How to Design a Shipping Container Home

Shipping container homes are an ever growing trend in the UK and across the world. 

Modern life has its drawbacks, many of which are leading people to look for a means of escape, an opportunity to get away from it all and live life with more freedom. 

New people are being drawn to the Off Grid lifestyle every day. Many are even taking to social media and posting shots of stunning shipping container homes. This in turn inspires others to dream of designing one themselves.

But designing a shipping container home can be difficult, and has many potential stumbling blocks if you aren’t careful. Thankfully, the experts at Live Off Grid are on hand to assist. 
We spoke to our Lead Project Designer, Alice Fulton-Russell to discuss how to design a shipping container home, the potential issues that a person could face throughout the process, and what you can do to overcome them.

Make Use Out Of Your Space

To create your dream home in a shipping container, you first need to take stock of the room available to you. 

You aren’t renovating an old industrial warehouse; a standard shipping container is 20ft, so space is at a premium. But with creative solutions, you can make your shipping container feel just as spacious as a warehouse.

“Humans have become accustomed to having so much space in every room,” Alice told us. “But what we do is work with our clients to realise what they actually need to live comfortably, without the excess. When you get down to it, we don’t actually need much more space than what comes in a container. A bedroom needs a bed, a kitchen needs a workspace and a sink. A bathroom; a toilet and a shower. Nothing more.”

At Live Off Grid we design our shipping container homes using the Muji ethos. Less is more, and simplicity and subtlety will help make your space feel twice as big. 
Our expert design team are magicians when it comes to blending functionality with design. Our shipping container homes come fitted with modular design at the forefront. Everything we do is catered to all of your needs, while maximising the space in the best way possible.

Avoid Costly Mistakes

A refurbished shipping container home can be a perfect way to embrace the natural world around you and experience the Off Grid lifestyle. 

It can be tempting to fit the largest possible windows onto your container, but a decision like this — perhaps influenced by images on social media — could be a cause for disaster.

“People often have unrealistic expectations, they don’t consider the needs of the space,” Alice explained. “Don’t trust whatever you see on social media, or on Grand Designs.”

The beauty of a shipping container comes in its ability to withstand whatever nature throws at it. Its sturdy design has made it ideal for transporting goods across rough conditions. 

Once you strip away elements of this structure and replace it with glass, you risk affecting the integrity of your shipping container home. This could prove to be a dangerous route and costly to fix. 

A fundamental factor to consider when converting a shipping container into a home is heat. 

Many elements in the design process of a shipping container, such as the strength, durability, convenience etc. all make a container perfect for home living. However, shipping containers are designed to keep cargo safe and dry, not warm. 

A shipping container home without appropriate insulation is no better than a stylish, comfortable shed or garage.

A container needs specialist insulation. Selecting inappropriate forms of insulation — such as the methods used in standard brick properties — could prove costly to replace once the winter months roll in. 

Our design team are experts at finding a balance between maintaining the sturdiness of the corrugated steel exterior, and creating a beautiful space using the natural light gained from windows. All while providing a safe, warm space to spend quality time with loved ones. 

Plan, Plan, Plan

The key to a shipping container home design that you can be proud of for years to come is planning.

The saying goes ‘by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’, this could not be more true than when designing a shipping container home. 

Creating your dream property can come with all sorts of complications, if you aren’t prepared they could totally scupper the project. 

The Live Off Grid process of designing and creating a bespoke shipping container home is meticulous from beginning to end to eliminate any complications.

“It can go from one week of drawings and planning and design meetings, to up to six months of revisions, and back and forth with councils,” said Alice 

“We will discuss all of the needs of our clients; why they want a shipping container home, how it could enhance their life going forward. We will fine tune the look they want using drawings. Then we will cost everything up, produce the structure, beautify the container with LOFT furnishings, and finally we will organise installation.” 

Get Professional Help

Designing and creating a shipping container home is not for the faint hearted. It is an intricate, difficult, labour intensive process with many considerations throughout and potential stumbling blocks around every corner. 

“The first thing I suggest to anybody considering designing a shipping container home is research. Speak to people who have been through it all before to tell you about any mistakes they made and how to overcome them. 

Get all the information you could possibly need in advance, and if you’re struggling that’s what we’re here for. Contact Live Off Grid and we can help.”

A professional can design and build your dream shipping container home from beginning to end, from wild concept, right through to delivery. A professional design team will have expert contacts with suppliers and council members to save you time, money, and stress.

How To Design a Shipping Container Home 

The key to designing a shipping container home is to go into the process with a full understanding of the gravity of the challenge you face. 

With all of the potential pit-falls and complications that can come with the design process, it is recommended you seek out professional help. 

At Live Off Grid our design team is passionate about creating wonderful spaces using shipping containers. Pairing the functional with the beautiful.
For more information about our shipping container homes, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Disconnect and Discover with Live Off Grid.

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