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How to style your ‘shed with notions’

Turn your garden getaway into a multifunctional sanctuary using cosy interiors and clutter-free design

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A garden annexe can give you the extra space you need. Picture: Lisa Taggart

A garden annexe can give you the extra space you need. Picture: Lisa Taggart

Keep your décor clutter-free to maximise space. Picture: Sibil Archer

Keep your décor clutter-free to maximise space. Picture: Sibil Archer

Isola curved storage table, €199, lampmasters.com

Isola curved storage table, €199, lampmasters.com

Sherpa lounge Fatboy, €749, finnishdesignshop.com

Sherpa lounge Fatboy, €749, finnishdesignshop.com

Otter chaise sofa from £7,800/€9,000, makerandson.com

Otter chaise sofa from £7,800/€9,000, makerandson.com

Artificial fig tree, €105.50, oliverbonas.com

Artificial fig tree, €105.50, oliverbonas.com

Eichholtz Highland desk, €3,345, cadesign.ie

Eichholtz Highland desk, €3,345, cadesign.ie

Rug, €563, hay.dk

Rug, €563, hay.dk

Highland desk, €3,345, Dexter chair, €1,205, CA Design; cadesign.ie

Highland desk, €3,345, Dexter chair, €1,205, CA Design; cadesign.ie

A2 Berlin print, €100, Greet Street; greetstreet.com

A2 Berlin print, €100, Greet Street; greetstreet.com

Kreafunk bluetooth speaker, €239, industryandco.com

Kreafunk bluetooth speaker, €239, industryandco.com

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A garden annexe can give you the extra space you need. Picture: Lisa Taggart

Call it a shed, a man cave, an office, a guest room, a gym, a music studio, a kids’ den, an emotional escape room — the garden annexe is redefining our outside spaces. “It’s a shed with notions,” my friend said to me when we first built our garden studio 10 years ago, until it was fully kitted out as a home office-cum-den with creature comforts to rival the indoors, where I enjoyed undisturbed work hours (and quiet cups of tea) without the tug of a toddler.

In the pandemic, the all-weather outdoor annexe took a leap forward. It was the answer to a lot of our problems: another room to escape to when we tired of the same four walls, or when we needed to make a Zoom call in peace. Since the pandemic, garden room installation companies have reported a 400pc rise in enquiries, with a vast number of customers seeking office space. With property price inflation, moving house to find that extra room has proved financially prohibitive for many of us. Luckily, space can be added to your garden for a fraction of the cost. If the structure is no greater than 25 sqm and not going to be ‘lived in’, there’s no planning permission required either.

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Keep your décor clutter-free to maximise space. Picture: Sibil Archer

Keep your décor clutter-free to maximise space. Picture: Sibil Archer

Keep your décor clutter-free to maximise space. Picture: Sibil Archer

Garden Rooms, Modern Garden Rooms, Shomera, Rooms Outside and Eco Build Garden Rooms all offer a range of solutions, from smaller eco pods to bespoke stylish rooms. “Twenty years ago, we were still educating people on the concept,” says John Sherry, owner of Garden Rooms. “Now they’re building it into their long-term plans.”

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Rug, €563, hay.dk

Rug, €563, hay.dk

Rug, €563, hay.dk

The great thing about a garden studio is its ability to suit every style and accommodate every whim, so don’t be afraid to experiment and let your personality shine. “Try to keep it open-plan and flexible in terms of its design as it tends to change with the family life cycle,” advises John.

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Artificial fig tree, €105.50, oliverbonas.com

Artificial fig tree, €105.50, oliverbonas.com

Artificial fig tree, €105.50, oliverbonas.com

Deciding on its current function is key, but being able to change up the interior to suit a teenager doing the Leaving Cert, for example, or a new-found interest in yoga, is also worth considering. Whatever its function, you can’t go wrong with installing a stove for instant cosiness and efficient heat. This is, after all, bound to be a relaxing escape room at some point, so consider good comfy seating options, too.

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Otter chaise sofa from £7,800/€9,000, makerandson.com

Otter chaise sofa from £7,800/€9,000, makerandson.com

Otter chaise sofa from £7,800/€9,000, makerandson.com

While Maker&Son might be on the pricier side, you cannot beat its range of handmade sofas and armchairs for comfort. All are made using sustainably sourced hardwood frames and natural materials that are machine-washable.

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Sherpa lounge Fatboy, €749, finnishdesignshop.com

Sherpa lounge Fatboy, €749, finnishdesignshop.com

Sherpa lounge Fatboy, €749, finnishdesignshop.com

If your studio is fast becoming a teenage hangout, Finnish Design Shop’s Sherpa lounge Fatboy beanbag is a plush footless armchair that’s easily moved. They’ll also love the Kreafunk bluetooth speaker, a neat music solution for a small space.

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Eichholtz Highland desk, €3,345, cadesign.ie

Eichholtz Highland desk, €3,345, cadesign.ie

Eichholtz Highland desk, €3,345, cadesign.ie

If your studio is doing double duty as a home office, you’ll need a stylish desk and chair, such as CA Design’s Eichholtz Highland desk and Dexter chair — a sleek Scandi set made from washed oak veneer with a retro design, a desk light (Ferm Living, Dunnes Stores, Amara, Smallable) and a rug to soften the space (rugs.ie, Harvey Norman, The Rug Loft, JYSK).

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Isola curved storage table, €199, lampmasters.com

Isola curved storage table, €199, lampmasters.com

Isola curved storage table, €199, lampmasters.com

Your garden studio isn’t likely to be too roomy, so keeping it clutter-free is essential to also maintaining a clutter-free head. Storage tables, such as the Isola table from Lampmasters, will add function while also keeping style in check.

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Kreafunk bluetooth speaker, €239, industryandco.com

Kreafunk bluetooth speaker, €239, industryandco.com

Kreafunk bluetooth speaker, €239, industryandco.com

The garden room goes far beyond what we expect from a shed. It’s a multifunctional space that, when built to a high spec, is low maintenance and perfect for all-year-round use, and will add value to your home.

Thanks to wireless technology and efficient insulation, today’s cabins or studios are extensions of our homes and multitasking sanctuaries. So, if you have a cluttered shed or an unused corner of your garden, a chic studio annexe might be exactly what you need when you’re in search of that elusive ‘me time’.


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