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What is a Barndominium?

black barndominium
Image Credit: BarndominiumLife.com

In some circles, barn homes or barndominiums are all the rage. The barndominium concept is fascinating and functional. What exactly is a barndominium?

A barndominium is generally a steel, metal or wood building with a working space (barn) and a living space (minium like condominium). It combines both work and functional living. In recent years, barndos have grown in popularity as a way to live simply and functionally. Some are new construction and some are converted historical barns with a ton of old charm.

Don’t be fooled by all the talk of functionality and work though. There are some gorgeous, custom, luxurious barndos.

In barndominium groups on social media, you will find some who love the concept to be labeled “barndo purists.” If it’s not actually a barn converted into a livable home, it’s a custom home that looks like a barn. As a result, a barndominium will actually be a steel frame barn or a pole barn.

What’s a steel frame barn? A steel frame barn is a metal barn structure. They can be cost effective to build, energy efficient and a great multitasking space.

What’s a pole barn? Vermont Timberworks explains the pole barn as “a simple structure made from vertical poles that are sunk part way into the ground, wrapped with small beams to support siding and finished above with roof trusses and purlins.” Pole barns may be all wood or a combination of wood and steel.

Generally a barndominium offers a lot of open space. You either love this or you hate it. Many companies constructing barndos will provide construction on the foundation and structure. At this point, many owners will take over as general contractor to complete the finish out on their own or with the help of other sub-contractors.


Some favorite and functional features on great barndominiums include:

  • Glass pane garage doors
  • Large covered porches
  • Man cave/She shed/Project spaces within the barn structure
  • Loft space – multifunctional space
  • High ceilings and open living concept
  • Bunk room

There are barndominium companies that provide turn-key construction, but you may have to search a little more to find them. They do not always market themselves as strictly barndominium construction. However, you do need a company with barndominium experience as I have learned from hovering in barndo build groups online. Some customers found that going with a traditional homebuilder provides a less than ideal experience, though this isn’t always the case. The key is doing good research, asking lots of questions and getting everything in writing. You’re building your home, so you will likely be doing these things anyway.

Barndominium Inspiration

Recently, in a barndominium group on Facebook, the question was asked “What are you actually building right now?” The responses with photos are inspiring and exciting. It’s fun to see others building their dream home. You definitely should take a look.

barndominium interior kitchen

Here are some fun accounts to follow on social media featuring some great barndominium builds. You will be inspired, you will be impressed, and you may even decide you need a barndominium also!

Barndominium Costs

People interested in this style of home appreciate it for its lower cost of construction. Price per square foot on a barndominium can start around $75 per square foot including the materials, foundation, construction/labor, and interior finishes. The average currently is around $130 per square foot. At this price point, you can have a comfortable and beautiful home. There are some extravagant barndos though. With this type of structure, your imagination and budget are the only limits.

Financing a barndominium build can be a bit tricky. You will want to do your research and talk to people who have already done this before you proceed with financing. (Financing your dream barn home probably deserves a post all on its own.) As a result, many who build their barns will work, save and pay cash as they go as well as doing a lot of the work themselves.

One fun barndominium in Texas is located near two great lake spots and is available for a fun getaway. Whatabarndo is a fun, luxurious and affordable way to experience a barndominium for yourself.

Another option for seeing a barndominium up close and having a nice vacation is this great “glamcation” property in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

Barndominiums make it easy to think outside the box on constructing a home that provides form, function and beauty. 

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4 thoughts on “What is a Barndominium?

  1. Fun article, Scott! These are very popular in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I’m from, but we call them “shouses” (shop or shed / house). 😉 They are often combined with a large, tall-doored garage for RVs. 😉

  2. Hi, I found your site and blog last month and am digging it! Your window-restoration articles, and probably your books, are going to be very helpful! Thanks for the information!

    I have either a question or critique of this barndominium article: the prices seem way, way too low for 2021 and 2022 in central Texas. My wife and I planned to build a barndominium last year and read many articles that all cited similar prices. We spoke with 7 barndominium builders late last year, however, and got quoted likely prices around $270 / sq ft (E.g., Neagle Luxury Homes). And the architect/builder we spoke with (J. Bryant Boyd) said that that was ridiculously low and must be counting covered-patio square footage.

    We were universally told that steel framing is no longer cheaper than wood and that steel erection crews are backlogged much longer than wood framing crews.

    I would love to be incorrect 😀
    You cited $75 / sq ft and $130 / sq ft, including interior finishing. Do you know who is building for those prices? Do you have links to their portfolios?

    Thank you!
    Cort Spellman

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