5 tips for creating amazing exterior spaces and beach clubs onboard yachts

Fort Lauderdale yacht interior designer, Karen Lynn Poulos, shares 5 tips for creating amazing exterior spaces and beach clubs onboard yachts 

Some of the most important areas besides a yachts interior onboard a yacht are its exterior areas. Typically it’s where owners and guests and their company spend many hours entertaining, dining, sunbathing and relaxing with the all amazing surroundings, sights and sounds and beautiful views of sea that yachting has to offer. Onboard most yachts there are typically an exterior deck or two or three and a space like the aft deck and sun deck or flybridge area. Many of the yachts exterior spaces I have visited or eventually refit are often not well designed or thought out but have such endless and amazing possibilities and can always be improved upon. Just as much attention that goes into designing the yachts interior should go into the yachts exterior. 


Here are some of my tips 

  1. All exterior seating should be very comfortable for lounging and functional like a outdoor living room or a beach club. All exterior built in seating can either be removed completely to open and clear the deck to accommodate loose exterior beach club style loose furniture that can stacked and stored on the deck and be covered and tied down with bungis when the boat is running. The other option is to layout if (newbuild) or modify the layout (if a refit)of the exterior spaces and design all the built in exterior seating deeper to create sun beds and lounge areas that are built in or fixed to the deck. In cases of a refit, I almost always modify all built in seating making it as deep as possible. I also study the cushion fit and then fabricate new cushions which are ergonomic designs for maximum comfort and designed with a high quality exterior fabric. I also like to mix up high quality cool loose exterior pieces of furniture with the exterior built in seating to add some interest to create a cool vibe. 

  2. Incorporate textures and colors to make the exterior decks pop and feel like an outdoor lounge. Adding woven textures that look like wicker that are made to withstand the salt and sea are great additions to a yachts exterior. This can be done by adding baskets with towels and sunbathing lotions or also in the exterior furnishing selections. Also there is a great selection of high quality stainless and teak exterior yacht furnishings that are classic and add texture. I also like to add pops of color, texture and pattern in the exterior cushion design, throw pillows, table decor and table linens. One of the most dramatic ways to add warmth and texture is to add teak decking or outdoor carpets on the deck floors which cozy up a yachts exterior. 

  3. Add special touches of lighting like lanterns and effect lighting. Please check into companies like Gloister and Kettal that have teak and stainless lanterns that are solar powered and are high quality. These lanterns are a great addition to your exterior beach club spaces onboard when in port or at anchor and create a beautiful lighting and atmosphere on the exterior decks at night. They can be easily stored and also will perform well in the salt and sun. Also an addition of rope lighting can be added in built in on all the exterior areas which creates nice atmosphere and soft glow at night. Backlighting an exterior bar is also a fabulous effect that adds to a chic lounge feel. And finally let’s not forget underwater lights on the boats hull which are a very dramatic way to illuminate the boat at night to create the WOW factor. 

  4. Add some cover onboard the yachts exterior. Cover or shade is very important for many people onboard yachts because it protects them from the strong suns rays and offers a cooler area to relax and dine then in the direct sun. A covered area on the exterior of the yacht can be created in the form of a extending an existing covered deck area or adding a hardtop a sundeck or flybridge. Another cool solution for shade onboard yachts is to create the areas to be shaded with sail shades, umbrellas, or retractable awnings which also offer removable, storable, flexible shade solutions that also look amazing! These areas can be dressed and set up when the boats at anchor or in port and removed and stored when the boats not in service or doing a crossing. 

  5. Incorporate plants or greenery to your exterior spaces on the yacht exterior decks. Create a living garden with some colorful pots adds that special touch and is always appreciated by many. A very classic palm tree in a artistic pot can be a nice touch in several areas on the decks. Another option is to create greenery wall, zen garden or an herb garden to add some elements from nature and green color to the exterior space. I know live plants require some care but think of all the enjoyment and benefits especially in an herb garden which can be used by the chef for preparation of tasty cuisine for owners and guests. If the idea of greenery seem to difficult to maintain or is not possible, high quality silks maybe substituted from a company like NDI. I know of one owner who actually had a green garden space on board his yacht for his and his guests dogs to run and play!