Once upon a time, our ancestors lived in caves.
Today, men have revisited the idea of a sanctuary by creating “man caves.”
Since the idea of a man cave is unfamiliar to many or open to many possible interpretations, here’s a definition from UrbanDictionary.com:
“A room, space, corner or area of a dwelling that is specifically reserved for a male person to be in a solitary condition, away from the rest of the household in order to work, play, involve himself in certain hobbies, activities without interruption.”
Now the modern woman has invented the “she shed.” It works along the same premise as the man cave. Usually, a sacred space that is free from interference from others.
What are She Sheds?
“She sheds” are often backyard sheds, although they don’t have to be. They could also be a den in the house.
The many advantages of a backyard shed is that it is separate from the rest of the house. This allows a woman to trick it out in any way she likes.
Sheds provide an adequate bunker away from the war zones of family and business life. They offer a creative or recreational space to just be yourself. In Countryliving, Rebecca Shinner illustrates many ways to design a she shed. She shows how to transform an ordinary garden shed into a beautiful sanctuary.
5 Ways to Get Started
Here are five ideas to help you decide how you want to design your she shed.
- Decide on how you will use it.
Do you want it as a home business office for yourself or a small staff? You can equip it with ergonomic chairs, glass office desks, computers, and cabinets.
Do you want it as a workshop? You can make it a place where you can do your crafts or pursue a hobby. Perhaps, you can make it into a painter’s studio or a photographer’s studio. Perhaps, you can use it for making pottery.
Do you want it as a gardening shed? Equip it with a workbench and stool for planning the growing season. Allocate a storage space for tools, equipment, and seeds.
Do you want it as a cosy retreat? Add a daybed, an armchair, a bookshelf. Bask under the light of your favorite crystal chandelier.
- Form follows function.
Once you’ve decided on the purpose, you can choose the décor and furnishings. It can be a rough-hewn place, a minimalist space, or an elegant accommodation.
- Draw boundaries to secure your space.
Since the purpose of the she shed is to have a moment to yourself, it’s a good idea to help your family understand. It doesn’t make sense having a she shed if you still have to face all kinds of interruptions when you retreat to it. The idea of having a shed is to try and quiet your mind, soothe your soul, and express your creativity.
- Create the right ambiance.
If it looks good, you’ll feel good when you’re there.
On the outside, you can bedeck it with moss and ivy, making it look more like a bungalow than a shed. It could be a hobbit-like cave that blends into nature.
On the inside, you could have furnishings, light fixtures, and decorations. You can use a fresh coat of paint to brighten up the walls.
- Focus on mood change.
The purpose of a she shed is to give you an environmental cue to shift your mood. How do you want to feel once you step into your cave?
Do what gives you a sense that this is your own personal sanctuary. What will give you a sense of reprieve from the incessant demands of the world?
You can make it feel like an artist, with your own music, scents, and ambiance. You can make it feel like a practical place, where you can finally get things done. You can make it feel like a holiday, with lots of cues to relax, unwinds, and let go. You can make it feel like a sanctuary. You can make it into a zen-like retreat for meditation and contemplation. Furnish it with meditation cushions, altars with pictures of avatars, candles, and special scents.
The Psychology of Personal Space
Men and women who need a cave but think it’s silly to build one may end up creating psychic caves. They may withdraw, or get defensive when their partner or children want more time. In extreme cases, they may even abandon the relationship or leave the family.
Life is complex, demanding, and often bewildering. Men and women need their space to be alone and restore their equilibrium. Alone time is healthy. It’s not about isolation and withdrawal, but about rebalancing and regrouping.
In a family, the difference in tastes, habits, and behaviors can often cause conflicts. By having a place where one can retreat, it can benefit everyone.
The idea of a man cave or a she shed is not about encouraging a family to grow further apart. It’s actually just the opposite. It’s about respecting differences so that people can grow closer together.