Tips for setting up a fabric friend she shed for your sewing and craft room! It’s important to make sure that your shed space won’t damage your supplies.
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I’ve been putting a lot of thought into setting up a she shed for my sewing and craft supplies. Currently, my craft room is the dining room… we just skipped using it as a dining room. And while it’s working, I’d love to have more space to spread out.
Creating a She Shed for a Craft Space or Office Space
Table of Contents
- Shed Size
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Drywall- And Alternatives
- Loft or No Loft?
- The Shed Base: What to Put Under the Shed?
- Can You Write Off Your She Shed/Office Shed?
- Things You Can Convert into a She Shed
Think about how big you want to make your shed. Sheds aren’t cheap, but it’s worth upgrading to a slightly bigger size if you’re worried you’ll outgrow it in a year or two. It’s a LOT more expensive to upgrade completely later on.
Consider your hobbies. If you own large quilting machines then you want to make sure that your space will fit them and still give you space to turn around.
Think you might want to teach classes someday? Or hire an employee? Make sure it’s big enough.
You can measure your current space and guess how much more room you could use. MEASURE YOUR LONG ARM if you plan to add one to this space. They take up a lot of room.
Call a local electrician to get an idea for the cost of running electricity to your she shed. Electricity is a necessity. Consider that your sewing machine, Cricut, and glue gun all require an outlet. You’ll also need light to see on cloudy days.
Metal corrugated roofing is a nice touch if you love to hear the sound of rain pitter patter on the roof. It’s also a durable roofing option. Many standard sheds come with shingled roofs, however.
Make sure your shed has an angle roof for snow and rain to run off. If you’re buying a manufactured shed then it’ll be built for the weather, but if you plan to build your own shed then this is an important consideration.
You will likely want to add some windows and/or a skylight for natural light. It’s a lot easier to see with good lighting, and while you can install good lights, natural lighting is ALWAYS better. This is particularly true if you like to photograph your crafts.
Another thing to consider is that it’s useful to have two escape routes in case of a fire. In the case of our shed, it’s small enough that I don’t think an addition exit is going to make a big difference, but if you have a larger shed then you may want to consider this.
Heat and Air Conditioning
Heat and air condition, as well as a ceiling fan, are all good to keep air circulating in the room. You want to make sure that your fabric and other supplies aren’t exposed to extreme heat or cold.
This is likely going to mean you need to run the heat or air condition non stop… not just when you’re using the room.
I ordered a 12,000 BTU mini split system as I’ve heard rave reviews about how effective they are at heating and cooling small spaces. You can buy a smaller or larger system depending on how well your space is insulated and how big the space is.
Heat and cooling doesn’t make much sense if you don’t have good insulation for your space. Lower your costs by making sure your she shed has the best insulation available. You’re probably looking at installing around an R-value of 13 for a shed; generally people use a higher R value for the ceiling.
That said, the R value you will want will depend greatly on your location and climate. Some people live in perfect climates and manage to keep she sheds without insulation, heating, or cooling; I am hesitant to recommend going that route though if you plan to store electronics or valuable items (aka your fabric) in the shed.
In the case of a shed space, you can get away with cutting a few more corners on insulation than you could for a home.
Here’s a list of insulation options that I researched for my she shed: Types of Insulation for Your She Shed
This is a matter of preference, but hardwood or laminate floors will be a good bet for your sewing area. It’s very hard to find lost needles in carpet.
You could consider adding heating elements under the flooring to help keep the floor warm for bare feet. These are easier to install before installing flooring… and likely not worth it if you have to rip up floors to put them in. Here’s a tutorial on installing heating under your flooring.
Drywall- And Alternatives
Drywalling can be a bit nerve-wracking for casual DIY’ers, but it’s not a cheap job to hire out. You do have some options, however. While drywall is the traditional choice (and likely the only choice that will meet building code for your structure), you can use bead board, plywood, and even fabric for your walls! It just depends on what you’re looking to accomplish.
You’ll want to consider: fire safety, how you want to use the walls (ie. do you want to hang shelves on them?), appearance, cost, and ease of installation. You may also want to consider the weight of the product- for example, there’s only two of us working on our project and we were concerned about lifting drywall up to my she shed ceiling (which is quite high).
If one product costs more, but is easier to DIY, then it might be a good option for someone who would have wanted to hire out drywalling.
To Loft or Not to Loft
It might be smart to buy a shed with a loft if it’s not a huge price difference, simply because you can use the space above for storage or for a guest room.
Just keep in mind that you likely won’t have a bathroom in your she shed so guests would still need to come into the house to use the toilet, brush their teeth, and shower.
The Shed Base
Avoid purchasing a shed without a floor. This isn’t just a storage space. It will effectively need to be an extension of your home. It needs to keep out pests and you need to be able to keep heat/cool air in.
You need to discuss what should go UNDER the shed with the company that you purchase the shed from. Each state and county has different rules about the base for a shed. I would avoid a wood shed base and stick with concrete or stone.
If you’re in a flood zone, you may need/want to raise the shed up.
Some people have a concrete slab poured for their shed, but the problem is that concrete tends to crack as the ground/shed settles. This can cause issues and the shed may not remain level. Most people who pour concrete tend to leave a bit of a slope to the slab so water will shed off it; again, this would stress the building because the shed won’t be perfectly level. Considering the cost of a concrete slab, it’s not the most economical or the best long term solution for sheds, at least in my climate.
We have owned a few sheds and my favorite shed base has been using a loose stone pad under the shed. We had a contractor install one under the shed at our last house and it was fairly affordable. They level the ground, and install loose stone. The shed goes on top and they ensure it’s properly leveled. The loose stone allows for better water drainage, allows for freezing/thawing, and if your shed ever becomes less level, you can jack up a corner of the shed to add more stone.
Our shed had a small area where the floor rotted due to water leaking in through the original garage door. Fortunately, we were able to fix it quickly and easily. Here’s How to Repair a Shed Floor
Writing Off a She Shed on Your Taxes
We write off the dining room space for business use, seeing I use that space for my blog projects exclusively. If you own a craft related business, you should talk to your accountant about if you can write off the cost of building the she shed, or at least the space you use, similar to how we write off the dining room square footage. Our accountant has said that we can deduct the costs of updating the shed to use so I’m trying to be careful to keep my receipts.
It’s a bit too complicated for me to cover, particularly because each state (or country) is different. But KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS for tax season. Worse case, you can’t deduct it and you wasted time keeping those receipts. Best case scenario: you’re able to recoup some of your costs!
Possible She Shed Options
While a shed would be the normal option, you actually have more choices than that and some may save you money.
One option is to buy a pre-made shed. You can buy them from local companies. In Lisbon Maryland we have a company, Myers Mini Barns, that offers quality sheds. Ask around in your area to find someone trustworthy to buy from! Usually these sheds don’t have drywall or insulation.
You can also consider finding a shed used if you have someone available to move the shed to your home. This might save money.
Make a Shed
You can consider making your own shed using a kit or building one yourself.
School Portable (or an office portable)
These portables come with wiring already installed and often have a bathroom as well. These may be the easiest option, particularly if they’re in good condition. If so, you can just do the decorative updates. You’ll need a plumber and electrician to have it all hooked up, of course. But at least the existing “stuff” is there.
A friend of mine mentioned that it’s just important to be aware of the roofing type for the portable because some portable roofs, once older, fall apart and are hard to replace.
Storage Container / Sea Container
This is the ultra durable option. They’re already insulated, but you’d need to add electric and plumbing, if desired.
You will need to do some work to improve the exterior, if having it look pretty is important to you (or your neighbors/county/HOA). The good news is that your sewing supplies will stand up to a disaster your house might not survive (haha).
Mobile Home or Camper
Updating or using an existing mobile home or camper might work for you.
Some people love updating an old school bus! This would definitely be a neat idea if you plan to teach a sewing class. I’m not sure how practical it would be to run electricity to it though.
Additions to our home would run around $100k+ in our area, at least from what I’ve seen. So this is certainly not the least expensive option, but it might be the most worthwhile.
While a shed might increase your property value, an addition will add square footage to your home and improve your home’s value. This will be worthwhile when it comes time to sell your home.
Just remember that the improvements may mean paying more in annual taxes as well.
Learn more about how I’m creating my own she shed by remodeling an old shed in our yard: Information on repairing sheds, and a list of projects we’ll be tackling to update our sheds, rather than replace them.
- Types of Insulation for Your Shed or Home
- Drywall and Drywall Alternatives for Your Shed
- Repairing a Shed Floor
- How to Install House Wrap on Your Shed
- How to Frame a Garage Door
- How to Remove a Garage Door
- How to Add Windows to Your Shed
- Repairing Rotten Shed Siding
- Repairing Cracked Vinyl Siding
- How to Install Gutters on a Shed
- How to Replace a Shed Window
- How to Install Insulation for a Shed
- Heating and Cooling a Shed
- Lighting for a Shed
- Shed Flooring
- How to Build a New Shed Door
- Shed Lean To DIY
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