Let’s take this outside... should your next home improvement be an outbuilding?

Let’s take this outside... should your next home improvement be an outbuilding?

When looking to add space to their home most people’s thoughts will at first go to extending (whether that be upwards, downwards or outwards). But few will think of the potential advantages which come with constructing or renovating an outbuilding as the solution to their space woes.   

While to many the word ‘outbuilding’ will evoke images of a decaying garden shed or perhaps a quaint summer house that is scarcely used outside of the warmer months. But, that does not have to be the definition of the word — an outbuilding done well could lead to your favourite room in the home becoming one which is not actually in your house at all.

Whether you opt to renovate an already existing outbuilding, like an old barn or stable, or you decide to construct an entirely new one; either prefabricated or custom built, as long as it fulfils certain criteria the project may be considered ‘Permitted Development’ which means you don't need to apply for planning permission.

When it comes to what you can do with an outbuilding there aren’t really any limits! But here’s a few of our favourite things you can do with an annex for a little inspiration:  

Photo by Tay Jnr/DigitalVision / Getty Images

Home Office

Perhaps the most obvious use of a building that is separated from the main building is to make it a home office/work space, but for good reason. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home (or you just need a space you can go to burn the midnight oil) there are some major advantages to having a work space that is detached from your home. First: having a separate work area from the main building will make it easier for you to mentally categorise it as a place where you are in ‘work mode’ making you less likely to procrastinate while there, not to mention the fact that it frees you from the distractions and noises of the rest of the home.

Having a separate office will also come across as much more professional if you need to have colleagues or clients visit your office.

up-cycled shipping container summerhouse

Garden Retreat / Personal Spa

Most of us would like to be able to run off for a little TLC when times get tough, and with your own personal retreat or spa room at the bottom of the garden it becomes an easily obtainable dream. Outbuildings make fabulous calm spaces you can escape to; to relax, meditate or perform yoga, if you are of that inclination. If not, then how about using it as a shelter for a sauna or Jacuzzi that you can slink off to unwind in whenever you feel the need?

Bedroom annexe

The so called ‘granny annex’ is a fantastic way for a family to be able to keep an eye on an elderly relative while allowing them to retain their independence, but it’s not just the elderly who could benefit from such as space… With house prices as they are, more and more young people are finding it increasingly difficult to fly the nest. However, as the kids grow up it’s likely that both you and them will want a little breathing space from one another and a separated living space is a great way to achieve this.  We just can promise it will stop them coming in to raid your fridge.  

Kid’s den

If you have younger children then let them run wild in their own outdoor den. A space where they can play, paint, and make as much noise as they like all the while you can get a little peace and quiet in the home. 

Hobby room

Whether you’ve decided to take up a musical instrument, get into woodworking or perhaps you've become a part-time potter. Having a separate dedicated creative space in which to practice your avocation is a wonderful asset, and if you’ve been thinking about getting your teenage band back together or taking up alpine yodelling we’re sure that the rest of your family will appreciate our recommendation of using an external space to practice.

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

Man cave

Perhaps the room that men covet the most —whether it’s merely a space to put some comfy chairs and a big screen to watch sports and play video games, your own private pub or a garage for your boy toys that doubles up as a chill-out space.  Annexes and outbuildings make for amazing man caves.