Maximizing Your Living Space

February 2017 Feature Nicole LoCicero

City residents have been cramming their stuff into tiny apartments for centuries. But nobody truly understands the problem of space until they’ve experienced life on the water.

Houseboat owners need to be especially savvy when it comes to maximizing room in their living space. A kitchen is a kitchen, and a bathroom is a bathroom. A smartly designed living room, on the other hand, can be the single most important spot where water dwellers gain storage and more than a little elbowroom. 

There are a variety of interior design and decorating tips catered specifically to a floating lifestyle. When every square inch matters, you don’t want to rock the boat.

Consider these brilliant space-saving solutions that’ll do more than stow your treasures. With a little strategy and insight, your houseboat can offer all the airy comfort of a landlocked home. The difference is, you get to keep the stunning view all summer long.

Embrace The Power Of Reflection

It’s more than smoke and mirrors. Adorning your walls with multiple mirrors both large and small can enhance the feeling of depth throughout the room. Go for a hutch with glass paneling, or install a decorative statement mirror that’ll disperse the natural light reflecting off the water. Add multiple components, and your living space will give the grand illusion of much more square footage.

Invest In Folding Furniture

When people think of collapsible furniture, their minds go to tacky patio chairs, cheesy tray tables and TV dinners. In reality, designers offer high-end creations that let you add and remove living or dining room seating as necessary. Try out a gorgeous bamboo chair in a bold, nautical color. You can even mix and match shades to bring some vivid life to your space.

Benches Double As Storage

Ottomans add coziness for homeowners who love to lounge, but they’re also great solutions when you need extra guest seating and hidden storage. Clearing clutter from your home's surfaces gives the visual illusion of spaciousness. Hide books, blankets, towels, or trinkets in a lovely bench that is lightweight enough to move inside and out.

Frame Your Fabulous View

If you can’t give up your big, fluffy couch, there’s still a strategy for opening up your otherwise cramped living room. Always face furniture toward the wall with the biggest eye-level window. As you and your guests gather or dine, you’ll enjoy the gorgeous scenery—but it’ll also give the impression of space as the threshold between indoors and outdoors disappears.

Nooks Aren’t Just For Breakfast

An awkward corner or far wall can eat up precious space if you don’t decorate it smartly. A quaint dinette or similar nook-style seating arrangement works perfectly in a houseboat living room. The table can be used for serving up appetizers or playing card games. If you cover the bench and chairs in a soft, airy fabric and toss in a couple of marine-inspired throw pillows, visitors can also relax in luxury.

Cart Around Your Bar

The pleasure of houseboat living is that life is never confined to the indoors. Since your entertaining may take place on the deck, make your cocktail supplies mobile. Instead of wasting space with a built-in or stationary bar, use a coffee or kitchen cart as a portable solution. You’ll love the space-saving convenience of always having your spirits on hand. Don’t forget your nautical glassware.

Opt For Wall-Mounted Lamps

Tabletop lighting can prove clunky and cramped if centered in the room. Avoid obstructing the view and free up space by mounting lovely sconces or more decorative lamps away from the action. You can preserve the style and elegance of your houseboat living area by installing a stellar shore-inspired chandelier. Your art piece will stay high and dry away from your small living quarters.

Be Creative With Your Coffee Table

We love to gather around a central surface, but a traditional coffee table can break up the flow of a room—especially when you’re dealing with a confined space. Choose a more discreet style, like one with a glass top. The chic look is sophisticated but also reflects light for a fresh, open feel. You can also find fun multipurpose coffee tables with built-in games like checkers.

Adopt just a few of these quintessential houseboat design tips, and you’ll maximize your living room space with little to no effort.

 About The Author

Nicole LoCicero is a decorator, homemaker and mother living in Raleigh, NC. Her love of the ocean drove her to open Interior By Design is a recurring column in Houseboat magazine.

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