Why are shipping container homes so popular?

Why are shipping container homes so popular?

Container Home Truths - part 1

Browsing through the images marked by the hashtag #shippingcontainer on Instagram, you could be forgiven for thinking that the main use for a shipping container was for building homes. 

In fact Market Watch projects the use of shipping containers in homes will have a global compound annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2019 to 2025, so why are shipping container homes so popular?


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“The lego effect”

Building a home from scratch, with all the infinite possibilities for any kind of design and arrangement and all the structural implications that entails can seem really daunting. Reduce those options by limiting your building blocks to just 20’ and 40’ shipping containers and the task appears simplified down to something more like playing with giant Lego. Suddenly far more people feel able to take it on as a DIY project. 

The haB Tomas K Ryan

Image credit The haB - Tomas K Ryan


Sidestep expensive consultants 

Being able to design and build a home without the need to pay an architect, structural engineer or project manager can sometimes be achieved if opting for a single shipping container conversion, which makes for a perfectly reasonable project for a DIY enthusiast with little input from external contractors. 

Small is beautiful 

Even a single shipping container could be used to make a so-called “tiny home”, with the added advantage of it being movable from one site to another. The appeal of these tiny home projects often stems from a more general desire to make a smaller impact on the world, feel less inclined (or able) to own and store unnecessary things, and to keep construction and maintenance costs to a minimum. 

Action Garden

Image credit Pinterest - Action Garden 


For some, building a home out of a shipping container allows them to live a more sustainable lifestyle with a lower carbon footprint (once the transportation has taken place). A smaller volume house can mean lower heating bills, and there is the added bonus of using up an old shipping container in the process, which is such a potent symbol of consumption. The addition of a solar power system can provide self-sufficient energy generated from renewable sources for internal and external requirements such as lighting and security. 

Speed of construction 

Even when transformed into a larger building using multiple containers, shipping container homes can be lower in cost and quicker to construct compared to building or buying a new home. For those who want to live in a regular looking house, they clad to disguise the traditional shipping container look, although many people actually find this industrial aesthetic appealing.

Sidestep planning laws 

A house made from a single shipping container could potentially bypass planning laws, which is another pile of paperwork and red tape that many would rather not have to endure. The possibility of avoiding it altogether makes that dream of a tiny home future all the more achievable. 

However, while all these reasons might lead you to think it’s a good idea to build your next home from shipping containers, as we shall see in a later blog, things aren't always as easy and straightforward as they first appear.

So are shipping container homes a good idea? Let us know what you think.

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