What’s the most important feature of a motorhome? It’s one of the frequently asked questions we’re asked at Derby Motorhomes.
It’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer, of course, since so much about choosing your motorhome is down to personal taste and preference. There may be many different aspects of a motorhome that might lead you to decide either for or against a given model.
In fact, there are so many things to consider that a single article of this nature just cannot cover them all. So, here we will concentrate on just one of the features we are asked about most often – the internal layout.
The optimal motorhome layout might depend upon just how many people there will be on your trips.
In situations where there are four adults (or grown-up children) regularly aboard, you may really appreciate fold-away beds and much more dining space in the living area. On the other hand, if you are a couple with perhaps the odd trip involving your grandchildren for example, then your motorhome layout thinking might be quite different.
True, you shouldn’t size your motorhome and select configurations based on perhaps one trip every 12 or 18 months with others aboard. But if you’re planning to invite other people with you on a regular basis, it should be taken into account in your configuration design and selection.
Your home on wheels
The precise layout of your motorhome will go a long way to maximising the usable space within the vehicle, the way you intend to use it, and the number of people you expect to accommodate.
A motorhome is your home on wheels, says the Camping and Caravanning Club, so there is an inevitable trade-off or compromise between interior spaciousness and the need to negotiate the vehicle on the roads – which might often be narrow, twisting, or occasionally congested city streets.
Just remember that even motorhomes that are a similar overall length – points out an article in AutoTrader Motorhomes – may differ in both height and width to allow a layout which offers more in the way of usable space inside.
So, whether you are looking for a sufficiently agile and manoeuvrable motorhome to use for touring off the beaten track or a sufficiently spacious and luxurious second home which to which you return as your base each day, there are plenty of layout options from which to choose.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the considerations involved.
The overall size of your motorhome
Remember that the smaller the motorhome you select, by and large, the more compromises you might have to make on internal living space. That’s something that might affect aspects of your motorhome layout.
For example, some motorhome owners prefer lots of living room and kitchen space but are more than willing to compromise on sleeping area dimensions. That’s fine but in the case of say over-cab sleeping accommodation, keep in mind that headroom will be restricted and also one partner will have to climb over the other if they need to get up in the middle of the night.
The degree of flexibility that now exists in terms of choosing sleeping layouts is phenomenal. Even so, not all of them will necessarily appeal to everyone.
For example, if you have two smaller children or grandchildren you take on trips, then you may be very attracted by the idea of bunk beds. If you don’t, then that type of sleeping accommodation may be largely irrelevant in terms of your requirements.
Things you may wish to consider might include:
- how many berths;
- single or double beds;
- where the sleeping areas will sit in your motorhome (at the rear, central areas etc.).
Some options may allow you to keep the bed permanently in place whereas others will allow it to be converted into additional seating accommodation in your living area.
Although tastes and preferences obviously differ, it’s probably fair to say that many people would suggest that fixed beds are more comfortable than those which fold away.
If you are someone or a couple who really values the ultimate in comfort for a great night’s sleep, then it might be better to opt for fixed beds. On the other hand, if you can sleep on the head of a pin, then folding beds may give you much more legroom during the day.
The size and configuration of kitchen areas may also vary considerably between models.
The equipment level contained in many motorhome kitchens is now staggering.
There are often quality appliances and ones which would grace even a conventional kitchen in a main home, as well as specially-designed motorhome gadgets that are economical in their use of space.
If you are someone who really enjoys cooking, wherever you are, then you may be prepared to sacrifice something like fixed beds or larger sized shower facilities in order to have a substantial kitchen.
On the other hand, not everyone goes on a motorhome holiday with the intention of cooking cordon bleu cuisine. It may be that you prefer eating out or preparing basic meals on minimalist kitchen equipment. If that’s the case, picking the right motorhome for you might involve deciding to reduce the amount of floor space allocated to your kitchen and deploying it instead to living or sleeping areas.
You might also want to think about where the kitchen sits in your motorhome. Some people like it at the very back, well out of the way of everything else, whilst others prefer it conveniently located mid-vehicle near the main sitting area.
WC’s and showers
This is one of the areas where individual requirements are most likely to vary. It’s not unusual to hear people say they’ll go for the smallest option possible and use the space saved elsewhere. In practice though, that doesn’t necessarily suit everybody in real life.
Some people just don’t like cramped spaces when they are trying to take a shower and very restricted spaces in these areas can be an issue for larger people. It’s certainly possible to opt for smaller solutions but think it through first and be sure that it’ll result in something you’ll be comfortable with.
It’s entirely possible to have a fully functioning WC contained within your motorhome. What is less commonly known, though, is that it’s also possible to have a normal shower too.
Some people prefer to have the WC and shower room as two separate units. That takes up more space, of course, but it does mean that the two can be used simultaneously.
Still others are less concerned about having a full-sized shower and would prefer instead to use that space for other purposes within the motorhome, being happy to use the communal shower facilities on the campsite.
Once again, your individual requirements can almost always be accommodated providing you select a motorhome provider who is able to offer the appropriate design flexibility.
With some of these design and configuration considerations firmly in mind, therefore, let’s see how it all translate into practice, so that you are ready to pick your way through some of the most popular types of motorhome layout. And, once again, it is worth stressing that the imagination and ingenuity of contemporary designers, gives you an amazing selection of different motorhome layouts to suit a variety of personal preferences and uses:
- as the smallest in the stable of motorhomes, campervans are perhaps the most challenging for layout designers;
- typically, the forward driver’s and passenger seats swivel around to face the interior, there is a bench seat at the rear – which converts into the bed – and a small galley and cupboards arranged along the side;
- yet even within the relative confines of a campervan, there are variations on the theme – explains a guide produced by Out and About Live – and you have a wide choice when it comes to selecting the layout that suits your purposes;
French bed layout
- also designed to maximise space in smaller motorhomes is the so-called French bed layout;
- it is smaller than a regular, fixed double bed because the corner is rounded off to allow greater access around it – it is also an alternative to an island bed when space is at a premium;
Fixed bed layouts
- as you move up in the overall size of your motorhome, it becomes possible to have fixed beds rather than those which pull down or convert and which you have to make up at the end of each day;
- fixed bed layouts may feature a double bed or two singles – depending on the layout – and are prized for the comfort and convenience they bring to life in your motorhome;
End kitchen layout
- if you are looking for a motorhome that serves as a home away from home, you might want to consider the luxury of a spacious end kitchen layout;
- by putting the kitchen across the rear of the vehicle, you may achieve a fully-fitted kitchen – with an oven, multiple hobs, workspace and room for a fridge;
End bathroom layout
- perhaps even more luxury can be found in having the bathroom at the rear of your motorhome;
- it makes room for the toilet, hand basin and walk-in shower – all creature comforts that are likely to make your motorhome a comfortable yet mobile second home.
With layouts for all occasions, uses and personal tastes, choosing the one that suits you may be as important as picking the motorhome itself.