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Should You Build a Tiny House Shed? Tips and Examples.

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If you’re considering moving into a tiny home but don’t want to fork over big bucks, you might want to consider a shed turned into a house.

Tiny house sheds are growing in popularity, with people buying both pre-fab sheds or building a shed house themselves.

Turning a shed into a tiny house is easier and more affordable than buying a tiny home. You can also build a shed house much faster than other types of tiny homes if you’re in a time crunch.

Living in a shed house might not be for you if you want a tiny home that’s entirely customized. With a tiny house shed, you’ll have a basic shell that can’t be changed very much. You’ll only have the inside to make truly yours.

If you have plans to travel with your house across the country, living in a shed house isn’t the best bet. You can’t tow them like tiny houses on wheels, which are built to the standard of the RV Industry Association. 

But if you’re looking for an affordable tiny house that’s easy to set up, a shed house could be right for you. Also, check out shipping container homes for affordable and durable tiny homes.

Read on to learn more about shed houses, how to build them and how to find shed houses for sale.

What does a tiny house shed cost?

Shed houses are some of the most affordable tiny homes out there. If you buy a prefab shell or entire turnkey shed, it will cost anywhere between $1,000-$60,000, depending on the size and build quality.

This is way cheaper than some tiny homes on the market which can sell for over $100,000.

Of course, buying a shell or an entire prefab tiny house shed will be more expensive than a DIY shed project.

Want to build your own shed home?

Check out this book, “Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses” by tiny house expert and pioneer Jay Shafer:

According to HomeAdvisor.com, other factors that will influence the cost of a DIY shed conversion are what materials you choose and whether you decide to hire a pro to help with your building project.

Also, electricity, a composting toilet and running water in your shed house will contribute to the overall cost.

The good thing about living in a shed tiny house is that the cost factors are entirely up to you.  If you feel like it, you can really build a shed house on the cheap.

Can you live in a tiny house shed legally?

Red and cream shed tiny house on a bright green lawn

Sheds have the same difficulties as other tiny homes. Often, they need to be placed on a property that already has a primary house. This way, they are permitted as an ADU, or accessory dwelling unit.

The one benefit of a tiny house shed is that it almost always passes building code, as sheds are built to certain standards. 

Permitting for a shed conversion will depend on your city or county’s zoning regulations.

What makes living in a tiny house especially frustrating is that zoning regulations are different all over the United States. You’ll have to contact your local permitting office to figure out their parameters for building a shed.

Living in a tiny house shed conversion is illegal in many places. One person who lives in a shed told me it’s illegal in her county, but officials look the other way. It’s just all about what type of risk you’re willing to take. 

Building your own shed tiny home vs buying a shell

There are a couple of different options for a shed turned into a house: building your own or buying a prefab shell. If you choose to build your own, you can also hire a contractor to help you with the hard parts of the build.

Tuff Shed Tiny House Brown Exterior with White window trim
The Smiths of My Tuff Shed Home built a Home Depot Shed in Georgia

Building your own shed tiny house means you’ll have more control of the materials used in construction. Often, a pre-purchased shed isn’t built with materials meant to support long term living.

If you think about it, a shed is usually used to store garden tools or machinery. They’re typically not hardy enough to be used on a daily basis.

If you build your own shed tiny house, you’ll need to have some basic handy skills. Building your own tiny house from scratch will also take longer than purchasing a pre-fab shed. 

If you’re leaning toward buying a shed to turn into a house, you should read these shed house construction details to consider by Tiny House Design.

When you buy a pre-made shed, you’ll get the entire structure with windows, doors and delivery, all for a few thousand bucks. Then, it’s up to you to make the inside of your shed feel like home. 

You’ll also have to keep in mind that the shed shell doesn’t come with a foundation, flooring, shingles, drywall, electricity, etc., so you’ll still have plenty of building work to turn a shed into a home.

Want to buy affordable shed house plans right now? Check out the shed plans here. 

Start building your own shed house right now 

Garden shed plans and instructions
Ryan’s Shed Plans are detailed instructions that anyone can follow, even without woodworking experience.

If you’re going to leap into building your own tiny house shed, you’ll need detailed plans to follow.

You might have no woodworking experience at all and are afraid to mess something up.

It turns that even with zero woodworking experience; you can build an amazing shed in a weekend.

Ryan’s Shed Plans are 12,000+ plans you can buy for a super affordable price. Ryan is a professional craftsman and educator who wanted to provide shed plans that anyone can follow to build their dream shed tiny house.

So, why are Ryan’s Shed Plans better than other plans?

Many of the plans sold by publishers are not even written by woodworkers. They are written by ghost-writers who have never touched a chisel or a piece of lumber in their life.

So, such plans often have wrong instructions, are either too dumb down or too complicated.

A good shed plan can only be written by a woodworker with experience building a lot of projects and teaching the craftsmanship to others. With Ryan’s Shed Plans, there’s no need to hire someone to build a shed for you.

Here’s what you’ll get with these shed plans:

  • Views from all angles. This will help you see how everything will look before you start building.
  • Step-by-step instructions. The instructions are so detailed you’ll know exactly what to do in every step.
  • Lists of materials and cutting lists, so you know what to buy, the quantity, and how to cut the materials. The cutting lists include measurements.
  • 3D drawings
  • CAD designed drawings
  • “Used for” labels to help you know what each material is used for and when you will need it.

Click here to check out Ryan’s Shed Plans.

Ryan's shed Plans to build your own shed house

Positives and negatives of a shed tiny house

Tiny Wooden tiny house shed with a front porch

If you’re considering building a shed house to live in, you’ll want to know the positives and negatives of turning a shed into a house.

Positives:

  • Affordable
  • Easy and fast to build and set up
  • It’s easier to finance a shed than a tiny house
  • Pre-fab sheds often come with a warranty
  • A pre-fab shed can be delivered right to your property

Negatives:

  • Not easy to move like a tiny house on wheels
  • Not very customizable
  • Construction materials may not be as nice as other tiny homes
  • Difficult to legally live in

Prefab shed tiny homes you can buy right now

So, you want to buy a shed to turn into a house? There are so many options on the market. From modern studios to barns, it’s easy to find a prefab shed tiny house of your dreams.

Some prefabricated sheds are on the higher end and made from higher-quality materials. Others, like the sheds you see on the side of the highway, sell for only a few thousand dollars with a lower-quality build.

The Signature Studio by Studio Shed- $10,000

This beautiful tiny house shed studio has one side made entirely of windows. Shown parked in the corner of a property
The 12-foot by 14-foot Studio Shed. Photo by Astrid Gaiser

Studio-Shed manufactures a variety of modern and usable structures meant for a backyard. These beautiful tiny house sheds can be installed in a matter of days and are built with high-quality, sustainable materials.

Any premade shed house you buy from Studio Shed comes with a 1-year warranty.

Kanga Cottage Kwik Room – Shell Kit starts at $7,600

The Kanga Cottage Kwik Shed conversion tiny house is an affordable and well-constructed tiny house shed
Photo: KangaRoomSystems.com

Kanga Room Systems makes all sorts of high-quality backyard tiny house sheds and cottages. This Kanga Cottage Kwik Room comes in three sizes, the smallest being 120 square feet, or 10×12.

It can be bought as a shell kit (shipped to most states) or a turnkey shed (only in Texas).

A shell kit comes with all the exterior parts to make the cottage look like a home, including roof insulation, windows, the door and deck. 

The Cape Cod by Waterloo Sheds – starts at $2,600

The Cape Cod Shed house by Waterloo looks just like a tiny house and is cheap
Photo: Waterloo Sheds

The Cape Cod by Waterloo Sheds is a beautiful and affordable shed that can be turned into a house. You can pick from a range of sizes and between vinyl and wood siding. You can also choose the colors of the shed and the placement of the windows and doors.

Tuff Shed from Home Depot – $2,600

The Tuff Shed from Home Depot costs less than $3,000
Photo: Home Depot

Some people choose to live in really simple sheds like the Tuff Shed from Home Depot. This 10′ x 12′ shed is under $3,000 and comes with a shingled-roof, precision-cut rafters and a steel door.

If you buy this shed to turn into a tiny house, you need to provide a clean and level installation site.

The Tuff shed to turn into a house also comes a limited 5-year warranty. 

Buy this shed on Home Depot now. 

See how one couple turned a two-story Tuff Shed into a gorgeous tiny house.

Examples of sheds turned into houses

This SHED tiny house cost $30,000 to build
C: https://shedsistence.com/

Plenty of people have already started living in tiny house sheds. For some examples and inspiration for your own shed house build, check out these livable sheds.

As you’ll see, shed conversions come in all shapes and sizes. From a traditional tool shed, to a barn shed, to a shed on wheels, you can get creative when building your own shed tiny home.

Tiny house dwellers Rob and Samantha built their own shed house


This tiny shed house cost $30,000 to build. Rob and Samantha also put it on wheels, so they can easily move it around.

The house was built on a 24’ x 8’ 6” trailer footprint, and the couple used some reclaimed materials in their build.

You can get their shed tiny house plans for free.

This is a tool shed converted into a tiny house

Woman standing by a white school bus in front of a tiny shed house
Photo: Tiny House Adventures

Jamie Morby converted her parent’s old 10×12 foot tool shed into a tiny house. She replaced the door and windows, added insulation and wiring, and a little bump-out for an extra bed.

Jamie estimates she turned this shed into a house for around $3,000, including the furniture. Talk about an affordable tiny house!

Gorgeous barn tiny house in Washington State

This barn tiny shed house was just over $5,000
Photo: Instagram/sweet_earth_homestead

Some shed tiny houses can even look like little barns! I just love the look of this one deep in the forest of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Cindy Gonzalez paid $5,700 for this 10′ x 20′ Old Hickory shed from a lot by the freeway.

She said she chose a shed because it’s so much cheaper than a tiny house. The insulation and interior cost $1,000. What an affordable tiny home!

Cedar-sided shed turned into a tiny house

Tiny shed house on a wooded property
Photo: A porch of my own

Sue built this shed house from a premade shell she bought for a little under $5,000. Then, she added a porch deck, wiring and plumbing to turn the shed into a tiny house.

Want to buy affordable shed house plans right now? Check out the shed plans here. 

Rob Greenfield built a tiny house according to shed code in Florida

Rob Greenfield sits inside his 100-square foot tiny house
Photo: Sierra Ford Photography

Rob Greenfield built his tiny home for $1,500 using mostly reclaimed materials. Since backyard sheds are perfectly legal in Orlando, Florida, he built his home to shed code. Technically, the shed is a legal structure, but Rob technically isn’t allowed to sleep in it.

You can read more about Rob’s tiny house here: Man builds tiny house for $1,500 and forages his own food

Conclusion on turning a shed into a house

Living in a shed tiny home is a great way to enter the tiny house movement without spending a lot of money. Shed homes are small, affordable, easy to put together, and go up quickly.

They can be built either on your own property or as an accessory dwelling unit on someone else’s property.

Keep in mind the building codes and legality of living in a shed depend on where you’re located. You’ll want to check with your local county or city building departments before turning a shed into a house.

If you want to build a shell house, you can either buy a premade shell or build the shed tiny house yourself.

Whatever method you choose, you’ll have an affordable tiny home!

Or, check out these 12 prefab tiny homes for sale. 

More tiny home articles you’ll love:

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13 thoughts on “Should You Build a Tiny House Shed? Tips and Examples.”

  1. There is NOTHING, literally NOTHING, in this article that explains “how to turn a shed into a tiny house.” Thanks to that misleading title, I completely wasted my time reading this. Change title to something like “Everything You Need to Know about Shed Houses.”

    Reply
      • You are both right. I will go change the title so it more accurately represents the article. Sory about that and thanks for the feedback.

        Reply
    • Yah, this was a complete waste of my time. Not even a picture of the inside of any of these sheds.

      Reply

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