Personalizing your camper van can be likened to the icing on the cake. Not only does it give your van the customization it needs to truly make it feel like “home”, but great pieces of decor will have practical uses that make your life on the road that much easier. There are tons of different wants to decorate a camper van- so where do you start?
When it comes to decorating a camper van, it’s important to focus on two things. A theme or aesthetic, and the functionality of your furniture choices. Finding pieces that look nice, but also maximize the space of your camper, are essential qualities that should be held in importance.
Now that you’re familiar with what your starting point should be, we can break it down even further to give you some inspiration about how to take your basic camper van to personalized heights.
Choosing a Decor Theme for your Camper Van
Picking a general aesthetic for your camper may seem like an easy enough task, but it’s important to ensure that what you choose can withstand the test of time. If you’re the indecisive type, it’s important to pick a theme that isn’t too intricate, or you risk a long gutting process when you decide to redecorate!
Due to the potential hardship that a redecorating process could instill, it may be in your favor to go for as neutral of a theme as possible or pick a theme that you know you won’t grow tired of in a couple of years’ time.
To get the best of both worlds, don’t base steady furniture (ie beds, cabinets, countertops) around one specific design. Keep them neutral. When it comes time to redecorate, it’ll be much harder to work pieces around bright purple cabinets than it is neutrally toned ones. In other words, go all out with your details, but keep the foundation basic.
You also have the choice of going as modern, or as retro as you’d like! This is a surefire way to have a set “theme” going around your cabin, while still keeping the integrity of your foundation. For more trendy styles, opt for sleek finishes and the color black, while classic themes are more wood-based.
Here’s a great YouTube video by Louis The Van with a more modern look:
And here’s one by Doug DeMaro that showcases the natural look of campers back in the 80s:
Remember that you don’t need to sacrifice functionality for style! The best pieces to have in your camper van will double as storage, so you can keep things like blankets, dishware, or personal items away from passengers’ line of sight. This doesn’t just keep your camper looking less cluttered, but it keeps your items safe while you’re driving!
There are some key items of furniture that seasoned campers agree can help ease any worries during your travel experience are:
- A convertible bed
- A kitchenette
- A shower
Let’s break down why these are such important pieces to have.
A Convertible Bed
Having a comfortable place to rest your head at the end of a day of travel is important. It’ll refresh you and ensure you’re well-rested for the rest of your travels the next day. Unfortunately, campers aren’t necessarily known for their roominess, so hauling around your king-sized bed may not be feasible.
Instead, opt for a futon-style bed, or another style of bed that can be hidden. These can be tucked away to remove them from eyesight and maximize space.
Though you can’t have a full chef’s kitchen at your disposal, you can have some cooking essentials handy to ensure you’re not dropping money on fast food every single day.
Some pieces that we would consider necessities are a fridge (top-loading is great for bumpy terrain, though front-loading fridges can be equipped with locks to avoid accidents), a microwave, burner, and cutting board. This doesn’t need to take up too much in the van, and a majority of them can be stowed away during transit.
When you’re on the road for days at a time, there’s nothing like the feel of a nice, cool shower to shed yourself of the smell of travel. Unfortunately, not all gas stations and road stops have showers accessible. Depending on the size of your van, you may want to designate an area to act as your shower space.
You don’t need to drop too much money on this project! The main thing you’ll need is a heated water tank (for more intricate layouts), or you could simply find a detachable shower head to attach to any existing water sources.
One of the biggest pieces of advice we can give you when it comes to choosing furniture though, is to find materials that can easily be cleaned. With water access limited during travel, finding furniture you can wipe down with a wet wipe or dishrag will save you a lot of pitstops to the laundromat!
Some of the best materials to find in our opinion are:
- Leather or pleather
- No carpets
Making It Yours
Now that you have the basics accounted for, it’s time to make your camper go from a van to a home. Even if you’re not spending 24/7 in your camper, it’s important to add pieces that offer a personal touch.
There are a ton of different ways to do this- from taking pieces from your home and displaying them in your van, to even printing pictures of family and friends to hang up on the walls of your camper.
There’s no better way to christen a van than by making special memories inside of its walls. Make sure to have a means of entertainment. Sure, you can bring along an iPad to watch movies on, but have you considered investing in a projector for a unique movie night? Or maybe even building a mini-bookshelf to display your personal library collection?
The possibilities when it comes to decorating your camper van are truly endless. It can be as extensive or as simple of a process as you want it to be, but it’s a labor of love that will turn a basic camper, into a sanctuary to make endless memories in.