Looking for modern contemporary housing options? Give these container homes a look! 

Growing up, I had a very specific vision of what my dream house would look like. I pictured a two-story pink colonial with white columns and a backyard to house my twelve golden retrievers. As you probably guessed, my tastes have changed with the times! Nowadays, I’m open to more modern housing options. I’ve heard of repurposed churches and even tiny houses, but what about repurposed shipping containers, or container homes? “You’re out of your mind!” is something my eleven-year-old self would have said! Well, that was before a recent trip to Austin, where I discovered that people are living in these awesome container homes and some are even conducting businesses out of them! How cool is that?!

When it comes to installation, did you know that a shipping container of your choosing can be pre-fitted and installed in about a month? Furthermore, according to Home Tune Up, the average 20 foot container will run you anywhere from $1,400 to $2,800, and a 40 foot container around $3,500 to $4,500. Not only are these shipping container homes and offices cost-effective and earth-friendly, but they provide contemporary modern living style as well—my favorite. Here are just a few real life examples of how people all over the globe are repurposing shipping containers!

Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers Blue Orange Modern Contemporary Recycled Decor Metal Revamped Texas Garden Retreat Guesthouse

Via Dwell

This particular shipping container home in San Antonio serves as a garden retreat and guest house. I definitely wouldn’t mind staying here! Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll just be moving in all of my furniture and seeing how long I can stay until you kick me out. To my surprise, this house provides similar amenities to a larger house. Measuring 8’ x 40’, the living space provides floor-to-ceiling glass windows, heating and air-conditioning, a composting toilet that is water efficient and eco-friendly, and even a sink and shower. Just think of all the container design possibilities you have with this open and minimalist floor plan! I would personally design my own shipping container home in an industrial style.

Before I forget, this structure provides a rooftop garden where you could grow your own vegetables, flowers, or whatever your heart desires. It’s important to consider that these homes have the potential to become as eco-friendly as you would like them to be, as long as you are conscious and put effort into creating them that way. That being said, if that rooftop garden isn’t eco-friendly, I don’t know what is. What would you plant up there? I would likely choose some beautiful Texas wildflowers, specifically bluebonnets or Indian paintbrush perhaps. Those are some of my favorite Texas flowers and they always remind me of summertime! I would Tex-ify this space for sure ya’ll!

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Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers Modern Contemporary Recycled Decor Metal Revamped Salvaged Redwood Glass Panels

Via Dwell

Growing up, I would watch old-school cartoons like The Jetsons every morning. It would always come on right after The Flintstones, of course! Does anyone else remember the Boomerang channel? Anyway, this home reminds me so much of what today’s Jetsons house would look like! In fact, this shipping-container-turned-house was designed with a family in mind. This layout is actually a conglomeration of multiple used cargo containers. When building the home, owner Stephen Shoup wanted to be mindful of the carbon footprint he would be leaving behind. How thoughtful and eco-friendly of him!

Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers Modern Kitchen Dining Contemporary Recycled Decor Metal Revamped Ipe Wood Complementary Materials

Via Dwell

Driven by his affinity for the minimalist and the contemporary, he created the perfectly designed labor of love we see above. From a design standpoint, Shoup used a mixture of darker colors to complement his silvery accent pieces and appliances. Wood paneling was also used here as an outdoor building material. My favorite part is the minimalist outdoor planters and the unique checkerboard-style concrete.

Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers San Francisco Art Modern Contemporary Recycled Decor Earthquake-Safe Stacked Steel

Via Dwell

The shipping container seen above is home to Jeff Wardell and Claudia Sagan. Located in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood, this space acts as the perfect background to display their contemporary art collection. Would you look at that wall art—so hip! One of my favorite pastimes is attending local art openings. I’m always impressed by how artists and architects choose to display their creations. The free food at these openings usually doesn’t hurt either! (wink, wink) Speaking of art, how much fun would it be to go to an art gallery in one of these revamped pods? It would be like viewing contemporary art within repurposed industrial art. How very...artsy!

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Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers Community Garden Toronto Modern Contemporary Recycled Decor Metal Revamped TimberSIL Wood

Via Dwell

This shipping container is part of the Evergreen Brick Works project, an effort to redevelop a former industrial site where “old industrial material is given a new life and purpose through collaboration and design.” For those of you who don’t know me, I’m always looking for an excuse to get myself outside and wander around town, especially around community areas. I believe walking is good for the body as well as the mind. I love strolling the great trails my city provides, as well as the adorable boutiques in downtown Bryan, TX. I could wander for miles if I wanted to!

If you’re a wanderer like me, you’ll want to mosey on over to this community garden’s shipping container to see what's inside. When it comes to the interior, the shipping container architects chose eco-friendly materials such as a non-toxic alternative to pressure-treated wood. I love how welcoming this “Welcome Hut” is! It’s almost begging me to come explore the park and see what it has to offer. Don’t mind if I do!

Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers The Yard Mission Rock Community Garden Modern Contemporary Recycled Decor San Francisco Giants Parking Lot

Via The Yard at Mission Rock

Similarly, The Yard at Mission Rock in San Francisco is a self-proclaimed “pop-up village” that houses local food establishments, cultural programming, and even live music! This pop-up village is open seven days a week, year-round. How great is it that these buildings offer so many opportunities to bring communities and families together? I would definitely consider heading downtown with some friends to check out this modern set-up. If only we had something similar where I live! Who knows, maybe I could build the first one?

Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers Greenhouse Contemporary Recycled Decor Crops PodPonics Future Farming


Perhaps pop-up villages aren’t your thing, well what about a greenhouse? Here, a shipping container was repurposed by owner and founder of PodPonics, Matt Liotta. The container serves as a botanical grow pod in an effort to increase the efficiency of his business. How cool would it be to have your very own self-sufficient greenhouse in your backyard? I could grow so much fruit, perhaps even a mini tree in there! I like to imagine that in the days of cave people, I would definitely have been a gatherer. I love my fruit, can’t get enough of it. What do you think about this modern take on greenhouses?

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Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers Vissershok Primary School South Africa Contemporary Recycled Decor Converted Classroom


Shipping containers aren’t just great for homes and offices, oh no! For instance, this shipping container was repurposed into a school in South Africa. I honestly believe attending class in a former shipping container would be one of the coolest things ever. As we already know, the amenities are the same as any other building and based on some of the other examples these pods seem pretty environmentally friendly! Then again, I’m a pretty big proponent of the minimalist look, especially when it's eco-friendly. I can definitely see myself having a clear mind doing my homework in one of these mega-modern metal modules. Hah! Try saying that five times fast!

Container Homes Repurposed Shipping Containers Treehouse Jerusalem Pine Trees Contemporary Recycled Decor Rustic Residence Timber

Via Digital Trends

So far, we’ve seen repurposed homes, offices, greenhouses, and schools. That covers all our bases right? Not so fast! What if I told you that repurposed shipping containers are found up a tree? Well, that’s exactly what Golany Architects of Jerusalem did. Incorporating the already existing pine trees into the structure, these architects used the natural surrounding landscape to their advantage.

The pine trees also provide a natural shade from the blazing sun thereby cutting down on electricity used for air-conditioning, and the timber offers a rustic feel to this otherwise industrial look. This would be the best tree house on the block by FAR. Just imagine enjoying some s’mores by a little fire pit placed out front. After the sun sets, you could easily climb back into your little shipping container cabin and rest for the night. It sounds so cozy. I almost wish winter was here already so I could snuggle up!

Well, that’s about it when it comes to this exploration of experimental container housing! I hope you picked up some new tips and tricks along the way. How would you incorporate this modern idea into your twenty-first century lifestyle? Do you think prefab container homes are the future? Would you ever consider actually living in a shipping container? Share your ideas below and don’t forget to share this post with your forward-thinking friends!

**Special thanks to Dwell for many of the wonderful pictures! Featured image via ElectHouse