The homeostasis of the gut epithelium relies upon continuous renewal and proliferation of crypt-resident intestinal epithelial stem cells (IESCs). Wnt/β-catenin signaling is required for IESC maintenance, however, it remains unclear how this pathway selectively governs the identity and proliferative decisions of IESCs. Here, we demonstrate that C-terminally-recruited transcriptional co-factors of β-catenin act as all-or-nothing regulators of Wnt-target gene expression. Blocking their interactions with β-catenin rapidly induces loss of IESCs and intestinal homeostasis. Conversely, N-terminally recruited co-factors fine-tune β-catenin’s transcriptional output to ensure proper self-renewal and proliferative behaviour of IESCs. Impairment of N-terminal interactions triggers transient hyperproliferation of IESCs, eventually resulting in exhaustion of the self-renewing stem cell pool. IESC mis-differentiation, accompanied by intrinsic and extrinsic stress signalling results in a process resembling aberrant “villisation” of intestinal crypts. Our data suggest that IESC-specific Wnt/β-catenin output requires discrete regulation of transcription by transcriptional co-factors.