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Creating Extra Space with a Contemporary Garden Room

cedar wood garden room

“Room tour please!” came the cry on Instagram last week, a stark reminder that I still hadn’t shared our mammoth building project garden room with you. In fact I am so tardy with this post that I can no longer legitimately describe our garden room as ‘new’!

cedar wood garden room

It has now been in full use since October of last year and although the build wasn’t without its difficulties, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the end result.

Why Build a Garden Room?

yellow hello sign

When we bought this house back in 2006, neither of us were committed to staying here forever. It seemed like a good stepping stone and the garden was perfect for a growing family. But with one less bedroom than we would have liked and being situated on a busy main road, in the words of Kirsty and Phil: it wasn’t our ‘forever home’.

After about five years, we did consider moving. In fact for the best part of three years, the OH always had one eye on Right Move. But nothing ever felt right and when it came to putting our house on the market, we realised that actually, we are very happy here. Ten years later and even the main road has become a plus point (being able to walk into town and having easy access to public transport, is a massive bonus when you’ve got teenagers).

We slowly began to consider alternative options for creating the space we ideally wanted: a spare bedroom and a place for the kids to hang out with their friends. It’s true what they say – it’s good to know where they are and who they are with, even if you’re not entirely sure what they’re doing!

Our garden has always been a reasonable size, but a good chunk of the space at the back was unused and an abundance of trees was making it very dark. In short, it had become a dumping ground/compost heap/place for unwanted play equipment. It took about three years of mulling before we finally got the trees removed (don’t panic, they didn’t have a protection order on them) and had plans drawn up for a timber-framed garden room with outdoor entertaining space (complete with bar and jacuzzi – why should kids have all the fun?).

Creating a Wish List

There are five us in this family and as you can imagine, we all had our own agenda for this additional space. We therefore decided to sit down to create a combined wish list; this is what it eventually looked like:

  • In-keeping with the garden
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Somewhere for grown-ups to gather (complete with bar and pool table)
  • Teenage hang out
  • Place for overnight guests to stay
  • Relaxing retreat on busy days
  • Sleepover den

Not too much to ask then!

The plans were drawn up and we were told it would take four weeks to build. Knowing that builders are notoriously optimistic, we decided to double that estimation and add some. What we didn’t expect, was for it to take four months from start to finish!

This is what our garden looked like after the initial 4 (or 8…I had lost count at this point) weeks.

Timber Framed building in garden

One month later it looked like this; told you progress was slow!

If you follow me on social media, you might have picked up on the fact that the company went bust halfway through this project. I’m deliberately trying to erase that little hiccup from my memory so won’t go into detail but suffice to say it caused another one week delay.

Once we managed to get things back on track, six weeks later and we had a water tight building that was beginning to take shape.

As soon as the plaster was on the walls, that was my green light to start thinking decor, furniture and all the little extra bits that would make it something more than simply an enormous rectangular box!

The cedar cladding went up pretty quickly but another month passed before we were at the furniture and decorating stage. By October, the outside finally looked like it should.

And most importantly, the jacuzzi was ready to use. Anyone wondering whether a jacuzzi is worth it? The answer to that question is a resounding ‘yes’! Initially we were a bit disappointed not to be able to take advantage of the summer months but actually a jacuzzi is perfect for the winter – probably the reason why they are so popular in ski resorts.

jacuzzi in the garden

If you suffer from back or muscular pain of any sort, I can highly recommend a jacuzzi. Interestingly, it has also proved to be a great place to get teenagers to talk – once in there, they can’t get away! We always feared that it might be redundant after the initial enthusiasm wore off but five months on and we are still using it at least twice a week.

I can hardly remember the neglected vegetable patch and unloved swing set that used to reside in this space. A vast improvement I would say!

open air jacuzzi

Planning the Interior Layout

Our combined wish list was long, meaning that we had to be quite clever when designing the inside space. The tiles on the floor are a non-slip indoor/outdoor tile so that in the summer we can open the bi-fold doors to create the entertaining space that we were after.

We all agreed on a bar and the OH’s top priority was a pool table (which takes up a lot more space than you think after allowing for cue action). He also wanted a dart board which has proved really popular with the teenagers (it didn’t take long for the pristine white wall to become peppered with tiny little holes ?).

My priority was somewhere comfortable for guests to stay so we created a shower room as well as a small kitchenette behind the bar area.

white subway tiles in shower room

I loved the white subway tiles in the shower room so much that we decided to put them on the bar as well.

bar in garden room

As this space would be doubling up as a spare bedroom, we thought long and hard before choosing seating. We’ve bought some right clangers in the past but sofas are expensive so we felt under pressure to get it right.

In the end we plumped for a large corner sofa bed from Sofa Workshop which has proved to be an excellent buy. Teenagers can slouch on it, grown ups can sleep on it – win/win!

large corner sofa bed from sofa workshop

We have used this space so much since October and it’s not even summer yet! Over Christmas we were able to have family to stay, we have hosted drinks gatherings, church meetings and I’ve lost count of the number of sleepovers the kids have had. The best bit? We can’t hear them from the house when they are down here!

Ikea media unit

If you’re thinking about creating some extra space in the garden, just do it. It has been one of the best decisions we ever made; our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.

Shop this Style

Industrial Wire Shelving
Round Mirror
Rustic Bar Stool
Rattan Cone Chair
Block Tufted Rug
Hello coat rack
IKEA Besta Media Unit
Corner Sofa Bed
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  • Plutonium Sox

    Oh my goodness, I love it! I had no idea it was this spacious. So much better than the little shed type constructions that people seem to be using as a garden room these days. Sorry about all the delays but well worth it in the end!

    • Suzanne

      Gosh yes, so worth it. Tbh when the OH first suggested it, that’s what I thought he had in mind! This project was his really, I only got involved at the interior stage .x

  • It looks amazing! No wonder you’re happy with it and I bet those months of everything moving so slowly have already been forgotten. Ibhadn’t appreciated just how big it is! It’s probably bigger than our first flat! I think if the kids could have a sleepover in the garden I might actually agree to it.

    • Suzanne

      I’ve not said ‘no’ once since we’ve had it, Sarah! It really is a welcome addition to our home. Perfect for growing kids. x

  • Louisa

    Oh my goodness. I have major envy! I’m sure the headache of the mammoth build are (mostly) forgotten now you have your wonderful new space. If I could fit a pool table anywhere in my house I would have it in in an instant #homeetc

    • Suzanne

      Yes it was forgotten pretty quickly to be honest Louisa! We’ve had a lot of use out of that pool table.

  • Kerri-Ann

    What a gorgeous space. I love the industrial feel

    • Suzanne

      Yes I started going down that route then decided we needed to stick with it – kind of accidental really!

  • I think it’s brilliant idea. And it looks amazing. It’s for similar reasons why we’ve just bought a new house with a fair amount of land. Although, the boys are quite young, we want the space to build something like you’ve done for when they’re older. I like the idea of them being close by but having an place to entertain friends.

    • Suzanne

      I would highly recommend it Rachel. Just don’t wait as long as we did! There’s only so much you can do with a big garden and as the kids get bigger, they don’t want/need the space outside quite so much anyway. xx

  • Oh wow Suzanne it looks amazing! What a fabulous space and how brilliant that it has so many different uses! I’d love something like this but our garden is tiny so we’ve got no chance in our current house. We’re not in our forever home yet though so maybe when we find it I’ll look into doing something like this – my girls will be in their teens before I know it and I can see it being such a fab place for them to hang out with their friends.

  • Kate

    What a beautiful versatile space!
    I love the coffee table, where is it from?

    • Suzanne

      Hi Kate, we bought the legs online and the builder (who is a carpenter by trade) made the top from the off cut of the oak worktop on the bar. We bought something similar though from Home Sense before.

  • Tracey Williams

    This is SUCH an amazing space Suzanne and I think your garden room is the same size as our garden (I too have one eye always on right move, but I think after 17 years in our home we are here to stay). It must be wonderful to have that space away from the home, so teenagers can use it to hang out. And like you said a huge bonus when you can’t hear them. I think hot tubs are definitely better in the winter x

    • Suzanne

      It’s funny how you just get used to things isn’t it? We had no intention really of staying beyond 5 years but we’ve been here 12 now! Yes to teenagers having their own space, however you create it 🙂

  • Whaaaat?!! This is gorgeous and a blooming brilliant idea. We have a very ugly outhouse in our garden that we’ve been talking about sorting for a while now. Thanks for sharing, I now feel completely inspired xx

    • Suzanne

      Ah so glad I’ve inspired someone! I’m always a little wary of sharing home stuff on here but I adore looking at other people’s and getting ideas for my own home so I hope I can return the favour sometimes. xx

  • This is so fabulous Suzanne! What an amazing space. I love how you finished it as well – it looks brilliant!! And yes, I so agree that if you got muscular aches and pains a hot tub would be the answer to all your prayers! I’m just trying to convince my husband had the same thing! Thank you so much for linking up with #HomeEtc

  • Lins @ Boo & Maddie

    Suzanne this is absolutely stunning!!! I’m SO jealous, we have a much neglected garage/outbuilding at the bottom of our garden which we inherited from the previous owners (there’s a sauna in ours haha!) and we need to turn it into something like this but just haven’t got round to it on the never-ending list of projects. Absolutely fabulous, very well done X #HomeEtc

  • Anne Marie

    Wow!!! This is an amazing space! I love it! And those bar stools are beautiful 🙂 Unfortunately to build one like this we would need to borrow some space from the neighbour as our whole garden isn’t as big as your summer house 🙂 🙂 🙂 #HomeEtc

  • H is for Home, Adelle

    What an amazing space! Like you, we bought our current house in the knowledge that it wasn’t our “forever home”… main road, noisy, too small garden, too built up. Over 15 years later, the noise of main road is barely noticed – and with a 5-minute walk from the train station, town centre and supermarket, it’s so convenient.

    Stunning garden room… and the jacuzzi – the answer to our bad backs! ?


  • Tricia Cooper

    I love it,looks enormous, what size is it. Not square metres but length x width.

  • What a gorgeous space!!!

    • Suzanne W

      We are so pleased with how it has turned out. Just perfect for our needs 🙂 xx

  • Caroline

    Oh wow this space looks amazing ….I think it bigger than my entire house ???? absolutely gorgeous and I love those stools xx

  • Morgana

    Oh Suzanne!!! What an amazing space! It’s simply perfect and I’m trying super hard to keep my envy in check! haha
    What a fantastic job you’ve done with the decor, and I love that the space is so multifunctional too x

  • Danielle Spencer

    Looks amazing!


    Looks amazing. What was the layout of the shower room.?

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