Barndominium: All You Need To Know

Living in close proximity to livestock is not a new idea by any means. For generations, humans built their barns or stables right beside or within immediate walking distance to keep the daily chore list as simple and efficient as possible. Space was also a consideration since, until the last several decades, livestock were just as prevalent in cityscapes as they were in rural ones.


This trend is making a comeback as farmers, hobbyists, and business owners realize the benefits of “barndominium.”

Benefits of a Barndominium

Also called “barndos,” these live/work/play structures have much to offer. They are:

  • Typically built using steel frames and metal building panels
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Low-maintenance
  • Convenient
  • Efficient

This trend is like the big brother of the tiny house craze, offering another way to live one’s dream in a more simplified manner.

History of Barndominium

Barndos have been rising in popularity in the past few years, but they first appeared on the real estate scene about a decade ago. The original barndo was a simple living space created inside a barn. The exterior maintained the traditional barn look, but the inside was tweaked into a house.

Newer designs are more elaborate and intricate with a complete steel structure overhaul of the exterior. Of course, to be considered a barndo, it has to maintain some of the original aesthetics of a barn, but these can be as few, or as many as the homeowner wants. While the first barndos on the real estate scene were existing barns, currently, people are opting to build new barndos from the ground up.

Incorporating a Barndo on Your Property

While some families choose to live above or beside their livestock, others choose to create living spaces in barns that have ample room for their other interests, whether it be a hobby shop, a storage warehouse, or a home business.

The following are examples of how you can take a typical barn and make it even better.

  • Add an income property. There are several advantages of adding a “granny unit” or small, comfortable, and livable space to your barn. The dwelling can become a source of income, a portion of a manager or key employee’s compensation, or a way to increase security since a building that is lived in is less susceptible to vandalism or theft.
  • Use it as a weekend home. Do you raise livestock on a remote piece of property? Do you own a rural piece of land out in the country? Rather than staying in your RV or camper, you can create a small studio or comfortable one-bedroom space that makes a perfect weekend home when you need to check on the animals or are ready for a little getaway. Your weekend home can also work as a potential weekend or vacation rental, easy to advertise on, where places like this are ultra-desirable to city dwellers or families who want a glimpse of rural life.
  • Finally, enjoy that dream property. For many, the cost of the acreage they want to own, work, and live on puts a dent in their housing budget. With barn that has live-in capabilities, you can enjoy that 25-, 50- or 200-acre ranch property. Your living expenses can be included in the budget instead of having to sacrifice acreage to incorporating the new construction budget for a separate home.

Barndominium Is More Affordable

Living in your barn is economical on multiple fronts.

  • Cost-effective design and construction. Metal buildings are pre-engineered and prefabricated, which shrinks new construction costs from the design phase to actual construction. The construction process is streamlined so you will also save money on labor costs.
  • Tax benefits. You may enjoy increased tax benefits because of the way your live/work situation creates opportunities like the home office deduction.
  • Reduced insurance costs. Many homeowners’ insurance policies offer reduced premiums for well-designed buildings due to their reputation for solid design, low-maintenance needs, and their ability to withstand fire, wind, and seismic scenarios.

Barndominium can be highly customized, creating an interior that looks every bit as attractive as a conventional home. They offer a way to enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle at an affordable price, making it affordable and sustainable to live, work, and play on a single piece of property.