How to Spice Up Your Shipping Container Home
Nov 2020

How to Spice Up Your Shipping Container Home

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The standard shipping container is a versatile structure that can be repurposed to provide affordable and environmentally friendly alternative housing. New shipping containers in Ontario can be modified to create a comfortable living space using one unit or multiple units connected, side-by-side, or stacked on top of each other to make various shapes and sizes of buildings. 

Modified shipping containers provide a cost-effective way to build a fully customized living space for you and your loved ones. As with any other building, you must ensure that the structure is built according to your city’s codes and regulations. Regulations are imposed to ensure the structures’ safety in different weather types, so you must gain the necessary permits to connect various utilities to your shipping container home. 

Generally, the style of your shipping container home will be influenced by your home design, such as:

  • Home on stilts 
  • Subterranean home 
  • Multi-storey home 
  • Bungalow home 

Suppose you’re dealing with a small space. In that case, your design goals will probably be aimed at making the interior feel bigger, which includes finding a smart way to accommodate all the essential activities like cooking, sleeping, and personal goods. Whether you’re using one or multiple shipping container units, there are several interior design techniques to effectively utilize your space while spicing it up. These include:

1. Sliding doors 

These are a great alternative for swing doors by eliminating dead space in the swept area of the door, which in turn makes the interior feel spacious. Even if the door opens outwards, it may prevent you from placing certain decorations or furniture pieces close to the door, which essentially wastes that space. For instance, a standard 32 inch-wide swing door that opens 180 degrees will have a swept area of 11 square feet that you can’t use for other purposes. Sliding doors, on the other hand, slide in a straight line when opening and closing with no swing area. Whether they slide on rollers under the door or a suspended overhead track, sliding doors are an attractive and functional feature for compact shipping container homes. 

2. Convertible couches

You can significantly increase your space’s efficiency by finding single furniture pieces that can be used for multiple functions. For instance, you can purchase a couch that can be converted into a bed. There are many different variations of the couch-bed theme, all of which offer great versatility for compact homes. Generally, a convertible couch will take up less space compared to a queen or king-sized bed, plus the space can function as both a seating area and sleeping area as needed. To create the living space, you simply fold or adjust the bed to produce a substitute for a sofa; and at night, you can pull it out, so it functions as your bed or a guest bed. 

Some common options for convertible couches include:

  • Daybeds. They feature a headboard that doubles as the “sideboard” for the backrest of your converted couch, as well as a regular bed mattress.
  • Foldout couch. Also referred to as a sleeper sofa, a foldout couch resembles a normal couch. However, the cushions are placed over a folded mattress and complete bed-frame that can be folded out to function as a bed. The key difference is that you have a different cushion to sit on and mattress to sleep on.
  • Chaise. This refers to a long chair with additional support for your legs. Unlike a sofa, the back of the chaise is positioned on the side, making it great for napping. However, they don’t typically provide sufficient length to lay down fully stretched out. 

There are other types of sectional couches you can consider depending on how you want to style your container home. 

3. Built-in furniture

When you have stand-alone pieces of furniture purchased separately, you will probably have lots of small spaces left between them, plus your options may be greatly limited. You can minimize space wastage while styling up your home by getting custom-built furniture pieces. Built-in furniture is also easy to maintain since you don’t have to clean under or around it. Some of the custom furniture items that can be integrated into your shipping container home include L- or U-shaped couches, shelves, wardrobes, kitchen counters, dressers, and so on. Moreover, with custom couches, you can create additional storage areas underneath the cushions. 

4. Capitalize on wall space

Mounting items on your walls is a great way to save on floor space and add a touch of style to your home. Generally, when you have a shipping container home, you may not have enough space to dedicate to wall-units, cabinets, bookshelves, and so on. Fortunately, many items can be conveniently mounted on your walls, including:

  • TV mounts. Mounting your TV allows you to position it anywhere in your home for best styling and visibility from multiple angles while eliminating the need for a separate TV stand, cabinet, or wall unit. You can position it close to your power outlets, so the unsightly cables are out of sight. 
  • Wall-mounted fans. Ceiling fans tend to reduce your functional room height and may not be a suitable option for shipping container homes with a maximum height of about 7 feet with a ceiling. While you can use floor fans as an alternative, they will eat up your valuable floor space; plus, you will likely have to deal with extension cords. Mounting your fans on the wall can solve these issues. 

5. Creative room dividers

Consider visually separating the different areas of your container home instead of setting up walls. This will give you more options for styling it with the divider while enhancing your space’s functionality, increasing natural lighting, and improving air circulation. Some creative ways to divide your space include:

  • Double-sided bookshelf. These provide a great combination of style and function. You don’t actually have to use them for books. You can place antiques, keepsakes, mementos, and other items. 
  • Hanging cloth curtains. The curtains can be made from a wide range of materials with different levels of transparency or opacity as desired. Some fabrics can even block a bit of sound. 
  • Hanging bead curtains. Vertical strings with beads provide a great way to divide your space while maximizing light penetration and sound across the space. The beads can have different styles to suit your design goals. 
  • Folding panel dividers. They are made from a wide range of materials to provide unique stylings for any type of room decor. 
  • Rotation entertainment centre. If your TV is mounted on a rotating wall, you can entertain yourself from the living or sleeping areas by simply rotating it. 

Final Note

Whether you’re planning to build a new shipping container home or just spice up the one you own, it’s worth consulting a professional architect or designer to get some tips on how you can create a space that reflects your style and personality, without compromising the safety or integrity of the structure.

For more information on shipping container homes, please contact Sigma Container Corporation.

Tom Bray is a freelance writer with over five years experience writing for online publications and over ten years in business and sales. He studied journalism and media and has written for various online outlets on multiple topics. His specialty subjects are shipping containers and transport logistics.

Tom’s passion for writing and transport logistics motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that can show you how a shipping container can be effectively utilized and modified to each person’s needs.

You can connect with Tom via email at