Choosing a paint colour for your garden building

Your beautiful new garden office, home studio or summerhouse: what colour will it be? The choice you make will depend on the style of your house and garden, the setting and how you want your garden room to work within it – and most importantly, your own personal taste. Here are a few ideas to get you building painted

Know your limits!

Before you set your heart on a zingy colour scheme for your painted shed, pause if your property is located in a conservation area or is a listed building. If so, some restrictions may apply as to the colours you can choose for any form of outbuilding, including keeping it sympathetic to the age and style of your neighbourhood. It’s worth a quick check first.

Paint or stain

Outdoor timber finishes fall into two main categories: stain, which is transparent or semi-transparent and allows the grain of the wood to show through, and paint which creates an opaque finish.

stain finished garden building

Stains work particularly well where you are creating a more rustic feel, for example with a log cabin. At the other extreme, they are ideal on very contemporary garden rooms where they show off the simplicity of the wood construction. Coloured stains, including limewash-effect whites and pale neutrals that still reveal the wood grain, can create a warm, shabby-chic style which fits in wonderfully with many gardens. Our Log cabins, Summerhouses & Gazebos are all available factories finished in a white stain that allows the beauty of the wood to show through.

Paints, with their stronger colours, can help you to create more of a ‘statement’. The style of your garden setting, and the extent to which you want your building to stand out or ‘disappear’ into it, will help define the colours that you choose. 

garden summerhouse

A focal point…

A garden summerhouse or octagonal gazebo can create a wonderful focal point as part of your whole garden design, and you may want it to stand out, or tone with your favourite garden features. Light creams, greens and pale pastels are among the favourite colours of Garden Affairs customers and it’s easy to see why. These classic shades won’t date, they’re easy on the eye and will always provide a great backdrop for plants.

A fresh New England feels with light neutrals works well with many summerhouse and log cabin styles. Blues, lilacs and pinks create a lovely counterpoint to natural shades around them and can be calm and cool or bold and brilliant – not forgetting the chance to create your very own beach hut!garden building

…or a hidden gem?

Darker, earthier shades and of course green will tend to help your garden building or hipped roof gazebo to nestle more quietly away in your garden. Both stains and paints can be used to create finishes reminiscent of warm oak, mahogany or slate, which complement garden walls, fences and planting.

Your choice of roofing material is an important consideration in choosing a toning wall finish. A timber building in black with a cedar roof creates a classic Suffolk barn look, and a golden oak stain with a thatched roof creates a perfect Cotswolds feel or as in the picture on the left, combine the two combinations for a truly stunning effect.  A traditional lead roof looks wonderful with pale blue-grey. You’re spoilt for choice!cedar shingles


The style of your garden will help inspire you too. Chic urban courtyard gardens might suggest on-trend colours like lilacs, greys and olives. A classic cottage feel suggests softer pastels, heritage shades and organic tones. Your local stone, brick or tile might offer good ideas for toning or contrasting shades too.

And you don’t have to settle for just one colour, of course: complementary detailing on doors, windows and balustrades looks fresh and crisp in almost setting. Using up spare paints on garden chairs, tables or planters creates a harmonious effect, whichever hues you choose.

See more colourful buildings

For inspiration take a look at our customer galleries to see how our customers have coloured their garden rooms beautiful.

Customer galleries