What your boat design says about you

a group of people socialise on deck of a boat. They sit around a table on large upholstered benches

Clearly, the design decisions that you make for your boat will be a reflection of your taste, preferences and personality. When you’re starting out in your decision making, though, it can be hard to know where to start! From deciding on the model and style of a new boat to commissioning a boat interior, how can you make the right decisions for you? Instinct plays a part, of course, but so does careful contemplation about how your lifestyle and long term comfort is supported. So to ease the process, we look at all the aspects of boat design and match them with concepts, habits and lifestyles.

Your boat exterior

From first impressions to accessories and other design minutiae, there are specific areas of a boat which can be styled to your preference. Others, you must choose to be in line with your taste and sailing ambitions. Not every element can be bespoke unless you are, yourself, a boat engineer with unlimited funds! 

Boat shape 

Firstly there’s the shape and function of your boat. From a sail boat to a power boat to a hybrid, the shape of your boat is a reflection of its function. Which type of boat is best for you depends on several factors.

  • Sail boat – A classic sailing boat is such a distinctive shape. People who choose this type of boat are often experienced sailors, looking to have excursions that require technical skill and a thirst for adventure. 
  • Power boat – With speed and simplicity at their core, a power boat is versatile and able to cover plenty of ground. If long haul sailing is important to you, these boats look and feel great. 
  • Multi-hull – super stable and accessible, these vessels prioritise comfort. So for the super social sailor who enjoys reclining on deck seating, this is an ideal boat style.


From colours to maintenance, the paintwork of your boat is incredibly important. It is the hull paint which offers protection against the elements, and creates a first impression of the whole vessel. When you decorate, or re-decorate your boat, remember to consider key points. 

  • Colours – Essentially, you can paint your boat any colour you like. However, there’s a reason that most people choose white. It absorbs less UV and therefore is more effective at protecting the hull. Darker colours might show up scratches and require more aesthetic maintenance, so this is also something to consider. 
  • Text – Your boat name and registration number must be clearly visible on the hull of your boat. Bear this in mind when you choose the colour and font of your text. In the UK, boat names and numbers must be displayed on the boat’s bow or stern in letters at least three inches high. 

On deck

If your boat is being built to commission, you may be able to choose a finish for the deck itself. Otherwise, the deck is still home to many ways that you can make your decorative mark. 

  • Seating – Depending on the size of your boat, you might have several areas of seating to design. The key way to create stylish and comfortable seating areas on the deck of your boat is with bespoke cushions. From cockpit cushions to waterproof deck seating, you can create stunning visual aesthetic alongside practical and comfortable seating. 
  • Storage – From drawers to boxes, your storage on deck can be cunningly clever. Under seating storage areas really optimise space, while free standing boxes can be the ideal addition when you have lots of things to keep safe.

Navigating aesthetic style

Boat design, like home interiors, fashion, or any other form of styling, is subjective and variable. There isn’t a ‘best’ way to style your boat, since what screams elegance to one person may be abhorred by the next. Your boat is essentially a blank canvas on which you can project your unique vision of comfort and luxury. It can really help to identify your style preferences, though. You might be communicating with a professional designer, upholsterer, or sales person. By using the right terminology you’ll be able to find the right products and make the right choices to arrive at your final look. 


Less is more. The minimalist boat owner values simplicity and functionality above all else. This design features clean lines, uncluttered spaces, and a neutral colour palette, creating an ambiance of tranquillity and order.


Classic boat design is perennially popular, with good reason. Mahogany finishes, brass fittings, and rich, warm colours evoke a sense of history and timelessness. These are boats that celebrate the craftsman’s art and offer a comforting sense of continuity.


Contemporary looks are all about unfussy functionality. This might mean high-gloss finishes, LED lighting, or state-of-the-art navigation. It’s a style that’s as dynamic as it is luxurious.


A retro boat design captures the essence of a bygone era with its simple charm, vintage fittings, and perhaps a lovingly restored classic engine. Art deco styles that celebrate mid-century modernism or the 1920s elegance feel nostalgic and are linked with seafaring of the past.

Nautical chic

Theming design along nautical lines combines the essence of a seafaring life with contemporary comforts. Think navy and white colour schemes, built-in bookshelves replicating the cabin of a grand sailboat, and weathered-look wooden floors that nod to the ocean’s tempestuous soul.

Cabin accessories

The internal decor of your boat is more than a matter of aesthetics; it’s a reflection of your commitment to comfort. Every touch, from the fabric of the soft furnishings to the placement of lighting, plays a role in the passenger experience.

Soft furnishings

Your choice of upholstery, throw cushions, and curtains isn’t just about creating a pretty picture; it’s about creating an environment that’s both resilient to the marine environment and soothing to the senses. Stain-resistant fabrics, easy-wipe leather, and indoor-outdoor textiles blend practicality with flair.


Lighting can transform a boat’s interior from a practical space to a warm, inviting haven. LED strips under counters, task lighting over workspaces, and dimmable fixtures in living areas offer versatility for every situation, whether it’s hosting a twilight cocktail hour or navigating in starlight.

Bespoke furniture

When you’ve customised fittings and furnishings to suit your boat and your tastes, you’ve elevated the level of luxury to a bespoke standard. Custom-made boat seats, hand-carved tables, and one-of-a-kind accents turn your boat interior into a personalised statement.

From your choice of boat model to the finer visual accessories, it’s so important to create a boat in which you feel relaxed and comfortable. This is why bespoke furnishings can be the deciding factor that makes a boat feel like yours. To explore what Wickenroy Pavitt can do for your boat style, just get in touch!

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