Are you looking for narrowboat bedroom ideas for your next renovation project?

We know how overwhelming this can be, especially since you have such a small space to work with. Applying what works in an average-sized room to your cabin is extremely difficult.  

Don’t worry—we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you plot out your bedroom from start to finish, including a list of narrowboat bedroom design ideas to inspire the aesthetics.


Narrowboat bedroom design tips 


#1 – Pay attention to layout 

The layout of your narrowboat bedroom will depend on the available space and the shape of your bedroom.

Some narrowboats will have room for a freestanding bed frame and other furniture, while others will have a bed built to occupy the entire room.

It’s standard for narrowboat bedrooms to have a lengthwise bed, as this is usually the only way for it to fit. But narrowboats above 57ft may have larger bedrooms, and the layout may allow for a crosswise bed.

Check out this guide to narrowboat beds and mattresses to learn more.

If you go for a lengthwise bed and have the space, we highly recommend going for an option that can be stored away during the day or reduced in size. This way, you can use your bedroom for purposes other than sleeping.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @chuggingtonnarrowboat

If you have no other option but to install a bed that takes up the entire room, you can raise it to window height to allow extra storage space underneath.

Those with space for crosswise beds can also go for under-bed storage to keep their bedroom functional and spacious.

You can get custom-made mattresses and beds if you want to optimise the layout of your narrowboat bedroom further. This is especially handy for those with limited space who want to practically utilise it.

The video below gives some handy solutions to having limited space if you want your bedroom to double up as an office or extra sitting room.


#2 – Combat condensation 

One of your main areas of focus should be installing sufficient ventilation when it comes to narrowboat bedroom design.

Condensation is a huge issue for narrowboaters, and mattresses are one of the most susceptible pieces of furniture alongside wardrobes, cupboards, and bedside tables.

A lack of airflow in your narrowboat bedroom is the main culprit behind this. When you sleep, you can produce up to 2lb of moisture through breathing and sweating, which can become trapped in the bedroom if it isn’t aired out.

Moisture clings to cold surfaces, such as the base of the bed or surrounding furniture, and with no ventilation, they will quickly harbour dampness.

 You can avoid this by:

  • Installing an air vent in your bedroom
  • Purchasing a bed base with slats or ventilation holes
  • Using a mattress underlay

Related: Top things to consider when buying a narrowboat


#3 – Plan your aesthetic

The best narrowboat bedroom designs are those that suit your taste as well as compliment the space you’re working with.

Here are a few aesthetic options that tend to work best on narrowboats. That way, you can better understand this before we jump into some beautiful narrowboat bedroom ideas from Instagram.


Bright colours 

Adding a pop of colour to your bedroom can brighten it up, especially if there is only one window and limited natural light coming through.

Contrasting colours like soft white and bright yellow give it a modern appearance and work well to create more space.

You can add pops of colour through curtains, cushions, or bed throws.

Pastel colour schemes are also a great option, as they create a bright, yet gentle and relaxing atmosphere well suited to life on the canals. 


Rustic theme 

If you want to create a comforting and cosy space, a more classic or rustic themed narrowboat bedroom could be what you need.

Not only is this great for creating a peaceful atmosphere, but rustic décor blends a modern look with old-fashioned taste.

It’s quite easy to achieve this look in narrowboats with wooden interiors, making it efficient to make the most of the space you have during a renovation.


Creative uses of space 

This applies to all design themes and colour schemes, but it’s certainly a useful tip to follow.

Making creative use of the space you have is vital to getting the most out of your narrowboat bedroom. You could just set up your bed and a side table, but why do this when you can use practical storage solutions that look great too?

The homemade bed-end box shelves above are a great example of using space creatively. 

They occupy a small amount of space but can hold much more than a simple bedside table by utilising wall space that would otherwise go to waste.

Related: The 12 most essential narrowboat storage solutions


Narrowboat bedroom design ideas



This narrowboat bedroom features a light and airy design. It emphasises the natural light coming in from the window and the overall sense of space.

The darker browns of the carpet and bed throw give it a modern and homely feel, and the pink throw adds a pop of colour. The hanging wall feature is a nice touch and gives the room character!



It’s no secret that this narrowboat bedroom is on the small side, but the bed has been cleverly raised to create extra storage.

The yellow rug and throw create a lovely contrast between the dark wood floor and the grey tones of the bedding. This achieves a bright and sunny appearance with the help of the natural light flowing through the window.



Talking about sunny narrowboat bedroom ideas, this is one of the best examples we’ve seen. It combines the theme of modern minimalism with homely touches.

Printed wallpaper is another way to add character to your space, and the neutral tones of the design above really tie the room together.



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Boat and Baby (@boatandbaby)

This room has an essence of ‘shabby chic’ with its natural wall colour, classic curtains, and regal bedding design.

As we touched on before, one of the best narrowboat bedroom design ideas for adding character is hanging wall features. The flowers in the example above add decoration by using wall space instead of floor space, which is a great idea with limited room.



Now, this is where things get exciting. If you want to go for something a little more eye-catching than your average bedroom design, try combining turquoise or teal colours with pops of yellow and pink.

The result is striking and shows that much thought has gone into the room’s aesthetic. You can build on this by adding printed wallpaper, additional lighting, house plants, and personal belongings to make the space your own.



Following on from #5, this room holds a unique style through thoughtful design.  

However, it’s a little more toned down and borrows elements from a mixture of themes. It borders on a rustic style through the wooden wall feature and headboard but is modern because the space is open and bright.



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by B E E 🐝 (@bee.roper)

Considering the aesthetic elements your narrowboat already has is a great way to inspire your bedroom design.

In this example, the interior of the narrowboat bedroom is made up of wooden planks. This already gives it a rustic feel and compliments the furnishings. The theme of turquoise, yellow and dark brown is consistent in the design and ties it together beautifully.



Blue is calming in nature and reminiscent of the canals themselves. This makes it a perfect colour theme for a narrowboat bedroom, especially if both light and dark shades are combined with pops of other colours to add some variation.

This bedroom is cosy and inviting. It instantly provides the relief you need after a long day of cruising. The personal touches like the hanging plants and stuffed toys create a strong sense of home.



This is one of our favourite narrowboat bedroom ideas by far. Not only is it one of the most unique we’ve seen, but it shows the sky is the limit when it comes to the possibilities of what can be done with such a small space.

The bunting, bed throw, and stain glass windows are beautiful and distinctive—and will truly leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits this narrowboat!


Specialist narrowboat insurance from Insure4Boats

Before making your floating home your own, you need to protect it through the right insurance.

At Insure4Boats, our specialist narrowboat insurance covers your boat for theft, malicious damage, accidental damage, and salvage charges.

We also provide third party liability and offer narrowboat contents protection, which is useful if you’re investing in furnishings and décor.

Click on the button below to learn more about our specialist narrowboat insurance and get an instant online quote today.




The UK's most romantic narrowboat destinations 

How to get your narrowboat ready for spring in 7 simple steps

The best narrowboat YouTube channels