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How to Build a Shipping Container Home of Your Dreams

Oct 04, 2023Oct 04, 2023

See why homeowners love this alternative tiny housing option.

A tiny house will never go out of style, which makes it a good investment. However, building one from scratch can be prohibitively expensive (unless you ordered a unit from Wayfair or Lowe's). Instead of wishing for your tiny but costly dreams to come true, consider a shipping container home. The modular containers can be the perfect blank canvas to customize a space you'll love without breaking the bank.

"Containers are in vogue right now. Far more than a trend or a cool conversation piece, they're the right move for the environment and your budget, with rising housing costs," says Robin Staten-Lanier, the founder of Tiny Urban Escapes. According to the experts, DIYing your shipping container home can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, excluding utilities. If you're buying a prefab container home expect a range in prices from $25,000 to $250,000.

Still, turning a shipping container into your dream home will require planning, permits, and creativity! Luckily, we are here to help with the ultimate guide on how to build a shipping container home.

Kionna Walker, founder of Next Great Architects explains, "Building container homes require a team of skilled experts and a homeowner willing to step outside the box of traditional construction."

Intrigued? Below, you will find step-by-step tips and the benefits of committing to an alternative living choice.

With lead times for pre-fab tiny house kits still lagging, shipping containers are readily available, inspiring both architects and designers to innovate. In a study conducted by Allied Market Research, researchers found that the global container market size is expected to reach $73 million by 2025.

Staten-Lanier explains, "The demand for housing is ever-increasing; However, the inventory is decreasing. Homeowners can choose shipping containers to create a new, innovative, and financially feasible way to meet this crucial demand and construct the homes of the future."

According to Giant Containers, the main benefits of shipping container homes are speed, strength, and mobility. "Depending on the scale and nature of the build, construction takes half or one-third the time compared to typical construction methods," says a representative for the company.

Robert Wagoner, the founder of Custom Container Living, says "We see a lot of customers buying the shipping container homes for primary residences, a weekend getaway, or nightly rentals houses with Airbnb."

"A chic container home is nothing if it isn't constructed properly," says Staten-Lainer.

Not sure if you want to take on such an involved renovation project? There are shipping container companies offering homes that only require adding the foundation and contacting your construction team for plumbing and electricity. Wagoner states, "Along with initial interests, our customers are coming to us because they can't find any builder or anyone that can build it on-site. We offer a turnkey solution."

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Medgina Saint-Elien covers everything your home needs. She writes about exciting new product launches, hands-on reviews, and the "lightbulb" moments in every maker's story. In overseeing key HB editorial franchises, including the Live Better Awards, Saint-Elien champions the work of BIPOC entrepreneurs in the design and beauty industries. In addition to House Beautiful, her work has been published in Byrdie, Snapchat, and more. Outside of work, the writer and poet can be found documenting her travels on social media and saving memes for future use.

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"Building container homes require a team of skilled experts and a homeowner willing to step outside the box of traditional construction." Do your homework Choose a shipping container. Get approval for the project. critical Prepare construction site. Install shipping container. Wait for inspection. Design the interiors to your delight. Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.