As working from home continues to become the new norm, you might be feeling like your current home office just isn’t making the cut anymore. If your office doesn’t let in much natural light, or you’re lacking the space for a dedicated work area, or you just need a change of scenery, a backyard office is a perfect solution.
Moving your office from the indoors to the outdoors can give new life to your work day, especially as the weather cools down. However, if an online mortgage calculator is telling you that scaling up to a home with a dedicated office space is still out of reach, then a backyard office shed can be a more convenient and affordable option. From prefab office sheds to completely building your office shed from scratch, we’ve covered all the basics for designing the perfect backyard office.
What to do before you begin building your backyard office
Determine if a building permit is needed
Depending on the city you live in and the size of your office shed, a permit may be required. In order to prevent any future problems, be sure to check with your city’s regulations. If you’re living in a community with a Homeowners Association, you may need to check with them as well.
Find the perfect spot and prep your backyard
Before you begin building your backyard office shed, make sure you’ve found the best location for it. Opt for the flattest part of your yard and an area that has good drainage. If your yard is going to need a little extra work, consider hiring a landscaper. They’ll be able to help you determine the best place to build your office shed or if you’ll need to rework some of your landscaping to better fit your office.
Build a foundation for your shed
Whether you choose to build your backyard office on your own or you decide to purchase a prefab office shed, you’ll need to create a base or foundation for the shed. The material and size of your shed will play a role in the type of foundation that will be needed, as well as the location of your soon-to-be office and even the climate you live in.
How to create your backyard office shed
The prefab route: ordering a prefab backyard office shed
Prefabricated office sheds are typically made-to-order and will arrive at your house either completely built or as a kit that you’ll put together. If you’re looking for the most convenient option with the least amount of manual labor on your end, then this is going to be the best way to bring your backyard office space to life.
These days there’s a wide range of shed designs from contemporary to farmhouse so finding a prefab shed that goes with your home’s style shouldn’t be an issue. Even better, most prefab shed companies offer the option to completely customize and design your shed. So if you’re wanting skylights or large windows to let in plenty of natural light, you’ll be able to add these features into your office design.
Be sure you know what exactly you’re getting when you purchase your prefab shed, especially if it’s a kit. Some things to consider are if doors and windows are included, along with flooring, electrical, and insulation. The features and extra finishes will vary depending on your needs, but it’s best to get all of the details beforehand so you don’t encounter any surprises and unforeseen costs once your prefab office shed arrives.
The DIY route: building your backyard office on your own
Maybe you have an old shed sitting in your backyard that’s waiting to be refurbished and you’re looking for a fun end-of-summer project. Whatever the case, you can create your backyard office DIY style. While this can be a time-consuming option, it can be a more affordable one.
There are a few ways to go about building your office shed on your own. The first is to either utilize an old storage shed you already have or purchase a shed to transform into your home office space. However, if you’re looking to tackle a larger project, then head over to your local lumber store and build your office shed from scratch. They’ll be able to advise you on the best materials to use and how much is needed for the size of the shed. As you’re designing your office shed, try to incorporate large windows or skylights for a bright and airy office.
Designing your backyard office for comfort and productivity
Now that your backyard office shed has been built and set up in your outdoor space, you can start putting together the interior. As you’re designing your home office, remember that comfort and productivity are key.
Choose comfortable office furniture
As you’re furnishing your backyard office shed, you’re going to need a desk and a chair at the very least. And since you’ll likely be spending plenty of time working at your desk, having comfortable and ergonomic furniture can make a huge difference. If your office shed has enough space, consider adding a couch or a couple of comfortable chairs in addition to your desk space.
Paint the walls neutral or go bold with a pop of color
Whether you’re painting the interior of your office shed yourself or you’re hiring a professional painter, be intentional about the colors you choose. Neutral colors, like whites and grays, can make it easier to focus while also maintaining a clean, sleek design. However, don’t be afraid to paint a wall a different color or incorporate a fun wallpaper. In fact, colors like green and blue are known to boost creativity and make it easier to focus.
Lighting is key
Ideally, you’d have plenty of natural light in your office shed, especially if you’ve designed and customized it yourself. But if your shed lacks natural light, don’t worry. As long as your space is well-lit, whether you install lighting or use lamps, this will help boost your productivity.
Set up your office for electricity
While it may seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to remember to equip your backyard home office with electricity for WiFi and audio. Consulting an electrician who can wire your shed office for those all-important Zoom meetings is something you don’t want to forget.
Choose the right flooring
While the right flooring for your backyard office will depend on your preferences, using hardwood or a hardwood-alternative is a popular option rather than carpet. Incorporating a large decorative rug can be a great way to add some color and dimension to your office space, especially if you want a warmer atmosphere.
Originally published by Redfin