Barndominiums With Silos: Plans & Design Ideas (2024)


Barndominiums are one of the most popular new home options in the United States.

For many of us, they started with a beautiful photo of a barn converted into a home or a metal building kit turned into a stunning home. But, today, they’re so popular that you can easily buy a metal barn kit designed to be used as a home.

Today’s metal kit builders are more and more offering a diverse range of options that you can use to create effortlessly stylish homes that look and feel like whatever you want. 

Silos are one of those options. Here, you can take a standard metal silo designed for farm use and convert it into part of your home. That means adding windows, choosing paneling with fun colors, and creating a unique farmhouse look to your home. 

Why Add A Silo To Your Barndo?

Most people who are in non-traditional houses are aware of the grain bin or grain silo home. In fact, this trend arose at around the same time as the barndominium.

You can now see grain bin homes in magazines, find websites dedicated to them, and find floor plans that expect you to convert a single large grain bin into a family home. 

The silo or grain bin barndo brings the best of both worlds together, with a metal building kit home and a grain bin add-on. 

Grain bin homes cost more than barndos. In fact, most end up with a build cost of around $30-$200 per square foot. Barndos average about half of that.

So, by switching to the barndominium with a silo, you get the best of both worlds, the look and feel of the silo with the lower build costs of the barndominium.

The silo part of the structure will still cost more, but you’ll need a smaller grain bin and therefore you’ll have to invest less in total. 

You’ll also get other perks like: 

  • A unique look and feel to your home complete with country charm
  • A beautiful space for a library, dining area, or other space
  • The option to add a small loft or second story
  • Added curb value
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For most people, adding a grain bin to the barndominium means adding a unique aspect to your design. It means making your home stand out.

And, it may mean using something that’s already lying around. If not, chances are, you can easily purchase a new grain bin and have it erected at the same time as the rest of the home. 

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History Of Silo Structures

Silos are traditionally used to store grain. In the United States, they’re often called grain bins or grain silos.

Grain bins are extremely common in rural areas, as farmers used to use them for everything. Today, you normally immediately ship corn and other grain off. So, those grain bins and grain silos are standing empty.

That leads to new uses, with some farmers converting them into standalone homes and others using them as add-ons to their existing homes.

Often, grain bins are hundreds of square feet inside. They’re also often tall enough to put multiple floors in. Therefore, the grain bin home is often 2-3 stories tall and involves building a home and a structure into an existing grain bin.

That means the trend started from using the already existing shells. Some people expand on those silo homes by building outbuildings, others don’t. 

More recently, barndominium floor plans have started to incorporate small grain bins into the design. This means you get a grain bin that isn’t big enough to be a standalone home.

However, you can use a small grain bin as a tower, a library, and a bay area in your home. You can also use one that’s tall enough to be a two-story home. And, while they don’t come with windows, it’s easy to add to them. 

Our Barndominium Silo Plan

If you want to build a grain bin or silo barndominium, you’ll need a floor plan. Our selection of floor plans includes options with silos. 

The Ernest Plan (ER0053-A)

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2,174 sq. ft. heated living area 
  • 2.5 bathrooms
  • 2-car garage
  • 36’ x 80’

With three bedrooms, this floor plan is a relatively modest country home. However, with a grain silo bay area, a large open concept floor plan, and plenty of amenities for everyone, it’s a perfect family home.

In addition, it offers a master bedroom with a walk-in closet and ensuite bath. There are two additional bedrooms, each with their own walk-in closets. You also get a 75-square-foot bonus room, ideal for a small office or studio, or as a small bedroom in case the family does get bigger. 

The home also comes with a 2-car garage and shop-room built-in. That means you won’t need an extra outbuilding or the added cost of a second foundation for the garage.

Plus, the open concept living area features a kitchen, fireplace, and a beautiful bay area with a 7’ radius grain silo dining area. 

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7 Benefits Of Building A Silo

There are plenty of reasons you might want to add a grain silo to your home. Whether that’s as a grain bin home or as an add-on to your barndominium doesn’t matter.

These round structures offer charm, low upkeep costs, and a great place to live. 

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1. Unique 

The grain bin home is a unique structure that very few people have. While many farmers have grain silos, few have incorporated these as towers and bays into their homes.

Adding one will give you a unique home, replete with country charm. You’ll get the added curb value of a charming add-on to your home and the feel of having something that no one else has. 

2. Energy Efficient 

Grain silos are designed to keep heat and cold off the grain. That often means that they are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible. Many already also come with double steel walls to insulate the interior.

Turning the silo into a home generally means adding a layer of waterproofing, adding a layer of spray foam insulation, and then your interior walls. You’ll get an energy-efficient home with minimal materials usage and waste.

Plus, most grain silos are completely made of steel, and that makes them entirely recyclable, even when you cut out spaces for doors and windows. 

3. Can Reuse Existing Materials 

There are thousands of grain silos lying around completely unused.

That’s true of government silos, the 18’ diameter silos that are now no longer used by farms and are therefore going to waste. Those are cheap, readily available, and often available for free because farmers just want to get rid of them.

You can also often find smaller bin silos that aren’t in use. That means that you can sometimes find a silo to add to your barndominium without spending much on the silo itself.

Of course, if you go that route, you’ll have to make sure you’re picking a model that’s been maintained, as you wouldn’t want to build your home out of something that’s rusting. 

4. Low Maintenance 

Grain silos are designed to be relatively maintenance-free while standing up to the elements.

This means that many can be left with basically no maintenance for years at a time. You will have to inspect and act on rust patches and damage to the metal coating or paint.

However, metal paneling is often good for 25-60 years without replacement. That’s a far cry from the 10-year replacement cycle for most vinyl siding on a traditional house. 

5. Lower Cost Than Traditional Housing 

Silos and barndominiums require less maintenance than traditional housing but they’re also cheaper to build. In fact, barndos start from about $90 per square foot to build and finish on the interior.

Silos start from about $30 but range up to $200. That’s because you can end up with a grain silo for basically nothing and only have to pay for the interior materials.

On the other hand, you could have to buy the grain silo (most likely) and the interior at a new price, which should mean about $200 per square foot. 

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That’s still well under average costs for a lot of traditional housing. Most importantly, your grain silo won’t change in price based on where you’re living, except for the cost of labor to remodel it into a home. 

6. Quick to Build

Grain silos are delivered in one piece, pre-assembled on a factory floor. That means you can put the shell of the structure up instantly providing your foundation is ready to go.

From there, you can take another day to put in spray foam insulation. The full interior will take longer.

However, it can take months to get the shell of a traditional home up. And, if you’re adding a barndominium to your silo, that will typically assemble within about two weeks for the shell.

That means you can have a barndo home with a silo, built from the ground up, in as little as 6 months. 

7. Highly Customizable 

Do you want a bay area for a dining room? A library? A private bedroom area with a view? A study? A greenhouse or orangery?

The grain silo is an extremely versatile building that you can adapt to pretty much anything you want.

If you want a simple open space that functions as a bay in your home, you can have it. If you want a raised area with a staircase and an upper floor, you can have that, too.

Just talk with your architect to figure out what works well in your space and you can likely adapt your grain silo to match that. 

Of course, grain silos aren’t able to do everything. In most cases, you’re looking at either a room with a vaulted ceiling or a single upper floor.

You’ll also have to consider the size of the silo that you want. They come in anything from about 7’ in diameter to over 100 feet in diameter. And, the bigger you go, the more they cost.

At the same time, looking at options, figuring out what you want, and then planning accordingly means that your options are almost endless. 

What Next?

Grain bin homes are increasingly popular but so are barndominiums.

The grain silo barndominium plan brings those two concepts together to deliver the best of both worlds. You get the charm and unique feel of a grain bin home complete with the cheap build costs, open concept floor plan, and versatility of a barndominium. 

If you’re ready to get started building your barndo, you’ll need to know what your next steps are.

Our 300+ page barndominium package delivers everything you need to handle every step of that process, from concept and planning to financing, breaking ground, and finishing the interior. Or, skip to the next step and just check your financing options here

If you’re ready to start your barndo, find our barndominium floor plan with a silo here.

=> Looking for a custom Barndominium floor plan? Click here to fill out our form, a member of our team will be in touch.

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Adam Marcos

Adam Marcos, a veteran with 25+ years in custom home building, now serves as Managing Editor of BarndominiumZone. He passionately helps people on their journey of creating their dream barndo homes, offering valuable insights and practical advice. With a warm and approachable demeanor, Adam inspires readers to embrace unique living spaces that reflect their aspirations. Join him on a transformative adventure, turning ordinary spaces into extraordinary havens of creativity and fulfillment. Experience the magic of bringing visions to life, one barndo at a time.

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