How to Turn a Barn into a Guesthouse

The old barn with a solid foundation in your backyard doesn’t get as much use as it once did. Now, it just occupies space. So, why not convert it into a beautiful and functional guesthouse? This budding trend will allow you to provide your visitors with a private and cozy place to stay while also offering the opportunity to create a side income, as many have.

Barns have loads of charm, and they inspire the imagination. Their warmth, original rustic exterior, floors, ceiling beams and structural posts are whimsical and can make for a perfect place to stay. Keeping them authentic during the transformation will create a cozy vibe and significantly lower the budget. Adding some attractive home-like touches can make them a wonderful place to stay.  

Converting a barn into a guesthouse requires careful planning, as you want everything to be safe, pleasant and satisfying for your guests. You’ll need to take some steps to turn your old barn into a guesthouse. So here’s a little advice on how. 


How to improve the floor 


Old barns usually have dirt floors. So, in order to turn it into a beautiful guesthouse, you will need to take care of the floor. Raise the floor level a couple of inches and add a cement foundation base. After that, you can install a classic wooden floor, parquet floor, brick floor, or whatever you like over the ground. The main goal is to create flooring that will be easy to maintain.

For any help you may need along the way, enlist some knowledgeable professionals as this could be a more complicated job than you envision.


The door

Since the barn doors are usually quite big, you’ll need to find a way to keep the place warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If the old construction has rotten due to wear and tear, you will need to replace most of it. For this, you’ll need to install a new frame to suit the new doors. Just make sure to maintain the original farmhouse charm since that is the ultimate goal. Additionally, look into adding more windows in order to keep the living area bright. You can also install sliding louvred shutters on the outside to help maintain the indoor temperature.


Pole barn ceiling and walls insulation

Old barn roofs and walls may not be as safe and sound as the ones in your house. So, you may need to reconstruct them, and you’ll most defiantly have to insulate them properly to keep them from letting heat out, leaking or wasting too much energy. Pole barns and ceilings should be adequately insulated for better performance. 

If you’re not sure how to insulate a pole barn ceiling, you can place the insulation blankets at the bottom of the truss. This will protect it from environmental effects. Alternatively, you can install a metal liner at the bottom of the rafters. Then you can place blankets between the rafters and pole bar ceiling. Use the same panels to insulate the walls.  

Long and wide blankets installed from ceiling to floor with applied bandings can also be used for insulating both walls and ceilings. Do not worry if there is some free space between them, as your barn needs to “breathe” to avoid humidity retention and accumulation. 

In the end, you can also use spray-in foam insulation, which is hardy, durable and relatively economical.


Electricity, plumbing, heating and cooling systems 

Now that your barn’s construction is improved and the walls and ceiling are safe and well-insulated, it is time to take care of the interior. So, install electricity and plumbing, heating and cooling systems to ensure that the place has all the necessities. Since most barns usually feature only a single source of lighting, you’ll need to add a more extensive network to provide enough illumination. Therefore, make sure you add lighting sources to the rooms, bathroom and kitchen. You’ll also need lots of light switches and electrical outlets, so keep them in mind as well.

Furthermore, you’ll need to create a plumbing system for the kitchen and bathroom. It is very important that this part of the job is well done, so you should hire a specialized architect and other professionals to create a proper plumbing layout. Finally, make sure you install central air or AC units so that your guests can feel comfortable and create the right atmosphere while staying in your guesthouse. You may also add a modern Comfortbilt pellet stove to the mix for an extra cozy feel. These stoves are known for their efficiency and high-quality heat output, making them a great choice for keeping your guests warm during the winter.


Warm and comfy interior and exterior 

You want your guests to feel warm and comfy in your guesthouse. So, consider retaining the original look of the wooden ceiling, add a stone fireplace in the foyer, hang some paintings on the walls, and make it both look and feel like a home. As far as the exterior is concerned, create a lovely sight by planting some bushes and beautiful flower beds to make it a relaxing and peaceful place.


There are loads of ideas to turn an old barn into a lovely guesthouse, but planning is arguably the most critical part of the process. Remember – safety comes first, so everything has to be done correctly and by code. Hire experts for electrical work, plumbing, and everything else you are not sure you can do yourself. When you have it all done, rent fervently or just take some time, sit back and enjoy your new guesthouse.


Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!