You might have heard the name or you might have seen them popping up in your Pinterest feed, but you are probably still unsure what the term actually entails, especially if you’re not familiar with all the various types of buildings out there. Well, this unusual linguistic blend of words means exactly what it sounds like: a barn converted into a living space. At first, it might sound odd, but after some research you’ll find that barndos are actually extremely affordable, energy-efficient and low-maintenance homes.

When Did Barndominiums Start to be a Thing?

The exact origin of this trend is unknown, but it’s safe to say that the whole idea didn’t come up sooner than the 21st century, when this concept referred strictly to barns transformed into living spaces, without the features that a modern barndominium might include, such as plumbing, energy-efficient windows or foam insulation.

The term started being acknowledged by many after the popular American TV show Fixer Upper focused on the ‘farmhouse chic’ style in one of season 3’s episodes. Chip and Joanna Gaines reimagined the 1980s barn that already had an apartment upstairs by remodeling it to create a two-story, 2,700 sq. ft. home. The five-bedroom barndominium in Texas comes with a stunning contemporary interior design and 16 acres of private land. Even though most typical barndominiums are not as luxurious as this one and they don’t come with private lake access and a charming Dutch roof, the show certainly increased the popularity of this type of building and created a social media buzz.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Living in a Barndominium?

The Pros

The most important appeal of going with a barndominium is the affordability. Generally, it costs less to build a barn home from the ground up or to restore an old warehouse than it does to build a traditional house. However, prices can vary significantly depending on the features you select, the materials, the square footage and the finishing touches. Purchasing a kit is the cheapest way to build a barndominium, which would give you the opportunity to put it together yourself or with a contractor’s help.

One other major advantage of opting for a barndo is the strength of a metal structure. Even though, traditionally, houses have very often been built out of wood, metal barn homes provide greater protection against storms or even earthquakes, they’re not combustible and so will not burst into flames the way a wooden structure would, and they are less likely to attract pests such as termites.

Apart from being cost-effective and sturdier than regular houses, barndominiums offer an incomparable openness of design. The big living spaces feature high ceilings and a clear flow of light, which ensures that you’ll never feel cramped in any way. You have freedom to divide your space any way you like and arrange your furniture and décor to fit your own style. You can get into the rustic design trend, opt for a minimalistic approach, or go for a glamorous Art Deco style to satisfy your eclectic tastes.

The Cons

On the other hand, if we take a look at the disadvantages of living in a barndominium, the first thing to be mentioned is that they transfer a lot of sound from the outside. Since most of them are made of steel, including the roof, any noise that comes from the outside tends to be louder, and that might be slightly inconvenient when it rains.

Another possible disadvantage is that most barndominiums are single-story, warehouse-style homes, because the metal structures do not work well for a multi-story building. As an alternative, you could have an extended loft with an open second floor as part of the interior design.

In many ways, choosing a barndominium means getting ‘the best of both worlds,’ because you end up with a durable, long-lasting home which requires little maintenance. If you want to live in a unique home that brings you closer to the countryside but with a touch of modernity, a barndo seems like a reasonable choice. The idea of living in a barndominium is not as crazy as it seems, and the possibilities of making a comfortable living space out of a barn are greater than ever before.

How Do You Build a Barndominium?

Building a barndominium is becoming an increasingly trendy DIY challenge especially for those interested in unconventional homes. Whether you want to go for large or small, opting for a barndo means you can build a house that fits any property. There are many companies who specialize in barndo kits that you can easily customize into your dream home, but you can also choose the more old-fashioned way and bring an old barn up to the codes required for residential living.

Most builders agree that the first step you must take in a barn-to-barndo conversion is to raise it a couple of inches off the ground and pour a cement foundation underneath. Secondly, considering that the old building’s original framing is not as strong as it should be, you’ll want to replace most of it and incorporate some modern materials. The third main step is reroofing your future home, because you certainly want a well-built covering that prevents heat from escaping and seals up leaks. Are you exhausted yet?

Once you’re done with the barn’s foundation, structure and exterior, it’s time to install what you need inside the walls, such as pipes, heating and cooling systems or wiring. Chances are you’ll be adding bathrooms and a kitchen, so this step will take some thoughtful planning. Last but not least, you’ll have to figure out the interior design and install flooring cabinets, ceilings and whatever else you might want in your delightful, well-organized new home.

All in all, whether you want to do the work yourself or hire builders for some extra help, building a barndominium takes work and planning, but the outcome is impressive.

If you’re up for an unconventional way of living and you’re looking for a barndominium in Texas, we’ve compiled a list with four of the most appealing barndos that are for sale there:

1. 6864 S FM 51, Paradise, Wise County, TX 76073

This charming barndominium comes with a well-constructed steel frame, a metal roof, and a beautiful porch for enjoying the outdoors. The interior features include laminate flooring, a vaulted ceiling, a central furnace, central A/C and new appliances to ensure your overall comfort.

Image courtesy of Parker Properties via

2. 1058 Frelsburg Road, Alleyton, Colorado County, TX 78935

In Colorado you can enjoy the serenity of country life in this gorgeous barndo. The two-story living area is spacious and full of character, with a kitchen that has custom cabinets built with long leaf pine wood.

Image courtesy of Texas Land Group via

3. 1951 S Hamilton Road, Graham, Young County, TX 7645

This beautifully decorated country escape presents a barndo with a spacious living area, a barbecue area, a swimming pool and a charming porch. The open concept living and kitchen provide a lot of space for entertainment and family gatherings.

Image courtesy of Fathom Realty, LLC via

4. 511 Wimberley Oaks Drive, Wimberley, Hays County, TX 78676

This beautiful property located on 5+ acres of land offers great views over a stunning cattle ranch, while the spacious interior with high ceilings and wooden furniture creates a unique country atmosphere.

Image courtesy of Century 21 Randall Morris & As via

If you’re looking for a place to store your stuff during the building process or if you want a safe place to deposit some of your extra belongings while you move, browse through the listings on STORAGECafé and find your ideal storage unit.


Diandra is a creative writer for RENTCafé.com. With an academic background in English literature and linguistics, Diandra has a strong passion for real estate. She covers a variety of topics, from marketing trends to entertaining articles about urban development. When she’s not catching up on the latest real estate deals, she’s usually busy traveling, reading, or learning new languages. You can get in touch with Diandra via email.

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