Small Barndominiums: Floor Plans, Kits, Cost & More!

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Barndominiums are increasingly becoming one of the most popular new home building options. With faster build times, lower cost to build, and low maintenance on the finished home, barndos just make sense.

For many, they also represent an affordable way to create a home of any size – whether you want sweeping open floor plans or cathedral ceilings. On the other hand, barndos are also a great fit for prospective homeowners looking for something a little more modest.

Whether you’re in search of a tiny home to simplify your lifestyle, want a comfortable singles home, or a space to retire to, the barndominium can fit that need. 

Best of all, your barndominium can do so without the cost, build time, or maintenance of a traditional home. So, if you’re looking into small barndominiums, there are plenty of options.

In fact, many barndo kits are specifically designed for small homes. Let’s take a look at some of your options.  

What Are Barndominiums?

A barndominium can mean three things: 

  • A metal building kit converted into a home 
  • A barn converted into a home 
  • A pole barn converted into a home 

In each case, you use a building kit to construct your home, typically on a slab foundation. That reduces the building shell erection down to a few weeks.

In most cases, it also means you get a metal structure with aluminum or steel exterior siding. The result is a high-durability building with minimal long-term maintenance. In addition, you can often save as much as 30% on construction costs because of the shorter construction period. 

Barndominiums also typically do not have interior load bearing walls.

Instead, the building’s weight is hung on the outer walls – meaning you can do whatever you want with the interior. That gives you freedom to do whatever you want with the interior, whether you want a simple home, a barn look, or an open floor plan.

Your small barndominium will allow it because you don’t need any interior walls unless you want them. 

7 Benefits Of Small Barndominiums

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There are plenty of reasons to go for a smaller barndominium. After all, just because you can go as big as you want, doesn’t mean you should.

In fact, many people find that having about 1,200 square feet for one person is just enough to be comfortable and cozy without adding extra work.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of going for a tiny barndominium. 

1. Cozy

The average size home in the United States is 2,400 square feet. At the same time, research shows that people will feel most comfortable in smaller spaces.

In fact, for two people, a space of 800-1,500 square feet is ideal. Why? You’ll feel more cozy, more comfortable, and less like you’re rattling around in an empty space. 

Of course, that changes if you have kids. However, many people actually prefer to live in an even smaller space.

Tiny homes are houses under 500-600 square feet. They often provide comfort and a cozy feel – although you will have to pay more attention to storage, how you organize your home, and whether or not you have enough private space. 

2. Cheaper to Build 

In most cases, barndominiums cost about $80-$110 per square foot to build with the foundation, building shell, and interior. This means that the smaller you build, the less you’ll pay in total.

On average, you’ll add about $10,000 in costs per 100 square feet. So, if you’re opting to build an 800-square-foot small barndominium, you’re looking at a roughly $120,000-$160,000 cost reduction over building the same kit at 2,400 square feet. 

Of course, costs shouldn’t be your only concern. You’ll need a home that suits you, your family, and your lifestyle for the long term.

It’s better to spend more and get a home that will grow with you. But, if you really don’t need the space and you’re comfortable in a small home, you can save a great deal on your home by downsizing. 

3. Reduced Cost of Utilities

Heating a small home is significantly cheaper than heating and cooling a large one. On average, you pay about 50 cents per hour, per 1,000 square feet of home you are heating.

Essentially, going for a 1,000 square foot small barndo instead of a 2,500 square foot barndo saves you about 75 cents per hour, every hour you run the furnace.

Of course, that calculation also depends on where you live, you can expect costs to be about 40% lower in the south and about 30% higher in the north.

But, on average, you can expect to use 30-60 BTU of natural gas per square foot of the home you’re heating. That adds up quickly. So, if you want long-term lower costs, going for a smaller home will reduce those costs. 

That also holds true with other utility costs like electricity (you’ll spend less on light, cooling, etc. You can also more easily insulate your home well, which means the heating and cooling you do invest in will go further. 

4. More Comfortable for Retirement 

If you’re retiring or moving into a singles’ home, you probably don’t want a lot of space. In fact, keeping your space small means you can easily maintain it yourself. That means easily keeping up with cleaning.

A small home requires 15-20 minutes to clean the floors. A larger house can require more than twice that. You will have to spend more time on organizing and keeping things neatly stored away. However, it can help with minimization and having less stuff to store.

In addition, if your health declines or mobility becomes a problem, having less distance to travel as you go about your day can also make your home more accessible. That makes a small barndo perfect if you’re looking for a home to live in for the rest of your life. 

5. Easier to Decorate 

The larger your home, the more thought you’ll have to put into every part of it. At the same time, you’ll probably have to consider buying less stuff. That can be helpful for keeping your life organized.

But, if you don’t like owning less stuff, you’ll probably want more space. Here, you’ll want to consider what you’re doing with your space and why upfront, and then you can take steps to decorate it – without the hassle of decorating a larger space. 

6. Fewer Regulations

In most cases, regulations won’t be a concern unless you’re building inside of city limits, or you have a housing association agreement. However, if you do have either of those concerns, you’ll often be limited to the size of home you can build on property.

For example, many cities limit the maximum percentage of your property that your home can take up. Housing associations may also do the same.

The smaller your home is, the less you’ll have to deal with these kinds of regulations and considerations. That can simplify your build process and speed up your building permit. 

7. Lower Environmental Impact 

The smaller your home, the less your environmental impact. For example, steel is already the most sustainable building material because most construction steel is eventually recycled.

However, a small house also means you’ll cover less land. You’ll also use fewer resources to heat and cool your home. Eventually, that will make for a significantly greener home with a greatly reduced impact on the environment and the land around you. 

Small Barndominium Kits

Small barndominium kits are typically 1,500 square feet or smaller, and often under 1,000 square feet. Depending on the size, these kits may be classified as tiny homes.

However, tiny homes are typically under 600 square feet. This means that a small barndo can be as much as triple the size of a tiny barndominium. 

Otherwise, small barndominium kits are exactly like a standard barndominium kit. You’ll typically order a prefabricated metal building kit, have it erected on your slab foundation, and then have the interior finished to your specifications.

The only consideration is that you’ll have to pay more attention to your floor plan and your layout to ensure everything you want fits into the home well. 

4 Small Barndominium Floor Plans

Having a good floor plan is key to having a comfortable living experience in a small barndominium.

The following four options give you a lot of creative ideas to fit your home into a small space. 

2-Bedroom Small Barndominium: BY0632-A

  • 980 square feet of living space 
  • 96 square feet of porch 
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1 bathroom 

This 2-bedroom small barndominium offers 980 square feet of living space. You also get an almost 100 square foot porch so you can dine or socialize outside as well.

Indoors, this compact barndominium features an open living area with a dining area, kitchen, and living space in one room. You also get two bedrooms with built-in closets. A single bathroom is shared across the entire home. 

Essentially, it’s everything you need for a small starter home, a retirement home, or a singles home with space for a guest bedroom or a home office.

It’s also small enough to fit almost anywhere, so you can add porches, lean-tos, and external storage sheds or guest houses if you end up needing more space. 

Buy This Plan


Tiny Barndo with Loft: HI0652-A

  • 955 square feet of living space 
  • 96 square feet of porch 
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms 

This 2-bedroom small barndominium offers a large amount of space split over two levels. That means it’s just 20 x 30 feet on the outside – but features a loft for extra space.

That’s perfect if you want to minimize excavation and land prep on your lot or just have a small lot. It’s also ideal for couples, as a starter home, or for those who like to entertain or have guests. 

Here, you get a 96 square foot front porch. You also get an open living plan with a dining area, kitchen, and great room in one. An attached bath and shower are accessible from the great room, as is the downstairs bedroom.

Upstairs, you get a loft space with a bedroom, a private bathroom, and a loft overlooking the living area downstairs. 

Buy This Plan


Small Barndominium with Patio: RU0642-A

  • 1,070 square feet of living space 
  • 280 square feet of porch and patio space 
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms 

If you enjoy outdoor dining or socializing, this 2-bedroom barndo is a great choice. The floor plan features a 64-square-foot front porch. You also get a 216-square-foot back patio, perfect for enjoying the view or moving dining outside when the weather is good.

The interior opens into a large great room with an attached kitchen. You also get a separate dining room, which opens into the back patio. The primary bedroom is ideal as a bedroom, guest bedroom, or for conversion into an office. There’s also a full bath attached to the living area. 

The master bedroom features a walk-in closet with an attached private bathroom. That gives you luxury and privacy, even in your small barndo. 

Buy This Plan


Small 30×40 Barndominium: BA0072-A

  • 1,200 square feet of living area 
  • 128 square feet of front porch
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 baths 

This 1,200-square-foot small barndo offers most of the amenities of a larger space but in a more compact form.

In fact, with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, you get plenty of space for even a small family. That makes this a great fit for a starter home, small family home, or if you want to have guests or convert the extra bedroom into a home office or studio. 

The space itself opens from a front porch into an open floorplan living area with living, dining, and kitchen areas in one. You also get a pantry, a built-in utility and storage room, and a common bathroom.

Each bedroom is 144 square feet with separate built-in closets. The master bedroom also features a private bath with his and hers sinks and a shower or bath. 

Buy This Plan


How Much Do Small Barndos Cost? 

The cost of your small barndominium will vary depending on location, the cost of land, the interior finishing you opt for, the local cost of labor, and other factors. On average, you can expect a barndominium to cost about $100 per square foot of finished space.

However, those costs can drop as low as $70 per square foot and go up as high as $160+. This means that your choices and material selection will greatly impact the total cost of your barndominium. 

Land

Land is a large part of your building budget. For example, most experts recommend that you reserve about 30% of your total budget for land.

Depending on where you live, that might have to be more. For example, a lot in a rural or low-density neighborhood will typically cost about $12,000. However, costs will go up or down depending on how much land you want.

Check local land prices in the region you want to build your barndo to decide. 

Building Kit

Barndo building kits can vary significantly in cost. For example, the cheapest typically go as low as $7 per square foot. However, for a small barndominium kit, you’re normally going to pay about $11 per square foot or higher for a simple metal building.

In some cases, you can expect costs to be as high as $50 per square foot. That’s especially true if you’re looking at a timber or luxury wood barndominium kit rather than going for a metal building.

When pricing your barndominium, it’s also important to consider whether erection costs are included in the price. That does mean you can expect your building shell to start at around $15,000 for an 800 square foot small barndominium, without erection or any interior finishing. 

Erection Costs

Erection costs can be significant. Here, you might pay anywhere from $5 to $11 per square foot for building erection.

This means that if you’re choosing between a metal building kit that costs $27 per square foot with erection included for free and one that costs $20 per square foot but without erection, the first option is probably going to be cheaper.

However, actual costs will depend on where you live, the local cost of labor, and what kind of kit you’re buying. 

Excavation and Foundation

Depending on your barndo kit, you may or may not need a foundation.

For example, if you’re going with a pole barn building kit, you might actually get away with not having a foundation. On the other hand, you might need a crawlspace or basement foundation.

The simple slab foundation should cost you $5-$11 per square foot. On the other hand, a crawlspace foundation will cost you around $25 per square foot. And, the basement foundation will typically cost $40+ per square foot. 

Interior Finishing

The interior of your home is one of the most expensive parts of your barndominium. For example, insulation typically runs at $0.70-$30 per square foot.

Often, you can get good quality insulation for about $5 per square foot. You’ll also have to consider drywall, paint, wallpaper, flooring, cabinetry, lighting, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work.

Each of these items can and will cost thousands of dollars. And, that’s where much of the cost of your barndo comes in.

Of course, you can opt to do whatever you want with these costs and sticking to the budget options can keep your total home down to around $70 per square foot. However, most people are happier with a budget of around $100-$150 per square foot including the interior. 

The cost of a small barndominium will typically be slightly higher per square foot than for a large one. However, that’s often because you pay base rates for delivery, electricians showing up, etc., and then they spend less time on the job.

Otherwise, the actual cost per square foot is very comparable, and you can easily calculate a ballpark figure for your small barndominium based on how big you want it to be.

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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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