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A room for pondering

Many people think of an outhouse as a dilapidated dirty building with a wonky door. You just go in, do what you have to do, get out again as quickly as possible and hope that it will be a long time until your next visit. But it doesn't have to be that way. An outhouse should be a robust and inviting building where you're happy to take your time.

It all depends on how you design it. A good outhouse should have plenty of space. There's no reason to have to back into it because it's too small to turn around in. Of course you can store some garden tools there that you want to protect against rain and snow, but only if there's room for them.

Then there's the colour scheme. The classic Swedish outhouse is red on the outside. It doesn't have to be, but it definitely works. The inside shouldn't be dark and gloomy, as that just makes the outhouse feel small and inhospitable. It also makes it more difficult to keep clean. It's better to invest in bright colours. White paint or natural wood can make the room much more inviting.

As for the interior design itself, it's best to aim to combine a comfortable feel with practical choices. Keep the floor free from things you might trip over. Visitors shouldn't have to manoeuvre around toilet paper supplies or buckets with bark or sawdust on their way in. Keeping the floor space empty also makes it easier to clean. At certain times of the year, it's easy to track mud and damp leaves into the outhouse. So make sure it's easy to get the mud and leaves out.

It's a good idea to put up shelves on the walls so that everything has its own place. A bookshelf with books and magazines elegantly fulfils its function. Even if you're not the reading type, it suggests peace and well-being. Display a detailed painting or poster on the wall to entertain visitors. If the walls are neutral, you could put up something with a bit of colour.

But the best distraction is perhaps achieved with a window, on the door or the wall, so that you can gaze out at the natural surroundings. You could also get a two-part, so-called stable door where you can choose to have the upper part open when the weather allows. Nature is a view you’ll never get tired of and if you're lucky you might see a deer or fox through the window.