Barndominium Living: Here's What It's Really Like To Live in This Trendy Home (2024)

Do you have your eye on a barndominium? We get it—those barn-turned-living spaces are as enticing as they are trendy.

Yet before you hop on the seemingly never-ending barndominium craze, you might be wondering what it’s actually like to live in one.

Although barndominiums aren’t entirely different from conventional homes—they still have four walls and a roof—there are some key differences to be aware of before you move in.

To shed light on this unique living experience, we tracked down experienced barndominium dwellers and other experts in the field.

Here are the must-know takeaways that will help you decide if buying or building a barndominium is right for you.

Barndominiums have open, spacious layouts

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The first thing to know about barndominium living is that the wide-open interior isn’t merely about aesthetics; it provides a tangible sense of freedom.

“Imagine walking into a space with wide-open layouts, high ceilings, and big windows that let in all the warmth and sunlight,” says Don Howe of Barndominium Plans.

That feeling of spaciousness also extends outside of a barndominium’s walls.

“Neighbors aren’t close, so we can leave the curtains open and don’t have to worry about things like stolen packages,” says Texan barndominium owner Patty Eberhart.

Everything you need is under one roof

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Want to tuck your favorite car into bed each night, then pad across the floor to your bed? Barndominium owners can and do just that as most barndominiums come with a garage or workshop area.

“I know one owner who likes the idea that he can work on his 1967 Super Sport Chevelle in the garage—complete with a lift—that’s a short walk from his bedroom,” says Brandon Savage of barndominium financing company Rural 1st.

If slumbering next to your favorite toys isn’t for you, don’t worry. Building a barndominium from scratch (or refurbishing an old barn) allows you to customize spaces in any way you like.

While many barndominium owners are content with a small workshop corner, others ditch traditional home layouts altogether. Barndominium owners can easily swap out the living room or dining area for something less conventional.

“You get to make it uniquely yours,” Howe says.

You’ll get to embrace the outdoors

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Whether you want to start a home business, create an art studio, or create a custom space for your weekend hobbies, the open concept of barndominiums allows you to marry your home with your lifestyle.

For many barndominium owners, their best life revolves around proximity to nature.

“We’re on 72 acres,” says Eberhart. “We have a fenced yard but not a manicured landscape. There are cows and deer and turkey just outside the yard.”

Other owners love how the indoor space is so immediately connected with their natural surroundings.

“In Florida, our setup is very open to the outdoors and can be controlled with retractable barn doors opening up to the outside,” says barndominium owner Darrell Brown. “It’s all about freedom and relaxing.”

Entertaining can be a breeze

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The customizable nature of barndominiums seamlessly blends functionality and aesthetics, providing a large backdrop for gatherings of any size—and shortcuts for cleaning.

“One owner has the kitchen set up with stainless-steel countertops and drains—so the kitchen can be completely hosed down after parties,” says Savage.

Or you could spread the entertaining around to your three (yes, three) kitchens.

“We have a main kitchen, a downstairs kitchen, and an outdoor kitchen—which is great for larger-scale entertaining,” says Brown.

You might get chilly

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Living in a barndominium comes with one big caveat: cold floors.

All of those windows and high ceilings mean it’s harder to keep a comfortable indoor temperature, especially if you don’t have proper insulation in a cold climate.

“Like any challenge, this can be alleviated, but it has to be done during construction,” says Savage. “Spend time with your contractor discussing ways to make your home more efficient.”

Before buying a barndominium, take a good, hard look at the structure’s insulation. And if you plan to build one, Michigan barndominium owner Mike Prestonhas some advice.

“My outside walls are over 6 inches thick, and the attic has blown-in insulation,” says Preston. “We also have radiant heat, so there’s never mechanical furnace sounds. You don’t hear outside noises, and it’s never chilly.”

You’ll need a good plumber

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A barndominium’s lack of walls means most of your plumbing will live under the floors.

If you have poured concrete floors—as many barndominiums do—you’ll want to get your plumbing right the first time.

“All of your drain lines are set in concrete,” says Savage. “You’ll need to be confident in the location of sinks and toilets ahead of time because those lines, as well as conduits for electrical and water supply lines,” will be permanent.

You won’t waste tons of time on maintenance

These atypical dwellings are generally considered low maintenance compared with a traditional stick-built home, but there are a few things owners have to keep up with.

“A barndominium exterior should be cleaned once a year,” says Savage. “Mildew will grow on the north side of a home without sunlight, regardless of the construction type.”

Last but not least, be sure to inspect your windows for any cracks or damage, particularly after a big storm.

“Windows should be kept clean and well-sealed, checking for drafts and fixing any cracked panes,” says Howe. “Barndominium maintenance is all about routine checkups and addressing issues promptly to ensure a comfortable living space.”

Barndominium Living: Here's What It's Really Like To Live in This Trendy Home (2024)


Barndominium Living: Here's What It's Really Like To Live in This Trendy Home? ›

Barndominiums have open, spacious layouts

What is the downside to a barndominium? ›

Financing for a Barndominium Can Be Difficult To Acquire

One of the most significant drawbacks of purchasing a Barndominum instead of a traditional house is how difficult it can be to acquire financing for this type of home. If you have enough cash to front this kind of project, then that's great!

Why are barndominiums hard to insure? ›

While a barndominium is very similar to a traditionally built home, insuring them can be much more difficult. There can be several reasons why insurance companies are hesitant to insure these structures. The primary reason is that these homes are non-standard construction, which means they lack historical data.

How many years do barndominiums last? ›

Depending on the materials used, a well-maintained barndominium can last anywhere from 50 to over 100 years. 2. Foundation: A solid foundation is essential for the longevity of any building, including barndominiums.

Are barndominiums safe in a tornado? ›

Constructed with metal, a barndo offers superior protection from severe weather. The steel structure of a steel barndominium has a higher wind resistance than a conventional wood frame home. While the metal integrity of your home can endure a tornado, the windows and doors may not.

Are barndominiums prone to mold? ›

While barndominiums can be designed and constructed to be mold-resistant, they are not immune to mold growth if these preventive measures are not properly implemented. Proper construction practices, material selection, and ongoing maintenance are critical to ensuring that a barndominium remains mold-free.

Why can't you finance a barndominium? ›

Many USDA lenders are unfamiliar with these structures and may be reluctant to finance their purchase. Borrowers may also experience added difficulty when seeking a USDA construction loan to build a new barndominium, as some USDA lenders, including Neighbors Bank, do not offer this loan type.

Is it hard to get a mortgage for a barndominium? ›

The biggest challenge to getting a barndominium loan is that lenders require an appraisal to determine a property's value before they can approve a loan. If there are no other recent barndominiums sales in the area where you want to buy, it may be difficult to get approved for a loan.

Do barndominiums hold their value? ›

Barndominiums normally retain their resale value and may even increase in value gradually, although more slowly than a standard home. However, these homes are still rare in some parts of the country, and it may be challenging to get an accurate appraisal in an area where there are few.

Are barndominiums worth the money? ›

Barndominiums offer exceptional value on a per square foot basis, and are exceptionally beneficial for large families or when a business requires a large workspace. They also have lower insurance rates and taxes.

Do barndominiums stay cool in summer? ›

Barndominiums can indeed be a good option for hot weather, provided they are designed with the climate in mind. Proper insulation, ventilation, and the use of reflective materials are key factors in ensuring these homes remain cool and comfortable even during the hottest months.

Are barndominiums cold in winter? ›

Your barndominium in the cold will stay warm from the floor up with radiant heat flooring, keeping your feet and the rest of the home toasty throughout the fiercest winters.

Are barndominiums good in cold weather? ›

3. Open Layout: Barndominiums are known for their open and spacious layouts. This design can be beneficial in cold weather because it allows for efficient distribution of heat. With proper insulation and heating systems in place, you can maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the entire space.

Is rain loud in a barndominium? ›

Obviously loud “pounding” rain events will create more resounding noise on metal roofs than light sprinkles. So barndominium owners can expect especially heavy regional downpours like hurricanes and thunderstorms to generate louder roof noise. General rainfall produces noticeable but not usually disruptive noise.

Do barndominiums get struck by lightning? ›

So while barndominiums do carry a slightly elevated lightning strike risk compared to traditional stick-built homes, the damage is unlikely and very rare, especially with the proper lightning rod and grounding precautions installed that are highly recommended in rural locations.

Do barndominiums get hail damage? ›

– Thunderstorms and hail can cause significant damage to any type of building. Barndominiums are no exception. Quality materials and proper maintenance are essential to minimize the risk of damage during thunderstorms and hailstorms.

Are barndominiums bad investments? ›

As such, it is more difficult to assess the resale value of a Barndominium. Unlike modular homes and trailers, Barndominiums maintain their value and are likely to increase over time. If you are purely looking for a quick resale investment, a Barndominium may not be your best option.

What is the truth about barndominiums? ›

Many people believe that barndominiums are simply converted barns or cheap, makeshift homes. However, the reality is that barndominiums can be just as luxurious and well-built as traditional houses. In fact, many barndominiums are custom-built using high quality materials and incorporate modern design elements.

Are barndominiums hard to sell? ›

**Selling Challenges and How to Overcome Them**

Initially, barndominiums faced skepticism from traditional homebuyers and real estate professionals due to their unconventional nature. Concerns about financing, insurance, and resale value were prevalent, potentially making them harder to sell.

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