How to Design Your Own Container House

This shipping container might be recycled as part of a residence.

Building a home from shipping containers is cheaper and greener than traditional construction methods. Because it is more expensive for manufacturers to ship back empty containers, they are trashed in favor of new ones. Recycling old containers as construction modules keeps them out of landfills. They are reasonably priced and can be transformed into comfortable, unique homes in a very short time.

While the containers rectangular shape limits the style of your home, there are still a variety of ways you can go depending on how you visualize the finished product. A cozy abode can be fashioned from a single container, while larger buildings are designed by how the containers are arranged and stacked. If you are adhering to a budget, you will want to explore how and where to buy containers and their cost. It is possible to purchase them from the original manufacturer or from companies who buy in bulk and sell to consumers.

Home design depends in part on where you want to build, and it is no different with homes fashioned from shipping containers. Whether you have your heart set on a beachfront lot or a suburban cul-de-sac, be sure to get the permits necessary to move forward with your project.

Containers have no walls, making it possible to design an open concept living space where the kitchen, dining and living area are connected. If you prefer a more traditional design, define the living areas with partitions, half walls, bookcases, privacy screens and even large plants. In structures made up of more than one container, walls are formed where the containers are joined, making it easy to visualize where to place the public and private areas of the home. If your home is on one level, be sure to separate the private areas of the house such as bedrooms and baths from the living area by placing them at opposite ends of the structure for privacy. Skylights are one way to add natural light to the space, while large windows or even window walls can be created where you wish to have them. Adding a sunroom or screened porch provides a convenient spot to enjoy the outdoors while providing both shelter and light. Unless you are handy with a plasma cutter, cutting torch or jigsaw, cutting the openings for windows and doors is best left to a professional.

Because the roof of a container home is generally flat, it is the perfect spot to plant a garden. Plan a vegetable garden, or opt for a flower bed. You could simply plant grass. Whatever your decision, keep in mind that a roof garden helps to insulate your home naturally, cutting down on energy costs. How you decide to landscape the rest of your home is up to you and can be approached in the same manner as any home.

Off Grid World: Shipping Container Home Designs

web Urbanist: How to: Buying, Designing & Building Cargo Container Homes

Zigloo: Customer Container Home Design

Jan Czech has been writing professionally since 1993. Czech has published seven childrens books, including The Coffee Can Kid, which received a starred review from School Library Journal. She is a certified English/language arts teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Niagara University.

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Czech, Jan. How to Design Your Own Container House.

Czech, Jan. (n.d.). How to Design Your Own Container House.

Czech, Jan. How to Design Your Own Container House accessed July 03, 2018.

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