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10 Shipping Container Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

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Shipping containers are versatile structures that have found a variety of applications beyond their traditional purpose of transporting goods across the globe. Hence, these large metal boxes have captured the imagination of creative individuals and organizations, leading to innovative and unexpected uses. In this blog, we explore some inventive shipping container ideas!

Traditional Uses for Shipping Containers

Before we start, it might be helpful to give a base of understanding for how shipping containers are primarily used and how different container qualities make them useful for each use case.


The primary function of shipping containers is, of course, shipping. These durable steel boxes can handle the rigors of international transportation on the open ocean. They also provide a secure and cost-effective means of transporting goods by land or sea, ensuring that cargo arrives safely at its destination.

Containers have various features that make them fit for this purpose. For instance, all containers have gaskets: rubber seals that block moisture from entering the container and soiling stored materials.

A white shipping container door.


Shipping containers have become a popular solution for storage needs because their robust construction and standardized dimensions make them ideal for storing many items. From personal belongings to commercial inventory, these containers offer a secure and weather-resistant storage space where you can easily transport or stack them to maximize efficiency.

A container quality that makes them practical and secure storage is their small passive vents. Most containers have four vents, but some may have more or less, depending on the manufacturer. These vents are small, reducing the chance that rainwater or other moisture enters through them.

Shipping Container Modifications

One of the most exciting aspects of shipping containers is their adaptability. These structures can be modified and transformed into various functional spaces relatively easily. Modifications can transform a storage container into any number of new things.

Containers are also sturdy, secure and portable. These key qualities can open new possibilities and commercial applications for modified containers.

10 Innovative Shipping Container Ideas

Let’s explore 10 of the most innovative and creative uses for modified containers:

1. Dog Houses

Shipping containers can become comfortable dog houses, with the right modifications. With proper insulation and ventilation, these containers offer a safe and secure shelter for your furry friends, whether used individually or in larger configurations for kennels or animal shelters.

A few popular modifications include:

  • Added ventilation for hot/cold weather
  • Shelves for dog equipment storage
  • Hooks for leashes, collars, and more

2. Custom Construction Rigs

Construction companies have embraced shipping containers as mobile workstations and storage units on construction sites. You can equip these modified containers with all the necessary tools and equipment. This provides an organized workspace that can easily move from one project to another.

Modify your container with:

  • Windows for natural light
  • Electrical wiring for lighting
  • HVAC
  • Insulation for a more comfortable environment

3. Secure Ammunition Storage

A shipping container that's been modified to hold gun racks for firearm storage.
This insulated modified container has gun racks for secure firearm storage. It also has additional security features, including a mesh door and an additional locking bolt on the cargo door.

Due to their robust construction and ability to withstand extreme conditions, shipping containers are also an excellent choice for secure ammunition storage. This is because their steel walls and lockable doors ensure that firearms and ammunition are kept safe from theft and environmental damage.

Basically, shipping container vents allow air movement through the container, cooling the space and preventing temperatures from reaching a dangerous level.

Customization ideas for this project include:

  • Whirlybird vents for increased air outtake
  • Louver vents for increased air intake
  • Shelves and storage spaces for specialized ammunition storage
  • A keypad door for increased security

4. Securing Housing for Outdoor Electrical Systems

A modified cargo container with storage racks for stored material.
Additions like pipe racks, storage shelves and more can make organization easier.

One of the best shipping container designs is as an enclosure for outdoor electrical systems. Shipping containers can be transformed into weather-resistant enclosures that provide protection from the elements. This ensures the safety and reliability of vital electrical equipment on construction sites, events or remote locations.

Modify this project with:

  • Insulation for greater temperature regulation
  • Custom storage racks for electrical equipment
  • Cable management systems for the organization
  • Additional doors or access points

5. Portable Bleachers and Stands

Shipping containers can become portable bleachers and stands for events, sports venues or outdoor concerts. With modifications such as seating, stairs, and safety features, these containers offer a convenient and mobile solution for temporary seating arrangements.

Modification ideas include:

  • Seats/bleachers
  • Guardrails
  • Gates
  • Electrical wiring and lighting

6. Garage/Shed

Shipping container ideas don’t have to be complicated. Do you need a workshop and some storage space? Shipping containers can be converted into garages or sheds, providing a secure and durable structure for your vehicles, tools or equipment.

Modify it with:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Cabinets
  • Workbenches
Three aged shipping containers sitting on a residental street.
Containers are easy to modify because they are standardized, structurally strong and cost-effective.

7. Pools

Believe it or not, shipping containers also can be transformed into swimming pools. In fact, it’s one of the most trending shipping container ideas at the moment. Most container pools are cost-effective and also a trendy alternative to traditional in-ground pools. With added insulation, filtration systems, and various design options, they provide a refreshing retreat right in your backyard.

You can modify your container to include:

  • Waterproof coating for added rust protection
  • Integrated ladders and steps
  • Insulation for water temperature regulation

8. Animal Transport

Shipping containers have also been adapted for animal transportation. Appropriate modifications and ventilation systems can serve as comfortable and secure transport units for livestock, exotic animals, or even pets during relocation or emergencies.

Try these customizations:

  • Partitions or dividers for different animals
  • Custom flooring more suitable for animal transportation
  • Ventilation/HVAC systems
  • Water and feeding system

9. Concession Stands

Food vendors and event organizers have found shipping containers to be an innovative solution for concession stands. This is because modified containers can be equipped with all the necessary amenities, including countertops, sinks and storage space. This also provides a convenient and eye-catching setup for selling food and drinks at events or outdoor venues.

Consider modifying your container with:

  • Countertops for food preparation
  • Storage space for utensils, plates, and more
  • Electrical wiring
  • Exterior paint or branding
  • Sinks with plumbing systems

10. Fumigating Furniture

Shipping containers offer an enclosed and controlled environment, making them ideal for fumigating furniture. By sealing the container and introducing fumigation treatments accordingly, the pests can be effectively eliminated from infested items before they are returned to their owners.

Modification ideas include:

  • Sealing for airtightness
  • Electrical monitoring systems for temperature and humidity control
  • Ventilation systems that can be opened and closed


The versatility, durability and portability of shipping containers make them attractive to many individuals and organizations. Whether for temporary or permanent use, these containers can become functional, eye-catching spaces that serve various purposes. It only takes a spark, and your creative shipping container ideas can become reality.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we take pride in our modifications. Our expert team of fabricators is ready to make your dream a reality. If you want to learn more about how a modified container can help serve your needs, contact us today for a free quote.

As we continue to explore new uses for shipping containers, we can expect to see even more creative and practical adaptations in the future. The only limit is your imagination and the needs of the industries and communities you serve. So, next time you come across a shipping container, remember that it has the potential for more than just transporting goods. With a bit of creativity and the proper modifications, it can become something truly remarkable.

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