What is a She Shed?
You’ve probably heard of the classic “man cave”: the room outfitted for stereotypical mens’ pastimes: the comfy couch for watching sports, a large table for poker games, or his choice of video game console.
The man cave is a space for men to retreat to after a long day of hard work, away from the wife and kids, to relax and turn their brain off.
While we do love a good man cave, we want to bring your focus to a room we’re calling “the lady den.” The antithesis of the man cave, and a staple of any modern day family home.
Women, even more so than men after this long pandemic, deserve a room in the home that’s solely dedicated to relaxation, personal space and hobbies - outside of work and kids.
Women, and moms especially, spend a good portion of their day fulfilling the needs of others - whether it’s aging parents, young kids, demanding bosses, needy coworkers, misbehaved pets, or busy spouses. So, after a long day of exceeding the world’s high expectations of moms and women in general, we think you deserve a “lady den.”
Unlike the tired stereotypes of man caves, we think lady dens can and should shed any assumptions about stereotypical womens' hobbies, and instead be filled with whatever fits your personal definition of “relaxation.”
Sure, a lady den could include a mani pedi set-up, or a sewing station if that’s your thing, but it could also be home to your peloton and your weight set.
Maybe one corner can house your library and a cozy reading chair, and the other area can house your mini fridge and video game console. It’s your lady den, so it’s your call.
In this article, we’ll give you our top tips on lady dens/woman caves/she sheds - and advice on how to create “a room of one’s own,” in the words of Virginia Woolf.
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Lady Den or She Shed?
One of the first decisions you’ll want to make about your calming oasis is whether it will be attached to your home, or a totally separate dwelling - sometimes called a “she shed.”
While the process of creating an entire shed is a bit more involved, if every room in your home is already in use with no space to spare, this can be the perfect way to claim your territory.
For instance, you can purchase a full shed online for roughly $2,000 - $8,000. While this shed won’t be a fully outfitted home with insulation, electrical wiring, and a bathroom - it will provide a place to escape the elements.
There are lots of options to pick from that vary in shape and size. And if you do want to take your she shed to the next level, you can construct a full-blown ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), with electrical wiring, a bathroom, electricity, and insulation.
How to Heat or Cool Your She Shed
If you’re looking to keep it simple for now, there are a few different ways you can regulate temperature in a more simple shed if you live in an area with a temperate climate.
- Portable AC Unit or Heater: Portable AC units run anywhere from $300 - $500, which is a major bargain compared to installing a full blown AC system or even ductless system. Heaters are even cheaper, ranging from only $30 to $400. While they certainly won’t provide enough comfort during extreme weather conditions - they’ll certainly make the area nice enough to relax in for a good portion of the year.
- Portable Dehumidifier: Another way to ensure that your she shed is comfortable in humid climates is to put in a dehumidifier - which will only cost around $200 - $600. Again, this option is much less expensive than putting in full blown insulation, which would cost thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.
- Window AC: Lastly, if your she shed has at least one window, consider installing a window AC rather than a portable AC unit. A window unit will cost around $40 to $300.
- Running electricity to your shed: At the very least, you’ll probably want to run electricity to the shed to provide light or a place to plug in your phone. Unless you have experience with electrical wiring and codes, we’d recommend hiring an electrician. This can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on where you live and your set up.
If you’d prefer to step up your she shed so it can be used during any sort of weather with insulation, you could purchase a prefab unit, which might be upwards of $20,000.
However, if you pay a contractor to insulate your shed, it will cost around $500 to $3,000 - depending on what type of material you use and how large your shed is. This is a much more cost-effective way to temperature regulate your dwelling.
How to Furnish a She Shed
In general, we recommend outdoor furniture and decor to furnish your she shed. Cute lounge chairs, blankets, a table, twinkly lights and more are great additions to any she shed, because they’re meant to withstand more extreme weather, as compared to standard furniture.
However, if you are constructing a full-blown ADU, any type of furniture is fine - it all depends on how you want to use the space.
Here are some of the top ideas we’ve seen for she sheds that you can use for inspiration:
- Fitness-inspired shed: If you’re into working out, your she shed is a perfect spot to store fitness equipment.
For example, Peloton bikes can be stored in temperatures between 32 and 104 degrees fahrenheit.
If you’re more into yoga, you can set out a permanent yoga mat near an outlet to plug in a tablet or computer to play any on-demand or live virtual yoga classes.
Lastly, a she shed is a great spot to store your weights and other fitness equipment for HIIT classes or strength routines.
- Creative studio: If you’d like to spend your relaxation time in a more creative way, your she shed could also be a place for music and art.
While paints, an easel, or a pottery wheel can be messy and annoying to clean up in your home, your she shed is a great place to start projects and pick them up whenever you have time - knowing they aren’t getting in the way of anything.
If music is more your thing, use the she shed to play songs on the guitar or belt out your favorite tunes and know you’re not disturbing anyone.
And even though a she shed is small, it’s a great spot to just put in your headphones and dance it out (while no one’s judging) without fear of being interrupted.
- Reading/Writing shed: It can be quite literally impossible to find peace and quiet with young kids, so if you’re trying to tackle your summer reading list or starting to write your first novel, a she shed is a great place to get started.
All you need is a desk, a cozy chair, and the perfect ambiance. Don’t worry about matching the same aesthetic as your home - take advantage of the separate space and decorate to inspire you as you’re writing or daydreaming.
- Entertainment Space: Sometimes all you really want is a little space to get away and just chill with friends. Invite friends and family over, or just watch your favorite guilty pleasure TV show, in the comfort of your she shed.
Of course, you can bring the baby monitor in, but don’t worry about waking the kids up with that horror movie or fits of laughter with friends while you’re in the shed.
- Nap central: Okay, not that you really have time to nap often, but when you do - it’s a whole lot more relaxing to nap in a shed totally designed by you, separate from the house.
All you need for the nap central she shed is a nice couch, some fluffy pillows and blankets, and a white noise machine. Just make sure you set your alarm so you don’t sleep the entire afternoon.
Whichever type of she shed floats your boat, we recommend using an online room planner - like this one - so you can see exactly how your new furniture, flooring, walls and decor will look.
The benefit of the separate backyard dwelling unit is that you can get even more space between your home and daily life.
However, if you’re working with a more limited budget, transforming a room or an area in your home into a “lady den,” is a perfect option.
How to Decorate a Lady Den
Unlike the typical “man cave” decor, we encourage you to go outside of the box and design a lady den that fits your personal style.
This will also depend on what you’re looking to put in the room - will you create a reading nook? A TV room? A yoga studio?
Either way, there are a few essential elements to include no matter what your lady den will look like:
- Add greenery: It’s no secret that plants are hot right now. A great way to help a space feel more relaxing is to bring the outside in with succulents, flowers, planters, and vine walls. Try artificial or real; or a mixture of both to give your space a calming feel inspired by nature, says Brianna Pisacane from The Shade Store.
- Light it up: There’s no better way to make a space feel warm and cozy then by stringing a set of warm-toned lights throughout your space. The soft glow will give your space an inviting and calming feel.
- Keep work and other similar tasks away from your lady den: Ideally, it’s a spot for joy and relaxation, a place for reflection and escape, says Marty Basher from Modular Closets. So don’t drag stress inducers into your beautiful sanctuary!
- Use an eye-soothing palette: As for the colors in your room, go for the neutral or pastel palette. Soft colors generally have a calming effect on our minds which can help you slow down the chaos in your mind after a long working day, says Andrea Boyd from Tailored Space.
- Consider a bold seating option: A hanging chair, hammock, or other type of fun lounger that might not fit into the aesthetic of the rest of your home can fit in perfectly in a lady den.
- Find a decorative sign: Since it’s your private sanctuary, you wouldn’t want to be disturbed while you’re in it, right? Then why not put up a sign that lets the world know that this is your den/cave and you’re just taking some time off right now, advises Austin Fain from Perfect Steel Solutions.
- Start with a purpose: Regardless of the direction, be sure to decide on a purpose, says Marty. Proper planning results in saving money. When designing the perfect ladies den, consider what you want the space to accomplish in your life. Decide a purpose for your ladies den before altering or furnishing. That way you get more for your dollar, and don’t waste time or money fixing mishaps. Consider using a Pinterest board to gather inspiration and decor ideas before going out and buying anything.
Overall, a lady den doesn’t have to be an overly feminine room filled to the brim with pink decor and cheesy signs - as long as it’s designed to help you relax and find calm, then it’s serving its purpose.
Ideas for Your Lady Den
So - what are some ideas for how to fill and design a lady den? First, we recommend thinking about what you like to do when you have a little bit of time to relax.
Are you off to the treadmill? Watching your favorite show? Curling up with a book? Chatting with friends? Maybe you have a hobby that you don’t often have the motivation for that you’d like to spend more time on.
Creating a dedicated space for that hobby is a great way to make that hobby a bigger part of your life. Whether it’s painting, writing, yoga, or something else entirely.
Here are some popular ideas:
- Meditation room: To meditate, you need silence - or at least no one bothering you for the duration of the meditation session. It’s a lot easier to meditate in a separate room where other family members aren’t working and playing. The great part about creating a meditation room is that it doesn’t require anything fancy - just a yoga mat or a pillow, and some space.
- Workout area: Let’s be honest - doing a virtual workout class in the middle of your living room isn’t super comfortable. The space can be awkward, other family members might be watching, and you’re worried about hitting a hard corner of a coffee table or getting sweat on the rug. If you love working out, turn your lady den into a workout space!
- TV nook: Sometimes you don’t want all the kids walking in on the SVU reruns you watch when they go to bed - so, turn that lady den into a TV nook! It can even be a nice little movie date night spot you can hide in while you ignore the toys that built up in the living room.
- Hobby station: Last but not least, we think this is the best use of a lady den - a space to pursue creative hobbies, outside of an office. Crafts, books, a writing desk, your guitars, a piano - whatever passions you don’t always have time to work on can finally have a dedicated space in your house.
Why You Should Include a Lady Den in Your Renovation Plans
If you’re planning a major home remodel - consider integrating a lady den into your new home design.
While sure, it seems like a luxury, but adding in a bit of extra space or another wall for this room is a lot cheaper than installing an extra bathroom, expanding your kitchen, or putting an entire she shack or she shed in your backyard later.
If you end up needing this extra room for something else later on, like a guest bedroom, a kid bedroom, home office, or anything else, you can easily convert it back.
But for now, a lady den is a fun way to create a space that’s solely yours, so you can rest, recharge and relax so you can continue to operate at 100%.
So - add that lady den to your renovation plans! We promise you will not regret it.