Shipping Container Homes

Shipping Container Homes

Steel shipping containers converted into homes is one of the fastest housing trends for those wishing an economic affordable solution to owning a home with little to no debt.

Size for Everyone

Shipping containers are typically 8’6” wide, but come in varying lengths of 16’, 20’ and 40’.  The typical height of a container is 9’6”. The height helps create the illusion of space and prevents the 8’6” width from feeling too confined.

Customized to Fit

These unconventional building alternatives provide unique design opportunities. You may decide to use a couple of 16’ long containers to build your shipping container homes, joined together for a bedroom and one or more 20’ containers for a kitchen and den open floor plan. The containers can be joined together for larger rooms for a kitchen and living open shipping container home floor plans.

Large Window Designs

You may be comfortable with an 8’6” W x 40’ L space to fulfill all your living needs. Many container homeowners take advantage of the length to cut out and install large window walls or oversized picture windows.

Container Cities

“Container cities” are condo or apartment complexes that several architects have designed by stacking containers on top of each other. Designed to be stacked on top of each other on large freighters traveling in rough seas, shipping containers make an ideal solution to storied building designs.

You may decide to stack a couple of containers on top of each other and angling them in ways to take advantage of the surrounding landscape. You can garner great views when you install a floor to ceiling window on one end of the container that serves as a second story bedroom or home office.

Costs of Shipping Container Homes

The cost of a shipping container depends on whether or not it’s used or new. For example, decommissioned containers are ones that were used anywhere from 14 to 20 years. Naturally, decommissioned containers are going to cost significantly less than new ones.

If you’re striving to leave a small footprint on the planet, then repurposing a decommissioned shipping container fulfill your goal. Any person of any age can jump into this lifestyle with a nominal investment.

New vs Used

A decommissioned steel shipping container can run anywhere from $800 to $1,500+, depending on the size. New containers will cost you around $5,000 or more, against depending on the size and where you purchase it.

Factor in the cost of the land and you can see how economical this type of alternative housing can be.

Modulars Available

Some forward-thinking builders have developed this idea into a thriving business by offering pre-designed freight container modular, retrofitted with electrical and plumbing needs, much the same as a mobile home. All you have to do is have it installed on your property.

Making a Change

Some people are enamored of the idea of turning something as simple as shipping container into a beautiful home. You can even purchase a step up, such as refrigerated shipping container and not worry about insulating your home from summer heat and winter cold. The cost per square foot for a container home can be significantly less than a conventional home. This may be an ideal solution for a first home, vacation home or retirement home.


photo: By vladimix (Flickr: container city) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


AuthorSally Painter

"Everyone can have a beautiful home decor. It just takes a little creativity," says author and freelance writer Sally Painter. This former commercial and residential designer is also a Feng Shui practitioner and believes that, "Everything you choose to put in your home should resonate with you emotionally. If it doesn't - get rid of it!"