What is a barndominium? Epic Guide

White barndominium - beautiful

Not only do barndominiums look cool and offer some huge space for a specific purpose like a shop, barn or garage but they can cost less than a traditional home. Discover what exactly a barndominium is and a whole lot more here.

I remember seeing my first house that looked like a barn.

All it really had was a gambrel roof, but to me as a young kid, I thought it was barn turned into a house.  Yes, I thought it was cool.

While it’s easy to confuse a house with a gambrel roof with a barndominium, they are different.

For instance, a barndominium does not necessarily have a gambrel roof.

Moreover, houses with a gambrel roof aren’t always (rarely are) a barndominium in the true sense of the word.

What is a barndominium (definition)?

Barndominium rustic

Barndominiums, or “Barndos” as they are sometimes called, are a type of house that is a stylish combination of a barn style structure and a condominium that together creates a home and large functional area.

The idea comes from an old and practical living solution on farms and ranches, where the owners would have living quarters located above the animal stalls so the hired hands would have a place to sleep, and the animals would have a person on hand in case there was any trouble.

Today, Barndominiums are a popular living space especially in upscale western communities. They have a basic steel shell on the outside, and a customized interior that emphasizes an indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

The interior is typically an open concept that is laid out to the owner’s specific wants and needs. The exterior is usually a basic steel frame with features such as roll-up doors, large windows, and wraparound decks and patios.

How much do barndominiums cost?

The range is huge. If you order a kit and assemble it yourself and put in a modest interior, it can cost very little per square foot.

If you hire a custom builder and build a huge, rustic masterpiece sparing no expense on the inside, you’ll spend as much as you would a luxury home build.

Usually, it falls on the lower end of the cost of a house per square foot just because you’re building a large open space with economical exterior materials.

The best thing to do is talk to kit companies or builders to find out how much a barndominium costs per square foot.

Other considerations are your lot, whether you’re remote, foundation needs, etc.

How big are barndominiums?

Huge barn turned into barndominium

They can be tiny guest houses with a garage or small shop or a large building fit for nobles and everything in between.  Check out the examples below for some ideas of both small and big barndominiums.

Typically they are structures that are bigger than typical houses because of the “barn” area which can really be an actual barn with livestock, garage, shop or some other functional space.

Watch out for reported square footage when looking at plans.  Some might report only the living space in the square footage number while others might report the entire structure’s square footage.  It can be a huge difference.

For example, the shop area may be 3,000 sq. ft. with 2,500 sq. ft. of living space.  If you inquire about the size and are mostly concerned with the square footage of living space, you could be told 5,500 sq. ft. but that’s for the entire structure, not just the living space.

Therefore, when inquiring about size, specify living space and other space.

What are the shell materials?

It can vary but if you opt for a kit, typically it’s steel.  If you get it custom-built, you can use any exterior material including wood, concrete or other.

What other features can you have in a barndominium?

Most barndominiums are open concept but it doesn’t have to end there.  You can include a basement, loft, shop, garage, porch, outdoor pool, breezeway, RV garage, windows, skylights, insulation packages, mezzanines, overhangs, heated floors, energy-efficient features, concrete floors and more and any other feature you wish.

As for the types of barndominiums you can build, they can be a regular house that looks like a barndominium, have a large garage, shop, airplane hangar, man cave – whatever you want.

Can you rent a barndomium to stay in?

You gotta love the internet age and the advent of peer sharing websites.  You can rent barndominiums on VRBO.  Here are a few examples:

1. Caldwell, Texas

Barndomium for rent on VRBO
Rent this Barndominium on VRBO.

2. Fixer Upper’s Famous Barndomium

Barndominium for rent

You can rent Fixer Upper’s famous barndominium on VRBO.  This is an absolute beauty in Lacy Lakeview, Texas.

Can a barndominium have a basement or crawl space?

Yes, a barndominium can have a basement.  You can build one on a traditional foundation and pour in a basement or crawl space just as you would a regular house.

Can you hire a builder to build a barndominium?

Yes, of course you can.  You can hire an architect to draw up plans or look for barndominium floor plans and work from those.

Alternatively, you can buy a barndomium kit or buy an existing structure (i.e. barn or large shop).

Where can you buy a barndominium kit?

There are many great companies with websites from which you can order a barndominium kit (shell).  They offer all sizes and styles.  Heck, you can even get a barndominium that doubles as an airplane hangar.

Here are some of the best websites for barndominium kits:  This site offers kits for all kinds of structure types including barndominiums of all sizes.  Note that they only provide the shell, not the interior.  You can get a cost quote for your barndomium shell based on the size and height you specify.  This is very cool.  Again, you can order shell exteriors for many building types including barndominiums.  This Barndominium kit outfit sends you the kit and you assemble it.  Yes, you’ll save money but be prepared to work or hire a contractor to assemble it (or your bro).

Photo examples of barndominiums (interiors, exteriors and layouts)

Below are some great examples of barndo designs including the layouts (i.e. floor plans).

1. Three Bedroom Post-Frame Barndominium

The following is a Barndominium house plan courtesy of

White 3-bedroom barndominium exterior

Main floor of barndominium design

Loft and second floor in Barndominium

See more of the above here.

2. Two Bedroom Farmhouse Style Barndominium

The following farmhouse-style barndominium is courtesy of

Farmhouse style barndominium

Main floor plan of barndominium

Loft bedroom of barndominium

See the rest of the above here.

3. Garage-style barndominium

The next example is also courtesy of

Barndominium house with huge garage

Upper level of a garage-style barndominium - floor plan

Garage layout of a barndominium

=> Check out many more barndominium floor plans here.


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