Yep, you read that right. No, it’s not a word from the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee finals.

Barndominiums is a trend that has been taking the homebuilding world by storm since 2016, gaining popularity in Texas (where there are currently the most barndominiums) and later spreading throughout the midwest.  At its core, the barndominium is a metal barn converted into a living space. They can also be called “barndos” for short, and are actually quite affordable, energy-efficient, and easy to maintain.

Barndominium Basics

Barndominiums can be made with steel frames or wooden frames. They are typically designed with an open floor plan and barn-like features including sliding barn doors, rustic wooden staircases, and large ceiling beams. Barndos are usually built as a vacation home or weekend retreat, but can be used as main living quarters as well as an event space.

Many barndos feature an open loft that can serve as an office or living area, and will have floor plans that typically combine the kitchen, living, and dining spaces into one large, open area. This makes cleaning and maintenance extremely easy and straightforward.

The following features are also common in most modern barndos, according to Metal Building Homes:

  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Stained concrete floors
  • Engineered concrete slabs
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Plumbing
  • 9 feet ceilings


Why do some people choose the barndominium over a traditional-style home? For one, they can be constructed very quickly compared to the traditional home. They also require little maintenance, especially when building a pole barn with a metal exterior. This allows the home to stand up against harsh weather conditions, a crucial must when it comes to living in the midwest.

Barndos are also perfect for homeowners who are looking for a unique and innovative living space. The barn style allows for high beam ceilings and spacious, open floor plans. If you love to entertain and host friends and family, the barndo is a great combination of living and event space. Open barn home floor plans also make for easy cleaning and maintenance.

Ultimately, the barndominium is a great option that allows for a lot of freedom of design, and is at once efficient and cheaper.


While living in a barndominium is fairly comparable to living in a standard house, there are a few aspects that might detract from building or owning a barndo.

Generally, barndos sell at the value they are worth, similar to houses. However, since barndos can be so specific to personal taste, your pool of potential buyers might be smaller compared to if you were selling a house.

Additionally, while barndos make for comfortable living spaces, they do come with some drawbacks in terms of fundamental design. If you’re not a fan of noisy roofs, for example, the typical aluminum roof may be a pain point rather than a charming quality.


The barndo also has lower construction costs compared to traditional homes. According to New Home Source, the cost for a barndominium can range from $90 per sq. ft. up to more than $150 per sq. ft., depending on what is included in the home. Higher-end builds can go for $200,000 or more.

If you just want a basic shell, Metal Building Homes says that this can cost around $26 per square foot. A basic shell will include the slab, building, plumbing, metal or wood, electrical stub outs, vents, sinks, showers and washrooms. Keep in mind that this is not a complete finish, so you’ll need to do a lot of framing work inside yourself. Converting an existing old barn into a barndo is also an option, if you find one in the right location.

Building Your Own

Think a barndo might be right for you? First, find a builder with experience in metal construction. If you are committed to building your own, you can hire a metal building company, a help-you-build contractor or a custom builder with metal building experience.

Check Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter for design ideas or better yet, tour other barndominiums to get design and finish out ideas. This will help you get an idea of how the framing and steel shell will interact in your own design.

When it comes to financing your barndo, look for lenders who are open to financing non-traditional construction, although this can be limited to Farm Credit lenders and small, local banks. You might have a hard time at larger commercial banks, as they view barndos as unconventional builds that aren’t able to be sold to the secondary mortgage market.


Of course, there are also barndominium kits that are predesigned plans that offer everything you need to quickly build your home. These kits can be very affordable, although they can be customized to a point and the price will reflect your additions.


Interested in some barndo inspo for your own future home? Here are some of our favorites from Instagram:

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I recently noticed a new build not too far from my home – which I need to go back and snap a pic of – it looked like a barn but it’s a house. ⁣ ⁣ I remember when it was being built, I thought to myself, maybe it was a new country store.. since it’s in the middle of a wide open field.⁣ ⁣ But when driving by again months later, it’s in fact someone’s home. I’m so smitten with it. Now I’ve been pinning ‘barn styles homes’, ‘barndominium’, ‘vernacular barn architecture’ – whatever you want to call it, feverishly. ⁣ ⁣ Open concept at its finest, with post and beam construction, soaring ceilings, concrete floors, one level with loft or second storey options. Really, I’m loving this architectural style. Especially for where we live in rural Ontario, surround by farms. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Now what I need to know, is who wants this as their next custom home!? I want to design one of these homes for you!😆

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