Barn conversion ideas and style

Are you looking for barn conversion ideas and inspiration for your future barn project?

In the UK these buildings are called simply – barn, in the US they run by the name – barndominium.

Living in these agricultural buildings is exciting, no matter how small or large the structure or its material. There’s nowhere to say that converting a barn is easy, but with the proper planning, the renovation process goes smoother and, in some instances, can even be cost-effective.

Not long ago, we worked on converting a steel barn into a creative, inspiring renovation project that was put up for sale after that.

P.S. We can help design your barn too.

Heavily influenced by the project, we’ve decided to write this blog post and provide a framework and ideas on how one should gather, plan and style the interior of a converted barn.


george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

Most barns are located on agricultural land; their interiors are heavily influenced or at least have rustical decoration.

If you are a fan of the open countryside and rolling hills and don’t mind the smell of manure, you can call yourself a barn lover!

So, without further ado, let’s dive into how to plan and gather your thought process on barn-themed items.

A 3D rendering of a modern small barn conversion / Project by TALLBOX
Play Video about A 3D rendering of a modern small barn conversion / Project by TALLBOX

barn to house conversion plan specialists

Converting a classic barn into a modern residential home is a major undertaking that requires an experienced team of professionals.

To ensure structural integrity, zoning compliance, and a beautiful finished product, the following specialists should be consulted:

A 3D rendering of a modern small barn conversion / Project by TALLBOX
A 3D rendering of a modern small barn conversion / Project by TALLBOX
  1. Structural Engineer – Assess the structural integrity of the existing barn and determine what reinforcements are needed to support residential occupancy.
  2. Architect – Work with an architect experienced in barn conversions to design the layout and look of your new home.
  3. General Contractor – Hire a qualified general contractor to oversee the entire conversion project from start to finish.
  4. Plumber – A licensed plumber is needed to handle the home’s new water system including pipes, septic system, sinks, showers etc.
  5. Electrician – An electrician will wire the barn to code for safe residential electrical purposes including lighting, outlets, appliances etc.
  6. HVAC Specialist – Install proper heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to maintain comfort in your new home.
  7. Interior Designer – Optional but recommended to help select finishes, fixtures, furniture that align with your vision and design style.
  8. Architectural Rendering Service – Companies like TALLBOX can take the architect’s designs and create 3D renderings and visualizations of the finished barn conversion. This helps buyers visualize the end result.
Tallbox Barns is a barn conversion service focused on delivering barn conversion project renderings.
Tallbox Barns is a barn conversion service focused on delivering barn conversion project renderings.

We can help you with your barn project. >

With the expertise of these specialists, your barn can be successfully converted into a residential house with good design and interiors that are both visually appealing and functional.

Whether it’s a small barn converted to a house or a more open plan barn conversion, the end result will align with your barn to house conversion plans and vision of a dream home.

Contemporary barn conversion (plan + steps)

Converting a barn into a residential home is a major project that requires careful planning and expertise.

Rather than taking on the barn conversion alone, it is advisable to consult professional barn conversion architects.

Their specialized experience in barn conversions can prove invaluable.

A small group architects gathered around a table, examining paperwork in a small barn conversion.
A small group architects gathered around a table, examining paperwork in a small barn conversion.

Barn conversion architects can assess if your structure is suitable for transformation into a living space.

They can identify any structural issues and determine what upgrades may be required.

Barn conversion architects are also well-versed in zoning laws and obtaining any required permits or approvals.

When it comes to designing your barn conversion, barn conversion architects can provide multiple barn conversion plans and layout options to optimize the space.

A barn conversion with a swimming pool in the house; Grade II Listed Barn design by Mathewson Waters Architects
A barn conversion with a swimming pool in the house; Grade II Listed Barn design by Mathewson Waters Architects

They can offer creative small barn conversion ideas or grand barn conversion designs. With their keen eye for spatial planning and lighting, barn conversion architects can help you maximize open layouts and natural light.

It’s important to review multiple barn conversion architects and evaluate their previous barn conversion projects. Opt for an architect who listens to your vision and brings it to life within the existing structure. Barn conversion architects with specialty certifications and hands-on barn construction experience are ideal.

A 1900s barn transformation showcasing a Grade II Listed church in Oxfordshire designed by Mathweson Waters Architects
A 1900s barn transformation showcasing a Grade II Listed church in Oxfordshire designed by Mathweson Waters Architects

While you may pay more upfront for their expertise, a seasoned barn conversion architect can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. Their guidance can make realizing your dream home in a converted barn a reality.

Mood board barn conversions ideas

stone converted barn open space with roof light and central fireplace
stone converted barn open space with roof light and central fireplace

A well-planned mood board can be the key to a successful barn conversion project.

In this mini guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to create a mood board that captures your vision for your barn conversion, whether it’s a small or large barn and whether you’re going for a modern or rustic look.

We’ll also provide lighting ideas and tips to help you refine your ideas and bring your dream barn to life.

Benefits of creating a mood board

A small barn conversion sketch to be converted into a cozy house with a grassy area.
A small barn converted into a cozy house with a grassy area. / Concept by TALLBOX

Even if you have a designer or an architect on board, having your mood board comes with its benefits:

  • Clarifying your design ideas and preferences
  • Identifying a cohesive color scheme and style
  • Communicating your vision to contractors and interior designers
  • Serving as a reference throughout the project

How to plan and gather barn ideas and inspiration

small barn with wooden beams and a large window with refurbished flooring
small barn with wooden beams and a large window with refurbished flooring

To gather inspiration for your mood board, consider the following:

  • Use Pinterest, interior design websites, and magazines to find images and ideas for your barn conversion. Look for examples of small barns, large barns, modern or rustic designs, lighting ideas, doors, decors, and textures.
  • First, identify your design style and color scheme. Consider whether you prefer a modern or rustic look, and choose a color palette that complements your preferences.
  • Take your time, do not rush, and call it a day with 200 pins.
  • Divide into categories or groups – spaces, lighting, decors, flooring, walls, objects, etc.
  • Once you feel that there’s enough, take a day or two to filter the ones which do not fit.

Use your barn conversion plans along the mood board

expensive converted barn with an open glass front door
expensive converted barn with an open glass front door

Using your barn mood board in conjunction with your architectural plans can help ensure that your barn conversion plans are cohesive, visually appealing, and aligned with your desired style.

Here’s how to use your mood board effectively with your architectural plans:

  • Share your mood board with your architect: Before starting the design process, share your mood board with your architect to communicate your vision, style preferences, and desired features for your barn conversion plans. This will help them better understand your expectations and design a space that reflects your ideas.
  • Refer to your mood board during the design process: As your architect creates the architectural plans, continuously refer to your mood board to ensure that the design elements, such as colors, materials, and textures, are consistent with your vision. Discuss any discrepancies or concerns with your architect and make adjustments as needed.
Group of designers collaborating on a barn conversion mood board.
Group of designers collaborating on a barn conversion mood board.
  • Use your mood board to make design decisions: When selecting specific design elements, such as flooring, lighting, or cabinetry, refer to your mood board to ensure that these choices align with your overall style and color scheme. This will help create a cohesive look throughout your barn conversion.
  • Communicate with contractors: Share your mood board with contractors and builders working on your barn conversion project. This will help them understand your desired aesthetic and ensure their work aligns with your vision.
  • Review architectural plans with a mood board in mind: As you review and approve the architectural plans, keep your mood board handy to ensure that the design elements, layout, and features align with your desired style and mood. Make any necessary adjustments to the plans to ensure a cohesive design.
  • Update your mood board as needed: As your barn conversion project progresses, you may discover new ideas or materials that you’d like to incorporate. Update your mood board to reflect these changes and share it with your architect and contractors to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Two individuals observing a small barn conversion photograph for a mood board.
Two individuals observing a small barn conversion photograph for a mood board.

Define what you want to use the space for in your converted barn

If you are considering converting a derelict barn into your next country home, now is the time to start dreaming and researching barn conversion ideas that fit your lifestyle.

There are many different types of barns out there to choose from – some already constructed and others requiring additional work for completion.

Next, you’ll need to decide what you want to use the space for – one idea is to consider creating a contemporary design with separate rooms for specific purposes, such as an open large space, office, library or hobby room, or even a mezzanine bedroom.

Once you have a solid plan, it’s time to start your barn conversion!

Consider the size of your barn

When it comes to most barn conversions, size does matter! While agricultural buildings often come with plenty of charm, you’ll also want to ensure enough room for your unique needs.

Look at some barn conversion ideas to inspire you, and consider how much living space will be needed to provide a perfect home for you and your family. 

Remember the extra touches like gardens and patios that may require another level of planning during the conversion.

But ultimately, choosing a suitable agricultural building to convert into your beautiful home will be worth the effort.

Determine the structure of your barn conversion

When determining the structure of your barn, conversion helps to understand the different types and styles of original barns.

An original barn may have been a venue for storing agricultural supplies or sheltering animals.

Recognizing and working with original features could be an essential part of the renovation process, especially if you aim to establish a modern living.

By being mindful of original features, you can consider what stays and needs replacing. Knowing the original structure is necessary for blending the old with the new efficiently and without compromising original integrity.

As you work towards an authentic understanding of barns, remember that each is unique and holds its charm!

Types and Styles of Barns

From stunning rustic barns with weatherworn stonework to modernized metallic exteriors, there’s a unique charm and beauty behind every type and style of barn.

Whether you’re looking for a converted cottage nestled among rolling countryside or a sleek steel building with vaulted ceilings in the city, plenty of barn conversion design options are available today.

With such an abundance of great opportunities around almost any country, it can be easy to find your dream home while bringing life back into these historic properties.

Bank Barns

Bank barns epitomize rustic charm! A stalwart sight in the countryside of many states, bank barns were built with steep roofs that provided access to hayloads of agricultural items on multiple levels. 

Dating back to the early 19th century, these distinctive buildings are still a great find today.

Thoughtful renovations can produce bountiful living spaces where the rustic spirit remains intact inside and out.

So if you are looking for something different in your next home, explore the rustic and romantic charm of a repurposed bank barn – an artifact from agrarian times that continues to stand the test of time.

We can help you with your barn project. Free interior design consultant >

Rustic Pole Barns

Rustic pole barns are the newest trend in home conversion, and they offer the perfect rustic charm that can easily be tailored to fit today’s needs.

Restoring an old rustic pole barn takes commitment, care, and attention to detail, but the results are worth it.

This rustic look makes a big statement with its rusticated wood siding, metal accents, simple lines, and rustic decorative elements to bring out the charm of rural living. 

When remodeling an old rustic pole barn for a home conversion, you experience a rare beauty you won’t find in other renovations – timeless charm, hip rusticity, modern convenience, and nature’s beauty all rolled into one cozy space.

How to convert a pole barn into a home (example)

Assess the Pole Barn’s Structure

The first step is to thoroughly assess the existing pole barn structure. Check that the foundation and poles are structurally sound and can support conversion into a home. Inspect the roof, siding, and flooring to see if upgrades are needed. Also confirm the barn meets local zoning laws for residential buildings.

Design the Floor Plan and Layout

Next, map out how you want to layout the interior living spaces. Decide which areas will become bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, etc. Consider how you want to use the open space, accounting for features like interior walls, plumbing, and electricity. Maximize natural light through strategic window placement.

Modern barn – Install Interior Finishes and Amenities

After framing interior walls and rooms, it’s time to make the pole barn feel like a home. Install insulation, then add drywall or other interior wall finishes. Install bathroom and kitchen fixtures. 

Add flooring, trim, lighting and other decorative details. Make sure to include heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other essential home systems. The final step is decorating your new pole barn home!

If you are unsure but always make sure to consult with barn conversion architects .

Dutch Barns

Dutch-style barns – or Dutch barns – have been a traditional farm building in Britain since the 18th century.

They offer an elegant way to experience the character and history of a classic yet unique home. Dutch barns may look different than your typical farmhouse, but they are just as charming.

Characterized by their curved dutch rooflines, dutch barns embrace simpler lives by providing a beautiful and rustic atmosphere that makes them uniquely desirable. If you’re looking for a touch of character with an array of potential, Dutch barn conversions suit your needs.

Stone barns

Settled deep in the countryside of rural France, stone barn conversions offer charm and potential. With sturdy stone walls, tall rafters, and an inspiring stone facade, this type of structure offers great options for creativity as they are a blank canvas waiting to be transformed into a contemporary designed home.

Whether looking for a rustic escape or an unconventional modern home, stone barn conversion delivers both options. It’s exciting to imagine capturing a piece of rural history with the ability to make it just what you’ve been dreaming of!

Choose the exterior finishings for your modern barn conversion

A good and modern barn conversion project can’t go without an amazing exterior retro fit of the existing structure.

You can reclaim wood and add charm to the exterior by using rustic cladding techniques for a classic look, usually allowed as part of permitted development. 

If a modern aesthetic is what you’re after, consider opting for conventional methods like a render of masonry walls.

For smaller barn conversions like those built on farmland, features like sash windows or cedar shingles can create an elegant visual appeal – making this already unique project even more delightful!

If you are not design savvy, consider using interior design team top help you with open plan spaces and bedrooms.

Plan the interior layout and design of your barn conversion

It is a shameless plug, but we can’t miss the opportunity to share one of our barn projects below and its own website:

Inspiring ideas abound for those looking to plan their interior layout and design for a barn conversion. From rustic charm to modern panache, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes.

A brick barn with its soaring ceilings and open plan could be the ideal canvas to get creative and explore inspiring ideas to build your project on.

With plenty of design ideas and inspiring results all over the web, feel free – to have fun! There’s no better way to create the home of your dreams than by turning an inspiring barn into the place you call home.

Open-Plan living Concept

This type of modern barn conversion is becoming popular as more homeowners seek unique and stylish spaces.

An open-plan living space offers the perfect opportunity to create a modern social area full of character and charm.

With tall ceilings, exposed beams, oversized windows, and plenty of light-filled rooms, barn conversion provides an ideal backdrop to design an innovative and contemporary living space that can be tailored to your specific needs.

barn conversion design layout
barn conversion design layout

With so many options available, you can display much-beloved furniture pieces or fill the room with statement pieces that will bring the home to life.

Don’t let yourself be limited by preconceived notions of what a barn conversion should look like – get creative and make it your own!

Decide on the fixtures and fittings for your barn conversion

Deciding on the features and fixtures for your barn conversion is an exciting process that lets you take advantage of the unique features of a barn, like rustic old farm buildings and high ceilings.

Ground floors may already be in place, but features like exposed wooden beams or natural stone can be added if desired.

An aerial view of a small barn conversion that has been burned out.
An aerial view of a small barn conversion that has been burned out.

Consider large amounts of glazing to make the most of the natural light and furniture that uses these features and emphasizes the room’s height.

With careful attention to detail, you’ll find yourself with a home full of charm and potential when it comes to your next barn conversion project.

Incorporating Natural Elements into a small barn

Barn conversions are becoming increasingly popular and a great way to capitalize on the potential of that old farm building for your next home.

When incorporating natural elements, making the most of a small space can present challenges; however, conversion costs can be kept to a minimum under permitted development.

Additionally, larger barns open up many ideas and designs, allowing you to make the most of the countryside views and create charming living spaces. 

At the same time, when done well, barn conversion can easily rival some of the best modern homes – all that’s needed is a bit of creativity and some clever ideas to help you get the perfect conversion without breaking the bank.

Mixing Old and New (Renovate or Reclaim)

If you’re looking for a unique place to call home, considering a barn conversion could be a perfect choice!

renovation of agricultural building
renovation of agricultural building

Enjoy the freedom to express your style while preserving the history of a beloved structure. Mixing old and new helps you bring energy to this unique space, making it yours.

Create balance in the living space by combining modern furniture with vintage antiques and accessories

Alternatively, combine rustic elements like exposed beams with sleek and minimalistic furniture – whatever best reflects your personality.

Make sure to bring in natural ingredients, with plenty of greenery and light, for an inviting atmosphere everyone will love.

Overview of the Barn Conversion Process

The barn conversion is a unique process of transforming existing barns into modern homes while preserving their character and rustic charm.

Making this transformation can be complicated and involves various aspects – from assessing the barn’s condition and gaining the necessary permissions to taking care of any structural issues and finishing options. 

Traditionally, the primary step in this undertaking is securing approval for converting the building from the local authority. After that, a surveyor must inspect the building and identify any potential problems that need fixing before it becomes someone’s next home.

Once all safety requirements have been satisfied, homeowners can finally begin to plan how they want to furnish and enhance their future dwelling – giving them a unique experience they will truly cherish.

Planning and Design of a Derelict barn

Planning and designing a grand barn conversion project can be an exciting journey.

With careful consideration and execution of your ideas and designs, you may have a stunning home that surpasses your original expectations.

It’s all about focusing on the details, ensuring you choose materials and finishes that fulfill your grand designs for your barn conversion project.

With the right expert advice and guidance, any barn conversion project can become a stunning piece of living architecture that not only are you proud to call home but also looks grand from the outside.

Barn conversions open up possibilities for elegant designs, combining old buildings’ charm with modern ideas and finishes – become part of this great tradition today!

Tallbox Barns is a barn conversion service focused on delivering barn conversion project renderings.
Tallbox Barns is a barn conversion service focused on delivering barn conversion project renderings.

We can help you with your barn project. >

Construction and Renovation of an old barn

Have you considered the opportunity of a barn conversion for your next home? It is a popular choice and has become even more attractive since construction and renovation trends have become more innovative.

With the proper care, an old barn can become a stunning, fully functioning house while preserving its original features.

A person is insulating a small barn wall.
A person is insulating a small barn wall.

Plus, it can become whatever design you’ve imagined with natural materials like wood and stone to enhance the original layout.

Think wooden cladding on the exterior walls, glazing to bring in natural light, tiling for kitchen areas or beneath stairwells, and even creating attractive vault ceilings for extra space above.

So don’t avoid embracing the latest design ideas – there’s lots of potential in a barn conversion and plenty of room to become creative!

Finishing Touches and Decoration

Once you’ve finalized the structural aspects of your barn conversion, it’s time to look into the finishing touches and decoration – what could be more exciting than that? 

Choosing a style you love and figuring out how to incorporate it to create balance and harmony throughout your home can feel like an art project.

When planning the interior, take the natural features of the building into account – such as exposed wooden beams or brick walls – adding features and décor that complement them. 

From flooring to fixtures and appliances, carefully consider items to ensure they fit your overall vision while still providing function.

Doing so will help create a beautiful, inviting home that shines with the potential you’ve unlocked throughout the careful transformation.

If you’re considering converting a barn into a habitable space, it is important to first consider whether or not you need planning permission to do so.

Generally speaking, obtaining planning permission is required for any building project that will change the external appearance or use of the existing structure.

This means that if you plan on substantially altering the shape, size or style of the barn by removing walls, replacing windows and doors, etc., then it is likely that you will need planning permission.

Be sure to check with your local authority for specific guidance as requirements for permission can vary depending on location.

Securing proper permission before proceeding with conversions is an essential part of any successful barn conversion project.

When it comes to barn conversion, the possibilities are nearly endless. To begin with your project, start by planning out the scope of the conversion and figuring out which resources you have available.

A great place to start is researching similar projects that have been completed and understanding where there are opportunities to reuse materials.

It’s also important to come up with a budget that not only takes into account building materials but also any costs associated with architects, contractors, engineers, or other professionals who may be needed.

Once all that’s in place, you can begin work on the actual conversion – turning an old dilapidated barn into something unique and amazing!

Stables are a great way to house animals, but often times the space in which they need to occupy can be limited.

Fortunately, more and more people have started to wonder if it’s possible for these structures to be converted for other uses.

The answer is yes; stables can usually be upcycled into functional living or work spaces. In fact, many of these conversions actually add a unique aesthetic charm due to the rustic nature of the building materials and open space elements that they offer.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to turning a stable into something new – from gardens or greenhouses to residential apartments or offices, with some careful planning and construction, you too could give an old stable a new life.

Converting stables into something else can be a fun and exciting project. Depending on what you need the space for, there are a variety of options to consider.

For instance, you could turn it into an art studio or craft space if you would like a dedicated area to work on different projects. If you have some extra budget in your renovation budget, you might even consider designing it as a guesthouse or office.

Alternatively, if you have the right expertise and experience, you could create an entirely new open-living space out of an old stable by tearing down existing walls and introducing larger windows and better lighting.

Whatever kind of transformation you decide on for your stable conversion, it’s sure to be an exciting journey that yields amazing results!

Converting a stable into a residential or commercial space requires careful planning and approval from the local authorities in order to ensure the conversion is safe, complies with building regulations, and meets zoning requirements.

Although some small changes such as putting up fencing or painting can usually be done without special permission, full-scale conversions often require planning permission.

Before embarking on this process, it is important to familiarize yourself with all applicable regulations and laws surrounding the process of converting stables, as well as whether additional licenses or permits are needed.

In general, when in doubt, reach out to your local council for advice or assistance. With the right due diligence and preparation, it is possible to successfully convert a stable into a comfortable home or place of business.

Converting a small barn into a functional space can be a fun and rewarding project.

With careful planning you can turn the barn into an addition to your home that can encompass a variety of uses such as an art studio, guest bedroom, or playroom for the kids.

The first step in this process is to carefully assess what work needs to be done and how much it will cost.

After that, changes can begin both inside and outside of the structure; depending on the desired use, it may be necessary to add windows or increase ventilation, account for weathertightness, add insulation or replace old framing.

Although this type of renovation project can take some time and money, with careful planning and perseverance you may find yourself with a unique and beautiful new space that fits perfectly into your lifestyle.


Barn conversions can be a great way to get the charm and character of an old barn with the potential to create a beautiful and unique home. With some planning, you can design and build your dream barn conversion.

If you need help designing or renovating your barn conversion, our team of experts can help.

Check out our other articles on barn conversions for more tips and information, or contact us today to get started on your project.