Paper-cut elements in the design of boat space can effectively improve the homogenisation tendency of existing boat space design, effectively enhance the characteristics of traditional Chinese culture and enrich the development ideas of boat space design. Therefore, based on the Chinese folk art of paper cutting, this paper combines theoretical analysis and empirical research to deeply analyse the artistic expression of paper-cut elements in the spatial design of boats. This paper mainly studies the artistic integration of paper-cut elements in the decorative design of boats and the artistic integration of paper-cut elements in the practical design of boats. Through the calculation and analysis of the sparse autoencoder algorithm model, it can be seen that the decorative integration of paper-cut elements in wallpaper is 82%, which is higher than that of traditional materials (24%). The integration of paper-cut elements in the space design of cabins and guest rooms is as high as 97% and 94%, respectively, which is far better than the integration of traditional materials in the space design of cabins and guest rooms. This shows that the application of folk paper-cut elements to the space design of boats not only highlights the theme of boats but also enhances the cultural value of boats.