What Is a Barndominium? The Hottest New Home Trend, Explained (2024)

In recent years, barndominiums have beautifully planted themselves in our architectural landscape. With their expansive layouts, seamless indoor-outdoor transitions, and charming rustic details, it’s easy to see why these homes have soared to the top of the list of desirable homes.

But what exactly is a barndominium? These structures—which straddle barns and traditional homes—defy easy categorization. To shed light on this red-hot architectural phenomenon, we asked the experts for some help.

Here’s our definitive guide to what makes a barndominium a barndominium, plus some expert tips on the perks of this country-forward home.

What is a barndominium?

In a nutshell, a barndominium is a type of residential building that combines the best architectural elements of a barn and a condominium. And that’s where the term “barndominium” comes from; it’s a portmanteau of “barn” and “condominium.”

A barndominium is usually a metal or steel-framed structure designed to resemble a traditional barn on the outside but has a finished living space inside.

The interior can vary widely and often includes features such as open floor plans, high ceilings, modern amenities, and comfortable living spaces.

Why barndominiums are so popular

The barndominium trend soared in popularity thanks to home improvement shows and design magazines that showcased the homes’ unique blend of rustic-meets-industrial aesthetics and breezy living spaces.

Barndominiums aren’t just easy on the eyes—they’re also known for their durability and energy efficiency, as well as their ability to be customized to suit the needs and preferences of the homeowners.

Another reason barndominiums are so popular comes down to the bottom line: Barndominiums are often more cost-effective to construct compared with traditional homes.

Here are five other advantages of buying a barndominium:

1. Barndominiums have versatility in spades

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Barndominiums are often a top choice for homebuyers who need an ample and versatile space that can be used for a combination of purposes, such as a residence with a big workshop.

And that’s because one of the top architectural elements that separate a barndominium from average homes is an extremely open floor plan.

In barndominiums, the kitchen, dining area, and even living room often share one large, open space that you can configure to your needs.

“The open floor plan is a staple of a barndominium,” says Colton Ellis of the barndominium financing company Rural 1st. “The structures often have large family and gathering rooms and second-floor balconies overlooking it.”

2. Barndominiums allow for high ceilings and other customizations

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Homeowners are also drawn to barndominiums because they can customize the interior to suit their design preferences.

“One of the key differences of a barndominium from a conventional house is the structure,” says architect Iskra Petrova Ceresa, of Aufgang. “A barndominium is constructed of an exterior frame, which allows for various custom spatial configurations, including taller ceilings.”

Indeed, high ceilings are a hallmark of barndominiums since the structures are often built to resemble barns that are traditionally open vertically and horizontally.

3. Barndominiums boast expansive windows

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One of the most striking aspects of barndominiums is how the homes invite the outdoors in via their expansive windows.

“It’s common to see 10-foot ceilings in barndominium constructions, which is much larger than what you find in a standard home,” says Ellis. “Because of that, it’s common to see large floor-to-ceiling windows complementing those high walls.”

This blend of practicality and aesthetics makes barndominiums a popular choice for people seeking a nontraditional home design.

4. Barndominiums are durable and energy-efficient

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Barndominiums are built from wood and steel—or sometimes entirely of steel, which helps ensure the longevity of the home.

Bonus: Metal construction materials often provide excellent insulation and energy efficiency, which can be a significant plus to homeowners seeking to reduce energy costs.

“Barndominiums built out of metal and steel can last up to 100 years,” says Morgan Nobbe, alsoof Rural 1st. “There’s also less maintenance and upkeep than if it was built with wood like a traditional home.”

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5. Barndominiums have rustic appeal

There’s no denying the appeal of a barndominium’s rustic romantic aesthetic. But whether living in one is the right choice for you depends on the lifestyle you’re searching for.

And before diving in head-first, be sure to compare the price of building a barndominium with buying one already built.

While the materials for many barndominiums are far from cheap (especially if you choose a steel-frame construction), these structures are built to last a lifetime with minimal upkeep, which many consider a worthy investment.

What Is a Barndominium? The Hottest New Home Trend, Explained (2024)
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