Major Differences between Barns and Sheds

Barns and sheds are similar in so many ways that it is easy to confuse one for the other. Some people even think that they are the same. However, despite their many similarities, these structures have several features and qualities that differentiate them.

If you are considering building a barn or a shed, then knowing the differences between these two structures is important. Knowing the difference between barns and sheds will help you decide which would best suit your needs. Luckily, this article will explore the major differences between these structures and help you make the right pick.

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4 Key Differences

The following are some of the basic ways you can differentiate the two structures.

Function and Use

Perhaps, the most important difference between these structures is the purpose they serve. Generally, the main purpose of a barn is to house farm animals such as horses, pigs, sheep, and so on. They are also used as a store for farm animal feeds like grains and hay.

Sheds on the other hand are used to store household tools and smaller equipment like mowing equipment, gardening tools, ladders, and so on. However, they are also quite versatile. This means that different people have different uses for them. Due to this, there are several kinds of these based on their uses.

Arena sheds for example mainly serve as shields against harsh weather. They are usually comfortable enough for people to sit and relax. Farm and garden sheds on the flip side are used to store farm or gardening tools. Finally, a vehicle shed as you can guess from its name is used to house vehicles.


When you think of barns, color red comes to mind. This difference has several exceptions as anyone can paint their farmhouse any color of their choice. However, historically, this is one way to tell these two structures apart. You can visit to find out why farmhouses are painted red.

On the other hand, the color of a shed most times depends on the material used. The owner can decide not to paint it, or they could also paint it in any color of their choice.


Another major difference between these two structures is the material used. Barns are often sturdier than the other because of the purpose they serve. So, you’ll find that most farmhouses are built with stones and timber to make them more durable. But in recent times, some people tend to combine other materials like metal, wood, and even plastics with these sturdier ones to aid efficiency.

On the contrary, sheds do not have to be as strong as barns and the materials used reflect this. Most of them are built using materials like wood, plastic, and metal or a combination of all these materials. Wooden ones are more common than plastic or metal ones. This is probably because they are cheaper and easier to build. However, they are the least durable and can’t be used long-term.

Shape and Size

Barns are typically bigger because of the purpose they serve. The shape of the structure is also another way to tell these two structures apart. Sheds are usually built in a rectangular shape. Barns on the other hand can take on any shape based on its use. You can find a rectangular farmhouse, a round one, or even different polygonal shapes.

A Barn or Shed – Which is the Right One for You?

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If you are wondering which to go for between these, then you need to consider the following factors below.


The most important thing to consider in this case is the purpose of the structure. If you simply want a relaxation spot, then you need a shed and not a barn. Visit here for stunning relaxation shelter ideas. But if you own a big farm and need storage space, then you would need a barn.


Barns are larger than sheds so building one will typically cost more than building a shed. Before you embark on the project, you really need to consider your budget.


Finally, the space you have plays a significant factor in whether you can build a barn or a shed. Typically, if you have a small space, you might have to opt for a shed as they are smaller, and you can build a barn or a farmhouse if you have a bigger space that can accommodate it.

However, make sure you make your decision after considering the two other factors we have discussed. Choosing to build a barn just because you have the space when your budget cannot build one will be an unwise choice.


The major way to differentiate between these two structures is to consider their color, function, shape, size, and materials. Knowing these differences will help anyone choose the right structure that will suit their needs.

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