Before and After: This $275 Shed Spruce-Up Uses Mostly Reclaimed Materials

published Nov 22, 2021
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Credit: Melanie Gnau

Some renovations are essential — you know, like when your only bathroom is out of commission because of a broken toilet, or your bedroom is freezing cold because of poor insulation. But some renovations are just nice to do to give your surroundings a bit of a boost. This shed renovation, from Melanie Gnau of A Small Life, is one of those.

Credit: Melanie Gnau

Melanie and her husband George used this plain gray shed as extra storage. “It was a bit boring, but it got the job of hiding our lawnmower, bikes and yard tools done,” Melanie says. But, she adds, “we’ve spent a long time working on our home and the shed did not reflect the same aesthetic or care that we put into our home.”

While the couple wanted to give the shed a facelift, they also knew the project wasn’t really essential — so they wanted to keep the budget tight. Plus, they wanted to stick to reclaimed materials whenever possible. “Reusing materials and keeping sustainability in mind is also really important to me,” Melanie says.

Credit: Melanie Gnau

Melanie and George took a month to do their shed makeover, owing mostly to lots of rainy days that put the project on hold.

There were a few major changes that they made to the exterior of the shed to brighten it up and make it more functional. For the underside of the shed, to disguise cement blocks that were keeping it level, Melanie and George used leftover metal from a neighbor who was moving. They used the same metal to create a small portico over the doors, which they painted dark brown.

Credit: Melanie Gnau

Melanie and George also used leftovers for the lights — which they scored from George’s parents, left over from a fishing shack they were tearing down — and the garden bed border, which is made from a tree another neighbor cut down. The mulch was left over from another planting project.

Credit: Melanie Gnau

That meant that Melanie and George only had to pay for wood for their new ramp — a super practical addition for bringing things in and out of the shed — as well as stain, paint, and fresh plants. The total cost for the project came in at $275.

“I’m most proud of how many reclaimed materials we were able to use,” Melanie says of the project. “Although this project was a relatively small DIY, it changed the look of our backyard completely. It’s a much happier space than before.”

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