Things to Consider If You Want to Turn a Shed into a Guest House
Do you have a lot of guests coming in and out of town? Entertaining can be very rewarding, but finding space for guests can be tricky. If you don't have the budget or space to make an addition to your home or build a full-blown guest house, you might be feeling like you’re out of options. However, many people have tried turning storage sheds into additional living spaces.
Whether it’s an office space, a she shed, a playroom, or a guest house, people have gotten pretty creative with sheds. It might sound like the perfect solution to your space problem. However, it’s important to think through all of the implications of doing this. There are so many things to consider, and though it might not be as expensive as a house addition, you’ll still need a big budget to create a shed guest house. Let’s take a look at a few things to think about before turning a shed into a guest house.
Getting the Proper Permits
We get it, it’s a bummer. But in order to properly build out a shed, you’ll have to call your city and/or county to find out what sorts of permits you’ll need. Sometimes you need a permit to build the shed itself. If you’re adding things like electrical and plumbing, that might require additional permits and inspections as well. You also might need to consult with your neighborhood’s HOA before adding a shed to your yard. So, check your bylaws. Just make sure you look into permitting before buying or building anything so you don’t lose out on time and money you can’t get back.
Ventilation is one of the most important things to consider when turning a shed into a space where people will be spending a lot of time (especially sleeping). You need proper ventilation in order to breathe comfortably and be healthy. According to lung.org, “Proper ventilation keeps the air fresh and healthy indoors. Like the lungs, homes need to be able to breathe to make sure that fresh air comes in and dirty air goes out. The air indoors can build up high levels of moisture, odors, gasses, dust, and other air pollutants.”
While many sheds have ventilation and even windows built in, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would make a healthy place for people to stay. So, you’ll want to consult a professional before spending money on a shed that may or may not have good enough ventilation.
Another thing to think about is the fact that sheds don’t usually come with electricity installed. However, if it’s a guest house shed, surely your guests will want lights, a place to charge their phones, Wi-Fi, and maybe a TV to watch a show. We’re pretty accustomed to having electricity wherever we go. While some people might try to do this on their own, don’t do it. Unless you’re an electrician, wiring, and electricity are not a DIY project. So, you’ll want to budget for using an electrician and the equipment they’ll need to wire the shed. If you are going with a simple shed design, you might be able to get away with battery-operated lights, but this probably isn’t a great long-term solution.
Insulation and Temperature Control
If you want your shed to be temperature controlled, you’ll need insulation at the bare minimum. Two of the most popular types of insulation are foam and fiberglass. However, you’ll want to consult a professional about the best way to insulate your shed and make sure it’s safe for people to sleep in. You also might want to ask your contractor about the best way to heat the shed, either with or without electricity. Heating can be a fire hazard when not done properly.
Some people even add plumbing to their sheds. Unless your guests won’t have access to the toilet in your home, this is probably not necessary and can cost quite a bit. If you do end up adding plumbing, you’ll need a plumber to do it to ensure that everything is done correctly.
As mentioned above, one of the biggest things you need to look for in a shed is ventilation. So, once you’ve found one that has adequate ventilation, you’ll want to also consider other features like windows, double doors, walls you can customize, and something sturdy that will keep out the elements.
The first step is to determine the best shed material type for your needs. Wood, metal, and resin sheds are the three most popular shed types. Each has various pros and cons, but our favorite is resin since it is low to no maintenance and doesn’t crack, rot, rust, or peel like other shed types. If you want to read more about each shed type, take a look at our post about the pros and cons of shed materials here.
Also, consider the size of your shed. You’ll want to decide on the size of bed you’ll have in it, if you’ll have end tables, desks, etc. Just start with the bed, though, since that’s the most important part of a guest suite. According to usnews.com, here are a few of the most popular bed size measurements:
- Twin: 38” x 75”
- Full: 54” x 75”
- Queen: 60” x 80”
- King: 76” x 80”
Once you know what size of bed you’ll be using, you can add in other furniture that fits around it. Use this as a guide for the size of shed you’ll need to buy or if you need to change your plan a bit.
One of the most fun parts of having a shed guest house is decorating it. As mentioned above, you’ll want to plan out your furniture a bit as you plan out the shed. However, you can add things as you go, too. We’d suggest getting a big thick rug for the floor, first thing though since this will keep your guests more comfortable. It may even add some makeshift insulation. Don’t forget to also add in a few lamps, blankets, linens, and anything else your guests might need that they won’t be able to access easily during the night.
When it comes to turning large storage sheds into makeshift guest homes, it’s quite a bit of work. However, as long as you do your research, make a plan, set a budget, and hire professionals to help, you should be well on your way to a new guest space.
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