A metal shed doesn’t have to look boring and basic. If you bought this structure brand new and without the bells and whistles, you can turn it into an interesting shed with a few improvements. If you own an old steel shed in your garden or backyard that has started showing signs of rust and disrepair, you don’t have to take it down if it can still be used. You just have to find ways to spruce it up!
Here are 11 ways to customise your shed so that it won’t look bland and appear like an eyesore in your backyard:
Metal shed tip
#1: Transform the shed's appearance with paint
The easiest way to customise a metal shed is to use paint to transform its appearance. You can choose to do this project yourself if hiring a painter would be too costly. You won't need much creative skill for this project; you just need a good eye to pick attractive colours that compliment your home’s exterior as well as your garden decor.
Paint may also cover up rusting metal if your shed is old. However, if you do plan on doing the job yourself, you need to be aware of a few things before starting this project:
- Preparation prior to painting is very important. The metal structure must be cleaned off, scraped and sanded, especially if there is existing paint.
- Dents should be corrected and fixed so that you'll be able to paint on a smooth surface.
- You'll need to treat the steel material with rust neutralizers and metal primers. These should be completely dry before applying the paint.
At the very least, you can't begin the actual painting until you've done these preparations for a day or two. However, if this process isn’t something you can handle, it might be wiser to hire someone else since you have to be sure that the new paint will adhere to and last on the steel surface for many years.
You can even consider hiring an artist to paint a picture or mural on your shed to really personalise its appearance.
#2: Add a window box for your shed
Does your shed have a window? Consider adding a window box or planter below it to grow greens and flowers to brighten up the space. To make a statement, you can paint this box with a contrasting shade to your shed's walls.
Plant flowers of the same variety but with a gradient of colours to make the window box on your shed more appealing. For instance, zinnias, which are abundant during the summer, come in red, white, yellow, orange, pink, and purple, so you can mix and match them on the plant box. If you live in an Australian state where the weather gets colder, plant colourful geraniums so that they will still bloom flowers during the winter and you won’t have an empty box.
Be sure to prepare the soil of your window box well, so that the plants you place there will grow healthy. As much as possible, pick out low maintenance plants and flowers.
If your window box is directly facing the sun, choose plants that can tolerate full sunshine. You’ll also need to water the plants in your window box everyday; otherwise, they will wilt and won't look nice whilst displayed on your steel shed.
Instead of flowers, some shed owners grow herbs like rosemary and basil on their window box to use for cooking. These herbs also lend a pleasant smell around the property.
#3: Install shutters for the windows
Many metal or steel sheds can look bland when you compare it to the colours of your backyard. Apart from a paint job or a planter box, you may consider adding shutters to the side of your windows to customise the look of your garden shed.
Window shutters come in various styles. Among these are Colonial, Ranch, Victorian, Gregorian and French Country. You should pick a design that will match the structure and appearance of your home.
Window shutters are also made using different materials, such as PVC, wood, faux wood, vinyl or medium density fibre (MDF). Some of these materials, however, might not be able to withstand weather changes, wear and tear, swell and sag, or clean up and maintenance over a long period of time. As such, before you pick out the material and design, first do some research or seek advice and ideas from friends in the know or from professionals.
If shutters aren’t your style, consider setting up colourful or patterned awnings or window canopies to soften the appearance of steel. Don’t forget to add some curtains inside the windows of your shed.
#4: Construct a trellis on one side of your shed
Here’s another DIY shed project you can tackle with a family member or buddy. For an easy landscaping solution, adding a trellis on one side or wall of your shed will give it a point of interest or hide some of the imperfect spots.
There are plenty of materials you can use to build a trellis, such as:
- Tree branches
- Pre-cut wood
- Chicken wire
- Steel bars
- Old bicycle tires
- Bicycle steel frame
However, you have to make sure that the materials you’ll use to build the trellis are treated or galvanised so that it can withstand Australian weather and would last long outdoors. The trellis must also provide sturdy support for the vines or climbers, and you have to carefully choose what these plants are.
Pole beans, for example, need a different type of trellis support than cucumbers or tomatoes. If you're unsure about this, ask your local nursery or a gardener for tips on the best plants to grow in a trellis for your shed.
#5: Light up your shed
Jazz up your shed with some lights. Ideally, natural light is best, so perhaps consider adding more customised windows or a skylight on the roof, if it fits your budget.
It’s also a good idea to install electrical lights so that you won’t stumble on items and hurt your leg or foot if you're looking for tools when it’s dark outside. For a customised look, choose decorative lighting fixtures that add character to your shed.
Additionally, you may also illuminate the pathway to your shed with walkway or path lights that shine with a gentle glow on the ground. You can also string up some lights around the shed’s windows, doors, rafters or posts for a whimsical touch. You could mount weather-resistant floodlights with all the right components on the sides of your shed to brighten up your backyard and keep potential threats like vandals, burglars, or animals off your property.
Lights on the shed satisfy many purposes:
- For visibility
- For ambience and to set the mood
- For security purposes
Consider solar powered lights if you don’t have electricity running to your backyard shed.
#6: Repurpose what you have and add a personal touch
Do you have many old and rustic items lying around? Do you like to score salvaged finds at fairs and yard sales? You can repurpose the things you have to create a more customised look for your shed. You’re also personalising its ambiance if you are using things from your childhood.
For instance, you can hang your grandfather’s unusable antique shovel and rake, or your grandmother’s old birdcage as a decorative piece outside the shed. You can use old watering cans as containers of knick-knacks inside your shed. You can turn worn out tables or deconstructed cabinets as storage space for the tools in your workshop. You can use old ladders as shelves and repurpose your old crib into a bench for placement by the entrance of your shed.
#7: Create an entirely different room
Sheds aren't just for storing lawn mowers, old bikes, and junk you cannot keep inside the house. You can truly customise this space by creating an entirely different room on your property.
Many shed owners in Australia have spruced up their shacks by turning it into a:
- art studio
- game room
- home cinema
- gym or fitness centre
- home office
- play room
- extra bedroom
- extra living room area or den
- wine cellar
There are endless possibilities to turning a metal shed into a different room, especially if you have the budget for it. Some people have even made their sheds into tiny houses.
Watch home improvement shows on television or YouTube for some ideas on how to turn your shed into a new and functional room. Browse social media for photos and pegs as well.
#8: Tear down one part of the wall
Consider tearing down one part of the shed’s wall to create an open space. This transformation and customisation might entail a lot of work though, so be sure to ask a professional for help, if you can’t manage a DIY shed project.
Metal sheds are made up of panels that are fastened with steel screws. You'll need to unfasten the screws with the proper tools to disassemble it carefully. Once a part of the wall has been removed, you can put timber, fibre or PVC frames around this open space so as not to compromise its supporting structure. You can leave this space open, so that it’s more inviting to guests, although you may also add a bigger door or glass window in case you still need some privacy.
#9: Change your roof pitch
One of the many benefits to using steel for your shed is flexibility. Though steel is the strongest construction material, it can be bent, folded, and customised to any size, shape, or form.
Many shed suppliers and providers offer options for customising the slope or pitch of a shed’s steel roofing. Just make sure to choose a supplier you can depend on and trust to give you a quality structure.
Keep in mind, however, that the steeper or larger the roof pitches, the more it will require materials, so expect the price to greatly vary. Also consider how you can make better use of your shed's roof. If you plan on building a roof garden or adding solar panels on your shed in the future, then perhaps a flat roof will be more appropriate. If you want to use the roof as shelf space, you can ask for a steeper pitch, so you can have customised shelves.
Don’t hesitate to talk to your supplier for suggestions and the best options.
#10: Add landscaping and pathway
Any basic-looking steel shed will seem a lot more charming and inviting with landscaping and a pathway that leads up to its doors. Not only will this improvement customise your shed, it will also increase the total value of your property.
Flowers, bushes, and shrubbery gathered together next to your shed would give it life and beautiful colours. Pathways or walkways, on the other hand, will tie the shed to your main house. Adding these elements will transform your backyard into a sanctuary where you'll likely enjoy entertaining family and friends.
However, you cannot have landscaping and lay down the pathways if your shed itself hasn’t been improved or fixed; otherwise, an ugly and unmaintained shed will still stand out against its beautiful surrounding.
Remember, the goal of customising a shed is to make the structure part of your backyard. It should blend well with the rest of your property and not stick out like a sore thumb.
#11: Build a ramp or deck
If you still have enough space, consider adding a ramp or a small deck by the side of your shed to integrate how it appears on your backyard. Use this deck to add extra outdoor seating, potted plants, a hammock, and other decorative elements that will tie everything together. This extra space will be useful for backyard parties.
Consult with the Professionals
If you're really creative about it and if you carefully plan the details with the guidance of an expert, your shed can look like it naturally belongs where it stands and not like some building that the sky dropped on your property. At EasyShed, we offer a wide selection of sheds with various width, depth, height and type. We’re already making the customisation process simpler for you. Contact us to know more!