The Rise of the Backyard Office

By Maria Allen

Photography by Kjeld Mahoney

Staging by Laura Graziano Staging and Interiors ASP®, IAHSP®


There are many perks to working from home (no dress code, shorter commute, ability to monitor your child’s remote learning), but the “new normal” also presents challenges. With increasing numbers of professionals and students working from home, there is an increased need for private workspaces--preferably with a door that can be closed if you need to make an important phone call. While some homeowners have opted to repurpose a spare bedroom or garage, others are taking a more outside-the-box approach, transforming backyard sheds into highly customized private offices.  

Marcus Wenger, owner of Baystate Outdoor Personia in Hanover, has designed numerous multipurpose sheds for South Shore clients over the years. He’s turned sheds into art studios, gym/exercise spaces and even rooms for golf simulators. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, however, Wenger’s team has dedicated more time to designing custom sheds for home offices. 

“Some people have no room for an office setup inside their home so a shed office is a better option,” says Wenger. “We start by meeting with the client so we can understand their needs. We find out how much space they need, how they plan to use the space and if they want things like a private bathroom or kitchenette.” 

Clients can choose from a range of exterior styles and interior floor plan layouts. “We can add different kinds of windows, French doors, or a porch. Pretty much everything is customizable,” says Wenger. Once the sheds are outfitted with all of the necessary creature comforts, such as heat, electricity and Wi-Fi, these backyard offices become ideal work environments—just steps away from home.


Small Space Decor 101

Expert home stager and interior designer Laura Graziano or Laura Graziano Staging and Interiors ASP®, IAHSP® shares helpful advice for decorating small office spaces.

What is the best way to choose furnishings/desks for a small office space?
Measure and make sure you have a clear walkway to access your workspace. There are so many options for desks. There are foldaway desks, wall-mounted drop leaf desks, ladder desks, corner desks, sliding desks that give you more space when needed. Be sure to have a comfortable chair that works with the size of your desk.

What are tricks for making an office feel warm and cozy?
I love pillows, shag rugs and rugs with texture, soft throws and warm lighting.

Do you recommend adding plants?
Yes to plants, even if they are artificial. Real plants improve air quality and create a tranquil vibe. High quality faux fiddle leaf trees, palm trees and smaller potted plants are great for brightening up a dark space.

What paint colors are best for small spaces?
Some of my favorite Benjamin Moore colors are Balboa Mist, Moonshine, Gray Owl, Revere Pewter and Stonington Gray. You can’t go wrong with any of these.

What’s a good way to personalize a home office?
Display pictures of family, friends, pets or just scenes you like. Choose a theme and decorate around that idea. Add a rug, hang special artwork or a favorite scented candle.

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