12 Surprising Uses for Shipping Containers that Will Blow Your Mind

When most people think of using shipping containers for a project, it’s typically for building a container home. However, there are many ways to use shipping containers that will excite your creative impulses. Plus, it can save you a ton of money when building certain projects.

Unique Uses for Shipping Containers

Here’s 11 unusual ways to use shipping containers, one of which may be right for you!

Swimming Pool

Yes, that’s right! Discarded shipping containers can be converted into swimming pools, as experimental architect, Stefan Beese, beautifully illustrated. Check out his 20′ x 8′ swimming pool that he built for his family in New Orleans. He even says if they ever move, the swimming pool can be moved by truck to a new location. Wow! Learn morecontainer swimming pool


Guest House

If you’re looking for extra space to house your guests, nothing is quite as cool as lodging them in a colorful, 40′ x 8′ shipping container that is retro style. Texas architect, Jim Poteet, built this simple guest house for a local client to locate in her backyard. Poteet had never worked with containers for live-in spaces, but did a terrific job in completing this smart, eye-catching guest house. Learn Moreshipping container guest house



This amazing idea costs a lot less than stick building a large garage/workshop, complete with storage and room to expand. All you need is two shipping containers and a steel clad roof to make a terrific structure. Companies like Site Shelter offer innovative roofs to use with any size containers you have in mind. Very useful! Learn Moreshipping container garage-workshop


Mobile Outdoor Resturant

This owner of this new little restaurant chain from Canada, Müvbox, came up with a way to use shipping containers that open up into a mobile, fast food restaurant, complete with gourmet kitchen. Not only do they have eye candy appeal, but they also offer lobster straight from the Magdalen Islands. If you’re thinking of starting a small commercial endeavor, a shipping container can get you up and running fast and in style. Learn Moreshipping container restaurant


Horse Stalls

Well, yeah! Why not convert a shipping container into an equestrian stable? Easy to convert, easy to move if you have to and virtually indestructible. You can even have a stable and tack room together, which makes the use of containers for this purpose very practical. Many families are finding this is a great way to take care of their horses without the typically expensive stalls and storage required. Learn Moreshipping container horse stalls


Barn in One Week

Another impressive use for containers is by putting a pair of 40′ containers apart to form the walls and structure for the storage on either side. Then add trusses or a prebuilt steel roof and boom…you’ve got a barn up in a week. And that’s for real! With proper planning, you can build a barn structure in no time. Then, if you want to finish out the interior in any way you want, add ventilation, etc…no problem. Learn Moreshipping container barn


Kid’s Place

You can transform you kid’s play area outback by placing a 20′ shipping container, cutting an opening in one side and painting with bright colored paint. This idea can be expanded for all sorts of additions and is an excellent idea for a play area, home schooling shelter, and more. Your kids would love it! Learn Moreshipping container kids place


BBQ Shack

Would you ever have thought about a small BBQ shack made from a shipping container? This shack sports a small deck around it with seating, for a great place to eat and socialize in your backyard or around your pool area. Never underestimate the infinite uses for shipping containers. Learn Moreshipping container BBQ shack


Pool House

An easy way to get that pool house you want is to use a 20′ shipping container and cut away the sides as needed. It’s easy to finish out and inexpensive compared to building a conventional pool house of the same size. Here’s a shipping container conversion into pool house by IC Green, Inc, a building firm in California. However, if you’re a savvy DIYer, you can do this project yourself. Learn Moreshipping container pool house


Off Grid Cabin

Even though this is a ‘livable’ space, it’s different in that it can be used for an off grid cabin or part-time beach house. It’s 500 square feet of living space including a deck. It uses solar power, well water and wood heat, but can attach to utilities. Plus, if you can believe it, there is a small dipping pool! It’s in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and was built for under $50,000. Now this is something any capable DIYer can build. Learn Moreoff-grid cabin



This amazingly practical shipping container greenhouse was built by Damien Chivialle in Brussels to be used for urban farming units. These greenhouses can be moved and placed anywhere in urban settings for agricultural activities among residences of densely populated areas. The possibilities are endless and this idea can be adapted for your backyard or smaller area to grow edibles. Learn Moreshipping container greenhouse


Office Cabana

Oregonion, Mike Corvi, caught the container building bug after reading an article about converting used shipping containers into homes for Australia’s indigenous people, the Aborgines. With no building experience, he set out to build his own outdoor retreat. The twiced used container cost just $2,900 from a business in Portland. The Corvi family’s Cabana is wired with electricity, heat and cable. It has floor length windows and sliding glass doors for plenty of light. Corvi estimates his office cost a mere $8,000 when it was all complete. Learn Moreshipping container office


These creative uses of shipping containers are just a sampling of the almost limitless possibilities. The overabundance of retired containers worldwide make it easy to find what you need for your own shipping container project. Got anything in mind yet?

Want to Build Your Own Container Project? Get Up-to-Date Construction Guide To Build A Container Home From Scratch!

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