A summer house is a wonderful addition to your garden which will bring new opportunities and add plenty of value to your property.

Let’s face it:

The great British summer can be incredibly unpredictable and often quite rainy, making it quite tricky to enjoy the outdoors.

But with a great summer house, you can bid farewell to all that summertime sadness!

You’re probably wondering:

How do you style a summer house?

To answer this question, at Landscaping Superstore we decided to take a deep dive into the latest summer house ideas.

From small summer house ideas and summer house interior ideas to DIY summer house ideas and summer house ideas on a budget, we’ve got something for everyone!

Read on for some serious summer house inspiration.

Table of contents:

Summer house ideas for everyone

A dog is not just for Christmas, and a summer house is not just for summer. While you might not feel about the humble house the same way as you do about your canine friend, it’s just as big a commitment.

A contemporary summer house can also be quite an expensive commitment, but it’s one definitely worth making. Not only will it raise the value of your property – it will help you make the most of your garden and vastly improve your quality of life.

The good news is:

Even if you’re working on a budget, there’s plenty you can do to elevate the humble summer house – or any other garden building, for that matter – and make it the crown jewel of your garden.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of our favourite modern summer house ideas.

1. Build a garden office

Garden office

The COVID-19 pandemic saw an explosion of working from home. And while many of us are now back in the office, hybrid working – where we work from home at least a couple of days a week – is here to stay.

However, many of us prefer to keep our work and personal lives clearly separate. So, we need a well-designed home office.

But what if you don’t have a spare room that you can turn into one? Use your wooden summer house!

By being physically separate from your house, the summer house offers the perfect opportunity to build a garden home office. So, it should come as no surprise that this is one of the most popular garden summer house ideas in the UK right now.


There are several things you’ll have to do.

Firstly, you’ll have to insulate your summer house so you can use it year-round. Incidentally, that’s the case with most of our summer house design ideas, so we recommend that you start there, regardless of which course of action you decide to take.

Secondly, you’ll need electricity and lighting.

Thirdly, you’ll need office furniture. At the bare minimum, this includes a desk, office chair and cabinet.

Once you’ve got these items sorted, the sky’s the limit! Still, we recommend that you keep it fairly simple and practical. After all, you don’t want to spend any more time at work than you have to, regardless of whether it’s an actual office or a home office, right?

2. Create an additional living room

Summer house living room

If you’ve already converted your spare room into a home office or don’t need one to begin with, you can extend your living space by turning your room into an additional living room. That’s an especially good idea if you have a large summer house, but with a bit of effort and ingenuity, even a small one can become a place of relaxation for you and your family.

What’s more:

The fact that it’s separated from your home means that you have carte blanche when it comes to interior design. Of course, the easiest thing to do is to simply match that of your home.

But if you’re feeling creative, it’s perfectly fine to experiment with the décor. For instance, you might want to create a she-shed, mancave, reading room or small cinema. Because there are so many options, the furniture you end up choosing will depend on your choice.

A classic living room will need a sofa, coffee table, a couple of chairs, a TV stand, television and, possibly, a bookcase. Beyond that, we recommend having a close look at the latest summerhouse furniture ideas.

3. Create a guest room

Cabin in Kitzbühel

Do you have friends or family staying over regularly? Ensure they have a comfortable stay and a bit of privacy with a chic summer house guest room. If you have a small summer house, this can simply be a single bedroom with tea and coffee-making facilities, B&B style.

With a larger unit, you can add a separate shower room or kitchenette. It might set you back a bit, and you might need planning permission (more on that later) but think of it as an excellent long-term investment. And if you ever decide to sell your property, a separate guest room with en-suite facilities will likely double the overall price tag.


When it comes to spare room summerhouse designs, one of our favourite choices is the rustic Alpine cabin look. Would you like to remind your friends and family of that wonderful skiing holiday in Kitzbühel you went on a few years ago?

Now you can do that – and all in the comfort of your own home!

4. Create a garden studio

Garden studio summer house

A garden studio gives you the perfect opportunity to practise your hobby without being disturbed by anyone or anything. Whether that’s painting, writing, singing or pottery making, with a summerhouse studio you can pursue your passion in peace, without any unwanted and unnecessary distractions.

As Uncle Monty pointed out in the cult film Withnail & I with his characteristic theatrical zeal:

‘Surrounded by trees and nature, one feels a glorious stirring of the senses… a rejection of poisonous inhibition… and a fecund motion of the soul’.

And that’s exactly what you’ll get with a garden studio.

Key takeaway:

Turning your summer house into a garden studio will allow you to pursue your creative endeavours to the fullest and make the most of your leisure time. This is also one of the summer house ideas that will definitely save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to rent a space every time you want to engage in your favourite recreational activities.

5. Transform your summer house with a bar

Shire Apex Garden Bar

What would be better than enjoying a cold drink with your friends and family in your very own garden pub? So, if you already have a summer house or a shed, you can easily convert it into a garden bar.

A garden bar is guaranteed to quickly become a focal point for social gatherings, parties and casual get-togethers, enhancing the overall enjoyment of your garden. It will also provide a dedicated space for relaxation and escape from the daily routine.

But wait! There’s more:

A well-designed garden bar can add aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space. You can customise it to match your landscaping and overall garden design, creating a cohesive and visually pleasing environment.

In addition, garden bars can be versatile in their design. They can be equipped with various features such as built-in grills, sinks, refrigerators and storage space, making them suitable for a wide range of activities and events.

All of this makes turning your summer house into an outside bar one of the most versatile summer house decor ideas on our list.

Looking for more garden bar ideas and inspiration? Head over to our dedicated guide.

6. Create a kid’s corner/fairy summer house

Fairy summer house

The modern summer house isn’t always meant to be enjoyed by adults alone. In fact, if you have young children, summer houses for small gardens provide you with the perfect opportunity to create the ultimate kid’s corner.

Think about it:

Kids have plenty of energy and innate curiosity, which can be quite tiring for their parents – especially after a hard day’s work. So, what better way to encourage them to learn and play without exhausting you than by giving them their own private space?

Your summer house can easily be transformed into the perfect kid’s corner or fairy garden house that your children will quickly grow to love. As an added benefit, you’ll be able to keep an eye on them, safe in the knowledge that they won’t get into any trouble.

The kids are happy, and the adults are happy – it’s a win-win scenario!


So far, most of our summerhouse ideas and summer house designs have involved more or less wholesale transformations.

But what if you don’t have the time, money or desire to completely remake your summer house?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with our final three corner summer house ideas!

Having said that, let’s see how changing a single aspect of your summer house can still make a massive difference.

7. Add decking around your summer house

Back garden with garden buildings, garden furniture and decking

Decking is an incredibly versatile way to take your summer house to the next level. It also works great with pretty much any of the popular summer house ideas, which is why you see it around all sorts of corner summer houses in the UK nowadays.

The thing is:

A deck is an empty canvas you can paint pretty much as you wish – quite literally, in fact, if you are so inclined.

Fancy a full-fledged garden pub? You’ll need a deck to put bar chairs and, a bar umbrella and potted plants outside your garden bar.

Like dining al fresco? Place a full dining set by your outside living room.

Want to take in the sun next to your outside guest room? You’ll need a deck to put your sun loungers on.

Those are just a few ways you can use decking to enhance your bespoke summer house – let your imagination run wild!

8. Paint your summer house

Corner summer house with open doors

Most wooden garden houses available on the UK market are not painted. If you prefer the colour of natural wood, and it works well with your specific garden design, you should keep it that way.

But if you’re feeling creative and want to add a touch of colour, say to contrast or complement your other landscaping features, painting the outside of your summer house is the way to go.


The actual colour you end up choosing will ultimately depend on the effect you’re after and how that ties in with your overall landscaping design.

In any event, you should also consider painting the inside of your summer house studio, spare room, bar or enchanted hut as well. Once again, think about how your chosen colour will work alongside the furniture and other items you might have, such as paintings, mirrors, ornaments and so on.

When all is said and done, you’ll be the surveyor of your summer house painting endeavour.

But we’re not quite done just yet! Here’s the last of the modern summer house ideas on our list.

9. Build a green roof

Green Roofing Sedum Blanket Full System 1

Most contemporary summer houses in the UK have either flat or low-pitched roofs, which makes them ideal for building a green roof.

A green roof, also known as a living roof or vegetated roof, offers a wide range of environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits.

Here’s the deal:

Firstly, a green roof contributes significantly to environmental sustainability. By covering your summer house roof with vegetation green roofs, you’re providing natural insulation and reducing the need for artificial heating and cooling. This leads to energy savings and will help you decrease your carbon footprint.

Additionally, green roofs absorb rainwater, reducing stormwater runoff and the strain on your summer house drainage system. Moreover, green roofs provide vital habitats for birds, insects and other urban wildlife, promoting biodiversity.

Secondly, green roofs offer distinct economic advantages by extending the lifespan of your summer house by acting as a protective layer, shielding the roof from ultraviolet rays, temperature fluctuations, and physical wear and tear. This will reduce your maintenance and replacement costs over time.

What’s more:

The added insulation provided by the vegetation improves the building’s energy efficiency, leading to lower energy bills.

As far as summer house ideas go, this one is both practical, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing – a rare win on all fronts.

Do you need planning permission for a summer house?

In most cases, you won’t need planning permission for a summer house. Summer houses are considered outbuildings, which are permitted developments and so don’t require planning permission, provided they adhere to the subsequent constraints and conditions.

Here’s the scoop:

  • Outbuildings are not situated in front of a wall constituting the principal façade.
  • They are single-story, with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and an overall height not exceeding 4 metres for dual pitched roofs or 3 metres for alternative roof types.
  • A maximum height of 2.5 metres applies to buildings, enclosures or containers within 2 metres of the dwellinghouse’s boundary.
  • Outbuildings do not have verandas, balconies or raised platforms (platforms must not exceed a height of 0.3 metres).
  • Additions or other constructions must not cover more than half the area of land surrounding the ‘original house’.
  • In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites, the total area that buildings, enclosures, containers and pools situated more than 20 metres from the house cover must be limited to 10 square metres.

Last but not least, any outbuilding within the curtilage of listed buildings requires planning permission.

Keep in mind that these are the general regulations for England – they differ slightly in Wales and Scotland. To be on the safe side, you should always contact your council’s planning authority for the specific regulations in your area.

For a full discussion, check out our dedicated guide or visit the Planning Portal.

Can you legally live in a summer house?

Shire Barclay Shiplap Corner Summerhouse

Living in a summer house or other similar structures, like a garden shed or cabin, generally requires careful consideration of planning regulations and local zoning laws. The legality of living in a summer house depends on several factors, including the specific use, location, size and duration of occupancy.

Before considering living in a summer house, it is crucial to consult with your local planning authority to ensure that you are in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

What should you put in a summer house?

The furniture and other items you put in your summer house will depend on its purpose and which one of our ideas you decide to take on board.

For instance:

A home office will need an office desk, office chair and office cabinet, while a guest room will need a bed, wardrobe, bedside table and a chair.

All of this naturally brings us to our final point, namely…

Corner summer house as a living room

Taking advantage of modern summer house ideas

A summer house is an endlessly versatile garden building which comes with all sorts of wonderful benefits.

And at the end of the day, your summer house can be pretty much anything you want it to be – the perfect home office, the dreamiest art studio, the ideal spare bedroom or anything else, for that matter.

The bottom line is:

We hope our list of summer house ideas has inspired you to embrace innovation, seize the moment and transform your summer house into a valuable asset you’re going to enjoy for many years to come.

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