How to build an outhouse. A really pretty one. | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE |

How to build an outhouse. A really pretty one.



Need some inspiration for creating an outhouse ~ small garden shed ~ or small outbuilding ?  All three buildings are the same same but different.

Outhouse – toilet + gardening tools = Very cool garden shed



How to build an outhouse.  A really pretty one. | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE |

I tried to come up with a pretty name for an outhouse.  No such luck.  So I called in the troops (that’s you) and this is what they came up with :


The Ruby room, the sunshine mission, the pooter scooter, stinky chicken, the sand box, the Mary Jane, the reading room, the dump truck, the library, the la la, the back house, the thunder box, the deuce den, wooden throne, peepee palace, poopy portal.


The good news is that you can create an outbuilding just like this one and it will be no where near icky.   Don’t call it an outhouse.  Give it a love shack name.  It changes everything.   Try it.  Then get back here and tell me what you named your palace.


I had this same ‘name it’ problem with grapevine BALLS.  I still can’t get the word balls out of my head.  I may be scarred for life.  Now I have scarred you too.  My bad.

This {{ boudoir, privy, potty, ladies room, gents room }} outhouse DIY may be adapted as a garden shed [minus the toilet].  Or a small outbuilding.  Or a storage shed.  It all works.



Want to keep the toilet and make a portable outhouse~boudoir ?  I have a cool business idea for you.   An outhouse on wheels for weddings and large events.


Boudoirs on wheels.

How gorgeous would that be?

Goodbye gross port-a-potties.

Let’s start a revolution.

One with nice potties.



Imagine a port-a-potty that you could sit on and not be nervous about what may be lurking beneath you?  Are you afraid that your somethin’ somethin’ will mysteriously dip into the blue water?  Or that an evil beast is swimming around in that blue water?  Do you worry if a sea creature will come up and bite you?  The horrors.

You are not alone in your fears.


I can promise you that.


[insert cool name for it]


Many cities & municipalities will allow you to build a small outbuilding under the size of 10′ x 10′ without a building permit.  Double check first.  Jail won’t be fun.  Never ever never never evvvvha (Taylor Swift never) never make a building inspector or town official mad.  It is sort of like the classic childhood memory where you learned to never ask your Mom to brush your hair while she was mad.  Big mistake.



Here’s the good stuff on why it is awesome to have an outhouse :


1.    It smells pretty freaking divine !

Yup.  It smells good.  What’s the secret ?  Wood chips.  The outhouse becomes a self composting, green machine of awesomeness.  Who knew ?  It really does work.

2.   Sink :

Yes.  We added a sink.   The toilet doesn’t flush, but the sink runs with nice clean water.   A reclaimed old porcelain sink.   I stole it from the same guy that I stole this one from for the treehouse.

A sink with running water in an outhouse.  What an oxymoron.  We tried to keep the true authentic nature of an outdoorsy outhouse.  Sort of.

3.  Lighting :

A chandelier.  It was easy to do.  And inexpensive.  We spray painted an old light with gold spray paint.  Wham.  Bamm.  Thank you Ma’am.  Mini chandeliers and outhouses are amazeballs of awesomeness.  Lighting is something to pay attention to.  It can make or break a peepee palace room.

3.   Toilet paper roll holder = twig

Twigs are your friends.  Cheap friends with ahhhmazing design potential.  Want more twiggyness  in your life?  You can get a few more twig ideas here : 15 Ways to Decorate with twigs. Just like Pocahontas.  You can create epic stuff for free.  Nice price tag.


4.   Windows :

Old stained glass windows that hinge out on a stick.  Nice and breezy.  We lined the windows with screening.  No creatures are allowed in the outhouse ladies room.  Stamped it.   My girlfriends and I hang out in there.  No joke.  With glasses of wine.  The kids have no idea where we are.   Neither do the flies.


5.   Venting system :

Therein is where the magic happens.  The vent thingy {you can see it in a few of the photos}  keeps the ‘air flow’ going out the pipe.  Think of it like a chimney pipe.  Minus the smoke.  It is what makes an outhouse smell awesome.  For an outhouse.  It works like a charm.  I don’t know about you, but if an outhouse smells bad, I’m not going in it.  I would rather do a wilderness tinkle.  Gross, but it’s the gospel truth.


6.   Toilet containment :

We dug a hole.  A fairly deep one.  I say we.  I had nothing to do with that whole digging business.  Ewwwwhhh.  However, number two was my number one business of solving.   Why?  I didn’t want to smell a thing.  I wanted it to feel like a place that was fresh and clean.  No ickyness allowed.  Steal my idea.  It works.


7.   Weddings :

We do normally rent port-a-potties for weddings and events {for hundreds of visitors} around this neck of the woods.  I have no idea why….because… as soon as someone sets their eyes on our outhouse…. there is no port-a-potty happenin’ for them.  Hence, everyone lines up for the outhouse.  All the other port-a-potties are lonely.


Solution for outhouse heavy use :

Aromatherapy oils.  Have you tried them?  Wowsers.  They smell fantastic.   A scented candle would do the trick too.  Only a beautifully scented one.  No need for an outbuilding to smell like baked apple pie and cinnamon.  The thought of that just made me throw up in my mouth a little.


8.   Curtains :

Ikea sheers.  They are my ‘go to’ curtain for pretty much every window on earth.  They are dirt cheap to buy.   Almost free.   They require no sewing.  No effort.  Zip.   Ikea can be your bestie.


9.   Shelving ideas & display pieces :

The outhouse shelves are important.  People like to sit in there and just stare.  No joke.  Go ahead.  Build one.  Then talk to me.  It is really quite entertaining in an outhouse.

We mix up the outhouse decor every year.  Sometimes we load the shelves with books.  Sometimes candles.  Sometimes nakedness.  Not my nakedness.  Shelf nakedness.  Sometimes baskets of magazines.  Sometimes pretty little rocks and shells.  Colourful bottles are funky too.   This year it was candles and shells……


10.   Walls :

We kept the walls as natural wood for a long time.  It looked fine.  Then life changed around here.  I became a white paint lovin’ trollop and painted everything that didn’t move… white.  For the outhouse,  we mixed white paint with water and did a white wash look.  We = me and the mouse in my pocket.


Happy outhousin’…



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  1. Sayra Slife

    May 28th, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Loved seeing your beautiful potty house! While constructing ours I came across yours! We found old fencing that was laying by the side of the road in a nearby neighborhood.. Asked the owners if we could come take it away, they said yes and now we have a wonderful peepee shed for our guests right next to our guest house that had no bathroom. Now, in the middle of the night, they won’t have to trek all the way up to our house to use the bathroom. I want to send you a; picture to inspire others. IT turned out so nice and the wood has that aged patina. IT has a “commode” I found at the Goodwill, really a night stand. The compost bucket fits perfectly hidden inside. We put a toilet seat on the top and found a wonderful sink to go inside too, laying on the side of the road the day we were going to pick up the fencing. My husband installed it using more of the old fencing. Would love to send you a picture! Sayra

  2. vanessa

    April 25th, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    please send me a picture… were considering spending upwards about $8,000 to put in a bathroom next to our guest house, but h=this is looking like a much better idea! need help ! ~Vanessa 🙂

  3. Katie Coffield

    August 2nd, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    So you just dug a hole? You didn’t have to put anything in the hole?
    So you just went to the bathroom in the hall wiped put the toilet paper down there and it just decomposed enough overtime that it didn’t fill up?

  4. Stacy

    April 21st, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I would love to see a picture too of the commode you made from a night stand.

  5. Emma

    June 4th, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Love your outhouse, love ours too, “The Little House BEHIND The Little House on the Prairie”. It is really little, barely enough room for one person to turn around. Painted it white inside, tarted it up with a nice porcelain canister to hold the potting soil that goes in after the human deposit [keeps the stinky away]; original artwork; tp in a metal canister so mice can’t use it for nesting [tp left for more than 20 minutes becomes shreds]. It always has a clean “carpet”, woven placemats from GoodWill. They can be tossed after they get too grungy looking. I make sure they’re 100% cotton so they can go in the compost pile.

    We thought about a sink or washing up station with water, but decided against it because it could encourage people to put added water or other materials [beyond human material, toilet paper and potting soil] in “the hole”. So there’s a little basket on the door that has hand sanitizer, biodegradable wipes and bug spray. Folks can wash with soap and water back at the cabin.

    LH never stinks, always looks nice, has one job, does it well, we’re so glad to have it.

  6. Danielle

    June 19th, 2019 at 5:06 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I have been looking for ideas for one that isn’t weird. Love this!

  7. Danielle

    June 19th, 2019 at 5:10 am

    Also, any chance you could share the dimensions for this, or your building plans???

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