Having a stylish garden room is the ultimate in luxury outdoor living. It’s a chance to inject a stand-out space in landscaped surroundings for entertaining your guests or recharging your batteries.
Less costly and challenging than extending your home, designing a garden room allows you to create a stylish and functional additional space that merges the indoors and outdoors. While adding a reported 15% to the value of your property, a garden room instantly uplifts a tired garden, reshaping an unused area into an inspirational and purposeful structure.
Plan your perfect garden room and its intended use
From the start, consider exactly how you want to use the space, the amount of room you’ll need for furnishings, appliances or gym equipment. Perhaps your main objective is to create a peaceful home office, have a gym space to workout, a designated area to practise your golf or a relaxing retreat for yoga.
Once you know the intended use of a garden room, decide on its best location in terms of views, sunlight and access from your home. ‘Sun mapping’ your garden is not only great for knowing where and when to plant flowers, it can also help you know where you can maximise light and solar heat to better position a garden room. By situating windows to the south, east or west, can help you avoid too much direct sun streaming into a garden office if the sun beams down at a certain time of day.
Design a layout that maximises space and functionality
When planning your garden room, think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks of hiring an architect or designer versus doing it yourself. Consulting the right professionals and sourcing them through recommendations might increase your budget, but their expertise might be welcome when it comes to navigating the space for functionality. If your outside room is part of a grander garden design, they’ll advise on how best to position it within the wider context of your garden renovations.
For designing the garden room on your own, look at ideas online and think about the final appearance that you’re trying to create, as well as considering:
- Size and dimensions: for an extra living room, home office or gym studio, you’ll need to think about the features and layout and how this impacts what you can fit in. Measure the garden space and design accordingly.
- Ease of access: how you will enter the room – it could be via the house or through a separate gate.
- Maximising natural light: for streams of natural light, add skylights and large windows.
- Electrics and power cables: power up for lights, heating, internet access, etc.
- Good insulation: Think about energy efficiency and that you’ll want year-round use.
- Clutter-free storage: Incorporate shelves, cupboards and wardrobes.
- Multifunctional furniture: include comfortable inside/outside furniture that can withstand the elements.
Build in stages and spread the costs
Building your garden room in stages can make the project more manageable. Evaluate your garden and drainage areas to determine if the ground needs levelling or if you’ll need a raised floor. For an easy and risk-free build, research the rules on size and height restrictions for permitted structures – garden rooms and sheds fall under ‘permitted development rules’ and therefore don’t require planning permission.
At the start you can lay the foundations and floor to create a solid base. Next, you’ll want to focus on the key elements like walls, the roof, windows and doors to enclose the structure. If you are budget-conscious, breaking the build down into stages makes it less daunting and means you can spread the costs over time.
Once you have a watertight roof, you can hire the tradespeople to install services such as the electrics and plumbing. Insulation and ventilation can then be added before you are ready to fit the flooring, any storage units, fixtures and furnishings or get started on some lovely decor to complete your garden retreat.
Opt for sustainable materials and an eco-friendly design
Choosing sustainable materials is key for an environmentally-friendly garden room. Opt for renewable or recycled sources like fast-growing bamboo or reclaimed wood for structural materials like floors, walls and roof beams. When it comes to your flooring, choose materials that are durable and suitable for the weather too. Tile, wood and vinyl work well.
You’ll then need to think about insulating with natural fibre products like sheep’s wool or hemp fibre which have excellent thermal properties. Likewise, for windows, energy-efficient glazing reduces heat loss and attracts extra heat from the sun.
Research modern and traditional styles
There are many traditional and modern decorative styles to look at for your own garden room design. The choice is whether you prefer the contemporary look, with features such as rendered or brick walls, or minimalist Scandi-style decor. For a rustic, cosy cottage look, add painted timber wall panels and vintage furnishings.
Carefully consider how you want to use the space and select furniture and accessories according to your preferred design for a comfortable, functional area tailored to your needs. Inject personality through art, soft furnishings, lighting and greenery to give the space warmth and character. Pay attention to small details like curtain ties, cushions and rugs to elevate the look and feel. Fitting weatherproof shelving and cabinets provides handy storage while hiding clutter.
Add a final flourish
After all the major structural work is complete, it’s time to add those all-important finishing touches to create a beautifully styled and welcoming garden retreat. Carefully chosen furnishings will give your garden that wow factor for the ultimate in chic garden room interiors.
The colours should marry up to soft furnishings and work well with lighting to create that perfect ambience. For a striking focal point, add a log burner or an eccentric wall for interest. Bring the outdoors in with indoor plants, flowers and natural materials and pay attention to curtains, artwork and accessories for a polished finish.
Enhance and adapt over time
After careful planning, it becomes clear how you intend to use this additional space. Yet, designing your own garden room remains exciting, boosts your home’s value and when completed might ultimately rival any other stunning rooms in your home. With thoughtful, weather-resistant furnishings and the right selection of materials and fittings, a garden retreat can double up as a functional space for entertaining guests, relaxing in or working up a sweat.
Over time, you can also enhance and adapt a garden room as the seasons change by evolving the layout, adding new pieces and adjusting the decor to keep the space fresh and inviting.