The size of your backyard studio or she shed will determine what kind of uses and activities it will accommodate. Our guide shows the most popular she shed sizes, how they are used, and how to organize your own shed to do anything you want.
If there is one thing we have learned in our six years of creating she sheds for women, it’s that size matters. Not necessarily the way you think (i.e. bigger is better) but in how you plan to use it to its fullest potential. Any size shed you end up with equals a victory, and then you make the most of the space you’ve got.
When it came to she shed size, my decision was pretty much made for me. With an impossibly tiny backyard, I was limited to a 6′ x 6′ she shed that was more the size of a playhouse than a reading room. Still, with its full-height door and six-foot-plus ceiling, the she shed fulfilled all of my hopes. It serves well as a quiet reading space and occasional home office when things were too crazy in the main house.
Below is a list of four common shed sizes and what each one is best for in terms of usage. Then, check out some tips at the end to make the best decision on which size shed is just right for you.
Small-Sized Shed: 6′ x 8′
A very small shed offers surprising functionality, depending on how you furnish it and what it’s used for. A 6′ x 8′ shed is often the perfect size for a potting shed, used for potting, transplanting and propagating your plants. If you enjoy gardening or simply need a handy space that you can get dirty and store your gardening supplies in, then a 6′ x 6′ or 6′ x 8′ she shed is definitely a good size.
The photo shows a super pretty and functional greenhouse that’s actually 5′ x 8′ – so you’ll gain another foot to put a nice stool in there.
Another ideal use for a small shed is a reading room or an occasional home office. This shed will be a bit crowded if you try to get a full-size desk and storage cabinets inside. But it will easily fit a comfortable chair with side table and task lighting.
Medium-Sized Shed: 8′ x 10′
Sizing up to an 8 x 10 shed starts to give you more possibilities. With 8 feet of maximum space across one side, you can easily fit a comfortable armchair with table, a love seat, or maybe a corner built-in office desk. Consider it for a home office, with modest storage needs. Or bring in a narrow table and create an intimate setting for two or three friends.
The photo captures a perfect reading and resting room, anchored by a vintage daybed and pretty wicker armchair. A small hanging shelf on the left could also hold a laptop if you added a stool.
This size also means that you can install a double French door. French doors range in widths from 60″ (5 feet) to 72″ (6 feet). If you install a door that swings out (most of our sheds are designed that way) you’ll have more options for furniture placement.
When every foot counts, built-ins are ideal for workspace and more. A built-in work surface takes about half the space that a full desk would. Other space savers include a flip-up table, benches and nesting tables.
Large-Sized Shed: 10′ x 12′
All things considered, a shed that is 10′ x 12′ is the sweet spot for most she shed lovers and the landscape of their backyards. Here’s why: Most city building codes allow up to 120 square feet for a storage shed before requiring a builder’s permit. While you may still need a site plan and then any kind of electrical work you need to do, it’s great to be able to bypass the time and work involved in applying for a building permit.
Be creative with the 120 square feet of space! Use it to launch or run your small business, from floral design to event planning to interior design. You’ll have enough space to see clients from time to time, if you are an attorney or a CPA.
If you are an artist then this size is ideal for setting up an art studio. The expansive wall space means you can put in plenty of windows for consistent natural lighting.
Our new shed design in collaboration with Boxx is a 10 x 12 shed that is carefully zoned for many activities. A back wall cabinet could be modified to include a work surface and offers wall space for a flat-screen TV. Using two square storage ottomans as a coffee table leaves adequate room to walk around and still leaves space for a luxurious chaise on the left. On the right we have a comfortable armchair and beverage station.
Extra-Large-Sized Shed: 12′ x 20′
At 440 square feet this shed size is probably larger than most Manhattan apartments! You will need to have a very large backyard and/or go through the city you live to make sure your super-sized shed is built correctly and in the right place.
If you are lucky enough to build a shed of this size, the sky is the limit. One of our clients uses her shed of this size to house her kiln and run a ceramics workshop every few months. A long work bench runs along one side while the other side has lots of shelving for drying pieces and display hutches for finished pieces. The back four feet is curtained off and contains plastic bin storage.
Another use could be a guest house, with a bed, curtained kitchenette and bathroom. We know someone who rents her renovated shed (it used to be her ex-husband’s workshop) to foreign exchange students. They love the coziness and beautiful design of the space while enjoying an easy commute to their college.
There are many different configurations besides the ones listed above but it’s a good place to start. If you know what you are going to do in your shed and how you want to furnish it, then use one of these sizes to create a space plan on paper or with an online design app. It’s part of the fun and a great challenge to see how well you can get your shed to really work for you.
Tips for Choosing Your Best Shed Size
- Once you’ve determined your use for the shed, consider the measurements of your furniture. An average armchair measures about 36″ (3 feet) wide, a loveseat is 72″ (6 feet) wide and a full three-seat couch is up to 90″ (7.5 feet) wide.
- If you want more space in a small shed, consider building “up” with a loft. A loft is a very valuable bit of real estate. Create a sleeping area, storage or a place where the kids can play while you putter. Most cities allow for a shed to reach 12′ in height (to the tallest point of the peak), providing ample room for a small loft. You will need to check with your city and be considerate of your neighbors.
- If you are in a business that involves producing video content, consider that even the smallest shed makes a great backdrop for your video content. One mixed media artist we know puts her camera outside one of her shed windows as she demonstrates projects on a large movable table.