In this podcast, Joe DeMarco of Perry Brothers Construction talks about popular modern shed trends for 2023, giving you design ideas, functional options, and ways you can customize a modern shed to fit your unique lifestyle.

Perry Brothers Construction · Modern Shed Trends For 2023 And Beyond (Podcast)

Joe DeMarco: Hi, I’m Joe DeMarco, general manager of Perry Brothers Construction, a general contracting company based in Newbury, Massachusetts who specializes in home renovation and remodeling. Today we’ll be exploring popular modern shed trends for 2023, giving you ideas on how you can build a backyard shed designed to enhance your unique lifestyle. Whether a home office or a cozy cottage, modern sheds prove you don’t need a ton of space to have your own backyard retreat. 

What are some new design trends for modern sheds in 2023?

So what are some of the new design trends for modern sheds in 2023? I would say the biggest new design trend moving forward that’s been seeing a lot of limelight is sustainable and eco-friendly features in your modern shed. There’s been a growing emphasis on using renewable materials, energy-efficient materials, incorporating energy-efficient systems, and making sure you use eco-friendly practices in your modern shed’s design.

And this includes features such as solar panels, vertical axis wind turbines, solar roofing, rainwater harvesting systems, and anything of that sort, just eco-friendly materials and systems. Recycled stock in flooring for example. Rather than using new hardwood, though you could also purchase recycled hardwood, you use vinyl flooring, which is made from recycled plastics to look like hardwood. 

Another big design trend that people have been liking is the fact that these modern sheds are actually multifunctional spaces. Modern sheds are being designed to serve multiple purposes. If you’re planning on using your modern shed as an ADU that you’re going to live in, it’s going to have a bedroom, a bathroom, a living room/ kitchenette, and some storage options. It serves multiple purposes for you to enjoy your unique lifestyle.

And if you’re not going to be living in your shed, and it’s more of an accessory to your home, say if you’re using your shed as a home office, okay, the shed may be a home office, but inside your home office, you may have your desk with your entire workspace set up. You might be using your shed as a solarium, a green room for you to grow your favorite plants and vegetables and fruits, and now you’re surrounded by plants in the office, making you feel more at peace and more productive. And on top of using your modern shed as a garden shed and an office shed, your shed office may also be a yoga studio shed. 

There are a million different ways that you can create a modern shed. They are easily transformed into versatile spaces and they can be anything you want. The emphasis is on maximizing the functionality of your modern shed to meet your unique needs, to meet the unique person that the shed is going to provide sustainable happiness for.

Integrate Your Modern Shed With The Environment

Another trend we’ve been seeing in 2023 is sheds are being integrated with nature. Modern shed designers are now focusing on creating harmonious connections between modern sheds and their surroundings. If you live, say on the marsh in Massachusetts, you’re going to have your modern shed be connected with the beautiful atmosphere surrounding you. You’re going to be in your modern shed looking out at the marsh grass, seeing those beautiful birds and the snowy egrets flying around, and you’re going to feel like you’re not even in a building. You’re going to feel like you’re just working outside in the middle of nature. You’re going to get all this vibrant natural lighting and a beautiful view, which is just going to make you more productive.

And of course, I hope you’re going to be thinking about setback regulations. So if you do, for example, live on the marsh in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, you’re going to make sure that your modern shed is the appropriate distance away from any preserved nature, roads, other properties, and things like that. Of course, you have to follow your local building laws and codes and regulations, and if you need more information on stuff like that, you can always check out our last podcast, which was, “Can You Live In A Shed?”, which goes into the details of specific zoning regulations you might not be aware of when building a modern shed. In there I give you the advice that you should talk to your local building inspectors and departments to gather as much information on your local laws as possible when deciding to build a modern shed or an ADU. 

Consider A Minimalist Modern Shed Design

And definitely, the biggest trend that I’ve been seeing personally come across in 2023 is building a minimalist, modern shed. And minimalism isn’t just the design of a building you’re going to live in. It’s also a lifestyle. When you’re living a minimalist lifestyle, your thought process should be, if I buy something, I’m getting rid of two other things. It should be fewer possessions, less purchasing, and that’s going to give you long-term financial gain. So it’s a no-brainer to think about living a little more minimally. But a minimal shed design would be things like clean lines, just really basic. The trim might be white, and then you just have a basic light blue above that. The floor’s just your typical vinyl flooring, maybe you have it colored, like a California red oak or something. The walls may be blue. The ceilings are white. Really, you’re keeping everything as simple as possible. Minimalist designs are gaining popularity even in modern shed architecture. The emphasis is on creating a sleek and contemporary look that compliments not only your property and home, but it compliments the nature surrounding your home.

So things like I said, neutral color pallets, uncluttered interiors, super common in minimalist modern sheds, and a minimalist modern shed, it’s going to have a lot of open floor space for activities, things like yoga and working out and meditating and say, if you’re a painter, you can have plenty of room to sit in the open space, get the sun coming through your skylights, and you just sit there painting away, enjoy. You can have the windows open and enjoy that fresh sea breeze coming from the New England air. 

Integrate Smart Home System Into Your Modern Shed’s Design

And a big trend we’re also seeing come to light more, not just in modern sheds, but in homes as well is integrating smart technology. With the rise of smartphones and computers, not only is your home incorporating systems like Ask Google and Hey Siri into your temperature control and your lighting and all that. But modern sheds are also incorporating automated systems with smart features.

And these automated systems, they not only enhance the convenience and improve the overall functionality of your living situation, but they’re extremely energy efficient. Smart lighting for example, you can have it, I have it set up in my room, so when I leave my house, my smart lights automatically turn off, and when I arrive back at my house, they turn back on automatically before I even walk into the room. 

Smart climate control systems are popular too. You might set a temperature that you want the house to be when you’re home, but when you leave the house, the smart climate control systems will reduce the temperature in your home. So you end up using less energy and spending less money. And then when you, just like the smart lighting, once you arrive back at your home, the home will naturally adjust and now go back to a comfortable temperature for you.

Integrate Other Outdoor Spaces In Your Modern Shed Design

And then another design trend for modern sheds sweeping the nation is definitely the integration of creating an outdoor space that coincides with your modern shed. You can design your modern shed to have a wraparound porch with a grill and lawn chairs, so you can soak up the sun and get your tan on. Maybe add a patio, or a pergola. Extend the usable space of your modern shed by not just thinking about the interior, but also by encouraging outdoor activities.  Your modern shed should be enjoyed in the winter, the summer, the spring, the fall, it doesn’t matter. You should be enjoying your modern shed all year from 2023 and beyond. 

What are some innovative materials being used in modern shed design?

I thought it’d be nice to talk about some innovative materials that are being used in modern shed design? I would say there are a lot of different ones, but fiber cement panels seem to be getting a lot of popularity. So fiber cement panels are made of a mixture of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, and basically, it all mixes up into a concoction of highly durable, water-resistant, low-maintenance material. And this is basically to provide cladding on the exterior of your modern shed. But it’s a contemporary look, you can choose various colors and texture options. It’s a great option for modern shed siding. Absolutely.

Use Recycled And Reclaimed Stock

And all modern shed materials that are currently popular right now are, most of them, I would say, are recycled or reclaimed materials. Yeah. Modern shed designers, they love incorporating recycled and reclaimed materials because not only does it promote sustainability, because we need to save this environment, but it also adds a unique character to the structure of your modern shed. These reclaimed woods, they come from old barns or factories, or any other building you could think of. The metal comes from salvaged metal panels or repurposed shipping containers. And these materials are not only using what we already have, reducing our future environmental impact, but it contributes to a distinct visual aesthetic for your modern shed. And I personally think if you’re using recycled materials, every recycled material is going to be a little bit different, and you’re going to get a unique visual design that’s unique to you. So really, aren’t we all unique? Don’t we deserve our own beautifully designed shed, our own space that if someone came into that space, they wouldn’t even have to learn a thing about you because they’d already know you just from looking at the space, looking at your modern shed.

Build Your Modern Shed With Cross-Laminated Timber

Cross-laminated timber is another very innovative material being used in modern shed design. So basically, it’s a type of engineered wood that consists of multiple layers of lumber boards stacked in alternating directions, bonded together with structural adhesives. And this type of stock has exceptional strength, stability, and most importantly, fire resistance, because your shed’s got to be fireproof and up to fire safety standards. And CLT or cross-laminated timber, it’s often used to build the structural components of your modern shed. And just like any of these other materials, it’s a sustainable alternative to traditional, in this case, timber framing.

Install High-Performance Insulation In Your Modern Shed

And really important for any home or shed, because you want to be using it all year in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, is installing high-performance, thick insulation into the walls, ceiling, and floor of your modern shed. Insulation is an extremely crucial element to modern shed design, not only for energy efficiency but for comfort. Innovative insulation materials such as fiberglass, rigid foam, spray foam, what was it? I think my wall has Roxul in it. All these different insulation options, they help maintain a consistent indoor temperature, and basically, these materials minimize heat loss and gain and enhance the shed’s overall comfort and energy efficiency. The most important thing you could really do for any room to make it comfortable, especially if you feel like you’re spending too much on your energy bill, is to check your insulation. You might have hollow walls, really. Really, adding high-quality insulation is one of the best changes you can make for anywhere in your home.

Install A Green Roof System On Your Modern Shed

Another thing to think about would be installing a green roof system. Green roof systems involve using vegetation and planting layers to create the roof’s surface on your modern shed. So, instead of your traditional asphalt, your roofing system is made from plants being weaved and pressed, and turned into the material for your roofing. And not only is the quality of insulation fantastic with a green roof system, but it also offers weatherproofing for storm, water, and snow, and it provides biodiversity, and it promotes biodiversity. We’re just saying, Hey, there may be one way to create something, but there are also alternative methods to consider. And green roofs, not only do they add an aesthetic appeal to your modern shed, which is really important, but they also contribute to environmental sustainability.

How can modern sheds be customized for different functional purposes?

Another thing to go into would just be, how can modern sheds be customized for different functional purposes? Unique to you, whether you might be using your modern shed for yourself, a family member that’s going to be living in there as a guest room or in-law suite or whatever, or you might be using your modern shed as a place for a specific activity, or multiple activities. You could be working in it. It could be a music studio. You might have soundproofing in there, you don’t want to be blasting your guitar and angering the neighbors at 2:00 AM or whatever. These modern sheds, they’re customized for a lot of different functional purposes that are unique to you. 

You could be renting your modern shed. It might be a livable space that you’re either renting on a more permanent, consistent basis, or you’re renting it out as an Airbnb for a few days at a time, which is obviously depending on your local zoning laws and building codes in your municipality.

Who Is Your Modern Shed Designed For?

And there’s a lot of customization options to think about. I would definitely begin with figuring out if your modern shed is primarily for you or someone else because you want to know the purpose for your modern shed before you build it. That’s why the interior planning stage is extremely important. The layout of a modern shed needs to be customized to accommodate any function that you see it’s going to be used for now, but also in the future. You have to think, Hey, I might change the function of my modern shed someday. For now, it might be a bedroom. When my kid moves out and he’s done with college, this could become my painting studio, it could be a workout space. You really have to determine the necessary features and equipment that you’re going to need to have your modern shed function how you want it to. 

How Should I Furnish My Modern-Shed?

Okay, you’re going to need seating, storage units, the desk, it might be a standing desk that goes back into the wall, and then when you put the desk in the wall, you have an entertainment system that now is taken out of the wall and laid out in place of the desk. You have to be really efficient with your space when it comes to a modern shed. Absolutely. Optimize the use of the space by incorporating built-in furniture, and modular storage system solutions. That’s basically what I’m saying that you could have a loft bed when the bed goes down when you’re sleeping, and then, once you wake up in the morning, you smack the bed back into the wall and it’s positioned in there as if there’s no bed. And then when it’s nighttime again, you pull the bed back out.

Will Your Modern Shed Need Electricity?

When you’re customizing a modern shed to suit your needs, you have to think about the electrical and lighting setup. You want to customize the electrical setup of your shed to support the intended function that you have for it. And whether this means you’re bringing the main feed from your home to the shed, or you’re having a separate feed set up, which is obviously a lot more costly, either way, you’re going to be digging a trench and bringing electricity to your shed. Unless you’re really using it for maybe a pure garden shed, in most cases you’re going to want to run electricity to your modern shed. Even if you’re using it as a garden, you want to be able to plug in your electrical gardening tools. There’s always a reason to have a plug. 

What Kind Of Heating And Cooling System Will You Install In Your Shed?

And you got to consider things like your heating, ventilation, and your HVAC system. The climate and intended use go hand in hand. If you’re using it as a garden shed and you’re growing some types of plants in there that require very specific temperatures at specific times, you need to be able to control that. This could involve installing a heating system for the colder months, or an air conditioning system for the hot climates. I would recommend both a heating and cooling system. I would get a Mitsubishi Mini Split inside your modern shed unless you’re able to build a giant modern shed. Mitsubishi mini splits are going to be plenty to maintain air quality and circulation, giving you the proper heating and cooling control that you desire, as well as proper ventilation. And options like a mini-split helps your shed’s energy efficiency and minimizes the environmental impact and long-term operating costs that you’d be having to deal with if you installed a normal heating and cooling system inside your modern shed.

What Are The Exterior Options For Modern Shed Designs?

You want to be thinking about the exterior design, and the finishes too, because customizing the exterior design and finishes of your modern shed. Complimenting your personal style is just as important as the functional properties of your shed because visually you want your shed to inspire you. You have to choose the appropriate cladding, colors, textures, materials, and architectural details such as windows, roofing styles, and doors. You want everything in your modern shed to align with your vision of it. Landscaping elements, if you have that wraparound deck, maybe instead of having an indoor garden, you might have flowers bordering around your shed and different tomatoes and different vegetables and stuff. Make your modern shed part of a home and garden magazine. Create a cohesive look with your surrounding environment. And again, sheds, they’re going to be multipurpose solutions to problems that you have with your home.

What notable advancements in technology have been influencing modern shed design?

If your home doesn’t have the room, let alone it doesn’t have the capability to make a soundproofed office, then your modern shed is going to be that soundproofed office. It’s going to be almost like a little condo outside your home. It’s like a second home. It’s a luxury getaway for you to enjoy, and you should be able to easily configure your modern shed to suit the changing needs of you and your family. 

And also, when you’re researching about building your own modern shed, never just think about the present. You have to think about the future as well. Learn what notable advancements in technology have been influencing modern shed design. Things like smart home integration, as the rise of smart home technology is greatly influencing not just modern shed design, but home design as well. Integrating this type of technology allows homeowners, as we said, to control various aspects of their shed remotely. The lighting, the temperature, security systems, you might have one of those doorbells with the camera in it, audiovisual equipment. Maybe you have a projector that pulls down for your shed. You want to have all these systems placed and optimized in a way that they’re easy to manage and they personalize your shed’s environment to your unique needs and tastes. 

How Is Virtual Reality Influencing Modern Shed Design?

One recent technology that’s been really sweeping the nation is augmented reality and virtual reality technologies. And it’s actually been funnily enough impacting the design of modern sheds. For example, if you go on a website like, you can actually design your modern shed with a computer system that they have set up. And this computer system takes you through the process of choosing everything, and it visually shows you all your choices in a three-dimensional model. You’re choosing the shell of your shed. You’re choosing any installation packages, which includes insulation and electrical wiring and all that. You’re choosing different walls and partitions that are going to be inside your modern shed. And as you’re building your modern shed with their system, you’re visually seeing it come together step by step from colors and aesthetics to everything else. Architectural design technology like this enables better communication between you and your modern shed contractor. It smooths out the decision-making process when designing your shed, and it just gives you the ability to identify potential design flaws or improvements early on in the design phase that you may or not have been aware of if you couldn’t visually see it. 

Are Modern Sheds Delivered Prefabricated?

And technology is really helping bring in prefabrication to modern shed design. The emergence of 3D printing technology is greatly influencing modern sheds by enabling the efficient and precise fabrication of all the components required. A company like Reed Ferry Sheds, when you order a shed from them, it comes pre-penalized and they can install a shed in your backyard in three hours. 3D printers can produce complex, large, customized fittings and even an entire prefabricated module. There’s also a company like Nestron Tiny Homes, the whole thing when it gets delivered, is on a flatbed truck. They put it down on your property and it just folds into a finished modern shed. Technology like 3D printing and pre-fabrication just enhances the speed, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of the design, construction, and everything that has to do with your modern shed. It just gives you faster assembly. Ah, my God, I love prefabrication. It’s awesome. It just interests me a ton like AI technology.

What future trends do you expect to see in the evolution of the modern shed beyond 2023?

And the final thing we got to talk about today is what future trends do we expect to see in the evolution of the modern shed beyond 2023? Just a few off the top of the head, definitely modular, stackable designs. As we were saying, 3D printers are allowing prefab modern sheds and tiny homes to become much more accessible to the average homeowner. And designs like these are easy to install and set up and cheap to ship, and they require a lot less headaches from not only the homeowner but for the people actually building these sheds. And you can get these built very quickly. 

Stackable designs, depending on your municipality, you could have a modern shed with multiple stories as long as you meet the maximum height requirements, you could most likely have at least two stories to your shed. If it’s a modular modern shed, you could have one modern shed brought to your property and installed, and then maybe down the line you get a second modern shed that stacks on top of that one. So maybe the bottom layer is your apartment/kitchen. Maybe you have a game room in there, an entertainment center. And then above that is the home office, the loft, whatever it is. These designs allow easy expansion and customization of your modern shed. It’s flexibility that accommodates the changing needs and desires of a homeowner, and it increases the amount of livable space they have to use. It’s a no-brainer. 

And modern sheds in the future, they’re going to be integrated more with cities. There are these things called smart city initiatives and modern sheds are at the top priority for these. They provide a broader smart infrastructure. The integration involves connecting local municipal systems with each other, and it enables smart energy management, waste management, and enhanced communication between the neighborhood and the community. Basically what that means is you could have, for example, picture a trailer park, but instead of trailers, it’s just a bunch of little tiny homes and sheds, and they all run off of the same infrastructure. They’re managed by the same property owners, and they’re easy to operate. Basically, instead of having to build more giant skyscrapers and big houses in a city, if you want to help the housing crisis just build a bunch of tiny homes, it’s a no-brainer. 

So I hope everyone got some cool modern shed ideas to consider, I know I did. For more information on modern sheds, ADUs, or any other type of renovation or remodeling services, please don’t hesitate to contact Perry Brothers Construction. You can visit our website at, or you could call our office at (781) 233-7511. That’s (781) 233-7511. Thanks again for listening, gals and guys.