Inhabitat

How to Spice Up a Shipping Container Home

by , 08/12/14

People all over the world are looking for cheap, alternative housing, and recycled shipping containers are starting to become ever more popular; not just homes but also for all sorts of structures. The average shipping container is a very versatile thing, and they can be easily connected together to make many different shapes and sizes of buildings, somewhat like constructing a building with giant Lego bricks. If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option to build your new family home or business office, then using modified shipping containers could be the perfect choice for you.


You’ll need to make sure that your structure is built in accordance to your city ordinance’s building code, and you’ll also need to consult with your local council to gain the necessary permission to create your structure. For example, shipping container homes in Australia come under the same regulations as garden sheds and are considered temporary structures, but you can still get permission to make a house out of recycled shipping containers easily enough. Making sure you come up with a good design is important in order to make sure that your structure is comfortable, as well as being practical.

Related: Flowers Top an Awesome Shipping Container Guest House in Texas

Design a Shipping Container Home

When you’re planning your shipping container home, you’ll need to take into account the different types of weather that your region experiences. It really is worth speaking to a professional architect to get their help in designing your new building, and you can either give them free rein in order to come up with a concept, or you can explain to them the kind of structure that you’d prefer, such as:

  • Subterranean Home
  • Bungalow Style Home
  • Multi-Storey Home
  • Home on Stilts

Your building location will also play an important aspect in deciding what design or style is most practical. If you’re in a region that’s prone to flooding, then it may be a good idea to build your home on Asian-style stilts. Similarly, if you’re building in a very hot, sunny area, then a subterranean home may be a good option to help to keep your home at a consistent and comfortable temperature. You may find that there is a limit to the size of a temporary structure that you can build, so if you use an architect’s services, they can check details like this for you during the planning process

Time to Build

When you have all of the planning, building construction documents, and raw materials in place, you can start the process of constructing your new home. You may be very surprised at just how quickly the structure can put together. That said, it’s important to be realistic when it comes to construction schedules. If you’re using 40-foot shipping containers, then it’s unrealistic to think that you can have 10 to 15 of these in place within a couple of days. Remember that this doesn’t include the time needed to make the foundations. A conservative estimate would be that you can have your foundations and the main shell up within two weeks. The longest part of the process is outfitting the interior of the home, which may take considerably longer than creating the outside shell.

If you’re building in an area that gets a lot of sun, you might want to construct your home in a shaded area to help keep it cool during the warmer months. You’ll need to make sure that there is good insulation on the inside of the shipping containers as well as good ventilation. Install plenty of windows, and make sure that you use double glazing, especially if you’re going to be using air conditioning, as this will help to keep your home cool.

Related: Nomad Living is a Colorful Shipping Container Home in Southern Portugal

Adding Those Finishing Touches

Once you’ve completed the main structure, you can then start to work on the finishing touches of your new home. Depending on your location, you may wish to choose for wooden or laminate flooring. Don’t use carpets in a dusty environment, since these can hold a lot of detritus, which can cause allergies or trigger asthma attacks. Wooden or vinyl floors are much easier to keep clean, and don’t need daily vacuuming like carpets do.

Aside from interior decorations, you will also need to decorate the outside of your home to make it more appealing so it won’t look like… well, a shipping container. You can easily add wooden shingles or other types of material to the outside of the structure, and you can also attach a sunshade, which will help to keep the inside of your home cooler during the summer. If you really want to go green, you can add solar panels to your roof: these won’t just provide you shade from the hot sun, but will also give you free electricity! Once you’ve finished off both the interior and exterior of the structure, you can then start on landscaping your garden.

Planting trees or large bushes is a great way to provide some additional shade to your home, as well as to make your property look gorgeous. Within a couple of months, you can go from a bare plot of land to a finished shipping container home with a landscaped garden, which is a lot quicker than building a home using conventional building techniques and materials.

The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


1 Comment

  1. Ramona Faraj August 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I love this one.

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home