How affordable is living in a storage container?

Looking for a speedy extension, an addition to your garage or just a place to call your own? Making living space from a storage container is more common than you may at first think – but just how practical is it? Here, we take a look at the reality of creating a housing solution from a storage container.

While it may appear as a simple solution, there are plenty of things to consider – especially if you’re starting with a blank canvas. Many storage units have the capacity for plumbing and heating to be installed – and this should be accounted for in your renovation budget.

You’ll need to consult various engineers to gauge what is possible in terms of partitioning walls, windows and doors if you’re starting from scratch, as you’ll need to make sure the container is properly supported. The size of your container is another thing to think about. Though smaller than your typical home, living in a container would mean getting a little creative with your space!

In fact, much like building a conventional house, it’s not simply a case of finding a plot and planting your container on it. When it comes to converting a storage container to make into a home, you’ll most likely need a foundation, supports, a roof, flooring, insulation, wiring and lighting. You’ll almost certainly need planning permission too, even if you’re extending from your own home.

Interestingly, it’s not the cost of the actual container that may require a little budgeting, but the money needed to transform it into a space suitable for living in. This article from the Telegraph talks about container-living, discussing apartments that have been built in London from storage containers. The article explains how once they’ve been purchased and made suitable for living in, it costs as much as £47,000 for a 45sq m container. To put this in perspective, that’s around over half the square footage of the average house in the UK – not bad!

However, the cost of your container home will depend on how you design it. Other structures can work out to be slightly more expensive, as explained by Tin Can Cabin, who created a cabin from a shipping container. There are ways to keep costs down, such as buying a used container, and compromising on certain features such as showers and partitioning walls, but overall, it seems shipping container housing can be an affordable, alternative venture – and an exciting one at that!