6 reasons you might need a shipping container in 2016

Jayde Walker (Ferguson)
4 min read

Shipping containers at first glance can seem pretty dull. But these everyday plain, steel cargo containers have evolved from just something you use to move house with. From storage solutions to unique designs, they’ve taken the architecture world by storm with striking, affordable and durable uses.

Transforming into something much more than a simple metal box, recycling and repurposing has never been so popular. Combined with a little bit of creativity and a boost of inspiration, shipping containers can be almost anything – not just a means of moving house. Feel like trying something different for 2016? Here’s a few amazing shipping container ideas and uses to start planning and thinking about.

1. Moving house cost-effectively.

Are you planning a big move? In comparison to the old fashioned way of moving, cargo containers offer a smart, safe, secure and portable way to move, making them one of the most cost-effective means to relocate your belongings. Moving containers offer a lot more space than other means, ensuring the whole moving process is a much smoother all-in-one operation.

For environmental considerations, loading your home into a 20-foot shipping container (the ideal size for a family of four) can actually be a carbon-friendly way to move too. Most moving companies will offer different sized containers to suit your individual moving needs and come complete with a trolley, rope and packing blankets to protect your belongings. It’s this DIY freedom that makes an attractive service for many people moving, especially if you’re moving interstate.

2. Shipping container homes.

Sometimes thinking outside the box means living in one. And as architecture continues to boom, the desire for creative and useful designs makes building a home from shipping containers a spectacular idea. Whilst it may be difficult to consider the real beauty behind these homes initially, converting containers into comfortable houses, granny flats and beach homes is becoming a super popular option for many home owners.

Shipping container architecture has established itself as a trendy green alternative to traditional building materials. Not to mention – it’ll make your home the talk of the neighbourhood! Homes made out of cargo containers are eco-friendly, constructed faster than regular properties and a relatively cheap to build (containers range from about $1,000 – $5,000 AUD each). Shipping containers are considered an ideal building material because they’re stackable, durable, cuttable and movable.

(Image: Inhabitat ).

3. Backyard storage.

Regardless of whether you live in a suburban city home or on a rural farm, shipping containers can make for great (and lockable) storage solutions all year round – not just for the move! It’s the perfect space to store gardening items, farm implements, tools or other backyard items securely. You can even turn it into a man cave or garden shed which can work out considerably cheaper, is more portable and longer lasting than other commercially available ‘off the shelf’ sheds.

With the right installation inside the container, they can also be used to store wine and beer – ideal for your own personal cellar. This is exceptionally smart for homes that lack the storage to turn a room into an inside cellar and think about how many bottles you could store in a 20-40 foot container.

4. Investment opportunity.

Because cargo containers are relatively cheap to buy they can offer a fantastic investment opportunity. Whether you rent the container out as an external storage space, for someone else wanting to move house, industrial storage for a business or as an artistic retreat or holiday home.

Depending on the size of your container, you could be leasing it out whilst you don’t have a use for it for a decent amount of money. Investing in shipping containers as an asset is fundamentally no different from making an investment in other types of property. As their uses continue to boom in popularity, investing in them can be a smart unique option for many.

(Image: Digital Trends )

5. Bar, café or studio.

The sustainable appeal of shipping containers makes them an ideal building material for a funky bar, café or studio. As an environmentally friendly café, studio retreat for a creative musician or artist to work from or an exclusive outdoor-indoor space spread over two-levels for a bar, there’s not a design you can’t create with shipping containers!

6. Cooling off.

If you can build an entire house out of shipping containers, then a swimming pool should come as no surprise. Customised cargo containers can be easily made into a uniquely designed pool for the whole family to enjoy with the proper adjustments to fit your needs.

Pools created out of cargo containers can hold as much water as you want, seeing the containers range from different lengths. You can also attach multiple containers together to widen or lengthen your pool and it still works out to be more cost-effective than a commercial pool. Clean and coat the container in paint to stop any corrosion and once the pool is in place, coat with foam insulation and a pool liner – perfect to go with your beach side container holiday home or even just as a uniquely useful backyard feature.

From playhouses to pop-up container gardens, decks and holiday beach house retreats, the shipping container craze doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. It doesn’t matter what you need to put away or design, second hand and new shipping containers make for the perfect storage solutions or architecture freedom. So, what will you use your cargo containers for?

For more small space living ideas take a look at the granny flat has taken off, pros and cons of small space living and six reasons micro-homes are going to explode onto the market.

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Jayde Walker (Ferguson)
This article has been hand crafted by Homely.com.au lifestyle contributor Jayde Ferguson, Jayde is a freelance writer with a passion for outdoor living and entertaining. With a love for design and all things unique, Jayde provides the Homely team with the most up to date changes in property styling trends.

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I wanted to thank you for explaining when it could be good to have a shipping container. I didn’t know that it could actually be good to use for a personal cellar. That said, I’m interested to learn how someone would maintain the same temperature in the container, especially if you are storing things that are temperature sensitive.


The perfect time for all to sit back together and have a good time and share all the experiences. The content is really nice.

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I didn’t realize that using a shipping container when moving helps the environment. I can understand why using a shipping container would be a preferred option because of being environmentally friend and being able to fit all your belongings into one unit. My brother might be moving to another state for graduate school. It might be beneficial for him to consider using a shipping container to move all of his things.


Definitely make a great garden shed or accomodation unit for unwanted relatives wishing to stay over, plant a lot of scrubs and high plants around it and it wont look to bad !!


This is pretty cool, I love the swimming pool concept. I’ve seen the shopping mall in Christchurch, NZ made out of shipping containers but never thought about building a house or man cave out of it. Would also be a great "storage" solution for visiting in-laws! 😛

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