A childhood favorite, treehouse ideas are an often overlooked addition to the garden. We are all familiar with the small covered platform, nestled in the branches of a tree, accessed by a ladder or rope bridge – however, these simple designs are a world away from modern treehouse ideas.
From round pods and castles through to multi-room designs featuring functioning kitchens and bathrooms, our treehouse ideas offer a characterful addition to your backyard landscaping ideas. Treehouses can also be used to alleviate space issues indoors, offering dream home office ideas, providing guest accommodation or even an extra income stream.
‘Everyone loves treehouses. They bring a smile to your face no matter how old or young you are. They add value to your property and make a stunning and fun feature in the garden. With everything that is going on in the world right now – having a safe place to retreat to in your own garden is even more important than ever,’ says Henry Durham, founder of High Life Treehouses.
Treehouse ideas – planning and design
When it comes to your treehouse design, approach them the same way as you would with any other garden room ideas. Focus on its purpose, whether that's entertaining, working or a place to play as this will define its look, feel and layout. Also, when designing the exterior of your treehouse, take into consideration the landscape and your pre-existing backyard ideas – especially if your treehouse ideas are likely to be visible from outdoors or in.
1. Get the exterior just right
When deciding on your treehouse's exterior design, it is important that it blends into its surroundings. Opting for natural or reclaimed materials will help your treehouse to appear as though it has always been there – wood or stone are favorite choices and chime nicely with cabin decor ideas. However, even if you opt for a rustic exterior, this doesn't mean you can't embrace more luxury, sophisticated ideas inside.
2. Think about access
How you are going to access your treehouse is a vital part of its initial design. There are lots of different options, from the classic ladder or rope bridge through to more formal stairs.
The design you settle on will partially be informed by the purpose of your treehouse. If it is to host visitors, then a ladder might prove impractical with luggage or for those with more limited mobility. On the other hand, a rope ladder would be a popular choice for children who want the option of restricting access to their secret hideaway.
3. Design a luxury interior
Gone are the days of a treehouse just being an empty wooden structure, furnished with an old rug and deckchairs. Now, treehouse ideas can feature all the mod-cons of your main property from lighting ideas and running water through to gas, electric and heating. A log burning stove is a popular addition, not only providing heat but setting a cozy atmosphere, perfect for relaxing on a chilly evening.
Apply the same design principles to your treehouse ideas as you would to the other rooms of your house, and draw on traditional decorating ideas to help create a warm and welcoming space.
4. Factor in amenities and provisions
If you are planning to use your treehouse as guest accommodation or as a peaceful retreat away from your home, you need to think about amenities. Insulation and power are vital in creating a room that is usable all year round. The approach is similar to that of other outbuildings, ‘having a tiled, insulated roof will keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer, with underfloor heating being a popular heating option,’ says Penny Whitlock, director at Julius Bahn.
A stove, whether electric or wood-burning, also creates a cozy space inside. An electrician should be able to run a cable underground from your house, although if you’re looking for a more sustainable solution, consider solar panels on the roof.
There are plenty of small kitchen ideas that would work well as part of your treehouse design. This kitchen, supplied by The Main Company for Wild Escapes, features everything you would need for breakfast on the balcony.
5. Install a deck around your treehouse
If you're planning on building amongst the trees, it's important to factor in a space where you can immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Drawing on deck ideas and building an encompassing outdoor space, will let you make the most of your treehouse's fabulous setting, though ensure you include sturdy deck railing ideas for safety. Pair with outdoor garden furniture for a space to enjoy al fresco meals, or set up a Jacuzzi for a space to unwind.
6. Take inspiration from luxury treehouse hotels
Treehouses have seen a rise in popularity as a popular vacation resort so why not take design inspiration from the professionals? This pretty treehouse accommodation at the beautiful Chewton Glen is a perfectly self-contained space, featuring an outdoor hot tub, wood burner, mini kitchenette and marble bathroom; it is a true home from home.
7. Make space to bathe
Jump on board the recent trend of outdoor bathing with your treehouse ideas. Rather than adding a pool or hot tub, there has been a rise in the number of people who are taking their favorite bath ideas into nature. For a rustic and characterful bathing spot, discover how to create an outdoor bathroom in an intimate nook on your treehouse's decking.
8. Maximize windows to enjoy the views
If you've got beautiful views then it seems a shame to block them out with solid walls – instead factor areas of glazing into your treehouse. Consider adding patio door ideas leading to a deck area – which will flood the treehouse with light while also offering a stunning backdrop to your interior design.
9. Add a fire pit to your treehouse ideas
Fire pits are fast becoming a must in the garden, providing warmth and atmosphere in equal measure as well as deterring insects – letting you enjoy your outdoor space long into the evening. In a treehouse, as with any building made out of wood, you need to be careful when incorporating any sources of fire, whether inside or outside. However, with the right design you can incorporate a backyard fire pit into your treehouse ideas – just never leave the fire unattended and have a fire extinguisher close at hand, and never light open fires in dry zones where wildfires are a risk.
10. Don't forget the kids
Even with all these luxury designs that are perfect extensions to the home, sometimes a treehouse can simply be a cute addition that provides a place to play. This quaint design would be perfect as part of backyard ideas for kids and is based on a traditional house featuring a red room and mock timber frame and would quickly become a favorite of the youngest members of the family.
Is the treehouse a good idea?
Yes, the treehouse is a good idea for adults as well as children. A treehouse provides a great alternative to a playroom, or a quirky home office, or even guest accommodation. Much more characterful than your standard backyard building, a treehouse can bring all the same benefits, while also allowing you to extend your space without taking up a large footprint on the ground.
What does every treehouse need?
Every treehouse needs a roof, walls, flooring and access point (whether that's a ladder, rope bridge or similar). Everything else is optional and will depend on the style and purpose of your treehouse ideas. If you're planning to use your treehouse as accommodation – whether for guests or to be rented out – it will need insulation, water, gas and electric, all of which can be incorporated at the point of building.
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Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.
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