6 Benefits Of Building A Barndominium With A Guest House


If you’re building a barndominium, you’ll have dozens of design options. One of those is to set aside smaller outbuildings for storage and for guest houses.

Here, guest houses offer a lot of advantages to homeowners, including splitting sleeping areas, offering extra sleeping space, and allowing you to expand the size of your living area without opting for a larger building kit.

At the same time, they’re for everyone and it’s important to consider what you want from your home. 

Opting for a guest house from the start of your barndo means you’ll have it worked into every aspect of the design. That means you can plan the garden, the layout, the placement of the home, and the windows around it.

That will also eventually create a much more beautiful, cohesive, and finished look than adding a barndo guest house later.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from adding it later, especially as most barndominium builders will guarantee the availability of the same paint and exterior finish, so your guest house will always match the barndo. 

Why Add A Guest House To Your Barndo?

There are plenty of reasons to add a guest house to your barndo. That’s true whether it’s an attached lean-to or a standalone building in your yard or garden.

In most cases, they range from about 100 up to about 1,500 square feet. For most, they’re usually about 500 – with most experts recommending that you check the allowable limits for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in your area and then maximizing to that.

Usually, that’s about 500 square feet at about a 25 x 20 building. 

You’ll also have to decide if your guest house is a simple sleeping area or a small home. Guest houses range from fully equipped smaller homes to simple separate bedrooms. And, you’ll want to think about amenities like kitchenettes, bathrooms, and more.

Either way, when you start with a building kit, they go up quickly, maximizing your enjoyment of the guest house. 

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Guest houses can also be good design choices. For example, your home design could look best with a separate building.

Guest houses allow you to add breezeways and garden spaces. And, they can give your home a beautiful and modern look that you might not get with a single building.

Whatever your reasoning for thinking about a barndominium with a guest house, the following includes some of the advantages of doing so.

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6 Advantages Of Adding A Barndominium Guest House

There are plenty of reasons to have a guest house attached to your barndominium. That’s true no matter where you are.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll have to plan based on local ADU sizes. A one-bedroom is typically limited to 500 or 800 square feet and a 2-bedroom is typically limited to 1,000 square feet. 

1. Add Value to Your Property 

A guest home adds extra living space to your property meaning that you’ll increase the value of the property.

That’s especially true if you have a market that’s open to guest houses, as having extra living space or a separate space on your property can greatly increase the value of the property when you go to put it on the market.

That won’t be a consideration if you’re not refinancing or not planning to put your home on the market in the near future.

However, it can be an important perk and it can mean a lot for your property. Some estimates suggest that even a small guest house can add 10-15% to the value of your property – which can be a considerable sum. 

2. More than Just Guests 

The guest room is ideal for having guests stay over, especially for more than a few days. That’s perfect if you live in a rural area and want to have people staying over but don’t necessarily want to share your home.

But guest homes offer more functionality than “just” giving your guests a place to sleep.

For example, if you’re not housing your family visiting for long weekends or holiday trips, you can use the space yourself. That means having an office, work area, or other space to do whatever you want in.

Many people also build guest homes for specific parts of the year – leaving you the freedom to leverage the space for storage or whatever else you want. 

In addition, guest houses are perfect for: 

  • Kids coming home from college or university over the summer 
  • Family visiting for the weekends 
  • Guests who need to stay the night more frequently
  • Couch surfing opportunities 

Having an extra space gives you the freedom to give people a place to stay without infringing on your own privacy. And, that can turn into a lot of opportunities to see friends and family more often. 

3. Additional Living Space

Most guest houses allow for up to 800 square feet of additional living space with a 1-bedroom home.

If you opt for 2 bedrooms, you can typically go up to 1,000 square feet of additional living space. That could be important if you’re expecting your family to grow, or if you want to build your home bigger but can’t because of home size restrictions in your area.

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For example, many urban areas require special dispensation for homes that take up more than a certain percentage of the lot. 

In addition, building a guest house and a standard home can mean that you have the opportunity to spread building costs over a larger period.

So, if you want the extra living space, you can easily add on the new building as a separate part of construction – making it more accessible to build to the size you want. 

And, whatever you end up using that extra living space for, it can be freeing. For example, if you have surprise guests, you have a place to put them.

If your family comes over for several weeks, you don’t have to be on each other’s nerves all the time. Or, if you’re just in need of a place to have your own quiet room away from the bustle of kids and family, your guest home will allow for that. 

4. Privacy 

Most people need a private space and that holds true even when it’s not about guests coming over. Having a separate building to lodge guests in means they get the comfort and privacy of a home-like environment – outside of your space – when they come over.

That makes it much more comfortable to follow through on long visits like extended holiday stays. It also means you can entertain guests and family without giving up your privacy or personal space.

Essentially, even if they have a different rhythm and schedule than you do, you’ll both be completely comfortable. 

At the same time, your guest home can provide privacy for you or other family members. For example, if you have an 800-square-foot guest home, it’s likely relatively easy to set aside a portion of that for your own private space.

Then, all you have to do is walk into the yard and you can step into your own private space, away from the noise and routine of home. That’s ideal if you work from home or sometimes work from home.

It’s also a great option if you need a break from noise, have hobbies that require quiet, or just prefer to have a few hours alone from time to time.

The guest house makes it possible to have that without leaving your property. 

5. Ideal for Multi-Generational Living 

Your guest home can provide an ideal solution as your family grows and changes. For example, guest houses are the perfect place to give teenagers private spaces, especially as they start going to college.

The guest house means you can re-do your own home and make it your own – without preventing them from coming back home for long stays.

That’s also true for kids coming home for the summer during college break, for stays back at home over holidays, and for when your kids graduate and are looking for opportunities but haven’t found them yet.

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A guest house gives you the opportunity to share your living space without keeping old rooms set aside for their use. 

Guest homes can also mean you have a space for parents and grandparents if they need extra care or want to stay with you for the longer term.

Your permanent or semi-permanent guests get independence, while you can take care of your family without impeding on your own privacy. That can help you bridge the gap between wanting to care for family members and not wanting to give up your personal space to do it. 

6. Can Generate Income 

Many people like the idea of Airbnb and couch surfing, but giving up space in your own home can be invasive. A guest home can allow you to rent out the space on a temporary basis, generating income and often paying the bills for the property.

Of course, regulations will vary by area and you may not be legally allowed to do so. Renting your space will also add to your tax obligations.

However, having tenants, even temporary ones, can help you to pay for the guest home, giving you financial freedom – and no reason not to make the investment upfront. 

That’s especially true if you live in an area that frequently has temporary visitors or if you know that there’s a market in your area. Of course, not everyone wants to rent out their space, even in a guest house, so this might not be an option for you. 

Next Steps

Planning a guest house into your barndo is a relatively simple process. However, you will want to check local regulations for buildings including Accessory Dwelling Units before you make your plans. Many cities restrict the maximum size of accessory dwelling units. Others restrict the maximum percentage of your lot that can be built on. For example, in some cases, you can’t build on more than 30% of your lot. In others, you’ll have maximum size restrictions to consider and nothing more. 

Once you know what you can build, you can plan whether you’re building the guest house right away, later after your home is finished, and how you want to connect it to your home. There’s nothing stopping you from adding the exterior structure now, using it as storage, and then when you have the budget, converting it into a living space. Or, you can dive right in, and have everything completed all at once so your home is ready to live in. 

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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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