Shepherd’s hut living can offer both an off-grid or on-grid approach to home life. This makes it as good as any other form of housing if you want to live there.
Despite it’s compact size, a shepherd’s hut can equip all of the necessities for a very comfortable existence – sleeping area, comfy seating, heating options, cooking facilities, shower, bathroom and toilet.
That said, it’s completely possible to live a happy, simpler life in a shepherd’s hut.
If you are weighing up the decision on whether you can live in a shepherd’s hut full time, there are a few key questions you need to ask yourself. Let’s take a look.
Is a shepherd’s hut not too small for me?
It will come as no surprise that the main difference between a shepherd’s hut and your typical semi-detached house or city apartment is the space.
With its arching roof, wood-panelled interior and essentials for living all at hand, a hut offers an accommodating and homely, yet much more condensed, way of life. The reduced square footage is what makes shepherd’s hut living a very attractive alternative for some, but a no-go for others. It’s also amazing what you can do with a limited amount of space. If you want to be inspired, see this article on 21 amazing shepherd hut interiors.
The answer to this depends on a number of other variables. Shepherd’s hut living is definitely not for everyone. Whether it’s too small is subjective to the individual, or individuals, in question.
You’re going to have to do some self-reflection to see if tiny home living is the one for you. If you’re unsure what a shepherd’s hut is, read this blog first.
FAQs on shepherd’s hut full time living
How much space do you actually use in your current home?
You might currently be living in a small flat or a small house, but a shepherd’s hut will without doubt be significantly smaller in terms of the floor area.
At its smallest, a hut will offer around 84 square feet of floor space, no taking into account the floor space that furniture and appliances will take up. A large shepherd’s hut measuring 20 ft x 8 ft would be 160 square feet. For contrast, anything in the real estate world less than 500 square feet for a single person is considered as small.
This post on shepherd’s hut floor plans will make for interesting reading and shows some typical floor plans for small huts building up to large ones.
Try conducting a simple survey at your current home to see how much time you spent in certain areas – I bet you’ll be surprised at how little time you spend in some areas.
When you’re not asleep or out of the house, the vast majority of time is spent in the main living space and kitchen.
Time spent in supplementary spaces, such as studies, other specialised rooms and bathrooms, are minimal. Knowing this makes the prospect of decreasing the amount of living space much more manageable.
How many people will live in the shepherd’s hut?
If you’re on your own, then no problem at all.
In a couple? Super. There will be enough space for both of you to potter about.
If you have a small family you’d probably have to consider a bigger, more luxury-size shepherd’s hut to make sure there’s enough space. A few shepherd’s hut makers actually make a ‘double hut’, which is basically two shepherd’s huts knocked together. I guess for some it might be stretching the simpler life, but for many it’ll be another form of simplicity.
Would the family pet be living there? Great dane or chihuahua?
If you’re planning to plonk your hut in the middle of a lovely green field, next to a wood, or in close proximity to some good outdoor space, then dogs and cats shouldn’t have a problem living in there – in fact, they’ll positively thrive with the freedom and nature!
For dogs it may depend on their size. If you have a St Bernard’s or a Great Dane, the space of a standard hut probably isn’t suitable – that’s if they would live inside. Even for smaller dogs, it’ll get a little tight at times and they’ll probably find themselves under your feet on a few occasions, but it’s by no means impossible.
Here’s a blog on making your shepherd’s hut dog friendly for a few potential tips.
How much ‘stuff’ do you have?
If you have a lot of unnecessary stuff that you don’t want to let go of, or tonnes of clothes or shoes, you’re either going to have to think again about shepherd’s hut living, have a major sort out or get some storage options sorted.
Hut’s can, and often do, come with storage space but we’re probably not talking walk-in wardrobe style or a chest of drawers for each occupant. The storage space available in a hut is going to be much smaller than a traditional home.
Could you imagine yourself in a small space?
If you’re a messy or unorganised person, or someone who tends to surround themselves with a lot of clutter, then you’re going to have to change some of your habits if you want to make this a long-term living solution.
Mess and clutter simply don’t go together with small house living and it’ll soon make the reduced space at your disposal an issue.
Do I need planning permission for my hut?
A big question and one that is always on the lips of potential buyers. In short, it depends. You don’t need planning permission to build a shepherd’s hut or own one, but it all depends on the land your hut will be positioned on.
If your hut will be going full-time into a private garden where it’s an addition to the main property, you might not need permission. If you and your hut will be living on a piece of farmland, it’s likely you will need permission to change the land use.
How much do shepherd’s huts cost?
This question could be a limiting factor to whether it is possible. Let me tell you though, it’s nowhere near as much as a house. A shepherd’s hut suitable for full time, permanent living with separate areas for sleeping, cooking, chilling and showering will cost a minimum of £15,000 if we’re being realistic. When you think of it as a long-term investment and a full time home, it really is a viable option.
If you’re budget can stretch to £30,000 then you’re talking quite a luxury hut with more or less everything you could possible imagine. For more details on price, read this blog on how much does a shepherd’s hut cost.
If you’ve not got an abundance of money knocking around, it’s now very much possible to buy a second hand shepherd’s hut. This blog explains in detail the best places to find second hand huts.
How long does a shepherd’s huts last for?
A shepherd’s hut is a structurally sound (often mobile) building, formed on a solid base and chassis. A well made shepherd’s hut crafted by a skilled worker with quality materials will last for decades and decades – there are some still standing that were built in 1800s!
If buying a hut from a manufacturer, you should get a structural guarantee to give you confidence. I know one maker who offers a 20-year guarantee.
With that being said, you will need to do a certain amount of upkeep and maintenance to keep everything hunky-dory. These might be yearly jobs like treating the wood cladding, applying a protective layer to the corrugated iron, making sure the roof is still waterproof and in good condition.
Can you actually live comfortably in a shepherd’s hut?
In short, yes.
It’s not just about ‘surviving’, living in a shepherd’s hut can offer some people a true alternative, away from the hustle and bustle and ‘traditional’ way of life. If you’ve mulled over some positive answers to the above section, then you’re on your way.
Modern shepherd’s huts can contain all the vital items, accessories and amenities you need for a comfortable life. It’s all about being thoughtful with the space available and using it well. This takes a little thinking about and consideration, but the end products are often fantastic pieces of design and ingenuity. This is what shepherd’s hut makers and manufacturers do, and they are brilliant at it.
In, for example, a 110 sq ft hut, you could have:
- Double bed
- Kitchen with stove, fridge and worktop space
- Toilet (composting toilet for a more sustainable approach)
- Seating area
- Heating and/or log burning stove
- Some storage cupboards
- Fold down table
What else do you need to live a great life?
“WiFi”, I hear you say?
Yes you can have this too, alongside other facilities you deem necessary such as speaker systems, a energy efficient TV and pretty much anything else.
It’s also worth pointing out that a traditional shepherd’s hut is on wheels, meaning it can moved to a new location if the wheels are in working order and it has a drawbar to tow. For some nomadic types, this flexibility is a major benefit. Read more here about shepherd’s hut wheels.
Who’s suited to living in a shepherd’s hut?
Shepherd’s hut living is not for everyone, but how do you know if you’re one of the chosen ones, suited to the shepherd hut life?
There are different levels of shepherd’s hut living depending on how you intend to use the space. If it’s for weekend holiday getaway then almost anyone would benefit from having a shepherd’s hut to go to. If it’s to act as an extra workshop or garden home office then it could be ideal for all sorts of home-based or remote workers. Making the jump across to full time seven days a week living requires slightly different personal credentials.
A person or couple who would thrive on living in a shepherd’s hut full-time would:
- Enjoy or crave a simpler life away from the hustle and bustle
- Be comfortable with a certain degree of isolation
- Thoroughly enjoy some peace and tranquillity
- Have an environmentally friendly mindset
- Be comfortable in the great outdoors
- Not possess too many unnecessary possessions
So in answer to the question, yes it’s perfectly possible to live in a shepherd’s hut full-time.
Enjoying a hut part-time is much more applicable and easy to envisage to almost everyone, especially to those who like to getaway at the weekends or during holidays.
Completing the transition to full-time hut living is a slightly different kettle of fish, but as we’ve shown, a good hut contains all the amenities and facilities for a comfortable existence, it just may depend on other facts such as location and family arrangements.
There are also three more important factors you need before thinking about living in a shepherd’s hut – the right land, permission to occupy it, local council thoughts and money – but for now revel in the fact that hut living may be the future.
Finding shepherd’s huts for sale
If are serious about living in a shepherd’s hut and arn’t going to build your own, you’ll want to look at one for sale. There are a number of second hand huts for sale on the likes of Ebay and other second hand networks. Huts retain their value really well, so there’s probably not a great deal of difference between buying second hand and getting one build from scratch.
This blog on shepherd’s huts for sale should give you a better understand of where you can buy a hut in the UK with a long list of fantastic hut makers from different regions of the UK. You can also check this blog on the best places to find second hand shepherd’s huts for sale.
If living in a shepherd’s hut isn’t quite realistic for you just yet, you can still live in a more sustainable environmentally friendly way in your current home.
Read up more on shepherd’s huts and eco living
Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.
Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.