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How to Convert a Barn into a House: Everything You Need to Know

With housing costs rising and construction getting more expensive, people are looking for alternatives. There are many ways to get your dream home built but not all of them will be accessible. That’s why it is becoming more and more popular to build something different and think outside the box. Converting a barn into a house is a great way to save some money on building and get a beautiful home. 

converting a barn into a house

While converting a barn into a house may be a cheaper option, it also has its own set of challenges. Before you start a project like this, you should know everything about it that you can. In this article, we have put together a complete guide to converting a barn into a house. With a good understanding of the process, you can get the beautiful, unique home that you want. 

Why Convert a Barn Into a House?

There are all kinds of reasons to convert a barn into a house but one of the most important is the easy construction. If the actual structure of the home is already in place, you can save money on framing and the foundation. These are some of the most expensive parts of building a home and using a pre-existing barn can help. While you may have to make some modifications and do some renovations, you can still save a lot of money when building a converted barn house. 

The other big reason why someone would convert a barn into a house is the sustainability factor. Instead of knocking a barn down to build your home, you can salvage it and reuse the materials. With timber shortages in full swing all over the world, this is one of the most eco-friendly options. Plus, you get the patina and unique history of the barn built into your new custom dream home. 

How to Convert a Barn Into a House

If a barn is already in place, all you will have to do is do some reframing and drywall work as well as flooring. Having the structure there gives you some excellent leeway when it comes to interior design and exterior renovations. With an existing barn, you most likely won’t have to pour a new foundation and can simply build the home around the structure. While this will still take some work, it will end up being a lot cheaper in the long run. 

If a barn isn’t already in place, you can buy a barn kit and convert that into your home. Barn kits are made of steel and come in a wide variety of layouts and designs. With a little bit of modification, including interior drywall and insulation, they can be turned into a beautiful home. It should be noted that with this method, you will have to pour a new slab foundation, which can cost extra. 

Cost of Converting a Barn Into a House

The cost of converting a barn into a house will vary depending on the size and where you are building. If, for example, you are building a little ADU in your backyard, it will be much cheaper than a 3-bedroom home.

In places like California or Texas, it will also cost more than in states like Iowa or North Dakota. In general, you can expect it to cost anywhere between $10 and $50 per square foot to do the conversion. 

Some of the expenses that you can expect include: 

You will also have to pay for things like permits and plans, which will vary in their cost. 

Is it Hard to Turn a Barn Into a House?

Converting a barn into a house certainly isn’t easy and will have its own set of unique challenges. That being said, it isn’t necessarily any more difficult than building a house completely from scratch.

In fact, since you have the benefit of using an existing barn or a kit, you can save quite a bit of work. Whether you are doing the work yourself or having someone else do it, your construction time will be cut down significantly. 

converting a barn into a house

One of the biggest challenges with converting a barn into a house is going to be making it liveable. Putting up the actual structure is easy, but the inner framing and drywalling can be tough. That is why it’s so important to have professionals work on the things that you aren’t confident in. Working with a builder who has experience in converting a barn into a house will help you overcome these challenges. 

What is it Called When You Turn a Barn into a House?

There are a few different names for barns that have been converted into a house. One of the most popular is a barndominium and most of the time, you will see them referenced as such. This is a portmanteau of barn and condominium, and it has roots back to the 1980s when they were first made. While living in the same area as your barn isn’t new, converting a barn into a barndominium with a house floor plan is relatively modern. 

One of the other popular names for converted barns is shouse. This is usually reserved for homes that are built into the same building as a large shop. Generally, if you build a residence attached to a barn or shop structure, this will be called a shouse. You may also see them referred to as pole barn homes. 

Is it Expensive to Convert a Barn into a House?

It is not that expensive to convert a barn into a house.

In fact, it can be quite a bit cheaper than building a traditional home from scratch. Most of the time, converting a barn into a house will take about half the time. This is because you have the structure already, or you can build it from a barndominium kit

converting a barn into a house

Having the basic structure already in place can cut your construction time to anywhere between six to nine months. When you compare this to a traditional house, which can take years, you can save a lot on construction and labor. If you are a first-time home builder, converting a barn into a house is a great option for you. 


Converting a barn into a house is a great way to make the most of your budget. On top of the money savings, you can also get something truly unique and beautiful. If you are creative and have a vision of what your home should be like, converting a barn into a house is your best bet. 

If you would like more guides like this one, check out the rest of There, you will find more helpful tips and tricks from the pros. You will also find featured barndominiums, barndominium floor plans, and information on financing and insurance. Knowing as much as you can will help you get the best results for your dream home.