5 for sale now

Photo: Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

This story was originally published by Curbed before she joined New York magazine. You can visit Curbed’s archive at archive.curbed.com To read all articles published before October 2020.

Shipping containers have been used on everything from urban farms to off-grid havens and integrated swimming pools. Made from the thousands of surplus containers found on docks around the world, these homes can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials.

Shipping container liners also love their durability and, in some cases, their portability – although moving a container can take time and be expensive. And while there are plenty of DIY plans out there, it can be hard to take the time to turn a utilitarian steel box into a cozy dwelling.

Fortunately, many companies sell shipping container homes — one even available on Amazon — that can be delivered and assembled in as little as 10 weeks. Containers usually come in two sizes, either 20 feet by 8 feet or 40 feet by 8 feet. The smaller of the two equals about 160 square feet of living space, but the larger container gives you 320 square feet. It’s a tiny home that lives at its smallest, so some manufacturers will also combine containers to create more spacious homes.

To help you figure out which layout is perfect for you, here are five shipping container homes you can order right now.

Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces.

Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces.

Size: Differs

cost: Starting at $38000

Features clues: Alternative Living Spaces creates custom homes from shipping containers, allowing customers to choose everything from paint color to finishes. Amenities include air conditioning/heating, wood walls, barn doors, and options with a queen-size Murphy bed. [More info]

Size: 534 square feet

cost: According to their website, “Honomobo cost varies depending on many factors including; location, scope of business, and location details.”

Features clues: Alberta-based Honomobo builds several different models of shipping containers for homes. HO# uses three shipping containers held together to create a bedroom and kitchen with an island and a 21-foot front window to maximize lighting.

The largest shipping container home in Honomobo is a stunning three bedroom, two bathroom 1,530 square foot area. All Honomobo homes are built according to local building codes and are usually installed on a permanent foundation. [More info]

Image source: Kubed Living

Studio model from Kubed Living with a loft bedroom.
Image source: Kubed Living

Size: 160 square feet

cost: From $61,000

Features clues: Kubed Living, the Pasadena-based design builder, offers six different models made from recycled shipping containers. The smaller one uses one twenty-foot container for the studio, while the largest is a five-bedroom option using eight containers.

The smaller unit, called the Kubed 160, includes a kitchen with dishwasher, microwave, upper and lower cabinets, stove, oven, refrigerator, and even a pantry. Other amenities include air and heat, a five-foot closet for clothes and storage, and a bathroom with a glass shower door. [More info]

Size: 312 square feet Cost: $56,400
Photo: Courtesy of Custom Container Living

Size: 312 square feet

cost: 56,400 dollars

Features clues: Made from a 40-foot shipping container, this home by Custom Container Living uses siding and stained pine boards to create an attractive, somewhat spacious tiny home with two sleeping lofts. Accommodating a standard five-foot bathtub/shower unit, a washer/dryer combo, and a full-size dishwasher, roughly a third of the unit is carved to form an inviting covered porch. [More info]

Courtesy of Backcountry Containers.

Courtesy of Backcountry Containers.

Size: 160 square feet

cost: Starting at $32,999

Features clues: Backcountry Containers, based in Houston, makes several different shipping container homes, including this model—called Rustic Retreat—which is designed to sleep up to 3 people in a 20-foot container. There’s also a kitchenette, full bathroom, large sliding glass door, and the company’s signature rooftop deck. [More info]