A Guide to Decorating Your Garden Outbuilding

Outhouses are growing in popularity in the UK, as homeowners eschew the difficulty and volatility of the housing market in favour of expanding their existing home; the humble garden represents a significant increase in home surface without the stress of knocking through walls and tripping over builders until an extension is finished. The outbuilding is an incredibly versatile option for your home, with practical utility as an office, a guest bedroom or simply a summer lounge to make the most of the fantastic warmer weather. Whichever way you lean with regard to your own outhouse, decorating it can be a tricky thing – which is why we’re here to help.


Before you so much as pick up a paintbrush, you should have a clear idea on the kind of theme you want your room to follow. Whatever the use for your room will be. This theme might be informed by your plans for the room – for example, a home office might not benefit from a child’s playhouse aesthetic – or might speak to your plans for the space as a multifunctional room. Neutral colours enable you to re-arrange and re-purpose the room with ease, and will be inoffensive to family and guests alike. If your outbuilding is set to be a sun room or summer living room, warmer, brighter colours in the form of yellows and sunny oranges can work wonders for enlivening the space.


With a solid idea of a theme comes a narrowing-down of the furnishings that would fit into the space. A sun-room theme would benefit from low-height sofas with a natural aesthetic, to complement a bay window seat with ample storage for cushions and other outdoor furnishings. Outbuildings are not known for their expansive floor-plan, and maximalist design aesthetics can quickly become clutter if not considered correctly – but considered applications of mismatching furniture and introducing elements at different heights can create a comfortable and eclectic feel. 

Lighting solutions are a great way to illuminate your aesthetic choice, whether maximalist or minimalist; the units themselves can reflect your theme, while their placement can have a significant effect on the room’s feel. Low-height lamps throw shadows up the walls, creating a sense of cosiness, while high-up lights and a sun-roof bathe the space in light – making it easier to work in.


Lastly, turn your mind to the things with which you’d like to adorn your space. Plants and flowers are an absolute must for any outbuilding, regardless its purpose; the life they bring to the space is indispensable, and the natural light available means you can choose more exotic plants to display. If your outbuilding has a specific purpose, your furnishing decisions will want to inform that purpose. For example, in creating an outdoor leisure space you might want to install vintage wall plaques advertising popular beers, and shelving for displaying drinks, much like a bar. A games room might have a dart board and television, and an office space might have a wall-mounted TV for collaborative working.


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