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Here Comes the “She Shed" – You Can Keep Your Man Cave

This Backyard Oasis Provides Women an Undisturbed Space at Home


Where the Man Cave brings up images of billiards, foosball, wide-screen televisions, and loud cheering on game and sports nights, the “She Shed” is often described as a “refuge of comfort” – a peaceful sanctuary in the backyard where women can have some quiet moments to unwind after their hectic daily activities. Inside their She Sheds, women can have uninterrupted time to garden, paint, read, write, exercise, enjoy arts and crafts – even set up a home office and just get involved in a cause or hobby that’s important to them.

From coast to coast, working women and stay-at-home moms are getting on the She Shed bandwagon to claim that desired undisturbed personal space away from the main house. We take a closer look at this intriguing and increasingly popular little house that is enhancing the lives of busy women – and what you can do with these structures that occupy a total 100 square feet to 500 square feet of space.


Welcome to the “She Shed”

Thanks to Home Depot, the She Shed was unveiled around 2015 when shed kits hit the market. The idea took off when Pinterest saturated the Internet with spectacular images of the “ladies only” spaces outfitted with comfortable furniture and fixtures. Then bloggers and DIY experts/enthusiasts chimed in with the perfection of She Sheds. Throw in the hilarious State Farm commercial – and, we have a hot new trend that may be on its way to overshadowing the Man Cave.

Charming ready-to-build shed kit with flower boxes

If you don’t have an existing old shed in the backyard that can be repurposed – and you don’t feel up to building your own shed from plans – a number of manufacturers ready-to-build kits – as in this 12x8 garden shed, complete with window boxes and a porch that’s furnished with a wood chair and side table (photo source: courtesy of World of Greenhouses).


She Shed plans can range from the minimalist no-frills to the very well-appointed - with all the trimmings. From the smallest to the largest, there are several common and attractive features.

  • Natural lighting
  • Beautiful landscaping around a garden area
  • Usually under 500 square feet
  • Décor and fixtures for its main purpose (crafting or gardening shed, library/reading corner, yoga space, art studio, home office – or simply a personal relaxation area)

Most importantly, with more women reporting feeling the stress and exhaustion of having a job, taking care of the home, their husbands and children, a She Shed also provides emotional and health benefits. NBC News reports that “According to the Centers for Disease Control, 16 percent of women aged 18 to 44 reported feeling ‘very tired’ or ‘exhausted’ most days — compared to just 9 percent of men in the same age range.” And the American Psychological Association reports that “37 percent of women said they feel tense or stressed out at work.”

So the She Shed has become a cozy hideaway where women can pamper themselves for a few minutes, pursue art projects and other creative pleasures, spend private time with their girlfriends, and alleviate stress and anxiety.

288-square-foot Craftsman-inspired studio that could serve as a She Shed

Floor plan of Craftsman style shed plan #167-1085

Top: Get your creative juices flowing inside this delightful Craftsman-influenced 288-sq.-ft. studio-home office. The rendering shows colorful landscaping, a large arched window, a covered entry, and French doors that lead to the two-room area. Bottom: The floor plan illustrates the interior of the She Shed, which can accommodate a studio and a home office (Plan #167-1085).


Create Your She Shed Style

So what do you envision for your She Shed?

Depending on your needs, interests, and hobbies, there are several attractive options for your long-awaited personal space. Here are some She Shed ideas.

Wooden shed with metal roof in lovely garden setting

Take that old, boring tool shed and turn it into a stunning hideaway in a delightful backyard garden (photo credit: Annie Shelmerdine on Unsplash).


1. Studio/Home Office

While most of today’s contemporary homes have the square footage to accommodate a dedicated office, there’s nothing like a private outdoor room - within the property - to conduct business quietly and peacefully. Away from the sounds of footsteps, doors closing and opening, children running around, the super mom can concentrate fully on projects at hand.

Imagine a little porch with chairs, potted plants. And inside, a wall lined with your favorite art work or family photos, a simple desk and chair, a lamp shade, built-in shelves, storage space, plants – and, voila! You have your dream office.    

Backyard studio that can be used as home office  with floor plan

Just because the She Shed’s purpose is that of a home office, it doesn’t have to be boring. Smartly designed, this 432-sq.-ft. structure has a covered front porch with matching columns, glass doors, and vaulted ceilings in the main room. With a private half bath, a closet, storage space for books, and a wet bar, this She Shed can be furnished with a day bed and other comfortable fixtures so that it can double as a sleeping/relaxation space (Plan #167-1087).


2. Arts and Crafts Room

You can also design your She Shed as a creative hideout where you can spend hours on crafting projects – starting a scrapbook collection, constructing/drawing your own greeting cards, and other artsy endeavors. Whether you’re into painting, sewing, sculpting, or cooking, you can step into this shed and have fun with your “masterpieces.”

So stock up on art supplies, crafting paper, pencils, drafting board, paint brushes, bottles, shelves, and containers. A work desk, table, and sink are a must-have for your artistic pursuits.

Small shed painted green and landscaped with flowers and shrubs

This small shed – surrounded by vibrant flowers and shrubbery – is a perfect escape for some arts and crafts projects. Through the glass door and windows, there’s a glimpse of shelves with plastic containers for art supplies and tools (photo source: courtesy of Modern-Shed).


3. Zen Space/Yoga Studio

At times, busy moms just want to relax for a few precious minutes – perhaps curl up on a comfortable sofa with a good book. For this purpose, the She Shed becomes a private Zen space – or a place where a woman can think or take a nap. The trick is to furnish the shed with covered chairs and sofas, decorative pillows soft throws, area rugs – all in soothing earth tones.

The Zen area may also feature a library: think small built-in shelves for favorite books, magazines, and movies. Throw in a few yoga mats, surround sound for meditation music – and how about a massage chair, foot spa, nail table, and beauty products? You get the picture of a calm and serene environment where the busy mom can pamper herself.

1-bedroom 395-square-foot Cottage style home with yellow siding

Floor layout of 395-square-foot Cottage home - Plan #178-1345

Top: This charming 395-sq.-ft. cottage, which includes a bedroom, full bath, and living room, is the ideal zen space. The living area can be an exercise/meditation/music room. Since there is a bedroom, it can also be used as a guest cottage when not in use by the lady of the house. Bottom: The floor plan shows the details of the cottage/Zen space: a large living room that can accommodate the necessary furnishings and fixtures, plus a good-sized bedroom and bathroom  (Plan #178-1345).


4. Potting Shed

For the lady with a green thumb, there’s the garden shed. You may not have the room for a full-blown nursery in your shed. But, you can have flowers, exotic plants, herbs and small shrubs in your shed. Install plumbing, have a sink, built-in shelves for your flower pots, seeds, soil, fertilizer and gardening tools.

Can you smell the delightful and soothing scents of those flowers in your garden shed?

154-square-foot garden shed with cupola and red siding

Floor layout of 154-square-foot garden shed - Plan #100-1124

Top: A sight for sore eyes! This charming 154-square-foot garden shed is as appealing as they come. Bottom: The interior dimensions outlined in the floor plan show a large enough space to fit all the necessary tools for a garden shed – and more (Plan #100-1124).


She Shed? Or Home Expansion?

What if you don’t have an old tool shed in the backyard that can be cleaned, repainted, and refurbished as a She Shed? And there’s no one at home who feels comfortable building a shed from scratch? Should you put up a She Shed or – because you’d have to hire builder anyway – add on the your house?

Take heart, there are plenty of attractive – and sometimes even whimsical – easy-to-assemble shed kits on the market that are more cost-efficient than adding an extension or another room to your home.

For example, kits for storage sheds can range from $1,600 (measuring 8ft x 12ft) to anywhere from $3,000 $6,000 (kits 10ft x 14ft to 10ft x 16ft). If you need a bigger space, compare the $15–$20K cost of a ready-to-assemble 12x30 craft and relaxation room to the typical $43,200 cost of the same-size home addition – and you’re away ahead with a shed kit.

Wooden shed painted gray with patio and outdoor furniture

This charming wooden-shed-cum-retreat has two windows, an exterior house door, and a large patio that can accommodate relaxing outdoor furniture. It becomes an idyllic backyard "home away from home" (photo credit: Aurelie Le Moigne | Dreamstime).


In addition to the lower cost of She Sheds, they also take less time to build/assemble. A home addition may take anywhere from six months to a year to complete; while a shed conversion involves only 60 to 90 days.

Finally, a shed conversion is less aggravating and more convenient than adding or renovating a room in the main house. Just imagine all the equipment scattered around, the noise, and the traffic within the house while construction is underway.


When all is said and done, the moments of calm and peaceful seclusion that a She Shed provides are all that a busy woman needs to re-energize and rejuvenate herself!



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