your existing doors and windows are rusted or have unwanted openings, you’ll want to replace these parts of the shed. Consider locks for your doors if you’ll have expensive equipment in the shed.
Step 2: Electricity Installation
In the modern age, electricity is a basic requirement for any office. To make sure your home office offers a flawless work environment, run power to your existing shed. Be sure to check zoning regulations and permits. Consult a professional electrician for a quick and easy solution.
Don’t forget to add light switches and plenty of outlets to run your computer and other office equipment.
Step 3: Insulation
You’ll be using your home office all year long, which means you’ll need protection against changing seasons. By adding proper insulation, you’ll be able to regulate the temperature inside your shed and guard against inclimate weather that might be acceptable for a shed to withstand, but not a home office.
Make sure to wear long sleeves and cover as much of your body as possible when dealing with insulation. When you’re done, your shed will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Step 4: Add Ventilation
Whether you opt for plastic dome vents or continuous roof vents, adding ventilation will increase both the comfortability and lifespan of your home office. One of the most advantageous characteristics of ventilation is how it protects the office from the moisture absorbed by the insulation you just installed.
Step 5: Drywall & Trimwork
If you wish to have central air and heating in your home office, make sure that gets installed before the drywall goes up. If you’ll be using window units to heat and cool your space, you can wait until the final stages of the project.
Put up drywall to give the interior of your home office a finished look. Drywall or wallboard will both work, so choose whichever you prefer. For the easiest process, full-length drywall panels are a great option. Once the walls are up, smooth over the edges. And don’t forget to cover the ceiling in drywall.
Finish the drywall step with window casings, crown molding, and baseboards. Though this aspect of the project may feel small or insignificant, these enhancements will go a long way toward transforming a dull shed into a beautiful office space.
Step 6: Finish Electrical
Add light fixtures to the ceiling and/or walls. Install outlets where you’ll be running electricity, such as near your desk, where you’ll station a potential wifi router, and where you’ll keep a printer.
Step 7: Paint
By adding a fresh coat of paint to the drywall, you’ll no longer be able to recognize your shed as a basic storage space. Instead, you’ll have an attractive workspace only a few steps from your home.
Start with a primer, after which you’ll add a base coat of a paint of your choosing. Cover the walls, ceiling, and trim. An important part of this step is choosing the best color for you. The color itself can affect both your mood and productivity. For example, bland grays and similar colors often facilitate sad, unproductive feelings. In contrast, certain blues can be calming while particular yellows can boost energy or stimulate creativity.
Step 8: Flooring
To complete the home office look, choose your preferred flooring. You can lay tile, carpet, hardwood flooring, or laminate flooring at the base of the shed. If you don’t want to spend money on flooring, pick out a throw rug that will cover the space.
Complete Your New Home Office
You’ve successfully transformed your shed into a home office space. With just a few more additions, you’ll be ready for a productive day of work.
Any office requires storage to maximize space and optimize productivity. Of course, the way you organize your home office will depend on the size of the shed you’re starting from. The key to this aspect of your home office is using that space wisely.
Open shelving and wall-mounted pegboards can go a long way toward utilizing your space with efficiency. And tall filing cabinets can give you more room to play with from a horizontal standpoint.
Furnish Your Home Office
The centerpiece to any office is the desk. Carefully consider which desk to use, how it fits within your shed, and where to position it. Look for a location that both faces a window and places you in close proximity to outlets.
Now it’s time for everything else:
Consider keeping a small open area to use as needed. For example, pacing or light exercise can stimulate productivity and creativity. Or you may want to add another piece of office equipment down the line.
Personal touches are what makes a home office your home office. When you step into this space the next morning, you shouldn’t be able to recognize that it used to be a shed. Instead, it should feel like the ideal work environment for you.
Start with photos or artwork. Strongly consider adding a plant or two to the space. In addition to their visual appeal, plants can provide cleaner air. For many, plants help to facilitate a connection with the natural world, protecting against that feeling of being stuck in a stuffy office.
If space allows, a comfortable second chair or couch is recommended. This gives you a place to relax while reading, or to take a quick break in the middle of a long day.
When turning your shed into a home office, remember to consult zoning restrictions. In many cases, electrical work will need to be completed by a licensed or certified electrician, then inspected.