Narrowboat Living: Space-Saving Solutions

Narrow boat moored on a stretch of the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom.

Discover space-saving solutions and interior design ideas to make your floating home even more efficient and comfortable - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Living on a narrowboat is a freeing experience, where every day can be an adventure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its quirks to overcome. One of which can be storage; where do you put your belongings when you’re on the canal? Below are some tips and ideas on how you can make the most of your space. 

Being clever with canal boat kitchen storage
Making the most of your kitchen space is crucial on a narrowboat; you need a workstation that is functional. Making sure you have as much worktop space as possible is key, so always hang things up out of the way by using hooks or floating shelves. This means that you can get the additional storage space you need, without the need for bulky cupboards that would only close in your space even more. 

What to do with bulkier possessions when you liveaboard
When it comes to large or bulky items, these can be very awkward to store on a narrowboat and can often end up just getting in the way. It’s a good idea to make use of vacuum packing for items such as spare duvets or blankets as this will significantly reduce the space they take up.
Under-bed storage is another useful storage solution for those big items you can’t go without - this enables you to keep the items out of the way and out of sight to keep your narrowboat home clear and tidy. If you’re reconfiguring your space, check if you could incorporate some floor-to-ceiling cupboards or shelving units to really help maximise the space you have; add to these some internal organisers and you’re well on your way to gaining excess storage space. 


Don’t waste space on your narrowboat! 
Instead of having clutter dotted around your boat making things look and feel untidy and clogging up much-needed storage space, think about making use of small, tight or awkward spaces by inserting storage solutions in them. Use hooks, boxes, baskets, pots etc. to keep items in and to make a feature out of these often overlooked areas. 

Declutter your canal boat
Something that many seasoned narrowboat enthusiasts will tell you is to declutter. If you have clothes you haven’t worn in years, a stack of DVDs you can now stream, or books you won’t read again, why not package them up and take them to a local charity shop? Not only will this help your local area and prevent the items from ending up in landfill, it will also provide you with so much more usable space for those items you do need to keep a hold of. 

Canal boat interior design 
Being clever with your boat’s interior design can transform your space into feeling a lot more spacious and airy. Keep your colour scheme light but don’t shy away from adding a pop of colour to make your home your own. Try adding a mirror to reflect light and to deceive the eye into thinking your space is double the size. 

Make the most of your outside space 
When you’ve done all you can to add to the space inside your narrowboat, it’s then time to turn to the outside space onboard. If you have adequate outdoor space, try storing large, weatherproof items in a box on deck. 

A lack of storage on a narrowboat no longer needs to be a problem; it’s easily solved with the help of some clever storage techniques, so don’t let this put you off getting out there on the water and experiencing all that narrowboat life has to offer.    

Do you have more useful tips on how to make the most of your narrowboat storage? We would love to hear them!

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