Having more space in your home is a dream for almost anyone, but adding on to a home is expensive and unrealistic for most people. However, a new surge in repurposed shipping containers being used as garden rooms and offices is spreading across America and throughout the world.
People are searching for unique alternatives to expensive home buildings. Recycling shipping containers and flipping them into offices and living spaces is cost-effective and uses few materials, which is a very environmentally-friendly way to build.
Here we will teach you everything you need to know about creating a shipping container garden room or office and how you can transform that dream into a reality.[toc]
What Is a Shipping Container Garden Room/Office?
Shipping container garden rooms are a low-budget way to create an open, beautiful office space without the burden of renovating or upgrading your home. You can customize and place your room wherever you desire, allowing you to create a detached area that is specific to fit your needs.
Perhaps the best benefit of a shipping container office is that you can get them fully constructed, so all you have to do is modify and decorate the interior however you wish. There are a lot of ways you can make your garden office perfect for you.
Of course you can always go the DIY route as well if you want to make a project out of it.
Traditional vs. Container Garden Room
If you are in need of extra space and are debating if you should add a shipping container to your property, there are some pros and cons to consider. Below are the benefits and drawbacks of having a shipping container garden office or room rather than converting or adding a room to your house.
There are several reasons why you should consider recycling an old shipping container to use as a garden room or office.
- Shipping container rooms are completely customizable and can be transformed into any type of space you need. Whether you need office space, a playhouse, music room, workout area, art studio, shed, storage space, man cave, guest room, or any other space, a shipping container can be made into one.
- Shipping containers are extremely safe. They are great protection from break-ins, harsh weather, and wildlife.
- Along with the inside of the shipping container, you can completely customize the outside as well. Adding a splash of paint or some wood paneling can make it look more like a home than a container.
- Shipping containers saves you money. They cost much less than home renovations and last much longer. They also cost much less than a garden shed and last much longer.
- Shipping containers are extremely durable and are made from 14 gauge Corten steel which lasts many years without much maintenance. Corten steel is rust-resistant and lasts on average around 25 years.
- Shipping containers are portable and can be moved around without causing structural damage. They are built to be constantly on the move, so if you happen to move from your home and relocate, you can bring it with you.
- Shipping containers are good for the environment if you buy a used one and recycle it. Purchasing a used container gives it a new life and prevents it from being simply thrown away or used for scrap metal.
Although shipping container garden rooms have many benefits, there are some drawbacks to adding one onto your property.
- Shipping containers take up a lot of space. They are typically 20 by 8 feet or larger. Many cities have local regulations on what size of outdoor structures you are allowed to have on your property. You will need to check local regulations and also have ample space for a container.
- Not only are they large, but shipping containers are heavy. Since they are so thick and durable, a standard 40-foot long shipping container weighs, on average, 8159 pounds. Moving and placing your shed will take some serious equipment and is not quick and easy.
Sizing and Costs
Shipping containers vary in cost depending on size, location, previous usage, and more. Although you may be tempted to purchase a brand new shipping container, there are used ones all over the world that are just as durable and reliable and cost much less. Additionally, they help save the planet by upcycling what would otherwise be discarded as waste.
A new shipping container typically ranges between $3000 and $5000, while a new one will run you between $1400 and $2600.
Do you need planning permission or permits?
Shipping containers are large, and some areas do not allow you to have them on your property. It is important to research what the regulations are in your area to see whether or not you are legally allowed to add a shipping container to your yard.
Since shipping containers are technically classified as temporary structures, most places do not require any sort of building or planning permissions. They are often treated the same way that a garden shed would be, and you are free to erect one on your property if desired; however, it is still important to double-check.
Example Floor Plans
There is an unlimited amount of ways that one can customize a shipping container garden room to fit their exact needs. Here are a few examples of floor plans to give you layout inspiration:
- Open Floor Plan – Perhaps the most popular layout in a shipping container office is an open floor plan. By leaving the space open and adding some sliding doors or windows, you can have a space that feels large and allows you to see out into the garden, opening the space up further.
- Office With a Half Bath – Creating an office space away from your home may be perfect for getting work done without distractions, but having to go back into your house whenever you need to use the restroom is a pain. With a large shipping container, you will have room for full office space as well as a small half-bath. Although it does take a little more planning and construction, it sure is convenient.
- Garden TV Room- With a simple couch, coffee table, and television, you can make a living room anywhere in your yard. Adding windows and glass doors can help bring the outside in and make a perfect space for drinking morning coffee, getting work done, and watching movies at night.
- Conference Room – If you are running a business or work with other people in your office space, creating a conference room in your shipping container is easy to do with a long table and chairs. You can also add glass partitions into your container to create multiple offices in a single area without shutting off space and making it feel small.
- Game Room- adding a foosball table, a pool table, or a pingpong table into a shipping container will transform it into the ultimate game room. Throw in some seating, a TV, and a bar cart will step up your game room like no other!
- Shipping Container Workout Room – Shipping containers can fit your treadmill, stationary bike, yoga mat, and more with plenty of room leftover. You can add large windows to help open the space and add a desk to make your office space into a workout gym too!
Ideas and Inspiration
Here are a few inspirational ideas to help give you some help when designing your garden room or office out of a shipping container:
This shipping container was converted into a beautiful game room/hang-out area. With nice wood flooring, wood paneling walls, and huge sliding glass doors, this shipping container feels more like a luxurious resort game room than an upcycled piece of shipping equipment.
This photo shows a multi-person office with plenty of space, lighting, and a beautiful glass wall that makes you feel like you are working outside while being protected from the elements.
If you are a business owner and looking to create an entire office building out of shipping containers, watch this Youtube video for the ultimate inspiration. It shows ten incredible office buildings that have been fully constructed by shipping containers!
- Inspiring Containerized Garden Office and Rooms
Follow this link for some of the most beautiful and inspiring shipping container garden rooms out there. From green, planted roofs to a full family garden retreat, this page is full of inspiration and will help you with designing your own!
If you require more space in your home but are looking for a cost-effective alternative to adding an extension to your home. These long-lasting, safe, and fully customizable options require little maintenance and can be transformed into an office or garden room however you choose.
Although they require space and heavy equipment to install, once they are in place, the possibilities are endless. With a shipping container, you can help the environment, create a new space, and spend time working right in the middle of your garden or yard!