What are Barndominiums? | Brennan DFW
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Barndominiums: A Unique and Affordable Housing Option

Barndominiums are pretty much exactly what the name suggests: a barn or barn-like space that has been converted into a living space. They're large, spacious and airy, and because there's usually a lot of space to work with, they're very much a blank canvas.

A Brief History of Barndominiums

The first barndominiums appeared on the scene in the late 80s and early 90s, and most of the early ones were converted by farmers looking to create additional living space or even rental units on their property. 

Over the last decade or so, this type of home has really made it into the mainstream, popularized by HGTV and similar media services, and while they're still not conventional, they're a much more common housing option than they once were.

Why are Barndominiums Becoming Popular?

When TV shows like the Waco, Texas-based hit “Fixer Upper” feature a particular style of home, it’s pretty common for it to become the next big thing, and that's exactly what has happened with condominiums.

There's been a growing trend towards the modern farmhouse look for quite some time, and barndominiums are the ultimate version of this trend. Not only do they have the farmhouse aesthetic, but they also take it all to the next level. 

Converting a large open space like a barn to a living space also gives you a large amount of space to work with, so they are an empty slate where you can really let your imagination run wild.

Types of Barndominiums

There are a few types of barndominiums, but most fall into one of two categories:


Wood barndominiums are usually built like a typical pole barn, with a mostly post and lintel style of construction. They look much more like the traditional idea of a barn.


Metal barndominiums are constructed similarly to factories, with large prefabricated steel posts and beams, clad with metal roof sheeting and sometimes with some cinderblock or brick walls. They're a more modern alternative to the traditional wood barn.

Benefits of Barndominiums

There are many reasons why barndominiums are one of the fastest growing new styles of home out there, but some of the most important are:

  • Affordability compared to traditional homes: where traditional homes cost upwards of about $145 a square foot to build, barndominiums usually come in at around $70 to $90 per square foot.
  • Customizability and flexibility in design: when you have a large, empty space like the inside of a barn-based structure, you can utilize the space in so many different ways!
  • Durability and low maintenance: barndominiums are often clad with extremely low-maintenance materials like metal roof sheeting, so they don't require nearly as much maintenance as traditional homes.

So, Are Barndominiums Really Cheaper to Build Than Houses?

Like any home, the design and finishes you choose for your barndominium will decide the final price for the project, but since this type of home typically costs about half what a traditional home costs as a base price, you have a little more flexibility without the big price tag.

Challenges of Building a Barndominium

Challenges of Building a Barndominium

With so many benefits to building a barndominium, you might be wondering if there's any downside to this type of home - and why more people aren't building this type of home. There are a few challenges that are unique to  this kind of project, though:

  • Zoning and building codes: whenever you're building a newer style of home, there may be issues getting plans passed and permits issued simply because the regulations haven't caught up yet
  • Financing options: many lenders are cautious about new kinds of homes, too, particularly when there isn't a lot of resale data available
  • Finding a qualified builder: only some are qualified to build this type of home!
  • Selling may be tougher - any home that is a little different might be harder to sell down the road

Barndominiums aren't for everyone. They're a unique, different style of home that is still a fairly out-of-the-box option. However, for those who aren't afraid of something a little different, they're a great way to get more house for your money, and they offer some real benefits in terms of space and creative options.

February 09, 2024


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