Transforming a Garden Shed into a Writing Office

Admit it: you’ve always wanted a writing office. In this article, I’m going to show you how to transform a garden shed into a fully functional writing office.

The first step is obtaining a garden shed. I am going to already assume that you have one. If you do not, then I recommend investing in a small trailer, and using that as an office.

Okay, clear out your shed and give it a good scrub down. After it is cleared out and cleaned up, take a quick survey and determine the rough placement of your furniture, such as a desk or bookcase.

Stage 1:

If your walls are made of one single wood layer, or it they are insulated but still open, then invest in some drywall and tack it up on the wall. This will help insulate the walls and make it easier to decorate the walls.

The fastest way to do this is to measure the dimensions of drywall you will need, have the hardware store cut it for you, then rent a nail gun. With a nail gun and pre-cut drywall, the process shouldn’t take longer than sixty minutes.

Stage 2:

After you have finished putting up drywall, depending on how nice you wish it to look, how much money you have to spend, and how much work you want to invest, you will need to apply drywall putty to the seems and nail holes, and then sand it smooth. After you have sanded it, purchase wallpaper or paint and apply it to the walls. If you paint, give it adequate time to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Stage 3:

Now that your walls have been finished, its time to add carpeting. Now, don’t cringe at this thought, it is cheaper to add carpeting than you might imagine. There are three options:

Option 1: Purchase some cheap foam, glue it to the floor, then purchase a large rug of approximate size, cut it down with a knife, and staple/tack it to the ground.

Option 2: Find the nearest carpet installation center. Many people have the extra carpet hauled away, and the carpet installation center will likely resell it at a very, very low price. Also, there are any places that simply throw it away. In this case, you can find quite a bit of padding and carpet, free to haul away.

Stage 4:

After you’ve obtained the appropriate amount of carpet and padding, use carpeting glue to lay the foam, allow it to dry, then use a staple gun or tack board to lay the other layer of carpet. While this is a very crude way of laying carpet, it is simply and will work quite well for what you need.

Stage 5:

Take a look around. Your shed should be looking pretty nice; the walls should be smooth and painted, and the floor should be covered in carpet. Now’s the time to consider heating/cooling. If the average temperature outside remains comfortable and consistent, than a window is all you need. However, if you live in a seasonal location, than you will have to take both of these into consideration. Cheap window AC’s can be found from places like craigslist.org and garage sales, as can small floor heaters.

If your shed does not have a window, now is the time to consider installing a simple one. Search garage sales, second hand shops, etc. for small used windows at a cheap price. Cut an appropriately sized hole in the wall with a power saw [which can be rented from Home Depot or Lowes] and then insert the window. Use the appropriate anchors, glue, and caulking to be sure the window is not going to fall out.

Stage 6:

The last major issue to be considered is electricity. If you are not concerned with hooking up a computer/TV/radio, than electricity is a non-issue. However, if you do wish to hook any of these up, than you will need to do one of three things:

-Have the shed wired and hooked up to an electric source. This method is time consuming and expensive.

-Purchase a small generator. This can also be expensive, but is more practical. Generators can be loud, so be sure to understand what you are getting.

-Have solar panels installed. Again, this is $$$$$.

-Finally, the most common and cheap option. Purchase an extra-long, heavy duty, all purpose extension cord. Run it from your home to your shed. In the side of the shed, cut a hole in the wall, run the extension cord through it so that it is flush on the inside like an electrical outlet. Seal the hole. Then simply purchase a surge protector, mount it to the wall, and plug it in to the electrical cord.

Stage 7:

You are now ready to move in your furniture. Its important to do this before putting up things like shelving and lighting, so that you can set them up in relation to your furniture.

Stage 8:

You should now have a nice looking office. Your furniture is placed, the walls are painted, and your carpeting is feeling good between the toes. It’s probably getting late, and one thing you notice missing is light. Its time to install lights.

This is possible even if your only source of electricity is a surge protector. At Home Depot or Lowes, purchase a string of connected kitchen lights. These are round, small halogen lights, each with a sticky back, and all connected together with one cord. These are available in chrome, white, black, and other colors. Stick them to the walls or around the edge of the ceiling to get a nice glowing light, bright enough to write or read or type by. Plug it into the surge protector.

If you wish to have brighter lights, you can purchase any type of ceiling light that plugs in. Install it on the ceiling and plug it into the surge protector. If your light does not have an on/off switch you can make a simple cheap one with the instructions here: http://www.cornsnakes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19168&highlight=make+rheostat

Stage 9:

Time to make this office home-like. You have a comfortable setting, heat and electricity, furniture, and light. Now time to install things like shelving. Cheap shelving can be purchased at Wal-Mart, and only takes a few minutes to install. You can purchase some artwork or posters and mount them on the wall.

Stage 10:

The final step is to look into safety. If you are planning on leaving books, a TV, or even a computer in your shed/office, than you want to look into installing safety items. If the shed has a cheep swinging door, than you will want to install a real door with a lock, including a deadbolt lock. The window also needs to have locks, and also be sure to put curtains/blinds over the windows so that no one can look in. It would probably be wise to install shutters over the windows with a lock, but this depends on what you have inside. If there is nothing valuable, than I wouldn’t go to the trouble of doing this.

Now take a deep breath, put your tools away, and smile proudly at your new writing office.

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