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Everything You Need to Know About Shipping Container Homes

Shipping container houses make sustainable living easy. Here's how to find one, the cost, why they're sustainable, and options to inspire you.

Written by
Kristine Nguyen

With the recent rise in popularity of creative living spaces, such as school buses and tiny homes, shipping container houses should come as no surprise. They're more common than you may think, and they're super sustainable.

Shipping container homes are exactly what they sound like: homes made of shipping containers. Yes, the same shipping containers you would come across in trucks or big ships used to transport tons of cargo. In 2007, California architect Peter DeMaria built the first two-story home made of shipping containers in the United States. Since then, more beautiful and elaborate shipping container homes have been popping up across the country.

So, what makes a shipping container home sustainable? Turning old shipping containers into real homes is a great example of upcycling. Each year, thousands of shipping containers in the U.S. are left dormant. By taking those containers and making them into a house, you're turning a huge hunk of metal that may have otherwise just been laying around into a place where people can actually dwell in.

The Cost of Shipping Container Homes

Want to live in a shipping container house? First, look into building or housing regulations in your area. Then get an idea of what size you want your containers to be.

Many websites specialize in selling new and used shipping containers, like Box Hub, but always check before buying so you know you're purchasing from a reputable source. Other popular secondhand options to consider could be Ebay or Craigslist. You may also able to find a shipping company or service near you that's willing to sell shipping containers they're not using; just give them a call.

You'll generally find shipping containers in two sizes: 20 by 8 feet, or 40 by 8 feet. The smaller containers typically start at $1,500, but you still need the funds to transform it into a livable home. Shipping container houses that ready to move into can range from $10,000 to $35,000. But the larger and fancier the home (aka the more containers and amenities you have), the pricier they are.

If you're looking for some serious shipping container house inspiration, we've got you covered. Here's five options you'll love.

5 Shipping Container Homes to Inspire You

1. Dreamy Desert Oasis


We definitely wouldn't mind living in this shipping container house from interior designer Priscila Azzini. Though it's only made up of one 40-foot container, it manages to have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen.

2. Sleek Two-Story Abode


This two-story shipping container house has everything you could ever want while still feeling warm and welcoming. Your guests would be surprised to hear it's made with four shipping containers.

3. Cozy Forest Hideaway


This shipping container home in North Carolina has a rooftop deck, garage, hot tub, and a private pond. Its simple black exterior and homey, snug interior make for a modern and sustainable home.

4. Tranquil Beach Escape


If you've ever wanted to live by the sea, this beachy tiny home concept is for you. The layout features two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen decorated to complement its surroundings.

5. Modern Minimalist Paradise


This shipping container house has all the makings for a perfect home. Made of just a single 40-foot shipping container, it's perfect for anyone interested in building the house themselves.