The desire to live in a tiny home is on the rise; it is a way to allow the younger generation to get a foot on the property ladder without needing a huge mortgage. This form of alternative living can also lower your carbon footprint, especially if you build a tiny eco house, as living in a tiny house means less materials are needed for construction. One great way to lessen the impact of your build on the environment is to source and use recycled materials, this is often the case with shipping container homes. 

Many people who are living the van life dream of one day building their own homestead, putting down routes and having a permanent place to call home, but this can seem out of reach for many young people today. Shipping container homes, like the ones we will be looking at today, are often affordable tiny homes, in fact, all the tiny homes that we are looking at today come in at under $100,000(USD). This shows that you can build your own tiny house for a small amount of money and that making the leap from living in a van to living in a tiny house is achievable. 

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1. MAC Container Housing – $17,000

Shipping container homes interior

At number one on our list of shipping container homes is UK based company, MAC Container Housing, who will complete the build for you. Their shipping container homes are custom built for you and can include anything you would like. As these units are custom built you can also have a say in the layout of your new house, meaning you can use the space in a way that would be best for you. 

These tiny homes come in two different sizes, a 20’x8’ option, suitable for temporary accommodation or a larger 40’x12’ option which can easily sleep a family of four, in three separate bedrooms. These houses are affordable, coming in at £12,995 for the smaller option or £34,995 (prices +VAT), meaning you could have a family home mortgage-free. MAC Container Housing also have a dedicated team available to help you find a suitable piece of land to buy, lease or rent, for your new home.

These shipping container homes are a great option if you want a ready-made tiny home from an experienced company. MAC Container Homes know what is best for your new space and can help you design a home to suit you. These homes come with a ten-year warranty and can be ready to move into in just twelve weeks. Perfect!

2. Backcountry Containers – $40,000

Shipping container homes exterior, grey shipping container on bottom, smaller cladded container on top.

Second, on our list of shipping container homes is a family run business based in Texas, USA, Backcountry Containers. Backcountry Containers specialise in custom builds and will help you realise your dream shipping container structure. Not only do Backcountry Containers work with single 20’ and 40’ shipping containers but they can also create modular homes, using more than one shipping container, to create a larger home. 

Prices for a Backcountry container home start at $40,000 for the 20’ option, for the larger 40’ container prices start at $60,000 and a larger home, using multiple containers costs $100,000 and upwards. $100,000 may sound like a lot of money but for this price, you’re getting a gorgeous, full-sized home, and the single unit tiny house is a much more affordable option. 

These shipping container homes are beautifully designed, and with a family team of engineers and interior designers, you know that you will get something that, as well as being structurally sound, has a unique interior, with no detail missed. One of the best features of these tiny homes is the option to add a roof deck or porch area, this feature not only adds an outdoor space, but also breaks up the corrugated metal exterior of the shipping containers to give a softer final look. These buildings are beautiful creations and would easily make a comfortable home. 

3. IQ Container Homes – $35,000

Shipping container homes - black L-shaped shipping container house.

Next up on our list of shipping container homes is IQ Container Homes, a company based in New Zealand. IQ Container Homes work with shipping containers of all sizes, all of which are grade A quality, meaning they have only made one trip in their lifetime as an actual shipping container. Using grade-A containers means that your home will have the longest life span possible and will remain rust-free for years to come.  

The smallest shipping container IQ Container Homes works with is just 10’, prices for which start at $23,000 (NZD). Their range goes all the way up to multi-container, multi-story homes which can cost upwards of $350000 but the average one-bedroom shipping container home starts at just $70,000 (NZD, about 35,000 USD) These low costs open up the possibility of home-owning to those who it may be otherwise out of reach.

IQ Container homes create amazing houses designed with both functionality and style in mind. They also offer an additional solar electrics and rainwater collection package, making your house more economical and environmentally friendly to run. This feature also allows you to live off the grid in remote locations. These shipping container homes are built to an incredibly high standard and would make tiny living a dream. 

4. Container Conversion Design and Build – $12,000

Shipping container homes, fully cladded home.

Next up on our list of shipping container homes we have another UK based option, Container Conversion Design and Build.  At Container Conversion Design and Build we have one of our most affordable shipping containers with the starter package coming in at just £8995. This price includes a basic shell fit out with one window and door, full insulation, interior cladding painted white, exterior paint, and electrics and lighting installed. 

Buying a ready to go shell is a great choice if you want to build the interior of your shipping container home yourself but are happy to start once all the technical stuff is already complete. This shell would be ready to move into once you had fitted it out with furniture and a drinking water connection. There are other options available that would give you a finished product for your tiny home. 

Container Conversion Design and Build have plenty of experience in converting shipping container into private homes, studios and commercial spaces and would work with you to complete your dream shipping container space. They will help you realise the final design of your home through 3-D modelling/visualisation and drawing out floor plans, meaning you can follow every step of your tiny house build. 

5. Lance’s Self Build Container Home – $10,000

White interior of home.

Next on our list of shipping container homes is a beautiful self build that cost less than $15,000 (CAD). This amazing home is proof that you can create a warm, cosy, and happy home on a small budget, as long as you are willing to put in the work. A container home is a great project for any DIY-er wanting to take the leap into tiny homes as the structure is already there so you do not have to worry about building the shell. 

Lance’s home is slightly bigger than a 20ft shipping container as he has propped the end doors of the container open and has built a roof and wall around them to create an insulated addition to the container. This gives him a small amount of extra space inside, but even a small area goes a long way in a tiny house. Cleverly, Lance designed this extension so that is can be easily dismantled, and the doors closed so that the container can still be moved if he decides to take his home elsewhere. 

Inside, Lance’s home is bright and airy with white wooden, cabin style walls to allow sunlight to bounce around the home. Large windows frame the scenery outside, and pieces of nature have found a space inside bringing a rustic vibe to the home. Wooden accents in the kitchen and along the windowsills add to this feeling of bringing the outside in. This home is an amazing space to call home for such a small budget. You can watch the full tour on Living Big in a Tiny House’s Youtube Channel here.

6. The Helm by Cargo Home – $81,500

Part cladded, part broken metal, bigger container on base, smaller ontop with spiral staircase.

We’re over halfway through our list of amazing shipping container homes and up next we have a beautiful home that you can actually stay in through Air BnB. The Helm, built by Cargo Homes in Texas, USA, can accommodate up to six people, with two double bedrooms and a sofa bed. This shipping container house also has two bathrooms- pure luxury!

This home is made out of two separate shipping containers, one large 40ft container and a second 20ft container. Both of these units are blended seamlessly together through the use of 100year old barn cladding. This re-use of the cladding allows the home, that would have otherwise stuck out from its environment, to blend in and be at one with nature, and buildings surrounding it. The wood also transforms the shipping containers, disguising the buildings origin and giving it a trendy finish. 

Inside, there is a spacious feel with a large, fully functioning galley kitchen and a living space slightly separated from the kitchen with a half wall. This allows the two areas to work together but also mean that you can hide your washing up in the kitchen until later! This house is a great example of an affordable way to use more than one storage container for your home as this build was completed for just $81,500 (USD). 

7. Kim and James Self Build – $67,000

Ply wood interior of shipping container homes.

Next up on our list of shipping container homes, we have a private home belonging to Australian couple Kim and James. Their home is a 40ft container, trimmed down to be 30ft to fit building regulations. The container sits on top of two 20ft containers, used as a workshop and storage. The house is fitted just inside the top 30ft container and is home to the couple as well as their young daughter. 

The interior of the home is finished almost entirely of plywood, which makes it look very stylish and minimalistic. At the far end of the shipping container is a multi-functional unit that is a dining room, bedroom, living room, nursery and storage all in one. The design is all based around the raised living room platform which hides a slide-out double bed in the middle and slide-out bench seats/storage at either side. A fold-down and adjustable table is stored in the kitchen area which can be placed in the seating area to comfortably host eight people. On top of the platform is the lounge area that has a comfortable sofa with even more storage beneath it, a crib for the baby and lots of book storage overhead. 

The multi-functional unit means that a large area of the home has an empty floor space, allowing it to be used for the bed or dining table. This blank canvas gives the house a spacious feel. At the other end of the container, in front of the bathroom is the kitchen area which is fully functional and has everything you would find in a full-sized home. This build cost less than $100,000 (AUSD) including the costs for the decking and planning consent.  You can watch the full tour at Living Big in a Tiny Home here.

8. Container Homes – $27,000

Shipping containers with large windows.

Up next on our list of shipping container homes is an Australian company called Container Homes who specialise in turning shipping containers into beautiful homes. Container Homes have worked with shipping containers to give them the best finish possible for the harsh Australian climate. Their tiny homes are not only internally insulated, like most shipping container homes but are also externally insulated to avoid a sauna effect in the scorching summer months. The homes are also cyclone proof. 

Prices from Container Homes range from $39,700 to $75,700 (AUSD) for standard models or more for a custom build. A custom build means you can be a part of the design process every step of the way and create a home that is perfect for you. Alternatively, you can purchase a blank canvas for just $12,700 to fit out in your own style. 

Container Homes have plenty of experience working with shipping containers and have mastered the art of merging more than one container together to make a larger home. This is a clever way to use the containers to give your home more space as they are designed to stack on top of one another when on a ship. Container Homes have also created a shipping container pool which would be a funky addition to any home!

9. Alternative Living Spaces – $38,000

Shipping container home in the desert, on stilts.

We’re coming towards the end of our list of shipping container homes but next up we have Alternative Living Spaces, based in Las Vegas. Alternative Living Spaces specialise in creating homes of all sizes out of shipping containers, using one or more stacked in creative and imaginative ways to build a beautiful house. 

The interior of these shipping containers homes can be however you, as the client, want them to be. This means your home will be completely unique to you and work to your needs and wants. It can be modern and stylish with clean white lines and sharp angles or soft, comfortable and cosy like a country cottage. Colours can be bright and bold or muted and dusty, depending on what suits you and your lifestyle. There is no better way to move into a home than to have one custom built for you, which is exactly what Alternative Living Spaces do. 

The main drive behind the owner of Alternative Living Spaces was the need for affordable, alternative housing solutions in the USA. By using a shipping container as the base, it is possible to cut the cost of construction by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. The shipping container homes at Alternative Living Spaces start at a modest $38,000 (USD), making housing more accessible. 

10. ModHouse Australia – $98,000

Three black cladded shipping containers in a row.

Last but not least on our list of shipping container homes we have Mod House Australia, a company that grew after creating their own amazing shipping container house to live in as a family (watch the full tour on Living Big in a Tiny House here). Richard and Amy, who live in Australia, have created an impressive home using 3 20ft shipping containers, that are staggered to create an eye-catching end result. Each shipping container is connected to the next using a link room, like a corridor which also allows extra space. 

Each shipping container is cladded in a trendy black cladding which also allows for extra insulation making the home easier to heat or cool. The striking floating roof provides extra shade and is home to plenty of solar panels to provide electricity to the home. On top of this, the roof collects water that is stored in storage tanks below. The interior is lined with plywood which makes each room look unique and stylish. 

Each room serves a separate function, the first being a kitchen, the second a living room and office, and the third unit is the bedroom and bathroom. This design flows well and allows each space to be separate from each other but still complement each other with the continuing plywood theme. A great aspect of this build is the ability to expand space, simply by adding another shipping container and link, brilliant for a growing family. This home came in at an affordable $98000 (USD) and you can work with their company Mod House Australia to create your own. 

Final Thoughts…

We hope that this list of shipping container homes has inspired you to think about alternative living and has shown you that you do not need to be a millionaire to have a beautiful house with everything you could ever need. Sometimes the best things come in small boxes; we think these shipping container houses prove that to be true. Let us know what you think of these tiny homes by joining the Van Clan over on Facebook Instagram and Twitter.  

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