Shipping containers are, of course, widely used for shipping. That much should be obvious! However, thanks to current trends in modification and upcycling, containers of all shapes and sizes are being revamped and reused for a variety of creative uses. Did you know, for example, that they are being used to house bars, cafés and bistros? We’ve already taken an in-depth look at shipping containers and how useful they can be in our everyday lives. With this guide, however, we’re going to go a little left-field to look at some of the more innovative ways you can transform even the most humble of container spaces. Need pop-up housing? Setting up a temporary art exhibit? Read on to learn more about how buying a shipping container may be all you need to get started.

modified shipping container
modified container wine cellar

Why Modify Shipping Containers?

It may seem a fairly bizarre idea on the face of things. Where on earth did people first get the idea to use shipping containers to set up pop-up café and pool spaces? Professional container specialists all over the world now offer modifications as just one of many different services. For one thing, purchasing a modified container space cuts down on time, money and effort for you in the long run.

Whether on a private or public service basis, shipping container modification allows for an immense amount of flexibility. Why spend money on renting or buying premises outright when a temporary, easily modified space will do? For temporary exhibits, concerts and installations running from season to season, hiring a sturdy and versatile unit, just makes sense.

You only need to look online at some of the fantastic things engineers have created with shipping units to get a taste of inspiration. In the meantime, keep reading to learn about some of the most popular ways in which people are already transforming standard shipping units!

Temporary Accommodation and Housing

With housing markets everywhere having been under-resourced for financial reasons, there has been renewed interest in creating affordable, temporary living spaces for people and families in dire need. Shipping containers can be transformed inside and out to offer cosy living spaces for all. They can even be stacked and modified to create additional levels! What’s more, as shipping containers are so easily portable, they make for ideal pop-up housing everywhere you look. An excellent option for temporary housing during land or estate development, they can also be used to house those travelling to areas from season to season. Property developers may also be interested in buying shipping containers to let at low rental prices – with a significant return. Helping the housing crisis as well as providing temporary living solutions for a variety of needs, shipping accommodation is a fantastic idea. Among all other creative uses of shipping containers, resistant housing is arguably the most popular. They’re easy to insulate, cheap to purchase and simple to maintain.

yellow and grey container office in victoria australia
seat locker made from container parts

Facilities and Emergency Supplies

When disaster strikes, you need an affordable, efficient plan of action to fall back on. From the sites of natural disasters to large-scale events in need of flexible facilities, shipping containers can be incredible assets.

Pop-up container hospitals and medical spaces to help local people receive much-needed care are becoming more and more widespread. Natural disasters and freak weather incidents can leave people without accommodation and access to medical care for weeks at a time. Shipping containers can arrive modified and easy to set up whenever you need them temporarily.

Container spaces allow people to access care and comfort when they may not otherwise be able to. On a happier note, container facilities can also help support travelling events and temporary shows. Rather than having to depend upon stuffy and unhygienic portable toilets, shows and concerts can now arrange for storage containers to be installed to offer a new level of comfort and care for every one of their attendees.

Container Café Spaces

One of the huge benefits of shipping containers lies in the fact that they are so spacious. As a result, many people have been taking the initiative to create public businesses within their hollows. And why not?

Shipping containers can be modified and decorated to create quirky, contemporary spaces which can be quickly moved from location to location. You could set up a staple café in your home, town, or a travelling bistro which can be dropped off from place to place. It’s really up to you! Relatively lightweight spaces are ideal for low-key café establishments which need to be set up at short notice.

Container cafés are great as they can be transported and installed as part of travelling shows and fairs. They also don’t come with any of the financial hassles of commercial building rental and ownership. While you may need to obtain specific licenses to run your café space, half of the battle is getting set up physically. Why not cut that work out completely by ordering a modified café container to be delivered to you whenever and wherever you may need it?

container cafe
container pop up bar

Pop Up Bars

The concept of a pop-up bar is a relatively new but increasingly popular idea. Contemporary food and drink hospitality culture focuses on upcycling and making new things out of old ideas. Therefore, buying a shipping container and fitting it out as a temporary bar space is a great idea if you’re hoping to appeal to a festival or show circuit.

Pop up bar containers can arrive modified and ready for you to theme at your leisure. Travelling bars are becoming more and more common, especially during summer and winter, as hospitality brands focus on appealing to Christmas and holiday markets. A storage container bar is one which can be set up and transported from place to place with ease, with low running costs and with charm to appeal to those likely to be attending food and drink fairs. There’s an appeal to upcycling and space transformation that’s still fairly electric – why not monopolise on that from season to season?

Art and Work

Finding a temporary workspace for creative endeavours can be tricky. What’s more, office rental prices are skyrocketing, which is making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to carve themselves a working space in their local area. Storage container offices are a great idea financially and in terms of practicality.

Your storage container modification can easily house and store all of your creations and can serve to inspire you from day today. All you need to do is kit your unit out with necessary furniture and accoutrements! As with commercial pop up units, you can also hire yourself a temporary creative space or working unit if you are in a particular area for a certain amount of time.

Pop up offices are becoming more common, especially when they are needed to oversee housing developments. You’ll likely already have seen construction sites set up with temporary shipping unit offices. Why not take that idea on for your own endeavours?

container used for an exhibit
container used for trade exhibits


We’ve already discussed shipping container uses for travelling shows and fairs. What about when it comes to housing and displaying exhibits themselves? Temporary art shows are well at home in portable shipping containers. You can easily set up your own art show and exhibition which can be transported from area to area as and when you need to. Why demand that people come to see your artwork when you could take it directly to them?

Some storage containers can even be modified to become works of art themselves. Your imagination is your only limit! There are hundreds of examples scattered across the web for you to take a look at – why not see if anything out there inspires you?

Portable Pools

It’s becoming more and more commonplace to see temporary pools set up in warmer months for public use. After all, not everyone has access to a public pool or leisure centre. Storage container pools are expansive, easy to set up and to maintain. More importantly, they’re affordable and easy to clean, too.

Everyone wants a novel way to cool down during the warmer seasons, which is why so many people and local businesses are taking advantage of modifying storage container units to create unique swimming pool spaces. One of the more popular and innovative shipping containers uses, you can alter and theme these spaces however you see fit.

Once again, portability is key here, too. When the warmer months have come and gone, shipping container pools can be stored away with ease to bring out again the next year. Flexible, affordable and fun for all – a fantastic enterprising opportunity!

container under construction

smokers' shed container

More and More Uses

Your imagination is your only limit when it comes to creativity with shipping containers. Create flexible, portable and affordable spaces for work, play, for shopping, medicinal supply and more.

Call to learn more about what you can do with shipping containers – call us on directly!