Once you’ve completed the final construction phase, it’s time to add the finishing touches to make your shed truly special. Here’s a list of just a few of the many accessories, conveniences and architectural elements to consider adding to your shed.
Storage Loft—Take advantage of the space above the ceiling joists by adding a storage loft. Create the floor of the loft by laying plywood on top of the joists. You can easily access the loft with a stepladder, but if you’re going to be using the loft all the time, consider installing a fold-down staircase.
Storage Racks—Gain a considerable amount of storage space by attaching ventilated-wire storage racks to the backs of the hinged shed doors. The racks come in a wide variety of sizes, so you’re sure to find one to suit your needs.
Rock Wall Perimeter—As mentioned earlier, most sheds are raised off the ground several inches, leaving an open space around the perimeter of the foundation. To make this space much more attractive, fill it with natural stone. Buy a pallet of flat stones and stack them around the shed, directly below the mudsill. There’s no need to use mortar, just dry stack the stones, aligning them flush with the siding.
Workbench and Shelves—Line one wall of the shed with a simple plywood workbench and install some shelves directly above the workbench. Then, you’ll have a flat surface for working on various projects, and the shelves are great for storing tools and supplies.
Pegboard Tool Rack—Mount a large sheet of pegboard to the wall and then use various hooks and brackets to display and organize all sorts of tools and accessories.
Paint, Stain, or Clear Finish—The exterior finish you choose can greatly influence the style and appearance of your shed. Paint comes in the widest variety of colors and lends a more formal look to an outbuilding. However, sooner or later painted wood will need to be scraped and repainted. If you’re going to paint a shed, be sure to use a high-quality, 100% acrylic latex paint.
A semi-transparent stain is an excellent choice for protecting the wood from the elements and for maintaining wood’s natural texture. It won’t peel or blister, as the paint will, but the semi-transparent stain will fade over time, especially in areas exposed to direct sunlight. Solid-color stains come in a wider variety of colors than semitransparent stains do, but because they contain more pigments than semi-transparent stains, solid-color stains can peel and blister.
Clear wood preservatives require the least amount of maintenance because they won’t peel or fade. Although a preservative won’t prevent the wood from slowly weathering to a silvery gray color, it will help protect the shed from the harmful effects of sunlight, rain, snow, and mildew. When buying a wood preservative, look for one that contains water repellent and mildewcide.
Exhaust Vents—Install louvered gable-end vents or soffit vents, along with a ridge vent to help exhaust hot, stale air from the shed.
Gutters and Downspouts—Although most sheds don’t have gutters and downspouts, they’re still worth installing, especially if you live in a particularly rainy region. Gutters and downspouts are the most effective way to collect and carry rainwater away from the perimeter of the shed, so the ground doesn’t turn muddy.
Window Screens—Don’t forget to order insect screens for each shed window. That’s the only practical way to allow cooling breezes to blow in while blocking out flying insects. Cupola—Add a touch of country elegance to your shed by adorning its roof with a cupola and weathervane.
Shutters and Flowerboxes—Add a little country charm to your shed by dressing up the windows with louvered shutters and flowerboxes. Paint both of these accessories to match the shed door. And be sure to boreholes in the bottom of the flower boxes to drain away excess water.
Door Design—The door you choose for your shed must be functional, of course, but it can also be attractive. Build the door to match the shed’s siding and then stain or paint it a contrasting or complementary color. Most sheds have hinged doors, but sliding doors and Dutch doors are popular, too.
Stairs, Ramp, or Deck—Most sheds are built two steps off the ground, so for easy access, you’ll need to build stairs, a ramp, or an entry deck. The simplest way to construct stairs is to build two platforms, one twice as wide as the other. And then stack them in front of the door to create a two-step staircase. Ramps are ideal for rolling wheeled equipment in and out of the shed, such as lawnmowers and wheelbarrows. An entry deck, consisting of two large platforms, provides a spacious, comfortable way to access the shed.