The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
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More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.

5 shipping container homes you can order right now

A black shipping container house has rear doors open so you can see inside.Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

Repurposed with style

Shipping containers have been used for everything from urban farms to off-the-grid getaways and all-in-one pools. Made from the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, these homes can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials.

Shipping container diehards also love their durability and, in some cases, their portability—although moving a container can take time and be expensive. And while there are plenty of DIY plans out there, it can be hard to devote the time to transforming a utilitarian box of steel into a cozy abode.

Luckily, several companies sell shipping container homes—one is even available on Amazon—that can be delivered and assembled in as little as 10 weeks. Containers typically come in two sizes, either 20 feet by 8 feet or 40 feet by 8 feet. The smaller of the two equals about 160 square feet of living space, but the larger container gets you 320 square feet. That’s tiny home living at its smallest, so some manufacturers will also combine containers to create more spacious homes.

To help you figure out which one is the perfect design for...


A black shipping container house has rear doors open so you can see inside.Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

Repurposed with style

Shipping containers have been used for everything from urban farms to off-the-grid getaways and all-in-one pools. Made from the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, these homes can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials.

Shipping container diehards also love their durability and, in some cases, their portability—although moving a container can take time and be expensive. And while there are plenty of DIY plans out there, it can be hard to devote the time to transforming a utilitarian box of steel into a cozy abode.

Luckily, several companies sell shipping container homes—one is even available on Amazon—that can be delivered and assembled in as little as 10 weeks. Containers typically come in two sizes, either 20 feet by 8 feet or 40 feet by 8 feet. The smaller of the two equals about 160 square feet of living space, but the larger container gets you 320 square feet. That’s tiny home living at its smallest, so some manufacturers will also combine containers to create more spacious homes.

To help you figure out which one is the perfect design for you, here are five shipping container homes you can order right this second.

Alternative Living Spaces

 Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

Size: Varies

Cost: Starting from $38,000

Key features: Alternative Living Spaces creates custom homes out of shipping containers, allowing customers to pick everything from the paint color to the finishes. Amenities include AC/heat, shiplap walls, barn doors, and options with a queen-sized Murphy bed. [More info]

Honomobo HO3

 Courtesy of Honomobo
 Courtesy of Honomobo
 Courtesy of Honomobo
 Courtesy of Honomobo

Size: 534 square feet

Cost: According to their website, “The cost of a Honomobo varies depending on many factors including; location, scope of work and site specifics.”

Key features: Alberta-based Honomobo builds several different models of shipping container homes. The HO# uses three shipping containers knit together to create a bedroom, kitchen with an island, and a 21-foot front window to maximize light.

Honomobo’s largest shipping container house is a three-bedroom, two-bath stunner with 1,530 square feet. All Honomobo homes are built to local building codes and are typically installed on a permanent foundation. [More info]

Kubed Living

 Courtesy of Kubed Living
The interior of a shipping container with a lofted bed, a couch, a bathroom, a kitchen area.Courtesy of Kubed Living
The studio model from Kubed Living with a lofted bedroom.

Size: 160 square feet

Cost: From $61,000

Key features: Pasadena-based design-builder Kubed Living is offering six different models made from recycled shipping containers. The smallest uses one twenty-foot container for a studio, while the largest is a five-bedroom option using eight containers.

The smaller unit, called Kubed 160, includes a kitchen with dishwasher and microwave, upper and lower cabinets, stove, oven, fridge and even a pantry. Other amenities include air and heat, a five-foot closet for clothing and storage, and a bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower door. [More info]

Custom Container Living

A shipping container house is teal with a row of windows on the top 1⁄4 of the home. A front porch has been carved out and there is a single door that lets you enter. Courtesy of Custom Container Living

Size: 312 square feet

Cost: $56,400

Key features: Made from a 40-foot shipping container, this home by Custom Container Living uses lap siding and stained pine to create an inviting and rather spacious tiny home with two sleeping lofts. The home fits a standard five-foot tub/shower unit, combo washer/dryer, and full-size dishwasher, and approximately a third of the unit is carved out to form a quaint covered porch. [More info]

Backcountry Containers

A small shipping container that has been converted into a home. There is a door, windows, deck, and a wooden staircase leading to a roof deck. The exterior is painted blue.
The interior of a shipping container home. There is a couch with multiple patterned pillows. There is art on the walls. There is a coffee table.
The interior of a shipping container tiny home. This is the kitchen area with a sink, countertops, and a sign that reads: back country containers dot com.Backcountry Containers
The deck on a shipping container home. There are two red lounge chairs looking out onto a lake.

Size: 160 square feet

Cost: Starting at $32,999

Key features: Located in Houston, Backcountry Containers makes several different shipping container homes, including this model—called the Rustic Retreat—which was designed to sleep up to 3 people in a 20-foot container. There’s also a kitchenette, full bathroom, a large sliding glass door, and the company’s signature rooftop deck. [More info]

A black shipping container house has rear doors open so you can see inside.Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

Repurposed with style

Shipping containers have been used for everything from urban farms to off-the-grid getaways and all-in-one pools. Made from the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, these homes can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials.

Shipping container diehards also love their durability and, in some cases, their portability—although moving a container can take time and be expensive. And while there are plenty of DIY plans out there, it can be hard to devote the time to transforming a utilitarian box of steel into a cozy abode.

Luckily, several companies sell shipping container homes—one is even available on Amazon—that can be delivered and assembled in as little as 10 weeks. Containers typically come in two sizes, either 20 feet by 8 feet or 40 feet by 8 feet. The smaller of the two equals about 160 square feet of living space, but the larger container gets you 320 square feet. That’s tiny home living at its smallest, so some manufacturers will also combine containers to create more spacious homes.

To help you figure out which one is the perfect design for you, here are five shipping container homes you can order right this second.

Alternative Living Spaces

 Courtesy of Alternative Living Spaces

Size: Varies

Cost: Starting from $38,000

Key features: Alternative Living Spaces creates custom homes out of shipping containers, allowing customers to pick everything from the paint color to the finishes. Amenities include AC/heat, shiplap walls, barn doors, and options with a queen-sized Murphy bed. [More info]

Honomobo HO3

 Courtesy of Honomobo
 Courtesy of Honomobo
 Courtesy of Honomobo
 Courtesy of Honomobo

Size: 534 square feet

Cost: According to their website, “The cost of a Honomobo varies depending on many factors including; location, scope of work and site specifics.”

Key features: Alberta-based Honomobo builds several different models of shipping container homes. The HO# uses three shipping containers knit together to create a bedroom, kitchen with an island, and a 21-foot front window to maximize light.

Honomobo’s largest shipping container house is a three-bedroom, two-bath stunner with 1,530 square feet. All Honomobo homes are built to local building codes and are typically installed on a permanent foundation. [More info]

Kubed Living

 Courtesy of Kubed Living
The interior of a shipping container with a lofted bed, a couch, a bathroom, a kitchen area.Courtesy of Kubed Living
The studio model from Kubed Living with a lofted bedroom.

Size: 160 square feet

Cost: From $61,000

Key features: Pasadena-based design-builder Kubed Living is offering six different models made from recycled shipping containers. The smallest uses one twenty-foot container for a studio, while the largest is a five-bedroom option using eight containers.

The smaller unit, called Kubed 160, includes a kitchen with dishwasher and microwave, upper and lower cabinets, stove, oven, fridge and even a pantry. Other amenities include air and heat, a five-foot closet for clothing and storage, and a bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower door. [More info]

Custom Container Living

A shipping container house is teal with a row of windows on the top 1⁄4 of the home. A front porch has been carved out and there is a single door that lets you enter. Courtesy of Custom Container Living

Size: 312 square feet

Cost: $56,400

Key features: Made from a 40-foot shipping container, this home by Custom Container Living uses lap siding and stained pine to create an inviting and rather spacious tiny home with two sleeping lofts. The home fits a standard five-foot tub/shower unit, combo washer/dryer, and full-size dishwasher, and approximately a third of the unit is carved out to form a quaint covered porch. [More info]

Backcountry Containers

A small shipping container that has been converted into a home. There is a door, windows, deck, and a wooden staircase leading to a roof deck. The exterior is painted blue.
The interior of a shipping container home. There is a couch with multiple patterned pillows. There is art on the walls. There is a coffee table.
The interior of a shipping container tiny home. This is the kitchen area with a sink, countertops, and a sign that reads: back country containers dot com.Backcountry Containers
The deck on a shipping container home. There are two red lounge chairs looking out onto a lake.

Size: 160 square feet

Cost: Starting at $32,999

Key features: Located in Houston, Backcountry Containers makes several different shipping container homes, including this model—called the Rustic Retreat—which was designed to sleep up to 3 people in a 20-foot container. There’s also a kitchenette, full bathroom, a large sliding glass door, and the company’s signature rooftop deck. [More info]


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Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.