13 striking shed paint ideas for a speedy garden update

Transform your backyard shed from drab to fab with these shed paint ideas for an easy color pop update

Trio of pastel sheds in pink, mint, and yellow
(Image credit: Thorndown)

On the hunt for some creative shed paint ideas to spruce up that tired-looking wood, and turn it into an attractive garden feature? 

Whether you’re green-fingered or not, fixing up your shed is a quick, easy, and relatively cheap way to give your garden a lift – a lick of paint, and a sprinkling of some of the best garden furniture will transform your entire outside space. 

Charles Walton, chief executive and founder of outdoor lifestyle specialist BillyOh, says: 'Sheds don't get nearly enough attention when it comes to sprucing up our gardens and usually end up being a dumping ground to hide unsightly items. But we’d encourage people to have pride in their sheds; not only do they provide a focal point and can really set off the design of a garden but a well-maintained shed can add value to your property.'

'Sheds don’t have to look dull. If you want to give yours a new lease of life then why not give it a lick of paint? Just make sure you use a specialist outdoor wood paint. A top tip for preventing nail heads from rusting through the paint is to apply PVA glue to them before you paint. If you prefer the natural look then make sure you apply a quality wood stain to protect your shed from the elements. This should be done at least once a year.'

1. To match or not to match (to your home’s exterior)? 

Dark hued shed with festoon lighting, and casual dining set-up on paved stone terrace.

(Image credit: Sherwin-Williams)

Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, says: ‘A well-painted shed can bring your whole exterior look together. For a cohesive design, consider painting your shed in the same color palette as your exterior. You could use the same body-trim-accent combination, or flip the body and trim colors for a little contrast.’

‘For a more playful look, try painting your shed in a complementary color. For example, if your house is a deep blue, try a vibrant orange for the shed. It’s unexpected but a tried-and-true color pairing that looks great.’

‘While the best color for your shed will ultimately depend on your home’s exterior and other elements of your backyard, my favorite colors for sheds are dark gray, sage green, and a very deep, brown-toned gray. For this, I recommend Urbane Bronze SW 7048(as shown), a rich, moody choice. I love dark hues for exteriors – they convey so much depth and have a mysterious, artistic look to them.’

Fancy having a go this weekend? Learn how to paint a shed - outside and in, and give yours a fabulous new finish. 

2. Sage is all the rage for an instant refresh 

Soothing sage painted shed with rustic wreath on door, and leaning long handled gardening tools.

(Image credit: Dibor)

When it comes to shed color ideas, if you’re looking to reference nature, but still want your shed to stand out from the garden crowd, try lighter shades of green, like calming sage or scrumptious mint, for a subtle color contrast with a youthful spirit. Did we mention that soothing greens are blooming for garden trends 2022

Lynne, blogger, A Farmhouse Reborn, says: ‘I've been seeing a lot of green garden sheds lately; we even repainted our own. I love the sage green shed with a lighter sage green trim. It's green on green and it's perfect for an outdoor shed! We specifically chose historic green paint colors from the Valspar line at Lowe's called: Homestead Resort Parlor Sage - how much more old Virginia can you get?’

Wadden says: ‘Green is a classic exterior color, but a sage green, with a hint of gray, modernizes the hue and connects it to nature. My favorite is Dried Thyme SW 6186.’

3. Chill out with Scandi neutrals 

Relaxed garden room in Scandi neutrals, styled with lanterns, and relaxed cushions for a cozy garden retreat.

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

Whether your shed is utilitarian in function or doubles up as a relaxing garden room idea, give it a tranquil look and feel inside and out, that embodies restorative vibes, with a nurturing Scandi neutral shade, like white, gray, or gentle blush. To complete the slow living idyll, fill your space with tactile natural textures, and warm and cozy layers. 

Robin Antill, director, Leisure Buildings, says: ‘Is there anything more refreshing than pure white? It has a clean, Scandi feel to it, and is perfect if you want minimalism – and if you change your mind next summer, all you have to do is paint over it with white.’

4. Pick shades that make you smile 

Trio of narrow sheds in light pink, mint, and vibrant yellow, for a cheerful garden update.

(Image credit: Thorndown)

Your shed, your shade. In small backyard designs, make your shed stand out from the neighborhood watch with a happy-go-lucky hue that turns the generic brown exterior into a color pop feature of sunny-side-up delight.  

Ben Thornborough, Thorndown's co-founder, says: ‘Select your color palette based on shades that will fit with your existing garden ideas and your plants, and most importantly, bring a smile to your face.’

‘Use sample pots to make sure you’re getting exactly the color you want and always go with a wood paint that has been specially formulated for exterior use. This will ensure your chosen colors last longer. At Thorndown, we use exterior grade color pigments, meaning that the color you chose is the color you’ll see for years and years.’

5. Orange is the new lemon 

Colorful coral exterior paint detail with fresh potted plants in terracotta pots on decking.

(Image credit: M&L Paints)

Go bold, citrusy, and bright in your garden, with statement shades of on-trend orange. Emerging as the hottest homeware color this season, don’t let your shed miss out on such a zesty, fashionable fix-up.

Choose a vibrant, saturated shade for an energizing boost that will create a backyard focal point, or choose a calming coral hue, to bring some Mediterranean sun-baked goodness and holiday happy home…

For a fruity update that packs a punch, we love Robust Orange by Valspar, at Lowes. 

Be sure to utilize shed storage ideas to max out your cozy space too. 

6.  Discover your shed’s playful side with tonal pastels

Playful shed in three-way pastels, with turquoise painted interior and floor; gentle blue exterior, and color contrast pink door interiors. Styled with seasonal decorations and bunting.

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Turn a neglected shed from drab to fab with a two-tone or even three-tone approach to color on your shed’s exterior AND interior!

We adore Wayfair’s super fun idea of using pastel shades in a creative way to transform this standalone building into a haven of happiness. Follow suit, and pick two to three pastel shades, then use one to awash your shed’s entire interior - yes floor and ceiling too; and use a complimentary tonal pastel on the exterior.'

'For a finishing accent, paint the door interior in a third chosen pastel. Utterly unique, and totally charming, for anything from a playroom bolthole for kids to a snug summerhouse idea for afternoon tea breaks.'

7. Earn your style stripes with a mono palette

Mono stripe garden fence with yellow backyard door, and lush tropical plants.

(Image credit: Photo: Kasia Fiszer)

For a modern garden update, consider a striking mono stripe paint idea. As shown in this chic and cheap fence idea, black and white make a stand-out combination for a chic contemporary twist. You could also follow suit, and paint your shed door a contrasting color to really add impact and personality. It’s all about having 'shed' loads of fun get getting creative with garden paint ideas. 

Aaron Lebowski, interior designer, Juliei Salone, says: 'A shed is an extension of your home and it should reflect that. A black and white shed complements your home no matter what color it is. It also gives your shed a modern, sophisticated look and enhances the architectural aspect of the structure.'

8. Go for a classic green shed paint 

a green shed with a window

(Image credit: M&L Paints)

Renowned for their stunning garden rooms, Marston & Langinger has developed an outdoor paint range as part of their Alitex Collection and this lovely Passiflora 101 shade is part of it. 

This beautiful deep green will allow your shed to blend into its surroundings whilst protecting the wood from the rain and wind that will no doubt appear in autumn! There are 14 other colors to inspire your shed paint ideas, all perfectly complement each other. 

9. Pick an uplifting sky blue 

a sky blue painted garden room in a garden with an outdoor dining table and benches

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Okay, so we can't always rely on the weather for eternal 'bluebird skies', but we can learn how to use paint to brighten up your garden. Why not create your own blue beyond, with this gorgeous shed paint idea? 

Don’t restrict yourself by thinking that wooden window frames have to stay white – they look stunning painted and we love how this blue has transformed this space. 

10. Make a statement with bright contrasting colors

black painted shed with bright orange interior and outdoor garden bench with cushions

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

Why not be adventurous with your shed paint ideas and go for two colors? We love how the inside of the door is painted orange and the interior has two colors - be bold and make it an extension of your home – especially if it is your garden office and you’re working in it daily, you need to love being in there. 

Both shades are from Cuprinol - Black Ash and Honey Mango and are designed to protect sheds, fences, and garden wood - you could paint your furniture to match.

11. Upcycle a shed with pink and gray 

pastel green and pink shed

(Image credit: @brass_bee)

It's not only sheds that can be painted - look at this beautiful Wendy house that Victoria from @brass_bee painted for her daughter. She used Greyhound and Dusky Blush which look great together because they both have the same tone - that’s key to creating a harmonious duo of colors. 

12. Create a beach house shed with blue and white

Coastal inspired shed with soft blue exterior, and bolder blue interior, styled with pretty bunting and diagonal stripe deckchairs.

(Image credit: Thorndown)

Creates a staycation in your shed with a fab beach hut design! Designer, Pat Crook, decorated it to give her dad, who has dementia, days out at the seaside. She says: 'He loves to sit in it and listen to music from when he was young.' 

And Pat even says they pack sandwiches to eat down there for a real day at the beach (despite the fact they're slap bang in the middle of the countryside.)

13. Paint it black to show-off planting

Black shed as backdrop to assorted colorful potted plants at raised levels.

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Painting a shed black is a brilliant way to make a modern outbuilding look like it's always been there – perfect for a period property – and it's ideal for highlighting the greenery that sits in front of it. Love this look? Extend it to your fencing ideas too.

What is the best paint for a shed exterior?

 Michael Rolland, interiors expert and MD of The Paint Shed, says: 'Before actually starting the painting part of the project you need to ensure you have the right paint. Sheds are usually made of wood and being in the garden are exposed to the elements. This means a specialist exterior wood paint needs to be used in order to make your handy work last and to protect your shed from issues like mold and rot.'

 Cuprinol Garden Shades are specifically designed to be used on exterior wood surfaces such as fences and sheds. Their range also has a huge selection of colors meaning those that want to add a pop of color to their garden can easily do so. 

What prep do I need to do before painting my shed?

 Matthew Brown, Sadolin & Sandtex technical consultant, says:  

1. When decorating, making sure surfaces are clean, dry and sound should be the first step. Don’t decorate over a surface that’s not been prepared – a good coating can’t make a poor surface into a good one! Preparation is key to ensure the woodstains or metal paint that are going to be applied will adhere properly, and therefore give the desired durability.'

2. If working with wood, start by sanding down the surface – a very light abrasion is recommended. Sandpaper is a great option, preferably with a P180 or a P240 grade. Whilst using sandpaper, abrade in the direction of the grain, rather than across it, as this will ensure that any marks that could potentially be visible aren’t left. Sandpaper also prepares the surface so that it has an ideal key – this means if the timber surface is too smooth prior to coating, the situation will be corrected.'

3. The next step, which is often forgotten, is dusting off. Again, the timber may look clean but there is a lot of dust. To dust off wood, use either a cloth or a brush. Wipe or brush across the grain, as well as up and down.  

4. Finally, degrease, or clean, the surface. Whether it’s softwood or hardwood, I recommend using methylated spirits on a clean, lint-free cloth, whilst wearing gloves.  

When should I paint my shed?

Brown says: 'It is very important to take into account weather conditions when decorating, not only whilst doing the job but also during drying/curing times. For example, even though spring is better than summer for these types of projects due to the lack of direct sunlight on the surfaces, during early spring, the mornings can be damp and the evenings can still see dramatic temperature drops increasing humidity levels which at best will slow down drying times but at worst and can allow moisture to get trapped in the coating film – blushing/blooming.'

'In the height of summer, direct sunshine can create very hot conditions, particularly on dark colors/surfaces so if possible, avoid decorating in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day if you are able to decorate in better shadier conditions later on.'

What color scheme should I choose to paint my shed?

 Holly Palmer, GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk says: 'Another thing to consider, from a stylistic standpoint, is how your chosen paint color will fit into your surroundings. It's all well and good being bright and bold, but it can stick out like a sore thumb if it doesn't tie into the garden. Shades of brown and green often work best in a garden setting. If you're stuck on which color to choose, try to stick with the tones of the fence panels, house brickwork or even the patio, as this will create synergy within your outdoor space.'

'If your heart is set on using a bright color for the shed, there are a few ways to make it more palatable and timeless. Pairing a bold color with a softer, neutral tone can help to soften the look without detracting away from the shed's key features. Use bold paint for key features of the shed and then accent this with a neutral color for the finer pieces of the framework to add depth. Keeping it simple on the exterior can leave room to be experimental with color on the interior.'

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.