4 Design Tips for Barn Conversions

Contributed by editor on Dec 31, 2019 - 11:35 PM

Are you thinking about, or currently in the process of, converting a barn?  

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You certainly aren’t alone, as the popularity of barn conversions has increased exponentially in the UK, fast becoming one of the most fashionable home types. Due to their substantial room space, rustic aesthetic and countryside locations, it’s no wonder barns are suddenly so vogue. The trick is knowing the do’s and don’ts, so you can ensure your finished product is a chic success, instead of a shabby catastrophe.

Read on for some useful design tips for creating your idyllic barn conversion.

Preserve the Barn’s Character

The whole point of converting a barn is to bring it into modern-day, yes, but if you lose the old building’s character in the conversion process, then you also lose the charm that made it so appealing to begin with. Therefore, you don’t want to go overboard on the remodelling. Instead, use this opportunity to enhance the barn’s existing features, such as the old beams, stonework or exposed roof structure. It’s fine to put a modern spin on the property, but you don’t want to complete exterminate its personality.

If you think you need some professional expertise in this field, get in contact with the team at Rookery Barns, the suppliers of bespoke oak framed buildings who have comprehensive knowledge of barn-style designs and construction.

Upside-Down Living

This may sound slightly ‘out there’ but hear us out; upside-down living, especially in a barn conversion, has its benefits. An upside-down layout includes having bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor, while your lounge, kitchen and dining area are on the first floor. This creates a cool, contemporary feel to your home, and allows you to appreciate the rural views from your sofa or kitchen island. These layouts work for barns, as ground floor space can sometimes be restricted, and you will no doubt want to make the most of your more sociable areas, such as the lounge, for guests.

Insulation & Heating

One aspect of an old barn that will certainly need a modern upgrade is its thermal performance, which involves some insulation. Make sure you preserve the external cladding and insulate the walls internally. Sheep wool is good insulation, as it is breathable, and this means that any moisture will evaporate. It’s also sustainable, so you have a great natural way to stay warm.

For internal heating, it’s worth looking at underfloor heating. This is ideal for open-plan spaces and will save you from spoiling your rustic barn aesthetic with ugly radiators.

Atmospheric Lighting

You want to really bring your barn conversion to life, and do this, you need the right lighting to set the scene. High-level LED spotlights will work to showcase the barn’s old features, like its wooden timbers, and can create terrific highlights. Or you can always include up-lighting in your staircase.

It also helps to maximise natural light as much as possible. This can be challenging, as barns aren’t typically built with large window space. Skylights are a good way to bring in more light and also cost less than regular windows.   

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