20 Shipping Container Home Interior Design Ideas

Shipping container homes are increasingly becoming a popular choice for many homeowners; the ability to build a 1,000-square-foot shipping container house for less than $45,000 is an attractive proposition for many contemporary home buyers interested in something unique.

Unlike traditional homes where all the designing has been done for you, shipping containers give homeowners a chance to designs their homes to match their needs…and fantasies. Here are 18 ways you can turn your shipping containers into your dream home:

20 Container Home Interior Design Ideas

1. Sliding Doors

You can take advantage of your shipping container’s natural flexibility to fix sliding doors. These modern doors will not only add to your container’s aesthetic value; they will also serve as a pathway for fresh breeze and natural lighting.

Unlike swinging doors, sliding doors occupy dead space to make your shipping containers appear bigger.

Sliding glass doors Shipping Container Home Interior Design Ideas

A great alternative to a sliding door is the airplane hangar door. These can particularly come in handy if your shipping container home is located in a vermin-infested place.

2. Pocket Doors

If you do not want to deal with the mechanics of sliding doors, you can opt for pocket doors. These doors work similarly to barn doors, except that they retract to a hidden pocket in the wall when opened.

Pocket Door Stock Image

Pocket doors are a great choice if you wish to utilize your space since the full area of the wall is available for use whether or not the door is in use.

3. Mirrors

Mirrors have a magical way of making even the smallest of spaces appear bigger. You can incorporate mirrors into smaller rooms to make them appear larger. Also, you can choose any mirror shape to enhance the beauty of your home.

Interior Design Mirrors

4. Walls

While shipping container homes may not have extra floor space, they have plenty of wall space that is often overlooked. You can exploit your container wall’s functionality in the following ways:

Mounting Floating and Folding Desks

You can firmly mount a floating desk to the wall and turn it into a storage space for your stationery and books. One downside of a floating desk is that it requires more space in the form of a large permanent extension into the room.

Floating desk in a container home

A better, space-saving alternative is the folding desk. This desk has a wider work surface that folds against the wall when not in use.

Unlike the floating desk, a folding desk needs support from below or above it. Regardless, it doesn’t have much impact on the room when not in use.

Folding Desk for Small Spaces

Wall-Mounted Television

Mounting your television on your shipping container’s wall will help save space that would have otherwise been reserved for a TV stand.

An adjustable television mount is an ideal choice if you want to watch your television from different angles of your cargo container.

Mounted Television

Wall-Mounted Fans

Unlike ceiling-mounted fans, wall-mounted fans are more effective in enhancing air circulation in shipping container homes. What’s more, they save on floor space.

Mounted fan

If you are looking to create more room in your shipping container home, a wall-mounted fan will work the trick, with little effort.


One thing that makes the San Antonio container guest house by Poteet Architects so captivating is the unique and beautiful artistic wall-mounted portraits.

Poteet Architects' Guesthouse furnishings

Portraits are the heart and soul of beautiful living spaces. Whether family portraits or paintings you bought on a trip, you can bring life to your container home walls by strategically showing off your assortment of artistic pieces.

5. Wooden Floors

Nothing spells beauty like a thoughtfully designed wooden floor. Besides their durability and maintainability, wooden floors will transform your shipping container space into the cozy home you have always dreamed of.

You can begin by creating a 2D floor plan that clearly captures your property layout to give you an idea of how much material you will need for the floors.

Brown wooden flooring

6. High Ceilings

High ceilings are the first sign of elegance and sophistication in a home. The Redondo Beach shipping container guest house stands out for its 20-ft ceilings which makes it appear bigger.

High container ceiling

7. Wide Windows

The magnificence of wide widows in a cargo container house cannot be emphasized enough. Besides their aesthetic appeal, they also ensure your home has plenty of natural light and low carbon.

Wide windows with clear glass will also give you a beautiful view of your environment, and illuminate a more spacious living area.

Wide windows on shipping containers

8. Spacious Living Room

If your shipping container home doubles as your primary abode, consider going for a spacious living room complete with a patio.

With such a living room, you will not miss out on the comfort of a traditional house. Always remember; the objective is to make your shipping container home as natural as it can possibly be.

9. Add Some Color!

What is a home without some color?

Spice up your living space by playing around with different colors. Whether you love bold or mild colors, container houses will get your imagination running wild as you bring your once boring containers to life.

The key is to try out many different colors until you achieve the perfect interior design color theme.

An orange-themed container interior

10. Indoor Plants

If you are a plant lover, you can turn your shipping container home into a plant haven. The Container of Hope home, designed by Benjamin Garcia, showcases the beauty of indoor plants in the magnificent Costa Rican container home.

From jade plants and peace lilies, to spider plants, you will run out of options when spicing up your living space with an exotic plant variety.

Container of Hope Indoor Plants

11. Spiral staircases

Spiral staircases are the heart of modern interior design. If you have a multi-story shipping container structure, a spiral staircase will allow you to ascend to the other parts of your container house with ease.

You can incorporate color into your staircase while ensuring it is in sync with the rest of the house.

Metal Spiral Stairs

12. Wide Kitchen Space

Nothing beats a wide kitchen space for homeowners who love to cook. You can dedicate one or two shipping containers for your kitchen, depending on your interior design structure.

To achieve a modern kitchen look, fit your kitchen with all the modern amenities you would desire. Focus on the kitchen drawers to make them spacious enough for your storage needs.

Spacious Kitchen

13. Convertible Couches

If space is an issue in your shipping container house, you can use a convertible couch to increase space efficiency. As its name suggests, the couch can be converted into a bed and back to a couch.

Convertible Couch

14. In-built Furniture

Purchased furniture may sometimes give your shipping container interior an awkward look, often characterized by tiny bits of extra space.

To ensure you effectively use up your shipping container’s space, you can build in your furniture or hire a professional to do the work for you.

In-built furniture

The upside of built-in furniture is that it blends perfectly with your living area space, leaving no room for wasted space. Also, you do not have to go about shoving and cleaning beneath your in-built furniture because they are well integrated into your container home.

15. Wood-Colored Walls

If you want to achieve a more natural look, wood-colored interior walls are the way to go. Such walls will showcase the stunning terraces and staircases that connect the shipping containers used.

Wood-colored walls

16. Ceiling Windows

If you want additional lighting and sunlight, you can incorporate ceiling windows on your metal container.

Ceiling windows

17. Double-Sided Shelf

If you have a small space, a double-sided shelf will save on space and serve as additional storage for your books, stationery, and antique collection.

Double-sided shelf

18. Double-Sided Fireplace

If your container home is located in a cold place, you may want to invest in a double-sided fireplace. The magic in this is that it can heat up different rooms in your container home at the same time, making you save on wood or gas.

Double-sided fireplace

19. Creative Lighting

LED technology has made it easier to enjoy LEDs lighting in the comfort of your container house. Their small sizes also help to save space and energy.

Most come with the option of dimming and color-changing, enabling owners to create different color themes whenever they want to.

LED lights

If you are sensitive to direct lighting, then you can explore the interior design option of indirect lighting. Such lighting is bounced off the wall, floor, or ceiling to make it soften. You can also use LED strips to light up kitchen and bathroom counters by mounting them under cabinets and

20. Less is More

One rule of thumb in the world of container interior design is that less is more. As you go about spicing up your container’s interior and bringing it to life, be sure not to get too excited and forget how important an orderly, simple yet beautiful home is.

Beautiful main entrance

Costs of Transforming a Container into a Living Space

The costs of transforming a shipping container into a living space vary depending on the location, contractor selection, container size, overall project planning, design complexity, and resourcefulness. The cost of professional labor alone is approximately $15,000.

In the U.S the cost of transforming a metal container into a home falls between $150,000 – $250,000, excluding the land costs. Due to inflation and an upsurge in global shipping container demand, shipping container costs, materials, and supplies are gradually increasing.

Shipping container construction

One tried, and proven way to save on costs is by using recycled shipping containers. With a 40,000 budget, Studio Saxe, a San Jose-based architecture firm managed to put up a shipping container home using two recycled shipping containers. Without these recycled containers, the firm would have exceeded the budget.

A shipping container home doesn’t have to be as boring as they come. You can channel your creativity to transform even an old and used shipping container into your dream home.

Best shipping container homes

Unleash your imagination, and take bold steps towards designing your new abode. You do not have to conform to the ordinary way of doing things; take it a notch higher by using the shipping container interior decoration ideas discussed above and achieve the ultimate curb appeal.


What is a shipping container house?

As the name suggests, a shipping container house is a habitable structure made from steel shipping containers. These containers can be 20 ft by 8 ft or 40 ft by 8 ft. When built, they can function as a small studio apartment, a guest house, a family’s primary abode, a restaurant, or an additional space attached to a traditionally built house.

Where do shipping containers come from, and how do you buy one?

Most shipping containers are made in China. The Chinese company CIMC produces 82% of the shipping containers available in the market.

You can buy a shipping container on online platforms such as E-bay and Amazon. You can also buy from a local shipping container dealer.

We recommend that you purchase your shipping container from a certified shipping container dealer.

Need a container? Request a quote today!

Are shipping containers more affordable than other types of housing?

Shipping container homes are much more cost-effective than traditional homes. For less than $45000, you can have a well-structured container house that offers the same comfort as a traditional home, if not more.

One reason shipping containers are cost-effective is because they require less labor and building materials to construct.

What are the drawbacks of building with shipping containers?

In some regions, you will need a permit to build a shipping container home. Obtaining the permit may sometimes take time. In some instances, shipping containers may have a history of transporting dangerous chemicals hence not appealing to many potential buyers.

In addition, shipping containers often require tons of work to make them safe and habitable. For instance, you will need various reinforcements to ensure the walls do not cave in from external pressures.

Are shipping container homes faster to build?

Since they require less labor or building materials, some contractors can take less than one month to put up a shipping container. However, hiring a contractor can be quite expensive.

Most homeowners prefer to buy prefabricated container homes to avoid the hefty prices that come with hiring a professional to construct a shipping container from scratch.

What kind of permit do you need to put up a shipping container house?

You will need a container home building code or permit. You will also need a city-certified building inspector to check out the safety of your construction site.

Some of the factors that can affect your chances of obtaining a permit in your area include; the physical condition of the container, local rules and regulations, and the time frame.

To easily obtain a permit, you will need to ensure your structure is in accordance with your region’s zoning rules.

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