Design Ideas for Painting the Outdoor Shed

Written by anne hirsh
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Design Ideas for Painting the Outdoor Shed
Add a mural with a natural theme to your shed. (Ranch Shed image by Andrew Orlemann from

Anyone can paint an outdoor shed to match their house, but with a little creativity your shed can become more than just an echo of your home. Whether you choose a subtle or bold paint job, keep in mind that the weather can be hard on paint, so order extra touch-up paint and freshen the shed as needed, particularly as the weather begins to warm up in the spring.

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Subtle Stencils

Paint your shed to match the colours of your home, both in body and trim, so it appears to blend in from a distance, making your home and landscape appear uniform. Once this basecoat is dry, mix a little bit of white paint in with a pint of your shed's main colour to lighten it just a shade, and use this lightened version to lightly sponge on stencils that echo the plants in your garden or some other pattern on or around your home. Mix a slightly darker shade of your shed's trim colour and continue the stencilling along the trim. Stencil the entire shed in a regular pattern for a brocade look or use the stencils only in the corners or along the top and bottom edges to add a hint of texture without making the shed look too busy.

Echo Your Garden

If your garden is your pride and joy, choose paint colours that bring out the colours of your blossoms. Consider how your garden will look in winter as well as summer when choosing colours. If you have bold, bright pinks and oranges in summer but very little colour in winter, paint the main portion of your shed a neutral colour, such as one similar to nearby tree trunks that will be above the snow line in winter, and use vibrant magenta or tangerine as accents. If you have natural stone or brick work, use grey or brick red as your neutral base colour. In warmer climates where you have colour year-round, go ahead and paint your shed a bold colour all over. Having a shed similar in tone to your flowers will make the colour of the flowers appear to pop while the foliage colours surrounding them fade into the background.

Nature Mural

Paint your shed with a mural that represents some sort of natural theme, whether it is stylised flowers, a cloudy sky or the illusion of the surrounding landscape continuing over the walls. Plan out the drawing carefully so you make sure it wraps around all sides of the shed, then base coat the shed with one of your primary mural colours and work from there. If you don't feel like you have the talent to paint it yourself, hire local art students to do it as a portfolio project. Impressionist or stylised murals often work better than realistic paintings because flaws due to weathering will be less apparent.

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