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Who Says Barndominiums Have to Be Big?

Seems like the barndos receiving all the attention lately are in the 2500 to 5000 sf ft range, shop space not included.

So, we got to wondering. How many square feet is the “right” amount of livable (heated or air conditioned) space?

Turns out, the majority of barndominium builds across the United States is around 2500 sq ft or less, according to a survey of posts and comments in three barndominium Facebook groups.

The reasons behind this figure?

Most folks who build their dream barndos only have the money to finish it out at that magic number. They consider the primary costs of construction, then add or subtract their amenities to fit their budgets.

What constitutes an “amenity?”

Many of us might think of cabinets, flooring, counter tops and plumbing fixtures as important amenities.  And they are.

But here are the top 5 home amenities, according to a recent survey of builders in the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders): (Source:

  • Huge closets.

Builders and remodelers said the single, most-requested amenity is a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. In a PulteGroup survey of 1,000 homeowners, 31% said they would happily sacrifice some other household feature for his-and-hers closets in the master bedroom.

Most new homes feature at least a couple of walk-in closets, but house hunters want them bigger and more elaborate.

  • An efficient laundry room.

Second on the house-hunters’ wish list is a state-of-the-art laundry room, according to the NAHB survey of 400 homebuilders. “A good walk-in closet or laundry room might not be sexy, but they do make a household run better—and what’s the point of moving to a [newly built] home if it’s not going to make your life easier?” asked Stephen Melman of the National Association of Home Builders’ surveys and housing research division.

Homebuyers are looking for laundry rooms with skylights, built-in ironing boards, room for folding clothes, storage and upgraded appliances.

  • Energy-efficient everything.

That includes low-e windows, programmable thermostats and Energy Star appliances, which will save the homebuyer money on future energy bills.

  • A great room.

Much more than a dining room, the absence of a great room is a deal-breaker for many would-be homebuyers. The bigger and brighter, the better, the NAHB study revealed, especially for couples with children who live at home.

  • Nine-foot ceilings.

This family favorite is only for the first floor. Buyers are asking their builders for the elevated ceilings—the standard is nine feet high—to open up living rooms, dining rooms and other shared spaces. Some home buyers request a vaulted ceiling of 15 feet or more.

In many barndos, of course, owners are opting for side walls as high as 25 feet to accommodate their desire to  display a 20-foot tall Christmas tree once a year.

And you were thinking granite counter tops were no. 1?

The truth is that most builders nowadays are throwing in granite counter tops as part of their per-sq-ft bids, which has come down quite a bit since last year.

Only Morton Buildings still commands a relatively high, relatively inflexible bottom line figure. They are considered by many to be the Cadillac of barndo builders. So, they will probably set their prices high for as long as consumers are willing to pay them.

But for the rest of us?

A 2500-sq ft barndo is plenty big for most folks. Add on a spacious 1500 sq ft shop area and just about everyone who wants a barndominium will be satisfied.

If you want to save a little money and need only 2000 sq ft or less to live in comfortably, you can certainly do so, especially if you want to build your barndo out yourselves.

This is a growing trend among those joining the Barndominium Life Facebook group. In fact, it is the only way many folks will ever realize their dream of barndo ownership.

Here’s something to add a little inspiration

We put together a compilation of images from smaller barndos, featuring quite a few “amenities” mentioned above, and a few that will startle you: