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.
Shed Furniture – Adding furniture to your shed can be a really nice touch, and it can be both functional and attractive. You can find just about anything to go along with your chosen theme. For example, a rustic stool can add a bit of nostalgia to any workbench. A wicker loveseat can be an inviting place to sit and rest after a morning spent in the garden.
Inspirational Photos – You wouldn’t dream of not putting up pictures and paintings in your home. Why should your shed be any different? You can find some inexpensive inspirational photos at flea markets and local stores, as well as online. You could also add pictures of your family and friends if that is what inspires you.
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.
A Porch With Patio Furniture – Who says your shed has to be functional only? It can also be a great place to relax and entertain guests. All you need to do is add a porch and some lovely patio furniture. Once you’ve finished, you’ll have transformed this area of your back yard into a wonderful place to escape and visit with friends or family.
Appropriate Lighting – Without the right lighting, you’ll be forced to enjoy your shed during the daytime hours. Adding a porch light and/or other types of lighting can have a lot of benefits. It can help on cloudy days or early mornings, but if entertaining in your backyard is important to you, lights will allow you to have evening and nighttime get-togethers as well.
Landscaping and Plants
Once you get your shed finished, you might notice that it seems to be lacking something. It could be that it does not quite blend in well with the landscaping in your yard. We want to help you fix that with a few simple tips.
Tip#1: Create Some Camouflage
It may look as though your new shed sticks out like a sore thumb in your yard, and that is the exact opposite of what you want. You can make some changes by planting some small trees around the front door or along one side. Adding some shrubs can make it look more like it belongs there as well. Planters can also be added to bring more color to the shed and make it more appealing to the eye.
Tip #2: Get Creative With Your Planters
It is possible that when you built your shed, you added some lovely planter boxes to the windows. This is a popular design. But you might also want to add planters to the area around your shed. You can fill them with anything you want, including colorful flowers, some types of vegetable plants, or even fresh, garden-grown herbs.
You do not have to stick to a basic planter. Get creative and try to see what else you can come up with to add some charm and character to your shed. For example, you might want to consider any of the following:
- Galvanized troughs
- Tin cans
- Watering cans
- Old fashioned bathtubs
Only you know what you want the exterior of your shed to look like. Try to think outside the box and make it beautiful in your own way.
Tip #3: Choose Plants That are Beautiful and Easy to Grow
If you are relatively new to gardening, it makes sense to choose plants that are relatively easy to grow. Here are a few options you might want to consider:
- Yarrow – This plant is a perennial in the daisy family. It is very reliable and grows easily in most types of garden soils. You can find it in a lot of different colors, so if your goal is to match the paint on your shed, that should be simple to do.
- Bugleweed – This plant offers ground cover with lovely blue flowers. It spreads easily, so you might want to consider it for either side of your shed. The best part about it is that it prevents weeds from growing and it does quite well even in the shade.
- Aster – This is another member of the daisy family. They are hearty plants, but if your soil is too wet or too dry, you might have trouble with them. They grow as high as four feet tall and may spread that far as well. They tend to bloom later in the season, so if all of your other plants done growing, this will still be going strong.
What Will Your Finished Shed Look Like?
Organizing your storage shed might just be the most fun you’ve had with this entire project. It’s time to make it your own, and with a little creativity and skill, you can create the shed of your dreams.
Do you have some great shed ideas for the inside or outside? We’d love to hear them! Leave us a comment!
Joseph Truini is a host on the Today’s Homeowner TV show and co-hosts the weekly Today’s Homeowner Radio Show. He has written three best-selling shed-building books and lives in Roxbury, Connecticut.