Best Narrow Boat Interiors

Best Narrow Boat Interiors

Each boat type has a group of loyal followers, including narrowboats. These boats are famous for their designs. Each boat is uniquely different from the other based on their interior design. Most narrowboat interiors range from semi-traditional, to traditional, to wide beams, and finally cruisers. Different boaters design their boats to suit their needs. Boaters also take this approach when designing the exterior of narrowboats with designs such as signwriting, colorful fenders, roof gardens, accessories, and ropes. Boaters also use bright colors in the exterior of narrowboats.

You will be excused for thinking a narrowboat interior is dark and old fashioned. This is what most people who have never stepped into a narrowboat think. To your surprise, narrowboat interiors are as beautiful as any other boat interior. They are also diverse and personalized to the owner’s taste. You can design the interior of a narrowboat to your liking using traditional materials. There are many options to choose from, starting with country designs to contemporary and Retro. It all depends on what you want and how you would wish to express yourself through your narrow boat’s interior. This piece provides some of the best narrowboat interiors.

Traditional Interior

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Traditional interior design for narrowboats brings a balance between the boat’s exterior and its interior. In this design, the Roses and Castles artwork is commonly used. This style is creatively executed to bring out an innovative and exciting look. Designers use brilliant colors on components inside the boat as well outside.

In this design, you will find copper and brass utensils, which enhance the overall quality of the traditional interior design. This design is the complete opposite of contemporary design. While contemporary design incorporates lots of current styles, traditional interior features old styles that keep taking you back down memory lane.

Retro/Modern Interior

Modern design refers to mid-century modern. In essence, modern denotes a period in history. It was a period when a design was created, mostly between the 1920′s and the 1950′s. This design stands out because of its unadorned clean interior. Retro or modern design incorporates lots of natural materials like leather, wood, linen, and teak. In addition to this, a lot of molded plywood and plastic are commonly used in this design. It also uses polished metals to bring out a clean and well-furnished finish.

In retro interior design, color is used sparingly, and the floor is left without a rug. It is typically bare, leaving you to view the bare floorboards. In rare cases where rugs are used, they are mostly made from wool, and they have neutral colors.

Contemporary Interior

Some people confuse this design for a retro interior style. These two designs are not the same. Contemporary design refers to the current style mostly used in the market. The contemporary design works properly for narrowboats because it provides a soft, simple, and uncluttered look. However, to achieve a clean contemporary look, you should try using paints with soft tones. You can also use white paint to achieve a clean look.

On your interior floor and work surfaces, you should use dark wood to add depth to your interior’s overall look.

Ideally, a contemporary look is suited for people who love to apply the latest market trend. This style reflects what is trending at any given moment. It is mainly the default choice for most young people.

Contemporary furniture used in a narrowboat interior can be defined as modern, current, fresh, and fashionable. The most common materials used for this design include aluminum, iron, and some polymers. You will also spot windows covered with blinds rather than the usual pretty curtains.

Country Interior Design

Country design involves the use of soft pastel colors, including green, blue, pink, yellow, white, and cream all over your boat’s interior. This color provides the base style of this design and begins to create a general look. You can either use these colors as a mixture or choose a few among the list to create a color theme. Add a combination of stripes, plain patterned, and floral materials in your soft furnishing. The use of soft furnishings and rugs contributes towards achieving the country interior look.

You can also have an Aga in your kitchen that will look great and provide a heating solution for aga with a back boiler. You can also use multi-fuel stoves in your boat to give it an exciting country look. When you decide to use a multi-fuel stove, you should place a wicker basket for all the chopped wood at the side of your stove for efficiency and easier use. However, you should be careful not to over clutter your boat’s cabin as country interior design can eventually look busy, messy, and cluttered if you are not keen on the cabin’s proper organization.

Narrow Boat Interior Tips

Interior designs for your narrowboat will blow your mind. You can implement many ideas to pull the right look for your boat, beginning with the layout to flooring, windows, and space utilization. Here are some tips that you should when creating the perfect design for your narrowboat.


Before deciding on a layout, you have to determine how you will use the boat, the number of people who will be accommodated in the boat, and finally, if you will live in the boat in the long term. The answer to each of these questions introduces a new dimension to the layout of your narrowboat. If someone is living in a boat, a bed will be installed. However, the design of the boat will determine the overall layout of the boat. If your boat is used for leisure activities, the type of fixtures will be different.

In general, when determining a narrowboat’s layout, you need to be logical and limit yourself to creating a functional space. The layout will be very basic and limited to essentials.

Windows of your Narrow Boat

The windows are an essential component of a narrowboat interior design. Ideally, it would be best if you began with your boat’s layout before proceeding to fix the windows and other parts of the narrow boat’s interior.

If you have to refit your windows, you will begin by installing the window and design the rest of the narrow boat’s interior around the windows. As you design the windows, ensure there are no portholes around it, more so if you have the intention of selling the boat in the future. Some boaters argue that having portholes increases the safety of your boat. However, if a burglar is determined to access your boat illegally, he will find a way, hence insurance.

You can use double-glazed windows with a thermal break frame. Even though the double glazed windows stops condensation from happening from the inside, the frames will still experience condensation. Water from the condensation process will flow down the frame. If you have a window liner made from solid oak, the oak will turn black in the long run. Therefore, it is important to have a thermal break frame if you get a double-glazed window.


Typically, narrowboat owners have always used carpets on their floors. However, this presents a challenge when you step in from a muddy towpath. Therefore, more people go for vinyl flooring. It is easier for you to clean this type of floor. You can look at different types of vinyl floors while shopping for the appropriate flooring material and choose one that suits your needs well.

Vinyl flooring exists in two forms; these are glue-down and click flooring. The click flooring is installed as a floating floor, while glue-down is fitted using contact adhesive. Laying floors using contact adhesives presents a challenge when the boat is in motions. Typically, the gaps begin to form within the floor. In addition to this, the floor might look fine during the installation period but expand during summer. For this reason, most boaters prefer installing using the click method. It is easy and quick to install.


Narrowboats have limited space. However, when used properly, you can fit anything in this limited space. It would be best if you prioritized the essentials. The positioning of components within the boat is also important. When you get the positioning wrong, you risk wasting space within the boat.

You also have to prioritize storage space while maintaining a clean and decongested interior. It is possible to create a narrowboat with enough storage space. Your choice of design should strike a balance between functionality, look, and feel. Most narrowboat owners are taking up the L-shaped dinette design that doubles as an eating area and a sofa.


Most narrowboats have oak panels under the gunnels and white panels with oak trim on top of the gunnels. They also have cream or white ceiling. Cream and white have been the common colors for most narrowboats. However, boaters have recently been adopting grey.

Narrowboat owners need to be very careful when choosing colors. Do not throw in loads of colors due to the limited space of the boat. Loads of colors would easily overpower the boat’s interior. Going for brighter colors is great as it makes the interior feel large than it actually is. You can add more color through items like curtains and pillows.

You can also add contrasting colors by installing tiles of a different color behind your boat’s fireplace. You can find customizable stoves in the market that you can paint to your liking to introduce a contrast color.

Blinds or Curtains

Both the blinds and curtains have their merits and demerits. Most young boaters would go for the Venetian blinds (view on Amazon) because they appear less intrusive when installed. While curtains appear cozy, they might feel a bit heavy on your boat’s sides and might make your boat’s interior feel smaller. When you go for the Venetian blinds, you will have to buy strainer wires where the blinds will run along. The blinds also tend to collect dust.


A lot of narrowboats are fitted with LED lights. LEDs are low power, which makes them ideal for cruising. Once you have them installed in your narrowboat, you will not need to buy anything else. In addition to this, you might buy LEDs of different colors to suit your needs well.

The positioning of lights within your narrowboat depends on the design of your ceiling. You can fit the lights down at the sides of the sides of your oak panel fitted at the center of the ceiling.

While there are several narrowboat designs that you can choose from, the exact design you settle on depends on your preference and needs. Therefore, you need to define your wants before embarking on a quest to find the best narrowboat interior. Consult your family to get their input because they will spend a great amount of time in the boat too.