How to Build a Studio in a Garden Shed

Updated March 23, 2017

Converting all or part of your garden shed into an art or practice studio is a complex and multi-stage process. Depending on where you live, it might even require permits -- especially if you plan to wire it with lighting. The specific details of how to build your studio will depend on your needs, the existing shed and your local laws. However, each project will follow the same general steps.

Confirm that local laws permit you to do this kind of construction in your area. While you're at it, find out what kinds of permissions or permits are required. If you live in a neighbourhood with a homeowners' association, check those covenants for the same information.

Confirm that the garden shed is large enough for your studio needs. For example, a 10 x 10 shed would be all right for drawing or painting, but wouldn't work for welding or practicing yoga. If you want to subdivide your shed with a studio on one side and garden storage on the other, make sure the studio side will be large enough for your needs.

List what you need to make your work space viable. This might include adding electrical lighting, cutting in a window, improving walls and floors, and adding insulation. Putting plumbing in your shed almost always involves more work and expense than it's worth.

Draw up a plan for each change you want to make. If you're not sure about exactly how to make some changes, use Internet resources, local experts or a knowledgeable friend. Note that some areas will legally require you to provide professionally drawn plans in order to get a building permit.

Make a schedule of work -- a list of the order in which you'll do your projects. Run projects from top to bottom and from raw to finished. For example, you would add wiring before finishing walls because you'd need to tear up your walls to do the wiring. Similarly, you'd work on the ceiling before you do the floor because stuff falling from the ceiling can mess up your floor work. Also, consider your budget when you draw up your schedule: pace the work so that you can pay for everything as it comes up.

Complete your work schedule step by step. For detailed or potentially dangerous work -- most notably the electrical wiring -- call in a professional contractor.

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About the Author

Jake Wayne has written professionally for more than 12 years, including assignments in business writing, national magazines and book-length projects. He has a psychology degree from the University of Oregon and black belts in three martial arts.