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Shipping Container Coffee Shop Design Ideas and Benefits

September 14, 2023


Are you considering entering the coffee shop business, or maybe expanding your existing brand? Have you ever considered building a shipping container coffee shop?

This unique and eco-friendly trend is not only eye-catching, but it is also cost-effective, versatile, and quick to set up.

In this article, we will explore some innovative shipping container coffee shop design ideas and delve into the many benefits they offer.

shipping container coffee shop design

Why Choose a Shipping Container Coffee Shop?


One of the main reasons to opt for a shipping container is sustainability. These containers are usually repurposed (we recommend buying a used shipping container), thus extending their lifecycle and reducing waste. They can also be outfitted with eco-friendly insulation and amenities, such as solar panels, rainwater collection systems, or double-glazing.


Sea container coffee shops are generally cheaper to build than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The containers themselves are relatively inexpensive, and the container modification costs can be quite reasonable, especially when compared to the price of real estate in prime locations.

Furthermore, you can enjoy further cost savings by purchasing a second-hand decommissioned container (that is no longer used for shipping goods), as opposed to buying new.

Speed of Construction

Another advantage is the speed of construction. Building a shipping container coffee shop can be incredibly fast, sometimes taking as little as a few weeks from planning right through to operation.


Shipping containers can be easily moved to different locations. If a particular spot isn’t generating enough foot traffic, you can simply relocate your coffee shop.

Strength & Security

Sea containers are renowned for their strength and durability. The are built to withstand the harshest of conditions and resist atmospheric corrosion. They are also water-proof, dust-proof and vermin-proof (when the windows and doors are locked!).

Investment Opportunities

Sea containers typically hold their resale value, which makes them a reliable investment and means you can on-sell them when no longer required.

Shipping Container Coffee Shop Design Ideas

Minimalistic Chic

Opt for a clean, minimalistic design to make your coffee shop feel spacious and inviting. Light-coloured interiors, accompanied by simplistic furniture and natural light, can create a serene atmosphere, perfect for coffee lovers.

Rustic Industrial

If you prefer a grittier aesthetic, go for the rustic industrial design. Use raw materials like exposed steel beams, rustic wooden furniture, and vintage décor to create a unique environment.

Open-Air Café

Consider a design that allows you to open up one side of the container to create an open-air café. This is perfect for summer, or areas with a pleasant climate year-round and offers a great outdoor experience.

Multi-Container Layout

If one container isn’t enough, you can easily expand by stacking or aligning additional containers. This can create a more complex, multi-level coffee shop, offering more room and possibly different zones for various activities such as a dedicated dining area, a quick-service counter, or a cosy reading nook.

Green Space

Add some greenery to your setup, either inside or outside the container. Plants can create a soothing atmosphere and improve air quality, making it an even more enjoyable space for your customers.

You can also use plant pots or install a fence to create a defined dining area.

shipping container coffee shop

The Benefits of Innovative Designs

Customer Attraction

A well-designed sea container coffee shop can act as its own marketing tool. The unique look will attract more customers who are curious to experience something different.

Due to the temporary nature of shipping container placement, you can also secure locations for your café which would otherwise be unavailable to you if you were to build a bricks and mortar store – for example, beaches, parks and other pedestrianised zones.


Utilising the sides of the container offers excellent opportunities for branding. Custom paints, logos, and murals can all be easily applied to a shipping container.

Efficient Use of Space

Containers are compact, encouraging you to make the most efficient use of space. This limitation can actually be a blessing in disguise, forcing you to prioritise essentials, making everything easily accessible for both customers and staff.

Ease of Expansion

Because of the modular nature of shipping containers, expansion is a breeze. Whether you want to add a new serving area, a storage room, or even a rooftop lounge, containers make it easy to expand as your business grows.

A shipping container coffee shop offers a host of benefits, ranging from sustainability and cost-effectiveness, to quick construction and versatility.

Innovative design options also allow you to create a unique environment that stands out, attracting more customers and providing an unforgettable coffee experience.

So, if you’re planning to venture into or expand your coffee shop business, a see container could be the perfect solution for you.

Looking to Open a Shipping Container Coffee Shop?

At U-Move Australia, we offer a wide range of sea containers for sale, available in a variety of sizes and as high-cube options. Furthermore, we specialise in container modifications, which means we can custom design a container that meets your exact needs.

Please contact our friendly team to discuss your requirements.