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Barndominium 101 | The Complete Guide

The traditional way to build stick-built homes is quickly becoming inefficient.

When you start thinking of more efficient ways to build a house, you will end up looking at prefab construction.  It simply makes more sense to prefabricate a home in a professional shop and move it in pieces to the construction site.

This allows the home to be built faster, more efficiently and for less money.

Barndominum Homes
Our Dream Barndominium. Image Courtesy Of Logan & Johnson ©Blue Lemon Photography 

And, this goes well beyond the normal ‘modular home’ as we focus on a specific type of metal building for our barn-style house plans. 

Way back in 2016, we predicted that the metal building barndominium floor plans would become one of the hottest ways to design a new home.  In hindsight, that was more accurate than we could have imagined.  That trend continues and now in 2023, we are sure you have heard about this style of metal building kits for residential homes (Thanks HGTV).

You’ll also find that there are many barndominium floor plans with unique living spaces available for customization these days.

Let’s take a look at this type of construction, as well as what you can expect in terms of cost, living space and floor plan options.

What is a Barndominium?

Fixer Upper Barn House
The Fixer Upper Barndominium Image by Rachel Whyte

In simple terms, these are barn homes that use metal buildings with living quarters.

These are very affordable, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance structures.

You’ll find that many of these models feature:

  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Stained concrete floors
  • Engineered concrete slabs
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Plumbing
  • 9+ feet ceilings
  • Open concept living space

Think of a warehouse that has a beautiful front porch and a little masonry in the front of the building. A warehouse on the outside is normally boring and plain, but as houses, these are very affordable to make.

This is the same concept, but when you own a barn house, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful, low-cost home that has had the exterior upgraded greatly from what a metal building would look like.

What Can You Do with a Barndominium?

A barndominium can be full-fledged traditional house that has unlimited rooms and bathrooms included. It can also take a more simplistic shop house style with the house plan taking a back seat to the workshop space.

You have endless options available with barndominium kits and you may also choose to have an open floor layout or use your new living space for a variety of different functions:

  • Shop
  • Garage
  • Church
  • Meeting center
  • Entertainment area / Mancave

And, if you’re worried that your home will not have all of the luxuries that you’re used to, you definitely haven’t researched these house plans enough.

You can have anything you want in a traditional home floor plan, including:

  • Air-conditioning units
  • Hardwood floors
  • Granite countertops
  • Ceiling fans
  • Hot tubs and showers
  • Large bonus room
  • Mancave space

Virtually anything you can think of that you would want in a traditionally built home will be available within a custom barndominium.

If you’re going through a builder, you’ll have to discuss your options of what can and can’t be included with your steel building plans and kit.

The main difference between all of these options will be the actual price you pay for the additions that you want.

A person that wants exotic hardwood floors will likely need to pay a higher price than a simple finished concrete slab.

Materials, and the complexity of the additions that you want to add, will cause the price of your build to increase. The cost savings for steel buildings can be seen upfront and over the life span of the building. Let’s look deeper at the average pricing for barndo’s that are erected from steel buildings.

Barndominium Pictures Gallery

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Image Courtesy of
Lemoyne, Nebraska Barndo
Lewisburg TN 4

What is the Average Barndominium Cost?

modern barndo plans
A high-end kit with all the upgrades. Image courtesy of Crye Leike Realtors

Putting an average cost on a barndominium kit is difficult.

You’ll find larger high-end builds costing $300,000 or more, and you’ll also find other builders that will charge you $85 per square foot for a complete build-out. This would include the building materials, high-grade finish, and the concrete slab.

If you wanted just the basic shell with living quarters, you can find prices as low as $26 per square foot.

A basic shell will include the slab, building, plumbing, metal or wood, electrical stub outs, vents, sinks, showers and washrooms. This is not a complete finish, so you’ll need to do a lot of framing work inside yourself.

You’ll also find a shell that has been completely built and ready for finish for around $35 a square foot.

This means that all the hard work is done for you, and all you need to do is put the finishing touch on the interior.

Are There Custom Barn Home Kits?


Kits are essentially plans and materials that are available at a reduced price since there are no erection costs factored in.

These are predesigned plans for metal barn homes and they offer everything needed to quickly build your barn home. You can customize the size and floor plan dimensions for your specific requirements.

You’ll be able to choose from several different barndominium plans as well as square foot sizes in an attempt to find the perfect plan for your home.

Keep in mind that all kits can be customized to a point and the price will reflect your additions.

Several companies do exist that offer plans or fabrications. This will depend on where you live and the companies that are around you.

Many of these companies that specialize in barn homes will only serve a regional area within a certain mile range when working with a client.

Typically, companies will want to keep their clients within a 100-mile range so that they can deliver their barndominium kit to the site without much of an issue. 

We are seeing some of the large barndominium builders in Texas starting to serve larger areas into Oklahoma and New Mexico as the demand continues to grow.

Barndominiums have such a low cost, and we’ve seen a major change in the way that homebuyers are trying to save money. It may be true that the housing market is on the uptick, but the same issue persists: first-time homebuyers simply cannot afford homes in today’s market.

In most cases, you’ll spend 30% less purchasing one of these barn style homes and having them put on your land.

And, you don’t need to use your barn house for just a home.  These are truly multi-functional buildings that many people choose to use these as workshops, entertainment areas, meeting areas and so forth. It is up to you to choose what you want to do with your new place, but if you do want to make these into a home, know that they will be beautiful inside and out.

Not only are these homes extremely affordable, they are also very durable. Many of these models are made out of metal, and this means that there is less worry about roofing problems, foundation issues and other issues that exist with a traditionally built home.

If you’re on the market for a new home or want something a little different, the barndominium is a great choice.

It is predicted that many people will move away from traditionally built homes in the future, and we believe that 2023 will be the year of the barndominium, especially in areas where housing prices per square foot are skyrocketing once again.

Our Favorite Barndominium Floor Plans

If you are interested in custom barndominium plans, we work with Architectural Designs on all custom house plans. They have over 200 different barn house plans to choose from. You can check out the full selection of barndominium floor plans here or view a few of our favorite house plan features below.

Bolt Together Steel Frame House Plan

Bolt-Up Steel Frame Farmhouse Plan 16922WB

Single Slope Roof Metal Building

Modern Single Slope Metal Building House

Porte Cochere

Porte Cochere House Plans


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