Is a 12×16 Storage Shed the Right Size for Me?

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When your garage is bursting at the seams, and there’s nowhere else to store those bikes, mowers, and lawn tools, then a backyard shed is the ideal solution.

Sheds tick all the boxes for being affordable and robust, and they can even add value to your property. You also don’t have to go all out to get the most from this type of storage; a medium 12×16 is all you need to keep standard equipment safe and organized.

What Can Fit Into a 12×16 Shed?

When shopping for a shed for your yard, the different sizes available can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll help you wrap your head around the available space you can expect to get from a 12×16 design. This is one of the most popular mid-range options. 

First of all, it’s important to know that a 12×16 gives 192 square feet of floor space. This is enough space to accommodate an average-sized car with some wriggle room. Check out online tutorials for step-by-step guidance on how to build a 12×16 shed by yourself.

A 12×16 building can accommodate two small-medium pieces of machinery such as a lawnmower and a 4-wheeler with ease. This would give you just enough room to walk around each piece of equipment so that you can wheel it in and out of the shed without a hassle.

You could fit in a third smaller piece of garden machinery, but that would leave little room for comfortable movement. 

Tip: add shelves and hooks to the interior so that you can easily store and access smaller tools and yard accessories. 

Ideas of what can fit into a 12×16 shed:

  • Lawnmowers
  • Motorcycles
  • Golf carts
  • Small boats
  • Small tractors
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Bicycles
  • Snowmobile
  • Tools and yard accessories

This size of shed can also be ideally used as a workshop, an art studio, or as a bedroom for one person.

Add Height to Your 12×16-inch Shed for Extra Storage

One way to add more space to your shed is to build it with a steeper roof pitch. This way, you can add a loft – a convenient storage facility that will keep your belongings safely tucked away without taking up more floor space than necessary. 

Free shed plans with loft options are widely available online. This cost-effective approach lets you maximize your shed’s functionality by creating valuable overhead storage.

A shed with a loft provides room for boxes of items that you don’t always use but don’t necessarily want to throw out either. A thin ladder is all you would need to reach this upper level (so you don’t have to worry about too much space being used up in the main storage area).

Things to Consider Before Buying a 12×16 Shed

an example of a shed with two doors for ease of access
  • What do you want to use it for? What are your plans for your shed? A 12×16 design is perfect for storing yard tools and smaller pieces of furniture that you’re not using. It can also be used as a small bedroom with enough space for a single bed. If you are looking for a shed that can be used as a gym or to store very large machinery, then you may want to opt for a larger design. 
  • What do you plan on storing? If you are storing items that you need regular access to, then you may want to ensure that there is going to be enough wriggle room to get them in and out with ease. Also, make sure that the shed door is large enough to accommodate the size of the objects that you want to store. 
  • What’s your budget? If you’re stuck with a small budget, a smaller shed may have to do. However, 12×16 sheds can be made more affordable if you opt for cheaper building materials. 
  • Do you plan on extending the size of the shed in the future? If your budget is tight, you can always start with a smaller shed but request that it’s built so that it can easily be extended in future.

What About the Size of Your Yard? 

The size of your yard is crucial in determining whether a 12×16 shed is suitable for you. Firstly, do you have enough space to accommodate this size of a shed? Secondly, if you do have space, will you be left with enough lawn area for other activities? Will there be room for a shed extension in future? 

Keep in mind that some builders are legally bound to build the foundation of a shed at a minimum of 3 feet from fences, trees, and other objects.

Other things to consider when deciding your shed’s placement include:

  • Accessibility: Ensure easy access for moving items in and out.
  • Drainage: Choose a well-drained area to avoid moisture problems.
  • Setbacks: Check local regulations for required distances from property lines and structures.
  • Sun exposure: Consider if shade or sunlight is preferable for your stored items.

Does a 12×16 Shed Require a Permit? 

US states have different regulations when it comes to building laws, but in most cases, a building permit is not a requirement for sheds that are 12×16 or smaller.  

This can make getting a shed this size less of a hassle as there will be little to no red tape to deal with. Keep in mind though that the shed itself may not need a permit but additional features such as water containment and height parameters may require permission. 

I’m handy, but can I build a 12×16 shed myself, or should I hire a professional?

Building a 12×16 shed requires carpentry skills and knowledge of proper construction techniques. If you’re comfortable with DIY projects, research thoroughly and consider the complexity of the shed design. Hiring a professional ensures proper construction and avoids potential mistakes.

To Summarize, a 12×16 Shed Is for You If:

  • You have enough yard-space
  • You have applied for any applicable permits
  • You don’t plan on storing more than 2 pieces of small to medium-sized machinery
  • You are happy with space that provides room for one car and some wriggle room
  • Your budget can accommodate it 
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    Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

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