There’s a lot of buzz about she sheds right now but surprisingly, there isn’t much detail about the ways women use them. These little structures may be pretty and all, but they definitely have some terrific purposes to enhance your daily life.
First, let’s establish what a she shed is NOT used for: storage. Sure, it makes a great place to stash your favorite things but remember don’t pile too high or it will look ugly and unwelcoming. And whatever you do, don’t let anyone else in the household borrow the shed “just for now” to put old boxes and bags of stuff overflowing from the garage. A she shed is best when it’s used as a place of inspiration, repose, privacy and creativity.
In my book She Sheds: A Room of Your Own I spend a lot of time showing the ways women use their spaces. I also get asked the question a lot at shows and by the media. Some women know intuitively what they will do in their someday shed; others aren’t sure. It’s best to actually have a plan before building. If you have just a vague idea that it would be “fun” to have a she shed, chances are it won’t be used and loved.
Here are the top five ways to enjoy a she shed:
- The grandmother of all she sheds is the potting shed. It’s amazing how valuable a little place can be for helping gardeners manage plants and keeping their tools tidy. The gardener’s she shed also has plenty of space for comfortable sitting and planning, even in harsh weather, for the spring planting ahead.
- Making Art. Do you recall fondly the days when you painted on canvas and hope “someday” to pick it up again? Love to sketch but don’t have anywhere quiet to do it? The artist’s studio is a place for new beginnings. Artists need dedicated space to do their thing, and plenty of light. Sometimes they get completely engrossed in their work and can’t be bothered with putting everything back at the end of the day. That’s all right in one’s own she shed. Most of these structures have lots of windows and a French door, surrounding a sparsely furnished room that includes a large work table and easel space.
- Crafting and DIY projects. Like the artist, crafters often outgrow the “spare room” and their projects begin creeping into the dining room. The crafter almost always instantly recognizes a she shed as the perfect solution. Jewelry-making, quilting, sewing, pottery, leatherwork, knitting, wood and metal working are just a few of the arts practiced in a she shed.
- Writing/Homebased Business. If you are fortunate enough to work from home, where is your office? Usually the answer is “the spare room” and that can work great. If you don’t have this extra space or experience a lot of interruption (“mommy, mommy, can I have a snack?”) then a she shed might be a better option. A no-frills structure can work well as a writer’s retreat with a comfortable chair and place for a laptop. Most business endeavors, however, need reliable electricity and wifi to operate properly so your she shed will need basic wiring (and any applicable building permits).
- Meditation/Yoga. Yes, you’ve seen them all over Pinterest: the meditation or yoga room. They look so inviting, don’t they? One word of advice: If you don’t already practice these ancient arts, an exquisite little she shed won’t make a convert out of you. Make a commitment to attend classes or do some study, or both, before building the shed. Maybe all you’re looking for is a quiet place to read and relax, to hear yourself think. And that is a perfectly acceptable use in itself. (Photos courtesy Neil Dusheiko Architects)