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    10 creative shipping container uses

    Example of converted shipping container

    Shipping containers aren’t just for shipping.

    Once they reach the end of their time at sea, they can very easily be ‘repurposed’ – given a whole new lease of life for use outside of the transportation industry.

    This is one of our areas of expertise, here at Gap Containers.

    Regarded as a UK leading specialist for shipping container conversions, we’ve completed countless conversion projects over the years. And to demonstrate the versatility of these humble steel boxes – and perhaps give you a little inspiration – here we explore some of the most creative shipping container uses we’ve come across so far.


    What can be made using a shipping container?


    1. Homes

    From emergency shelters and student accommodation to impressive permanent properties and quirky holiday rentals, shipping container homes are popping up everywhere these days.

    Not only are they eco-friendly and quick and affordable to build, they offer endless design possibilities – and architects from all over the globe are now thinking outside (or inside!) of the box and producing some truly remarkable modular structures.


    2. Home offices

    Following the pandemic, one-third of people now work from home for at least part of the week. And as a result, container offices are now in high demand. They’re a particularly great option for those who don’t have much space or need to stick to a budget – creating the ideal home working environment, without breaking the bank in the process.


    Example shipping container uses


    3. Garden rooms

    This is another shipping container conversion that has boomed in popularity over the last couple of years. From man caves and she sheds to workshops and art studios, people now want a designated space in their home for hobbies and relaxation – and a container garden room fits the bill perfectly.

    They’re spacious, fully customisable, affordable – and they don’t require any planning permission!


    4. Home swimming pool

    If you’ve always dreamt of having your own swimming pool, a converted shipping container could be a viable solution. Shipping container swimming pools first made an appearance in 2017, with the launch of the ‘Modpool’. And since then, other designs have started to appear all over the world.

    Despite their revolutionary nature, they’re much more affordable than a traditional outdoor pool – and well within budget for most homeowners. No digging or major work is required. A 20ft or 40ft steel box can just be dropped into place, ready for the next sunny weather.


    5. Gyms

    Perhaps not as common as some other shipping container uses, but still worth a mention. Shipping containers gyms have also gained traction recently, as more and more people wish to keep fit from the comfort of their home. And why not?

    A shipping container can offer enough space to set up all your gym equipment and work out in private, and it can be easily customised to meet your individual training needs and preferences.


    Shipping container uses


    6. Restaurants

    Chefs and restauranteurs are increasingly choosing to ditch traditional bricks and mortar in favour of a shipping container restaurant – and it’s easy to understand why.

    Not only are they affordable – making them a great way to get a new eatery off the ground – they create a unique environment that attracts customers. What’s more, they can be easily modified in line with the restaurant’s style, expanded as custom ramps up, and relocated if necessary.


    7. Pop-up shops and bars

    Due to their size, shape, and sturdiness, shipping containers are particularly ideal for use as a pop-up shop, bar or café. They can be painted in any colour, fitted with open hatch windows and awnings, and kitted out with all the necessary equipment to cook food and serve drinks.

    Here at Gap Containers, some of our favourite container conversion projects have involved creating fun, yet functional, bars and shops – for the likes of CONTENT Liverpool, Cheshire Oaks and the Manchester Christmas Market.


    Example uses for converted shipping container


    8. Schools

    Shipping containers are an efficient way to build. Simple structures can be created in a matter of days and fabricated at the builder’s yard. Which is why they’re a popular option for schools.

    If additional space is required to accommodate students, container classrooms can be installed in minimal time – with very little disruption to the rest of the school. Made bespoke to order, these can be tailored specifically to the educational setting, with all the necessary fixtures and fittings to facilitate learning.


    9. Emergency hospitals

    This is one of the most extraordinary uses of shipping containers that we’ve seen to date.

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, containers have been utilised as emergency hospitals and pop-up ICUs in some parts of the world. Not only were these units quick to mount, they were just as safe as a regular isolation ward – and helped to ease the burden in the hardest-hit regions.

    Similarly, in response to the growing demand, shipping containers have also been employed as mobile testing and vaccination centres – both in the UK and further afield.


    10. Growing spaces

    Last but not least, hydroponic container farming is a fast-growing trend in the agricultural industry.

    Innovators have been breaking the boundaries of food production, by growing their crops and plants inside a converted shipping container – and it certainly has a lot of benefits.

    Containers have a very compact footprint and can be easily stacked, which means you don’t need acres of land to yield an impressive crop. They’re readily available and affordable and, due to their original purpose, can be easily shipped from the manufacturer to the final farm site.


    Plan for shipping container conversion at Gap Containers


    Got an idea for a new shipping container conversion?

    It’s clear that a shipping container is far from being a one-use wonder.

    Here at Gap Containers, we think it’s truly amazing how these humble steel boxes can be transformed to provide a wide range of creative and functional uses. And if you have an idea for a new shipping container conversion, we’d love to be involved.

    Our team are always excited by the prospect of an exciting new project. Not only can we supply new and used containers, we can oversee the entire conversion – modifying your chosen units to meet your specific needs and (hopefully!) bringing your vision to life.

    In the past, we’ve created everything from bars, cafes, catering units and restaurants to offices, classrooms, portable toilets, mess huts, studio spaces and more. And our testimonials speak for themselves. So why not get in touch and see how we could help you?

    To discuss your ideas with a member of the team, or find out more about potential shipping container uses, simply give us a call on 0870 240 9405. Alternatively, you can send an email to and we’ll respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.



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    March 7, 2022 | Lauren

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