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 | www.lynneknowlton.com

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

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


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.… Read more »

Katie Coffield

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?


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

Sayra Slife

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… Read more »

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 🙂


Beautiful! I’ve never built anything in my life! LOL are there detailed plans on how to build this anywhere on your blog?

Build your own outhouse: it’s funky butt awesome! https://t.co/tNdryRwzlc


3 metal coffee cans stacked and taped together with the bottoms of the top and middle cut out works well holding 4 rolls of toilet paper then either seal it with a plastic lid or create a wooden one to hold the paper securely. This keeps the critters out and keeps it very clean!.

I love this idea! You inspired me to make over our outhouse at the cabin. I hope you don’t mind I added your page to my post so I can show others your awesome ideas. (Still learning blogging etiquette.) I’m definitely saving this page for when we have to build a new one.

[…] a place where people wouldn’t mind going.  So I checked out Pinterest and I was inspired by the outhouse this blogger built.  Awesome […]


Good idea!!!

Ernie Garza

I am starting a photo studio out in the country. i have a composting toilet indoors (five gallon bucker, swdust) but was looking for something with more capacity when I have a large group over. I love your design and ideas and will start constructing soon. I may decide to make it portable to transport to various functions. I am sure it will be a big hit!

[…] with any reno project, there are realities.  Pfffft.   An almighty throne can be a challenge.   It’s worth it.   You’ll have years to enjoy it.  The non-shitty version of […]

[…] We do have an outhouse, which is mighty fine. […]

Yup. I know my poopers 🙂 @dohertycm @colinjustin teehee http://t.co/tNdryRx7aK http://t.co/VyRoDbhDaQ

hello lynne, it’s like you dropped out of the sky for me!! see my website – this an event venue with no pavilions, bathrooms, etc. it’s for those who want a natural event in gorgeous surroundings. can’t afford to put in an approved septic system for weddings and parties. struggling with how to handle this issue. have lost bookings to folks who don’t want portapotties at all. really can’t blame them. have thought about outhouses and there you were. i am curious about your idea for making them portable, on wheels. please let me know more. thanking you in advance,… Read more »

Google-searchin’ for outhouse ideas as we design a shelter for our composting toilet. Lucked on your site. What a super fun read. Not to mention outhouse design. Can’t seem to find anything more inspired online other than moon shapes on the door. We just moved our family from the ‘burbs to the woods and put up an off-grid geodesic dome. And you can’t just stick a shack next to it. WWBD? (What would Bucky-Fuller do?) Not sure, but your outhouse pictures sure gave us more to work with. We had the sawdust, already. But not the twig t.p. holder. Or… Read more »

[…] curve.  Trying to figure out a tree house washroom has been a challenge.  For now, we have an outhouse aka wooden […]

[…]    You have to pee in unmentionable places.  It’s not dignified.  The Queen would definitely frown on it.  There are no options for […]


I have found my people! I plan to build an outhouse near my barn for the ladies that ride here and no I don’t want just ANY old outhouse – I want one with a front porch and white paint and candles (battery operated becaue I am the safety officer here) and a place to change into riding gear and yes, an outhouse that could be used as a place for sipping wine. Your outhouse design is zactly what I am looking for and now i can show the men folk that I am not the only one that believes… Read more »

Ken DeLoach

I love the outhouse and want to build one like it. Could you provide some sort of plans which include the measurements and dimensions.? (Door size, window size, sq ft., etc. thank you

Sylvana Scheffer

Ditto on my end. LOVE this! Any external pics, dimensions, etc would be appreciated!

Yay – I love your outhouse post!! I never thought to use wood chips for the smell, GOOD idea! I have this linked to my outhouses project post too today, it’s a keeper!!


Gorgeous outhouse! Thanks for all the tips and tricks. My one comment is that while I love the candles, it seems rather dangerous to use them in a building with only one door!
Nonetheless, the entire post was inspirational. Thank you!

[…] am an all cotton, white linens lovin’, funky outhouse crazed – […]

Very creative use of twig for holding toilet paper roll. The Ikea sheer also add to the look of the windows without hurting your pocket.

PS: Love your style of writing as well.

Absolutely loved your blog. Dashed against it while searching for some of the best home blogs out there and impressed I am. Anyway, your outhouse plan was lovely but no shame admitting I was paying more attention to the humor than to the design details!

Linda Bryant

Did you build the outhouse or buy it? If you purchased it, can you let me know from where? We live about 20 minutes south of you.
Thanks for this blog. Perfect timing for our outhouse planning.

Marg Townsend liked this on Facebook.

Been there!!! Still loving it!!

🙂 Awww, thanks dear!


OK…you got my attention! I never thought that I’d be reading a post about a DIY biffy (I googled that) in this day and age! Your blog seems like lots of FUN–love it! =D Also love this font…what is it?

A Funky Outhouse #DIY via @lynneknowlton & FREE National Home Show ticket giveaway til Midnight tonight http://t.co/pLMUmVH8wb #nhs13

A Funky Outhouse #DIY via @lynneknowlton & FREE National Home Show ticket giveaway til Midnight tonight http://t.co/5EJiR0NYIp #nhs13

Oh, I love it! It’s so beautiful. Now I would definitely use a place like that..heehee. My son (i know random) watches a cartoon and one of the characters is called “little nutbrown hair” yea..thought that just somehow tied in. Wish I could go to the home show 🙁

Dee Dee Mozeleski liked this on Facebook.


Love your blog and the photo apps…hides my bad photographic skills 🙂
Am in midst of bathroom renovation–inside not outside!

Thanks Tracey Seemer Tilson !! I loved the list. I updated the blog today with YOUR NAME IN IT :)) and some of my faves from the list. whoooohooo.

This is the first outhouse I have ever seen that has never scarred me for life. That’s nicer than my main floor washroom that is er, has been on my to fix up list for oh 2 years now.

I know there’s a good name in there somewhere. Let me have some wine and get back to you!

“The Oval Office”
You’re welcome. Ha ha
It really is the most beautiful outhouse I have ever seen (or smelled). Stunning. And that’s not a word i would use for an outhouse every day 🙂

You are most welcome @tinalovespinot and thank you for the tickets that I’m giving away today ! @HomeShowsTO http://t.co/AebK6VkOET

@lynneknowlton thanks for the National Home Show Love @homeshowsto #nhs13 … and awesome blog post as always!

RT @lynneknowlton: A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway to @HomeShowsTO TODAY only http://t.co/H58LHAb6CB

A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway http://t.co/6Ht43CQxYW

@lynneknowlton And how did you know my mom used a wooden spoon? LOL

@lynneknowlton Fab shed/outhouse! Nothing like the one I used on the farm in the dead of night as a kid! Glad we were only visiting! LOL

You are so creative! Love it!

A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway http://t.co/GpNazzXtZA

Kevin Ross liked this on Facebook.

Gema Kochovski liked this on Facebook.

Tracey Seemer Tilson liked this on Facebook.

Dasal Lighting liked this on Facebook.


Lynn, I really liked yesterdays post about an epic childhood. It brought back many memories and it was fun to read all the others posts that were added. It makes me wish our kids could have had the childhood I had.
Love your blog 🙂

Your outhouse is beautiful, just give it a french name, everything sounds better in french. Maybe salon du nature, or something like that.

As for a better name for an outhouse…… here’s a list for ya: http://outhouseart.blogspot.com/2011/02/other-names-for-outhouses.html

Michelle Clark

Hi, I liked your Facebook page Love the human eating scarf lol and love the ikea hacking!

Kevin R

Hi Lynne,
I have followed your instructions to the T !!! Hope you have a good day !

What a great post on your blog! We live on a farm and sometimes have “riding days” where a group of peeps will bring motorcycles, fourwheelers, etc for they day. (We ourselves have trail bikes and 2 Polaris RZR’s which are so much fun on the trails in our woods). Having an outhouse like this would REALLY come in handy and reduce the chance of our family and guests contracting poison ivy on their bums after a squat in the wilderness! I love the idea of the wood chips absorbing the scents. Although I’d love to win tickets to the… Read more »

Love the outhouse, Lynne… I really mean it ! Gave me some great ideas!

RT @lynneknowlton: A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway to @HomeShowsTO TODAY only http://t.co/gUr2hkZkBn #nhs13

gema kochovski

Hi!!! I just liked you on Facebook. That is some awesome outhouse you’ve designed!! Wow!! There are so many pretty aspects to it. I love the stained glass the most and what a great way to keep the toilet paper covered up! What is your favourite margarita??

RT @lynneknowlton: {New Blog Post} A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway:   Funkiness is happenin’ today : 1.   Free ticke… …

Outhouses don’t get better then this RT: @lynneknowlton A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway 1.Free ticke… http://t.co/OGOSYxZtps

A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway – available only TODAY for the Toronto Home Show: http://t.co/Ht9FdozqbD

{New Blog Post} A Funky Outhouse #DIY & FREE ticket giveaway:   Funkiness is happenin’ today : 1.   Free ticke… http://t.co/U0L0nJwXaI


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