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Light-filled shipping container house cost just $36K to build

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Repurposed with style

A black shipping container house has rear doors open so you can see inside.
Las Vegas-based Alternative Living Spaces created this Instagram-worthy tiny home from a 20 by 8 foot shipping container.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

Blame it on HGTV or the rising cost of housing, but more and more people are interested in alternative types of homes. One of the most popular is the shipping container house; we’ve seen them in everything from urban farms to off-the-grid getaways and all-in-one pools.

Made using the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, shipping container homes offer durability and an eco-friendly alternative in a compact space. We’re always on the lookout for innovative companies selling shipping container homes—check out our guide to five you can order right now—and the latest to cross our desk is Las Vegas-based Alternative Living Spaces.

Targeting people who want a backyard unit to use for rental income or anyone looking to use a shipping container as a guesthouse or primary residence, Alternative Living Spaces builds luxury shipping containers that maximize on space. Each home starts at $36,000, includes the shipping container, and can be completely customizable. Most units feature a bathroom with shower, a kitchen, some sort of work and dining space, and a living room that converts into a sleeping area.

A Murhpy bed hides behind the black and white couch in this 165-square-foot shipping container house in Sacramento.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

In the black shipping container house pictured above—which is currently being used full-time in Sacramento—deer artwork hides a Murphy bed that drops down to create a larger sleeping space. Lots of storage and clever hacks (like placing a pole under the desk to hang clothes) make the 165-square-feet seem much larger, and 11 windows and celining wooden beams transform the shipping container from industrial to homey. Full-height glass and doors that open 180 degrees bring the outdoors in, and air conditioning and heating provide expected creature comforts.

Limited square footage doesn’t mean a shipping container home should sacrifice on counter space.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

The company used similar techniques in the all-white shipping container pictured below, which boasts a differently configured kitchen with a small fridge, two-burner induction stove, sink, microwave, and storage space. Peacock blue cabinets add a burst of color, and another sliding door reveals a galvanized steel shower and toilet. Other options include mounting the containers on trailers for portability, and off-the-grid setups that include composting toilets and solar power.

Both shipping containers featured here are 20 by 8 feet, but Alternative Living Spaces also can create larger units out of the 40 by 8 feet containers. They currently source their shipping containers from Long Beach, design and build the homes in Las Vegas, and can work and ship homes to clients anywhere. Interested in learning more? Head over here and follow Alternative Living Spaces on Instagram for more swoonworthy projects.

A white shipping container house currently being used as an Airbnb rental in Zion, Utah.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces
The kitchen and living room area of the shipping container house in Zion.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces
Each kitchen can be customized with different features. This one boasts a microwave and two-burner propane stove.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces
Large windows make the space feel bigger and shelving provides ample storage.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces
The bathroom in the Zion shipping container house.
Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

The unit featured below is no longer available for sale, but the video provides a good look at the space-saving features inside the shipping container house: