Tepilo takes a closer look at the growing appeal of houseboats and outlines four summer interior design trends for houseboat owners.
It’s a dream of many to own a home on the waterfront, especially in the summer with longer lasting days and balmy weather. However, homes overlooking the water can come at a significant price premium.
And that’s why houseboats are becoming a more attractive option to many prospective property buyers. As house prices rise and some first-time buyers feel isolated, millennials are looking to Britain’s many beautiful waterways as places to call home.
The number of boats registered to be moored on UK waterways has increased over the last few years. London, in particular, has seen a 60% increase in boat owners in the past five years, totalling almost 4,000, according to latest figures from the Canal & River Trust, which manages 100 miles of canals in the capital including the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals.
Pros and cons of houseboat living
As with all types of housing, there are some pros and cons to living on a houseboat. For starters, permanent moorings are often hard to come by – or too expensive – meaning that you could find yourself travelling from one mooring to the next every two weeks.
You will only need a boat licence for a temporary mooring, which costs between £500 and £1,000 annually depending on the length of your boat.
Those who seek a permanent base, however, will be required to pay a yearly mooring fee from around £4,000 in suburban areas, to two times that amount in London. There is also the high cost of maintaining a residential boat.
However, a houseboat can prove to be a cheaper option then a house or a flat for first-time buyers, as you do not need to pay any stamp duty on the vast majority of purchases.
Besides, there is nothing quite like living by the waterfront. And if the idea of a houseboat really floats your boat, below we’ve got some tips on how to really make a boat feel like home…
Decorating your houseboat
There are some things to keep in mind before renovating a boat to live in. Storage, for example, must be organised well, as the majority of houseboats lack space. Because of this, you will need to be wise in ensuring that any empty space (like under the bed) is used for storage.
When planning the interior of your houseboat, remember that there will be plenty of movement from the water, both gentle and choppy. You need to make sure there aren’t too many breakable items lying around. One harsh wave could cause significant damage so be mindful to arrange your possessions in such a way that you can move around without hassle.
Interior design trends
Like any other property, houseboats require a frequent refresh, inside and out. If you think a houseboat could be for you – or are lucky enough to already own one – here are four interior design ideas to consider.
Khakis and whites: This scheme makes for an ideal mix to complement any rich colours on the exterior of the boat. White walls can add depth to any room, while soft, light khaki accents and furniture can add a soothing effect.
Create a cabin aesthetic: You may want to emulate a traditional cabin’s natural surroundings by using warm, rich tones of wood. Think birch plywood walls, light-toned furniture and an animal-skin rug to create a rusted, yet bright aesthetic that suits the warm weather.
Go modern: Alternatively, you could consider a mixture of woods and modern furniture to create an eclectic style. Subtle hints of a neutral hue mixed with soft textiles, such as woven throws and textured cushion covers, can help to create a sophisticated look and make the space feel cosy.
A summery haven: What is summer décor without a little colour? Infuse some summer brightness with lime greens, warm yellows and tangy oranges. Adding pillows, art and even decorative wall paper (the adhesive kind), will make your boat’s interior pop with life.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different or are struggling to afford a more conventional property, then houseboat living could be for you.
Living on a boat can be a truly unique experience and provided you carry out the required research before making a purchase, it could be one of the most exciting decisions you ever make.