The Boating Life

What you need to live well in a small space on the water

Small Space Boat Living

small space boat living #sdsmallspaces melissa young

Melissa Young on her 48-foot Beneteau Oceanis. Photo by Tim Melideo.

Melissa Young is savvy about designing spaces for various eateries, lifestyle brands and the hospitality industry (she’s currently working on a hip hostel in San Diego). But she also knows a lot about residing in a small space. After living part time on Gypsy Moon, her and husband Dean Loring’s 48-foot Beneteau Oceanis, she knows how to live well in a small space. An article about Melissa Young appears in our April issue, on newsstands March 28. In the meantime, here are her tips:

small space boat living #sdsmallspaces melissa youngLess is more

If there is one tip that makes living in a small space enjoyable, it is that the more you have in that space, the more complicated existence becomes.

Be particular when choosing the items that surround you in a limited space. Carefully curating pieces that you love and are of high quality will bring the greatest pleasure. Basic necessities such as cookware and linens are carefully selected so that every touch point contributes to an overall enjoyable small-space living experience.

Finally, the ability to purge your space of the clutter that accumulates over time requires discipline.  Let’s face it, simplicity is complicated.


The following items were key to transforming our boat into a space we can call our home:

  1. Quality bedding is a must. We upgraded from the standard 3-inch functional boat mattress to a high-end mattress and topper that we combined with soft, luxurious bedding. High-quality bath towels also provide us and our guests with an experience much like a luxury boutique hotel. We didn’t limit the high-quality linens to the interior. We also place down throw pillows with luxury fabrics in the outdoor seating areas to make it feel more inviting, warm, and comfortable.
  2. We always make sure to have fresh flowers on board. I always have a few orchids around, which we make sailing-safe by placing a bit of earthquake putty under the pots.
  3. Basic necessities such as kitchen cookware must be beautiful and of high quality. Cookware from the marine supply store is very utilitarian and quite frankly a little depressing to use. Quality pots, pans and silverware/glasses are key to an enjoyable on-board dining experience.
  4. I like to stock my bathroom with high-quality skincare products. We are often traveling from the boat to my desert house so having my favorite beauty products on board is not only convenient, but it turns a casual overnight stay into a spa-like retreat.
  5. And, of course, what makes any home cozy and comfortable—including a boat—is the food! We are frequently entertaining friends so stocking interesting food and wine to enjoy during a sunset sail is important.

– Melissa Young
MY Studio ID

small spaces

It’s Small Spaces Week! We’ll be sharing our best stories, tips, tricks and ideas for making the most out of small spaces, and we want to see yours! Whether it’s your kitchen storage or a tiny house, we want to hear all about it. We’ll feature some of our favorites. Tag us on instagram and use our #SDsmallspaces hashtag!


Melissa Young Dean Loring San Diego Anza Borrego homeA Designer’s Desert Getaway

Read about Melissa Young and Dean Loring’s pueblo-inspired getaway home in Anza Borrego Desert State Park in the outskirts of San Diego County. We featured their home in our April issue, and you can read the story online now!

Categories: Digital Exclusives, Home Design, Lifestyles