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DIY Camper Decorating Ideas - Freshen and Update on the Cheap

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I remember a few years back when my hubby, 2 teenagers and 2 pets lived in a 1976 old Camper while we built our house.  It was a way to save on temporary accommodations, and it sounded like fun.  Well an experience it was, and the biggest mistake I made was not decorating the inside of the camper.

The 1970s era of RVs and Camper trailers tended to use lots of brown.  I think they really didn’t know how to create it without brown paneling on all the walls and gold flecked carpet on the floor and then dark brown storage cupboards. 

It was only to be for a short time, so I didn’t bother investing any work into the camper and

diy camper decorating
instead put all my efforts in helping with the house build, but man oh man at the end of the day this was a very dismal and depressing space to live in.  I was so sick of brown.   Camper living was once again becoming popular as people dragged their tiny homes around with them on driving vacations and more, so it is time to come away from the boring and the brown.

I started to research and went and saw a few updated campers that would have made all the difference, as in the end this was our home.  So, if you are going the used camper route as we did, make sure all the basic equipment works and is safe but don’t forget to personalize this space, after all, you may be spending a lot of time in there, and rustic gets old quick!

camper decorating ideas

Make Sure All Systems and Framework are Safe and Functional First

We did this.  We paid for a safety check on this camper as it had not been used in a few years.  We had some propane lines replaced and other things to make it safe, but it was certainly ugly!

If you are to the point that everything is safe and works, then it is time to invest in decorating.  It will make a huge difference to this small space.  Just like with house interior design, you want it to have a fresh and bright and great feeling.  Remember there will be rainy days that you will be spending lots of time in this space, so make it yours.  You can do this on the cheap if you shop right and are willing to roll up your sleeves!

Clean - Take All Loose Things Out Including Cushions

Take a good cleaner and get rid of grease and dirt off the walls and the kitchen and the bathroom.  Give it a good vacuuming too, now you can see what you are dealing with.  Take inventory.  Are the walls faux wood panels?  Are they a colour you like? Are they scratched up?  What is the floor like?  Is it that worn our vinyl? Or horrible dirty carpet?

Before you have a panic attack, keep in mind you can pretty much go over anything inside this camper without ripping it out.  There are so many cool new products on the market now that make this part easier.

diy camper decorating
Rust-Oleum Corporation 02001 Water Base Primer, 1-Gallon, White
Amazon Price: $30.95 $18.97 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 14, 2016)

Paint and Primer

If your interior walls are plastic, or faux wood, or something you are not sure about, but are in good shape, then paint is the easiest.  Fill in any holes or make any minor repairs, and then using a high adhesive sealer, such as Zinsser, paint all the walls you want to change.  You can even do this on the cabinets too.  Make sure you have lots of ventilation and let it dry for a good couple of days so it can take a good hold.

This now creates a surface that you can paint with acrylic paint in the colour of your choosing.  Allow some time as not too many people can fit inside to do this job, and you will be surprised at all the corners you need to get into.

This alone will make a huge difference.  If you have chosen white or a lighter colour, the inside will already feel welcoming and bright.  Be gone the Brown!

Change the Hardware on the Cabinets

Just like in a kitchen this can make a huge difference.  Some paint on the cabinets and new handles will update your space.  Line the drawers with scented paper and the shelves with non slip mats (so dishes don’t go flying when you move it) and the cabinets are ready to be filled.

diy camper decorating

Recover or Replace Cushions

Our camper had the table and built in seats that turned into a bed.  The cushions had seen better days and were that rough old upholstery.  You can simply leave the old covers on and sew new ones for over top, or you can purchase replacement seat cushion foam online, and cut to size (I always found an electric knife cut foam the best) and cover with fabric that accents your wall colour.

diy camper decorating
Michael Miller Botanika Wing Study Ivory Fabric By The Yard
Amazon Price: $9.48 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 14, 2016)

Curtains

Using the same fabric as the cushions and the old curtains as templates you can quickly make new panels.

Step back, I am sure it already looks awesome.  But now one more thing needs doing.

diy camper decorating
Giani(TM) Countertop Paint Kit, Sicilian Sand
Amazon Price: $79.99 $71.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 14, 2016)

Repaint Camper Countertop

It can be expensive to replace the counter in a camper because they are not a typical kitchen size.  If yours is functional but has seen better days, there are products on the market now that make renewing your countertop fast and easy.  Follow the instructions and allow time to really set before using it.  

diy camper decorating

Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles - Fast and Easy

Make sure the old floor is free of any debris, give it another good vacuum and basically peel and stick and cut to size.  These come in different sizes.  In the bathroom you can use peel and stick vinyl tiles to go right over the old floor.

Make sure you have a mat at the door for wiping feet, preferably a two matt system will work best.  One just outside the door and one on the inside to keep it neat and tidy, or you can simply use peel and stick vinyl tiles everywhere. 

I saw one camper that had the carpet tiles glued to the walls and the floor was vinyl. 

With paint, new fabrics, flooring and countertop it will look like a different camper.  It will now be yours and you can add some throw cushions and have fun with it. 

Many people use campers as guest cottages when people come to visit.  So making it warm, bright and inviting can be done on the cheap and can really make the space enjoyable to your guests. DIY camper decorating on the cheap!

How to Fix Up the Inside of a Camper

Check out the above video for more ideas.  Once you know all the functional systems are safe, then you can go to town and create the perfect for oasis whether for that next camping trip or simply a space for you in the backyard.

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