10 Best Shipping Container Home Plans

10 Best Shipping Container Home Plans

Don’t contain yourself! The global market for container homes is projected to grow from $59.27 billion in 2022 to $87.11 billion by 2029. And it’s no surprise — container homes are eco-friendly, affordable, and stylish, and they’re only getting more popular as time passes.

Yet, there are so many different shipping container plans you can choose from. What are the best shipping container home plans? Here is your guide to the top plans we recommend. 

What are shipping container houses?

Just to refresh your memory, shipping container homes are houses made out of shipping containers—those big metal boxes you see on freight ships, trains, and trucks. These metal boxes have become a popular building material. They offer some great benefits like:

  • Strength - Shipping containers are made of steel and are incredibly durable and weather-resistant.

  • Sustainability - Homeowners looking to build a more sustainable home can repurpose shipping containers, reusing materials, and reducing waste.

  • Affordability - Shipping containers can offer a more affordable option than traditional house framing and construction techniques.

  • Speed - Shipping containers can be turned into a home quickly since the external structure is already there.

  • Unique style - Shipping container homes have a unique, minimalist style that will be sure to set your home apart from the rest of the neighborhood.

Want to learn more about why shipping container homes are so popular? Check out our guide with everything you need to know about container homes.

Why do you need plans for container houses?

So, if shipping containers are such useful building materials, why would you need plans to turn them into a home? Well, technically, you don’t. You could create your own container home design. This is a great option for the design savvy among us who want to have a hand in crafting their own personalized home.

For those who are less familiar with architecture, container house plans can be a great option — someone else has already done the hard work and created excellent designs. You can be sure that these container home plans will get you set up to build a well-thought-out new home.

10 best shipping container home plans

1. Container Guest House by Poteet Architects

The Container Guest House by Poteet Architects creates a studio-style one-bedroom home or an Accessory Dwelling Unit. It can be built using a 20-foot container and the house contains a bathroom, deck area, and living space.

You can design the interior however you want. The property has a large window wall to let in natural light, but you can also connect the building to electricity and hang lights from the ceiling and walls. You can use part of the home as a shed, storage area, or additional bedroom. 

2. The Nook by Custom Container Living

This 160-square-foot design offers all the amenities of a studio apartment in a small footprint — built with just a single 20-foot container. The Nook has space for a small kitchenette with a microwave and refrigerator and boasts a modern bathroom with a sink, shower, and toilet.

The Nook is a great choice for adding an external shipping container home office to your property or could even be used as a little rental cabin. For those brave enough to live super-small-scale, The Nook could be a great way to take advantage of affordable tiny home living.

Shipping container house plans can include spacious bedrooms.

3. The Pioneer by Custom Container Living

The Pioneer is 320 square feet and contains one bedroom, one bathroom, and a spacious galley kitchen. It uses just one 40-foot container, so this container home plan is a popular choice for those looking to maximize a small footprint.

Thanks to its built-in wardrobe, full-sized kitchen appliances, and full-sized bathtub, a single person or a couple could comfortably live in The Pioneer.

4. The Short Stackby Custom Container Living

the Short StackIf you’re looking for a two-story container home, the Short Stack from Custom Container Living is a great choice. This shipping container house plan uses three 20-foot containers and creates a 480-square-foot house. By stacking one container on top of the other two, this design creates a rooftop deck to help you enjoy the great outdoors.

The Short Stack includes a living space, kitchen, and bathroom downstairs. A quick trip up a cool spiral staircase leads to the bedroom and that roof deck! 

5. 4 X 40 c-Home by LOT-EK

LOT-EK’s 4 X 40 c-Home is made from four 40-foot shipping containers. The property has two levels with an open layout on each floor, giving you options for customization. You can have a large kitchen, living space, and two bedrooms. The bedrooms have en suites, stair accesses, and walk-in closets. Both bedrooms are on the second floor, so you can use the first floor as a full living and dining area.

You can have two decks in your home. One can be used as a garden or outside storage space, and the other as a dining and entertainment space. 

Some plans for container houses have stacked layouts

6. The Triple Trio by Custom Container Living

The Triple Trio container house plan from Custom Container Living offers 960 square feet of space across three 40-foot shipping containers. The layout includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Plus, you get a nice open-plan living, dining, and kitchen space, a laundry room, and a primary bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet. The Triple Trio is a great option for larger families looking for a bit more space to spread out. 

7. HO5+ by Honomobo

The HO5+ by Honomobo is one of the most luxurious shipping container home plans. The home contains three bedrooms, one of which has an en-suite bathroom. The center of the property includes a den or storage area with two access points.

The living and dining rooms are open-concept spaces, so you can install any furniture you want. The kitchen contains an island for serving, cooking, and eating. Your home can have a staircase that leads to an attached garage or basement, though these are just options. If you need a spare bedroom, you can convert the garage into a primary bedroom. 

8. 4 Bedroom Container Home by AustralianHousePlans

The 4 Bedroom Container Home places three 40-foot containers a bit apart from each other — rather than directly connecting them. Instead, roofs connect the containers, creating breezeways you can turn into outdoor living areas or decks. The left and right containers each have two bedrooms, and the middle container has a family area, lounge, and kitchen. You can also put a laundry room with a washing machine and dryer in the central space.

This concept is great for families with teenagers or older children who need more space. You could even rent one part out to someone and use the other two for yourself. 

9. 4 Bedroom Sanctuary by Ecoliv

Make your shipping container home eco-friendly with solar panels

Ecoliv’s four-bedroom Sanctuary is one of the most environmentally friendly shipping container home plans. The property contains sustainable features like a solar-powered electric system and a 10,000-liter water tank. The floors are made of Tasmanian oak, which has a minimal impact on the environment.

You can choose from several different design styles and floor plans. For example, your home can have two separate dining areas, a living room, an office space, and two full bathrooms.

10. The Lindendale by Container Build Group

The Lindendale is an industrial-style five-bedroom property. The home plan preserves your containers' original locks and surfaces and pairs them with metal railings. You can paint the exterior any color you want, though most prefer dark brown or black.

The exterior has a spacious covered patio and an area for a pool, garden, or meditation space. The interior has open living rooms and family areas where you can add your own electronics, artwork, and furniture. 

Get prepared for your shipping container home plans with My Site Plan

Now that you’ve seen some inspiration for different shipping container house designs, you may be ready to get started. One of the best ways to prepare your property for new construction, like a shipping container home, is to start with a site plan. My Site Plan can help you draw up a plan of your property so you know exactly where you want to put your container home.

For help with site plans with a 24-hour turnaround, get in touch with My Site Plan today! 

Shipping container home plan FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common shipping container home questions. 

What are the primary environmental benefits of choosing a shipping container home?

Shipping container homes are considered eco-friendly because they repurpose used containers, reducing waste. Additionally, they often incorporate sustainable materials and energy-efficient features, like solar panels.

How customizable are shipping container house plans?

Shipping container homes are highly customizable. Most plans allow for alterations in layout, interior finishes, and the addition of features like decks and solar panels. The structural integrity of containers also allows for stacking and joining multiple containers.

Are there any zoning or building code challenges with container homes?

Yes, container homes can present zoning and building code challenges, as local regulations may not include provisions for these types of structures. To ensure you comply with regulations, checking with your local building authorities before starting a container home project is important.

What is the typical lifespan of a shipping container home?

The lifespan of a shipping container home can vary but typically ranges from 25 to 50 years, depending on maintenance, climate conditions, and construction quality. Using protective coatings and proper insulation can extend the life of the home.

Can shipping container homes withstand severe weather?

Yes, due to their steel construction, shipping container homes are generally sturdy and can withstand severe weather, including high winds and heavy snow. However, modifications and reinforcements may be necessary depending on your local climate.

What are the typical costs associated with building a shipping container home?

The costs can vary widely based on size, design, and location but generally range from $25,000 for basic modifications of a single container to over $200,000 for larger, more complex designs. Costs also include the interior fittings, services, and land preparation.

Learn more about shipping container home costs

How are utilities handled in shipping container homes?

Utilities in shipping container homes are installed similarly to traditional houses, with grid-connected and off-grid systems options. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems require professional installation to ensure safety and efficiency.

What is the best foundation type for a shipping container home?

The best foundation type depends on the soil and environmental conditions of the building site. Common foundations include concrete piers, slab-on-grade, and screw pile foundations, each offering different benefits for stability and ease of installation.

This post was originally published by Ryan Crownholm on 2023-06-02. It was updated on 2024-06-05 to reflect the latest information available.

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  • Ryan Crownholm