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21 Metal Building Ideas + Designs to Add Value and Space

Explore our list of metal building ideas and sample layout designs to inspire your next project. From auto shops to office space, they're versatile for any purpose.

man working on car in garage

From modern home designs to accessory dwelling units (ADUs), metal buildings are an increasingly popular real estate trend. As multipurpose structures, there are plenty of ways you can use metal buildings to your advantage, especially if you have a large property or own a lot of land.

Not only are metal buildings low-maintenance and affordable, but they’re also extremely durable and fire-resistant.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting, versatile structure, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll show you several metal building ideas that not only add value to your home but can also be great investments.

Residential Metal Building Ideas

Home additions both boost your overall home value and complement your property. Here are a few metal buildings that serve as functional home additions.

1. Garage

You can never go wrong with a garage. They’re a great way to add storage space and property value, and are a multipurpose space. When it comes to materials, metal garages are the most reliable. It’s the most durable material for weather protection, keeping your cars and storage items safe.

tan metal building with two garage doors

Choosing the right garage size depends on your needs. For example, a 12×20 is great for a small compact car, or you could opt for a larger 24×30 size to park multiple vehicles and have additional storage space.

2. Home Office

Sometimes working from home can feel a bit claustrophobic. Keep work and home separate by installing a metal building in the backyard as a contemporary home office.

Customize and decorate it to maximize productivity—consider large windows to brighten the space or bookshelves to create a studious backdrop. You can expect to spend at least $2,000 on metal building customizations like electricity and air conditioning, but it’s definitely worth the investment.

3. Carport

For a cheaper garage alternative, you can park and shade your cars under a metal carport. As open-sided metal buildings, they’re perfect solutions for storing boats, campers, and other large motor vehicles off-season.

4. Garden Storage Shed

If you have a green thumb, a small metal building can function as a garden shed. From storing fertilizer and seeds to keeping gardening tools organized, you’ll have a convenient backyard addition. Also, choosing a metal shed instead of a wood can help keep pesky insects out, especially those that feast on wood.

5. Barn

Consider a metal farm building to house your livestock, park tractors, and store all of your farm equipment. These durable structures are reliable for protecting your animals and tools during harsh winter months.

Two-door metal barn with a truck and lawn tractor inside.

6. Home Gym

Skip the gym membership and set up a fitness studio at home that can pay for itself in the long run. Get creative by adding mirrors, mats, weight sets, and necessities for kickboxing, pilates, yoga, and more. You can even design one with a garage door to open and let in a fresh breeze after an intense workout.

7. Relaxing Retreat

Need a private, at-home space to relax and unwind? You can insulate a metal shed, paint the walls, and set up a cozy seating area for a hideaway hangout. Take it a step further by adding a kitchenette with a mini-fridge and snack station.

8. Home Theater

To transform your metal building into a snazzy home theater, all you need is a wide-screen TV or projector and a few comfy recliners. You can decorate the walls with movie posters and even add a popcorn machine.

9. Utility Room

Is your laundry room small and cramped? Use your metal building as a utility room adjacent to your home. As a separate structure, you’ll have plenty of space for your washing machine, dryer, storage, and even a bathroom.

Illustration of a utility room layout includes a bathroom and laundry area.

Commercial Metal Building Ideas

Next, here are a few ways to use your metal building to earn some extra cash and run a successful business.

10. Retail Shop

Do you sell clothes, crafts, or other merchandise? You can invest in building a shop right on your property, in walking distance from your house. The average monthly cost to rent a retail space is $22.95 per square foot, or $55,080 per year for a 200-square-foot building. On the other hand, a larger detached garage costs a fraction of that, and will quickly pay for itself.

11. Warehouse 

Having a large warehousing space is important for running and maintaining a productive supply chain. If you mass-produce your own products, a large steel building can make an excellent warehouse. Use your warehouse to store and manage inventory, prepare and ship orders, and more.

12. Auto Shop

Many mechanics choose prefabricated metal buildings as a low-cost auto shop. The large garage door openings, ample workspace, and fire-resistant framing make them great options for repairing and painting cars.

man cleaning motorcycle in garage shop

13. Office Rental Space

With many companies going fully remote, co-working spaces are increasingly popular. Since metal building structures are energy-efficient and require minimal maintenance, you can invest in and decorate a metal building as a co-working office space to rent for use.

14. Self-Storage Units

Use a large metal building as rentable self-storage units for customers. You can differentiate each unit by painting the garage doors different colors, installing wall shelving, and more.

Illustration of a storage space with shelves, vehicles, and more.

 15. Barndominiums

Barndominiums or “barndos” are increasingly popular in rural areas among business owners working from home. These large steel structures function as hybrid workspaces and living spaces, perfect for farmers, mechanics, and shop owners.

Recreational Metal Building Ideas

Functional spaces separate from the home come in handy for pets and entertaining guests. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few creative ideas to get you started.

16. Pet-Friendly Haven

We love our pets, but sometimes they can wreak havoc in the house. If you don’t want to confine your dog or cat to a crate during the workday, metal buildings can serve as a space for them to roam free and play. Install windows for fresh air circulation and insulation to keep it comfortable. Make sure it’s climate-controlled. 

17. Hobby Workshop

From woodworking to crafting, many people enjoy a quiet, separate space for their favorite hobbies and DIY projects. You can design and organize a metal building as a custom workshop to do just that.

woman working on woodworking project

18. Art Gallery

Need a space to get creative? Metal buildings provide large open floor space to function as a modern studio. It can also double as an exhibit to display your artwork.

19. Aircraft Hangar

A private aircraft is a large investment, so finding a large-enough storage space is key. The durability and size flexibility of metal buildings makes them great aircraft hangars, protecting your airplane from weather damage and vandalism. You can even add metal building gutters to further increase weather protection.

20. Outdoor Lounge Area

With a custom metal building, you can create a shaded lounge area for your family and guests to relax in the summer. Install a carport in the backyard or poolside with comfy seating for barbecues and family gatherings.

porch lounge area beneath metal carports

21. Entertainment Space

Keep the house noise-free by converting your metal building into an entertainment or hangout space. Add a wet bar and a pool table to become a fun game room, or even vibrant décor and signage for your next party.

Ready to design a new steel building? Customize and order your metal garage, shed, workshop, and more with our easy-to-use 3D builder below. Our wide range of sizes, colors, and features allow you to design a unique building all while staying with your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest foundation for a metal building?

As an economical solution, concrete slabs are the most affordable type of foundation for metal buildings. They’re also the most common and easiest to maintain. 

What is the best type of metal building?

While metal structures come in various shapes, sizes, and customizations, the best metal building for your property ultimately depends on your needs and intended use. 

Both steel and aluminum have longer lifespans and lower maintenance costs than traditional wooden buildings.

Customize a Metal Building to Fit Your Needs

Ready to design a new steel building? Alan’s Factory Outlet has a wide range of sizes, colors, and features to design a unique building all while staying with your budget. Customize and order your next metal garage, shed, workshop, and more with our easy-to-use 3D builder below.

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Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

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