Designing your own home can be an extremely rewarding experience. However, it also often means knowing where to start.
Depending on your home, your location, and what kind of environment you’re building in, you’ll have nearly unlimited design options with your barndominium.
In fact, because barndos are often significantly cheaper to build than traditional homes, you’ll likely have more room to add design elements and exterior design than you would with a traditional home.
So, with everything from cupulas to dormers, porches and patios, swimming pools, balconies, and much more to choose from, where do you start?
This list of barndominium exterior ideas will help you find inspiration and start planning the exterior look and feel of your home.
16 Barndominium Exterior Ideas
In most cases, you can add anything you want to a barndominium.
The following 16 ideas are commonly used for barndominiums, are offered by a large number of barndominium manufacturers, and will look great with your barndo.
Porches are a great way to add functional space to your home while rounding out the exterior of your home.
Here, you’ll also have plenty of options. In most cases, you’ll want a covered porch – and even then, you’ll have dozens of options.
- Front Porch – A small to medium porch covering the front side of your home. Normally this means steps up to the front door, with a covered area. You can also add screens, dividers, and other interest points. For example, you can add a trellis and use ivy or other plants as a privacy screen.
- Wraparound Porch – Wraparound porches go partly or all the way around your home. They often feature columns, full covered roofs, and may be added on as lean-tos on the original home or part of the existing roof. For example, this is a great option if you want to extend the roof overhang out by 3-4 feet – giving you plenty of space to have a covered porch under.
- Back Porch – Back porches fit neatly into the back of your home and can fill out spaces, or can lead down into a garden or onto a patio.
Porches can also have a lot of different design elements. For example:
- Columns in colors matching trim or in wood
- Privacy and sun screens
- Divided areas for pets or for having a more private space on the porch
- Dining areas
What you want really depends on how you intend to use the porch.
Patios are a separate addition to your barndominium and are not usually worked into the design of the original building. Instead, you’ll build them into your lot or your yard.
However, you can use the natural design of the building to place your patio. For example, if you have an L-shaped building, adding a patio in the corner creates a space that is private and protected from the wind.
Patios are a great choice if you like sitting or dining outside. You can also build them in a wide range of materials including stone, tile, and even wood.
They’re most often not covered, which means that if you want a protected outdoor space, you’ll still want the porch. However, these can add a lot of actual functional space to your barndominium, especially if you like to entertain outdoors.
3. Outdoor Kitchen
An outdoor kitchen is an add-on that feels extremely luxurious. However, it often requires little additional investment and might be as simple as building in a stone oven or grill.
In addition, you might just be able to install a gas grill with a countertop and a covered area for a very affordable exterior add-on to your barndo.
This option is great if you like outdoor living and prefer to dine outdoors – and if you want your home to feel luxurious.
Breezeways are covered walkways between parts of your home or between your home and outbuildings, swimming pools, or patios.
They primarily function to funnel cool air into your home during the summer months. However, they can also add a beautiful design element to the exterior of your home.
They’re also the perfect place to put plants, privacy screens, and even outdoor kitchens.
For example, if you want to have a guest house apart from your home, you can use a breezeway with a partial wall to ensure that your backyard is still fully private.
You can also use a breezeway to connect different areas of the home, for example, a workshop to the living area. Or, you can add covered walkways so you can plant your garden along it, creating a beautiful addition to your home.
Here, breezeways should normally match your roof and your porch. E.g., if you have a red roof, match the breezeway. If your front porch has white columns, use those.
That will tie your home together so everything looks and feels like you put a lot of attention into the design.
5. Guest House
Guest houses are an extremely popular add-on for barndominiums.
While they’re almost entirely functional rather than about exterior design, they can create a unique and beautiful look for your home. For example, many people greatly appreciate the look and feel of a smaller matching building.
In addition, placement can do a lot for how a guest house looks in your garden or on your lot. If you want your home to look and feel like an estate rather than just a standalone home, guest houses are a great way to go.
They also give you space to privately house guests, older kids, or even parents, so you can have people stay for longer periods without imposing on your privacy.
Columns are an easy way to add a touch of luxury to any barndominium.
Here, you typically look into plantation-style barn homes rather than a more midwestern style. However, adding columns to porches, entryways, and even to the front of the building can be a great way to make your home look and feel more luxurious from the outside.
Columns can also come in a wide range of materials, from natural wood to stone to metal. It’s up to you, and you can get whatever look and feel you want.
7. Roof Overhangs
Roof overhangs are another great way to change up the exterior look and feel of your barndominium.
Here, most metal building manufacturers will offer roof overhangs in anything from a few inches to several feet. The largest are usually about 8 feet.
These can turn into water drain-offs, porch space, or even full rooms suspended over a porch – giving your home a unique and modern look.
It’s important to keep in mind that roof overhangs are not the best fit for very windy areas.
If you live in a tornado or hurricane-prone area, you’ll want to avoid roof overhangs altogether. However, in this case, you can often still opt for the covered porch with an overhang or as a lean-to.
Why roof overhangs? They fill out the exterior of your home and lengthen the line of the roof. That can mean dramatically changing the look and feel of your home from the outside.
In addition, they can be functional. Roof overhangs improve water drain off and may improve snow sliding off – providing the overhangs are at an angle.
Many contemporary barndominiums also feature second-story overhangs, where you’ll have part of the second story over the porch. That can create a unique look.
It also means that you’ll have a room where you can make noise without everyone on the first floor hearing it, making it a great way to add privacy to your master bedroom or your kid’s room.
Most people appreciate the look and feel of a chimney.
While today’s chimneys are often simple pipes, you can easily build an ornamental chimney around your actual chimney. That can mean adding a stone chimney column up one side of the home.
That will be added onto your barndominium as an accent. However, it can also mean simply adding an ornamental chimney to the top of your home.
Of course, you should typically have a fireplace or a stone oven to make your chimney look and feel natural. If you “just” have a chimney, you’ll have to answer a lot of questions about why you don’t have a matching fireplace.
However, a fireplace is a great add-on to your barndominium and will add a lot of comfort and a rustic look and feel.
Just keep in mind that your area may not allow them and you may be restricted based on when you can use them if you live in an area prone to wildfires. Therefore, you’ll always want to check with local regulation and housing association regulations before opting for a chimney.
Still, a chimney may be the perfect classic finishing touch to the exterior of your barndominium.
9. Designer Siding/Paneling
Most people putting in a barndominium will opt for the basic paneling options. These come in simple paint colors with sometimes 20-60 color options per metal building manufacturer.
Often, you can spruce this up with your choice of trim and accents. However, you can always opt for designer siding or paneling to add even more visual interest to the outside of your home.
What are the options?
- Smooth Paneling – You can opt for non-ridged metal paneling if you live in a low-wind area. This means you’ll have more options to make your home look like a more traditional building material. However, if there’s a lot of wind risk in your area, the ridges will add strength and you’ll probably want to keep them.
- Wood Look – Some designer paneling is made to look like wood paneling. This normally means you can approximate the look and feel of a barn from a distance. For this reason, most people who use wood panels tend to put the wood paneling on the second story or on the upper area of the home – so you can’t stand next to it and easily see that it’s just paint. However, using wood grain and wood texture panels can change the exterior look and feel of your home a great deal.
- Stone Look – Stone paneling achieves a very similar function to wood paneling in that it approximates the look and feel of stone or brick. Here, depending on the cost of the panels, it may also approximate the texture. That can give your home a very different look than a simple flat or ridged panel. Like wood look panels, it tends to be more convincing from a distance, so using it in smaller patches, as trim, and as offsets on second floors is a common way to make the most of this designer panel option.
Metal paneling gives you a lot of freedom to change up the look and feel of your home. This means you’ll have options to create a unique look and feel for your home that wouldn’t be possible with traditional building materials.
However, different paneling is purely aesthetic and may cost a significant amount more than the standard panels.
10. Adding Accents
Accents can be a great way to add visual interest to the exterior of your home.
In addition, some metal building manufacturers offer a lot of standard ones that you can simply add to a building kit.
- Dormers – These raised windows decorate the top of your roofline and add visual interest. They don’t add much interior space (however they might) but they do give you more window space and a lot more light in your home.
- Cupulas – Cupulas are a traditional dome projection on the top of many barn roofs. These are often small and simply function as vents. The most elaborate are large towers and may also feature a bell or even a viewing area. Originally cupulas were intended to vent agricultural vapor from cattle. Today, they’re mostly a design choice but they can add a lot to the look and feel of your home.
- Bays – Bays are a great way to add visual interest to your home. Here, bays typically overlook the front or back yard. They might also include full semi-circular windows, giving you a beautiful view. However, they might not. In either case, they add more space to your home while adding visual interest to the exterior.
- Alcoves – Alcoves can be interior or exterior, meaning they function as cut-outs out of your home or extensions out of the home. In either case, they will add visual interest. However, they’ll also add corners and therefore will increase the costs of building your barndo. On the other hand, they can create spaces for storage, interior areas, and outdoor areas like patios, etc., so if you plan them well, they can add a lot to the look and feel of your home.
Accents might also include things like accent walls and facades. For example, it’s common to build a half-stone wall against your barndo to add to the look and feel.
Essentially, whatever you want to do, you can do it.
If you have a multi-story barndominium, a balcony is a great way to add to the home. Here, you can add a single balcony or even a wraparound balcony to increase your upstairs space.
These are often a great choice in lower-wind areas and can be covered or uncovered. This means you can create the look and feel of an old ranch home with a wraparound balcony and porch to maximize your outdoor space.
You could also just put in a balcony on one side of the home to take advantage of the view. Either way, balconies will add a lot to the look and feel of your barndominium.
12. Deck Swimming Pools
If you’re looking for a luxury exterior option for your barndominium, the outdoor swimming pool is a classic. Here, you can integrate the pool into a deck, meaning you can add it to the existing foundation for your home.
That also means you can simply step out of your home and onto a deck complete with a covered swimming pool – minimizing cleaning, maintenance, and distance to get towels.
Of course, swimming pools aren’t for everyone and they can be a lot of work. However, working them into the deck can be a great way to add to your barndo.
13. Don’t Forget Landscaping!
Good landscaping goes a long way towards finishing a home. Your barndo might look unfinished now, but what about when you’ve grown out hedges, put in trees, or grown grapes up the trellis on the porch?
Landscaping can include water features, your garden, your walkways, fences, etc. And, they should always be worked into the original home design because they will always play a large role in the final look and feel of the home.
For that reason, many home design programs also include landscaping design, because they interact so much together.
14. Lean-to Trellises
Adding a Lean-to to your barndo is a great way to add growing space to your home. It also gives you the opportunity to put in sun shades and privacy screens.
For example, a screened porch lean-to means you’ll have privacy and shade. That can cool your home, but might also protect it.
If you have a large yard, a gazebo can add decoration, outdoor dining space, and a unique finishing touch.
They’re also a great fit with barndos because you can easily have your metal building manufacturer design you a gazebo to match your barndo, down to miniature matching cupulas on the roof.
That can mean your barndo has a unique way to accent your home – and a great way to tie your garden and your home together.
Many barndominium builders also offer glass panes, which means you can relatively affordably integrate a lean-to greenhouse into your home’s design. While that won’t always be true, adding a greenhouse adds luxury and a larger space for your indoor garden.
Of course, not everyone wants a greenhouse, so this kind of space is also very easy to change into an orangery or other socializing space as well.
Greenhouses aren’t cheap. They might also require different designs for your foundation, as the glass can be heavy. In addition, you might opt for cheaper and more durable plexiglass or transparent paneling instead of glass.
In any case, a greenhouse adds a unique look to your barndominium, while offering functional space you can enjoy for years to come.
Your barndominium has nearly endless design options. You’ll get to choose between dozens of exterior design options, trim and panel options, paint colors, accents, and much more. The best way to get started is normally to mock up your ideas, look at inspiration, and keep making changes to your design until you find something you and the rest of the family love.
Hopefully, these exterior barndominium ideas inspire you for your own home.
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