The best narrowboat interior layout for your needs

Whether you’re a weekend boater and use your narrowboat for social occasions, or you‘ve made your boat your permanent residence, the layout will make a big difference to your time onboard.

The configuration of your narrowboat will depend on the size and stern type of your vessel. Narrowboats fall into one of three basic categories depending on stern type - traditional, semi-trad or cruiser stern. The latter two provide extra space on the deck and are particularly popular with recreational boaters, allowing more people to enjoy taking to the helm when cruising the canals. However, this extended outdoor space leaves the boat more vulnerable to the elements. The first is most popular with liveaboard boaters given that there is sufficient outside space for steering without taking away from the internal space of the boat, plus the engine is sheltered below deck protected from harsh weather.


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Your floor plan will also be influenced by the length of your narrowboat - inevitably the longer the vessel, the more space you’ll have internally. However, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, and our ideal configuration works in even the cosiest of narrowboats.

Reserve the front of your boat for the lounge - seating here will provide the best view as you move along the water and can also double as a bed (think daybed or pull out sofa) if you’re strapped for capacity. A fitted galley kitchen will maximise space and modernise the look of your boat with its streamlined units.

Housing the master bedroom to the rear of the boat, with a comfortable fixed double bed, will provide a cosy retreat and reserved use of the standing deck. Placing a bathroom between the master and the rest of the living quarters allows a degree of separation. If you’re a sole boater or are on board with a partner, a walk through bathroom is practical and economises space. But when expecting regular guests an ensuite to serve the master will provide increased privacy and a degree of separation between the sleeping areas. If your boat is long enough, an additional bedroom with an extra pull-out or bunk, followed by a main bathroom between the second bedroom and galley to serve guests is ideal for when family and friends come to stay.

This ideal layout will offer you a comfortable, sociable space to the front of your narrowboat, but cosy private quarters to the rear.

Can’t wait to start rearranging your boat? Get started with your narrowboat revamp by choosing the perfect new name for your vessel.

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