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Outbuilding ideas: Design and conversion inspiration
by
Checkatrade

Outdoor outbuilding ideasUnlock your garden’s potential with our excellent outbuilding ideas. If you have run out of living space and can’t afford to move house or build an extension, converting or building a new outbuilding can be a great choice.

You may even suddenly have to take on caring for an elderly relative, in which case a granny annexe could be a fantastic option. To learn more please see our informative granny annexe cost guide.

Alternatively, you may need the space for a new room, like a new office, pool house, summer house or home gym. Whether you are looking for a space to store, entertain, work, study or just for fun, our outbuilding ideas are the perfect solution.

Types of outbuildings

Not to be confused with an outhouse or outdoor toilet, outbuildings offer you the chance to affordably expand your living space.

Outbuilding ideas

An outbuilding is typically not attached to your home, making it a separate space with endless possibilities.

Below are a few of the different uses for outbuildings, please click to further explore the options:

Important considerations

Before beginning construction or renovations, it is essential you consider legalities and structural issues, including planning permission, damp proofing, foundations, insurance and utilities. All of this information can be found in the above cost guides or our outbuilding cost guide.

Outbuilding design ideas

Modern looking outhouse

When planning for your perfect outbuilding, the design is an important consideration. The way your new project looks will usually depend on its purpose and the type of structure you start with.

The following outbuilding design ideas are a few of the different options to choose from:

  • If you are looking for an enclosed structure, a good starting point is a shed or garage.
  • An office or playroom will work best with a semi-enclosed structure, allowing natural light to flood in.
  • Open structures make for light and airy outbuildings, great during warmer months. This type of building would be perfect for a pergola or a carport.
  • For a completely unique outbuilding, why not choose a futuristic garden pod? This circular structure can rotate and offers unobstructed views of your whole garden.

Outbuilding conversion ideas

outbuilding cost

Most outbuildings can be converted into a functional, liveable area with a few renovations. This is a fantastic option to save garden space, money and the effort of installing a new outbuilding. The following outbuilding conversion ideas are a great way to begin your project:

  • Insulation: Adding this to a basic outbuilding is essential to provide warmth during colder months, as well as protecting any furniture left inside from leaks and damp throughout the winter.
  • Utilities: Connecting electricity is a must, however, you also have the option to add gas and water connections. Whether you need these utilities depends on how you plan to use your outbuilding.
  • Flooring: Consider adding flooring for a more comfortable, aesthetically pleasing outbuilding.

Garden outbuilding ideas

Garden room ideas this summer

Garden outbuildings such as sheds, summerhouses and kennels can be beautiful focal points for your outside spaces. Stuck for garden outbuilding ideas? Consider the following:

  • Place an outbuilding further away from your house and install a picturesque, meandering path with solar lights for a magical effect.
  • Paint your outbuilding a bold colour to add a bright, sunny feeling to your garden.
  • Consider using detailing to decorate your outbuilding with delicate finishing touches. Alternatively, add a trellis with winding green vines.

Small outbuilding ideas

Sheds, carports and garages can all be converted into practical living spaces. If you already own an outbuilding but feel it is simply too small to convert into a usable room, check out our small outbuilding ideas below:

  • Choose slimline furniture like a compact desk or shallow cupboards for storage. You can even buy furniture that folds away after use.
  • Keep clutter tidied away to maximise the size of your new room.
  • Use mirrors and lighting to create the illusion of space.

Large outbuilding ideas

If alternatively, you are lucky enough to be converting a large outbuilding, the possibilities are endless. Summerhouses can be transformed into offices or gyms, whilst garages can be upgraded into new living rooms. If you have a particularly large space to play with, you could even consider building a granny annexe.

Perfect for teenagers who need more space or elderly relatives you want to keep close, a granny annexe is a self-contained living area. Check out our cost of building a granny annexe guide for more information.

Outbuilding ideas and trends

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