Building and living in a barndominium has its advantages. What about the tiny home version of a barndo? With the tiny house craze still growing in interest, you might be considering building a small barndominium.

Is a small barndo worth the investment of your money and time? YES! We believe they are because they require less land, less maintenance, and are less expensive to build.

What is a Small Barndominium?

In the last several years’ tiny homes have exploded in popularity. That trend has carried over into the barndominium space. A small barndominium is just that, a barndo that has a much smaller floor plan. Typically, 1,500 sq ft or less. If you’re looking to build more extensively, you might be interested in our ultimate barndominium guide.

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A barndominium is often a metal building with living quarters and a shop. While most are a steel frame structure on a foundation, you can customize your barndo with wood or rock siding. The only limit to the exterior is one’s imagination.

We recommend purchasing a barndominium kit to help speed up the build process and ensure you have everything you’re going to need to complete the build. Purchasing a kit will not limit your options for creating a custom exterior or interior.

Barndominiums are perfect for individuals or families who live an active outdoor lifestyle, especially those who own animals or ATVs. You can keep your most prized possessions safely locked in the barn just a few feet away from where you sleep. 

Imagine everything we have just discussed only in a smaller version. Is that even possible? It is possible, but it will require creativity from the designer and builder to create your dream tiny home.

You might want to build a smaller barndominium for any number of reasons. Downsizing and trying to simplify one’s life are the two most common for building a tiny home. While these are motivation enough to make, there are many more advantages of small barndominiums.

Floor Plans for Small Banrdominiums

When building small barndominiums you should make clever use of every inch of space you have, and small barndo floor plans reflect that. 

A 30 x 30 barndo layout makes efficient use of the space, giving you three bedrooms and three full bathrooms. 

The upstairs and downstairs master bedrooms are both 12′ x 18′ with attached baths. A large island can seat four people in the kitchen and living area, and upstairs is a family room with a loft.

The square footage of a 30 x 40 barndo is roughly equivalent to that of a two- or three-bedroom ranch home. With a metal finish, this small barnhouse will not only be sturdy, but also resistant to inclement weather, pests, and fires. 

Barndo prices usually start around $30 per square foot, which is far below average in many parts of the country. A home’s price will increase if you add high-end finishes or fancy exterior trim, but overall, it is an affordable way to purchase a home. A model like the 40′ x 30′ barndo offers a flexible garage shop space to combine home and business use.

Advantages of Small Barndos

Small barndominiums are unique because they combine the benefits of two of the current most popular housing trends, tiny homes and barndominiums—the advantages of each—the catch the eye of a unique type of person. 

Let’s see if that’s you!

Building a smaller house means you won’t need to purchase as much land as you would when building a larger home. It also means that you will be disturbing less land, therefore, lessening your impact on the environment. 

You will have more room for your animals and outdoor activities when you build a small barndominium.

Living in the country has its benefits. Fewer regulations, better air quality, less noise, and light pollution contribute to a more peaceful living arrangement. Barndominiums fit right into the country lifestyle.

This might be a disadvantage for the person who enjoys performing house maintenance. For most people, however, we enjoy spending our money on things other than house repairs. A barndo already requires less maintenance than a traditional house because of the metal siding and roof. A small barndo means there is even less opportunity to need repairs.

When a metal structure such as a barndominium is adequately insulated, it is incredibly energy efficient. You will save money on your heating and cooling bills every month because they won’t be escaping through improperly insulated walls and roof. Maintaining the perfect temperature is also much easier in a smaller space.

Barndominiums and tiny houses are known to cost less to build than ordinary houses. So combining the two is a no-brainer if you’re on a strict budget. They both cost less because of their shorter build times, and they require fewer materials. 

You can build a truly custom home for less when you build a small barndominium. The money you save on the exterior and roof means you can spend more crafting the perfect interior.

One draw to a tiny home is the necessity to declutter. It’s natural for people to collect stuff over the years that they don’t use. This stuff can cause stress. Forcing yourself to get rid of the things you don’t need can drastically reduce the stress levels in your life. While we are not saying you have to go total minimalist, there is something to owning less junk.

The small barndo building process is often less stressful because it doesn’t last as long as building a bigger house. 

A smaller building generally takes less time to build. Factor in barndominiums are known to have much shorter build times than traditional houses, and you have a recipe for a rapid build. So if you’re short on time, look no further than a small barndominium.

While small barndominiums have many tremendous benefits, it would be disingenuous of us to tell you they don’t have any drawbacks. Let’s see if the following disadvantages are a deal-breaker for you and your family.

Disadvantages of a Small Shop House

There are not many disadvantages of small barndominiums, but the few there are shouldn’t surprise you. 

A small building such as a tiny home means you’re going to be limited on the amount of space available. You will either have to get rid of everything you don’t need or develop a way to store it all. Adding a loft is the most common way tiny homeowners create more space.

The limited space means the person designing and building the small barndominium will need to develop creative ways for storage and areas with double uses. For example, the bed might store out of the way during the day while the bedroom is used as an at-home office.

We know not everyone is crazy about the aesthetics of metal buildings. While most barndominiums are constructed of metal, the exterior can be customized with rock and wood to increase curb appeal.

Obtaining financing for barndominiums is becoming more accessible, but some institutions are still reluctant to lend money for tiny homes and barndos. So combining the two could make finding funding even more difficult. 

Because some people don’t appreciate the look of a barndo, there are city ordinances against living in metal structures. So in the initial stages of your planning, be sure to look up any building regulations you might come across. Your builder should be familiar with the local laws.

Costs to Build a Small Barndominium

As we mentioned earlier, building a barndominium is cheaper than building a traditional house.

How much cheaper? We’re glad you asked!

Barndominiums typically cost $40- $150 per square foot to where the average home costs $100- $210 per square foot to build. This price range will depend on the builder and materials you decide to use. The higher cost per square foot will give you a truly custom home with high-end materials. While if you need to stay within a small budget, you can still have a high-quality home for less. 

What You Should Keep in Mind with Small Barn Houses

A few things you always want to be conscious of while building your small barndominium are listed below.

Limited Space Available 

You will need to downsize all the rooms in your new house. Researching creative storage ideas on the internet will help you develop solutions for the lack of space in your new tiny barndo and help you live more comfortably in a small area.

Getting Utilities

An extra expense is getting utilities to your new home. You will have to pay to have the waterline, electric, and sewage system installed. The cost will be determined by how far away from the nearest source you plan to live. Having the utilities installed could easily cost thousands of dollars for any size home.

Special Restrictions Banning Barndominiums

If you’re building in the country, you probably don’t have to worry about this, but if you’re within city limits or an HOA, you might have to meet unique stipulations when constructing a new home.

Barndos are Safe

Because they are crafted out of metal, barndominiums are more fire-resistant than the average home. By adding a storm shelter, you and your family can be protected from Mother Nature’s worst disasters.

Examples of Small Metal Houses

Open floor plans and large windows that allow lots of natural light into the space enable a small area to feel more significant than it is actually. This is your home, and you can design it to your specifications, but if you’re struggling with ideas, we have compiled a list of 21 barndo floor plans

While barndominiums are generally thought of as large buildings, there’s no law against constructing a small barndominium to fit your exact needs. 

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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