DIY Projects8 DIY Barn Design Ideas You Can Build on a Budget

8 DIY Barn Design Ideas You Can Build on a Budget

Barns are a great addition to your home, but constructing a barn can be overwhelming since it’s a significant investment involving meticulous planning and decision-making. However, there are several ways to cut costs without jeopardizing your barn’s structural integrity and functionality. Most barn designs have the flexibility for every budget, but some design elements may not be necessary. Regardless, it can be daunting to choose the design features when you’re on a tight budget. The following design ideas can help you build a functional barn and reduce costs.

1. Consider Alternatives to Concrete Foundation

Concrete is a common material in the foundation and flooring of most suburban and agricultural barns. Nevertheless, concrete isn’t necessary, depending on how you intend to use the barn. Concrete is more expensive, and using other alternatives can help you save significant amounts of money.

Typically, you can use budget-friendly alternatives like gravel, dirt, asphalt, and stone. Asphalt is more expensive than gravel and dirt but cheaper than concrete flooring. However, asphalt can be expensive in the long term since it requires more maintenance.

2. Column Spacing

Some barn designs require multiple columns for structural support, but you have the liberty to choose the number of columns you’ll use. The average Horse Barn Builder in New Jersey maintains a column spacing of 6 to 12 feet.

Using fewer columns means your construction costs will be lower since fewer columns require fewer trusses. Consequently, you can save money on materials and labor. However, it’s essential to consider your barn’s structural integrity when designing its column layout.

3. Interior Finishing

It’s easy to incur higher building costs when you go for high-end interior finishing in your barn. While the finishing is very appealing, it may not be necessary.

Typically, drywall interiors are popular but expensive options. You must prep the barn for stud walls that secure the drywall and look for high-quality insulation materials. The drywall is prone to rot without proper insulation, leading to high repair costs. Linear steel panels are also used for interior barn finishing and are more durable, low maintenance, and energy-efficient than dry walls. However, the steel is prone to rust if it’s damaged.

OSB tends to be the most budget-friendly option. It’s a versatile material and cheaper than linear steel and drywall, making it an excellent choice for DIY enthusiasts on a tight budget. On the flip side, you can’t paint or stain OSB, meaning your barn will appear unfinished. If this aspect isn’t at the top of your “must haves,” OSB interior finish can help you save lots of cash.

4. Cheaper Sliding Doors

Overhead barn doors can be quite convenient, especially if you plan to keep large equipment in the barn. More so, they are fitted with garage openers for quick hands-free operation. However, they can be expensive.

A quality sliding door can be a better choice that helps minimize the overall building costs. While you won’t get the convenience of automation, you’ll enjoy a more affordable price tag. Still, you can get a door fitted with a StepSaver Latch system for more convenience. The system saves you from getting inside the barn to open the sliding door. Instead, you can turn the key and use the handle to open the sliding door from the outside or inside.

5. Optimize Aesthetic Design Elements

While you may not like having a barn that appears plain and dull, using aesthetic materials such as shingles and siding can be out of your budget range. Instead, install Wainscot on your barn to give it an aesthetic touch and enhance protection from damage or eventual wear and tear. Wainscoting is a cheap design and protective feature that is easily replaceable. Typically, it’s much cheaper to replace a damaged wainscot panel than to replace the entire wall of your barn.

6. Avoid All Unnecessary Features

Some features are fantastic and can make the barn stand out, but if they don’t serve an essential purpose, it’s best to leave them out. For instance, features like cupolas, end wall overhangs, porches, and extra windows may not be necessary but could bloat your budget beyond expected limits.

While some of these features are hard to omit, consider their core purpose to determine if you can eliminate them from your design to keep the costs down. Instead of spending the money on non-essential features, you can use the cash on interior finishing.

7. Shop for Quality Materials

Settling for inexpensive building materials might seem like the best option when you want to cut costs, but it could cost more in the long run. The structural integrity of your barn is paramount, and quality materials can make the barn stand the test of time without expensive repairs.

Ideally, you should aim for the best quality when choosing the building materials. Quality and durability don’t always mean going for the most expensive option. You can get cost-effective materials with a lower price tag; you only need to do your research well. However, choosing low maintenance over lower price tags sometimes makes more sense.

It’s better to build a smaller barn that will serve you for years than to spend money on a big structure that will fall apart in a couple of years. Whether you are shopping for doors, insulation, or siding, try to understand the average lifespan of the materials. This approach helps optimize the available budget, ensuring you build the best barn within your budget.

8. Build In Manageable Stages

You can build the barn in stages when you have a rough idea of how you plan to use it, but you’ve not figured out the specific details. It’s great to plan and budget for the entire project in the pre-construction phase, but you can skip some aspects until you’re sure about the intended use.

Once you have set up the structure and figured out the final layout and vital design features, you can begin the finishing phase. Besides allowing you to spread the overall cost over a longer time, this strategy helps you avoid spending your budget on features you might not need. Moreover, you can add features like lofts, stalls, and interior rooms when required.


When you understand the features you want, you can build a budget-friendly barn that stands the test of time. You can include many features in your barn design, but when you want to minimize the costs, always choose practicality over luxury. Besides, you can contact a Horse Barn Builder in New Jersey to add more aesthetic features later.

Heather Jones
Heather Jones
Hello! I'm Heather Jones, a dedicated writer and expert in the fields of DIY projects, home improvement, and emergency preparedness. With over 15 years of hands-on experience, I'm committed to sharing practical tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your home and life.

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