These days, we can make the inside of your living quarters horse trailer into something beautiful…
We can add custom cabinetry, tile black splashes and all of those little touches that turn a simple space into a stunning home. In fact, some of our recent trailer designs would be enough to impress even those celebrity interior decorators on HGTV! (Any Chip and Joanna Fixer Upper fans here?)
All of this beauty doesn’t count for much, though, if the trailer isn’t functional.
Yup… a smartly laid out living quarters will make all the difference. No one wants a trailer that feels cramped… one with too little storage space for your snacks and meals, not enough cabinets to hold your clothing, or so little floor space that your guests don’t even bother coming in from the cold.
Instead, you want a trailer with smartly designed features. One that provides you with plenty of space to relax, storage for all of your supplies, and enough room to prepare delicious hot meals after a day spent with the horses.
In this article, we’re going to share some of our favorite space saving design features… and one cringe-worthy option we suggest you skip!
But remember, all Double D Trailers are custom built-to-order. We love a challenge, so let us know if you have specific needs or requests.
Cleverly Designed Cabinets. Let’s start with the most obvious way to store supplies and save on space… cabinets! There’s no such thing as “too much storage” when you’re in a horse trailer. You can assume you’ll have cabinets in your kitchen, but what about in the rest of your living quarters? Look above your dinettes and sofa. See all that extra space? Why not put in some ceiling-mounted cabinets to turn that wasted head room into useful storage?
And remember, all of the cabinets in your horse trailer can be custom designed specifically for you. We once had a customer in Australia who needed very special cabinets to fit her riding equipment. She gave us specific dimensions for her top hats, riding boots, and trench coats. After a few rounds of questions, we designed the cabinet layout so that every piece fit in its custom designed space. It worked out very well!
Convertible Dinettes. Most customized living quarters will give you an option to install a dinette, but before you say yes, make sure it’s convertible. Convertible dinettes spend the day as a booth where you can eat, do your taxes, or surf the web. (Please do NOT do your taxes when you’re on a horse retreat… ugh!)
These dinettes then fold out at night to sleep several people. They’re great if you travel with your kids or have friends who only occasionally tag along to horse events.
Flip-up Counter Extensions. Nobody thinks about counter space until there simply isn’t any to work with. In many horse trailers with living quarters, counter space is at a premium. Flip-up counter extensions that fit on the end of your base cabinets extend your workspace. When you’re done cutting vegetables or using them as serving areas, simply wipe them off and fold them back out of the way.
Flush-mounted Lighting. Short people may not give a second thought to the head room in a horse trailer, but for the taller among us, a light hanging down from the ceiling becomes a hazard! Flush-mounted lighting will smooth out your ceiling so tall friends don’t need to duck and dodge when they walk through your living quarters.
Fold-out Sofa. In our trailers, you can choose between the dinette and a fold-out sofa. If a sofa is more your style, make sure it folds out for another sleeping space. A fold-out sofa will sleep an extra person and generally has some storage underneath.
Some manufacturers will install a slide-out which will actually reduce the length of your sofa by 1-foot. This means your long 6-foot sofa suddenly shrinks down to 5-foot to allow for the bracing for the slide-out feature. So, be aware of the length of your sofa when designing your living quarters. Most adults will prefer a longer 6-foot sofa for comfortable sleeping.
Gooseneck Nose Cabinets. You living quarters or gooseneck horse trailers will have a large flat space in the gooseneck area. While it’s perfect for a full-sized mattress, it’s also a good space for a few extra storage cabinets. The very front of your gooseneck is a great place to put cabinets to store clothes, linens, books, or device chargers.
Smart Door Design. Sure, it’s all fun and games until you discover that your swinging doors are wasting a ton of space that you could be using for a bigger bathroom sink. Swap your swinging doors for pocket doors and you’ll free up four to nine square feet of floor space and still have all the privacy horse trailers with living quarters can afford.
We also have a walk-thru door from the living quarters into the horse area. Typically, on non-living quarter models, we swing the door towards the front dress so it can act as an extra escape door for the horse handler. But on a living quarters model, this door swings back into the horse area instead. This saves valuable space so the door doesn’t need to open into the bathroom.
Recessed Cooktop. Not to be a stickler about counter space, but you’re really going to wish you had it when you’re camping for weeks at a time and trying to cook and live in your trailer. A recessed cooktop has a glass cover that can be pulled over to create an essentially smooth surface, giving you more prep space. When you’re ready to cook, just flip it up and hit the gas.
If you’re not planning to cook much in your living quarters horse trailer, you might opt to leave the cooktop out of your design. We had one client who preferred to cook outside on a camp stove, so we left her cooktop out of the design and instead gave her extra counter space.
Creative Ways to Climb into Sleep Spaces. Horse trailers commonly have some kind of bunks installed, especially when it comes to gooseneck horse trailers. Tucking these bunks into underused spaces, up against the ceiling or in the gooseneck frees up a lot of room, but there’s always a question of access. Solid steps eat up floor space, but removable ladders can be tossed on the bed when you’re not sleeping.
We also had a customer who opted for solid steps with storage inside. We installed a solid step so she could climb into the gooseneck sleeping area. Inside the solid step, we installed a lockable safe where she was able to securely store some items.
Removable Pedestal Tables. One of the biggest mistakes that trailer manufacturers make is putting in fixed tables. If you want a table, make sure it can be collapsed, folded against a wall or removed from the floor and stashed when it’s not in use.
Slide-Outs. The ultimate in space-creation for living quarters horse trailers, the slide-out does exactly what you’d think it does -- it slides from the main body of the trailer. Many people put their dinettes or couches in the slide-out, gaining them several feet in their living area. When you’re traveling with your family or friends, those extra few feet can create valuable breathing space.
But, as we mentioned above, if your sofa is located on the slide-out, make sure it is still long enough for comfortable use. We recommend a 6-foot sofa minimum.
Storage Mangers in Horse Area. If you want even more storage space, consider adding storage compartments under your horse feed mangers. Now, this design isn’t ideal because mangers tend to restrict your horse’s head movement. It prevents them from lowering their heads to snort out debris that may accumulate in their airways. Plus, some horses try to climb into the mangers in a panic. However, if more storage is required, mangers can provide some handy extra space to store you things.
Swivel-arm Television Bracket. Back in the day, a ceiling or wall mounted flat-screen TV was all the rage. These days, people are pretty happy pulling out their smart phones and tablets to watch Netflix or other downloads. So now, a roof mounted antennae or large TV hanging from your wall is not as appealing.
Shower/Toilet Combination. Yup, you read that correctly. We haven’t offered this feature to our customers in many years because it just doesn’t work well. In these setups, the shower is extra-long and the toilet takes up the area in the back, shaving wasted space out of your bathroom.
In reality, this just doesn’t work well. During a shower, regardless of where you point the shower head, water ends up running on top of the toilet lid and around into the toilet – filling it up. Toilet water dumps into the black holding tank. So, if you are at an event for a long weekend, the toilet tank fills up quicker than it normally would and you have no place to dump.
The other thing we didn’t like was the wet floor. After your shower, the floor will often be slightly wet. If you walk into the shower stall to use the toilet, dirt on your shoes will create muddy footprints. Your other option is to walk in and get your socks wet! So… take our word for it and skip over this space-saving feature!
Designing custom horse trailers can be a real challenge for horse owners, but with careful planning, you’ll have the perfect trailer with enough space to live comfortably. And don’t worry -- you’re not in it alone. Let the experts at Double D Trailers help you build the best living quarters horse trailer for your budget, no matter how big or small.
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