Tree house ideas are a childhood favorite and are often overlooked. We’re all familiar with the little covered platform that nestles in the branches of a tree and is accessed via a ladder or rope bridge—however, these simple designs are a world away from modern tree house ideas.
From circular cabins and castles to multi-room designs with working kitchens and bathrooms, our tree house ideas offer a characterful addition to your garden design ideas. Treehouses can also be used to alleviate indoor space concerns by providing dream office ideas, providing guest accommodation, or even providing an additional source of income.
“Everyone loves tree houses. They put a smile on your face no matter how old or young you are. They add value to your property and make a stunning and fun focal point in the garden. With everything going on in the world, having a safe retreat in your own backyard is more important than ever,” says Henry Durham, Founder of High Life Treehouses (opens in new tab).
Tree house ideas – planning and design
When it comes to your tree house design, proceed in the same way as you would any other garden room ideas. Focus on its purpose, whether it’s entertainment, work, or a place to play, as that will determine its look, feel, and layout. When designing the exterior of your tree house, also consider the landscape and your existing backyard ideas—especially if your tree house ideas are likely to be visible from the outside or inside.
1. Get the exterior just right
When you decide on the exterior design of your tree house, it is important that it blends in with its surroundings. Opting for natural or reclaimed materials will help make your treehouse look like it’s always been there – wood or stone are popular choices and pair well with cabin decorating ideas. But even if you go for a rustic exterior, that doesn’t mean you can’t go without more luxurious, sophisticated ideas inside.
2. Think about access
How you access your treehouse is an integral part of the original design. There are many different options, from the classic ladder or rope bridge to more formal stairs.
The design you choose will be determined in part by the purpose of your tree house. When it comes to accommodating visitors, a ladder may prove impractical with luggage or for those with limited mobility. On the other hand, a rope ladder would be a popular choice for kids who want the ability to restrict access to their secret lair.
3. Design a luxurious interior
Gone are the days when a tree house was just an empty wooden structure furnished with an old carpet and lounge chairs. Now tree house ideas can feature all the modern conveniences of your main property, from lighting ideas and running water to gas, electricity and heating. A wood burning stove is a popular addition that not only provides warmth but also creates a cozy atmosphere, perfect for relaxing on a chilly evening.
Apply the same design principles to your tree house ideas as you do to the other rooms in your home, and draw on traditional decorating ideas to create a warm and welcoming space.
4. Consider amenities and regulations
If you plan to use your treehouse as guest accommodation or as a peaceful retreat away from your home, you need to think about the amenities. Insulation and electricity are essential to create a year-round usable space. The approach is similar to other outbuildings, “an insulated tiled roof keeps it warm in winter and cool in summer, with underfloor heating being a popular heating option,” says Penny Whitlock, director at Julius Bahn (opens in new tab).
A stove, whether electric or with wood, also creates a cozy space inside. An electrician should be able to run a cable underground from your home. However, if you are looking for a more sustainable solution, consider solar panels on the roof.
There are many small kitchen ideas that would work well as part of your tree house design. This kitchen supplied by The Main Company (opens in new tab) for wild escapes (opens in new tab)has everything you need for breakfast on the balcony.
5. Install a deck around your tree house
If you want to build among the trees, it’s important to plan a space where you can immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Resorting to deck ideas and building an encompassing outdoor area is a great way to make the most of your treehouse’s fabulous setting, but make sure you include sturdy deck railing ideas for safety. Combine it with outdoor furniture for a space to enjoy outdoors meals or set up a hot tub to relax.
6. Be inspired by luxury tree house hotels
Treehouses are growing in popularity as a popular vacation spot. So why not take design inspiration from professionals? This lovely tree house accommodation in beautiful Chewton Glen (opens in new tab) is a perfectly self-contained space with outdoor jacuzzi, wood-burning stove, mini-kitchenette and marble bathroom; it is a true home away from home.
7. Create space for bathing
Get on the recent outdoor bathing trend with your tree house ideas. Instead of adding a pool or hot tub, the number of people who are taking their favorite bathing ideas to the great outdoors has increased. For a rustic and characterful bathing spot, discover how to set up an outdoor bathroom in an intimate corner of your treehouse patio.
8. Maximize windows to enjoy the view
If you have a beautiful view, it seems a shame to block it with solid walls – instead add glazed areas to your treehouse. Consider adding patio door ideas that lead to a patio area – flooding the treehouse with light while providing a stunning backdrop for your interior design.
9. Add a fire pit to your tree house ideas
Fire pits are becoming a must in the garden. They provide warmth and atmosphere in equal measure and keep insects away – so you can enjoy your outdoor space late into the night. In a tree house, as with any wooden building, you must be careful when incorporating fire sources, whether indoors or outdoors. However, with the right design, you can incorporate a backyard fire pit into your tree house ideas – just never leave the fire unattended and have a fire extinguisher nearby and never light open fires in dry zones where wildfires are a risk.
10. Don’t forget the kids
Even with all of these luxurious designs that are perfect additions to the home, sometimes a tree house can just 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 with a red room and faux wood frame and would quickly become a favorite with the youngest members of the family.
Is the tree house a good idea?
Yes, the tree house is a good idea for both adults and children. A tree house is a great alternative to a playroom, a whimsical home office, or even guest accommodation. A tree house has a lot more character than your regular backyard building and can offer the same benefits while also allowing you to expand your space without taking up a lot of ground space.
What does every tree house need?
Every tree house needs a roof, walls, floor and access (whether it’s a ladder, rope bridge or similar). Everything else is optional and depends on the style and purpose of your tree house ideas. If you plan to use your treehouse for accommodation – be it for guests or for rental – it will require insulation, water, gas and electricity, all of which can be incorporated during construction.