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Why Barndominiums are Great for Small Horse Ranches

It is a cold, rainy winter morning, and you need to feed the horses, but instead of trudging out into the cold, you open a door off your living room and step right into your barn. Sharing a building with your horses is a trend that has grown in recent years, thanks to the barndominium, or barndo, trend. 

What is a Barndominium? 

A barndominium is a home and barn that combines rustic charm and convenience and allows you to be closer to your horses. Some barndos are just homes, and others are a combination of house and barn, sharing a wall with the livestock. The barn portion is often akin to a garage, but some are two-story buildings, with the barn on the ground floor and the living quarters on the section floor. These were created by ranchers in Texas who did not want to go out in bad weather to tend to their horses. 

Benefits of Barndominiums for Horses 

Since barndominiums were created specifically to allow ranchers to have their horses closer to home, there are a lot of benefits that come with them. 

Money Savings 

One of the reasons that barndominiums are so popular is because of the money a rancher can save by owning one. Barndominiums are less expensive to build, and they take less time to construct. This is a big part of the appeal, especially if buying the land to build on took a bigger chunk of your budget than you anticipated it would. With a barndominium, you do not have to save up and wait to build a home; you can get started much sooner. 

Insurance and taxes tend to be lower. They usually require less maintenance, especially if you have a steel barndo, saving you both time and money. Barndo owners have reported seeing lower utility costs, especially since they do not have to worry about having power or water coming to a separate building to make taking care of your horses easier. 

Many barndominiums are built as weekend retreats instead of full-time homes. The owners live in the city and need a small place to stay on the weekends when visiting. This is a much more comfortable option than staying in an RV every weekend.


Barndominiums are highly customizable, so you can design your floorplan based on the space you need to live and the space your horses need to live. Since tending to your animals can get messy, you can design a mudroom to change before going into your living quarters. You can even design the space with your washing machine in it, so you can drop your dirty clothes right into the wash without even bringing them into your living quarters. 

If you do not like the metal barn aesthetic, there are finishes you can have applied to the exterior of the building to make it look like it was built from traditional materials. Since you can design the barndo how you like, it does not need to have the typical barn look to it; you can make it look like a normal house from both the interior and exterior. 

Part of what people love about their barndominiums is that they are not your typical “cookie-cutter” style house. They want something unique that stands out, and barndos certainly fit the bill. 

Can Improve Your Bond with Your Horses 

When your horses are in a separate barn, you typically feed them and spend time with them in increments. When they are in the same building as you, you can spend more time with them. Having them so close may also encourage your kids to spend more time with the horses instead of playing video games. 

Your horses want to be with you, and with a barndominium, you may notice they start looking for you more and greeting you. 


A traditional barn made of wood is highly flammable, and it is full of combustible materials like hay, fertilizer, bedding material, horse blankets, and more. This, unfortunately, makes barn fires a fairly common thing. However, if you have a steel barndominium, it is resistant to fire, keeping your horses safer. 

Steel is also designed to protect against high-speed winds and rain, and earthquakes, so your horses will be safer during a natural weather event. 


About the Author

Auz Burger is a freelance writer who specializes in steel buildings. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for 11 years.