Tips For Decorating a Caravan | Painting and Wallpapering a Caravan Interior

I regularly receive emails from fellow caravan enthusiasts (from the UK, all the way to Australia) with questions about Dolly 1 and, more recently, Dolly 2. Very often, they’ve stumbled across my DIY caravan blog posts — or Pinterest pins — and ask for tips on decorating a caravan.

I’m asked what is the best paint for interior caravan walls. How to paint caravan cupboards. And what we used to hang the wallpaper. So finally, I’ve decided to make a little list of tips for decorating a caravan interior.

It’s super simple and the look that can be achieved is fabulous.

I’m going to split each DIY project into various posts. Painting and wallpapering the interior. Then all the fiddly bits like sinks and fittings, the upholstery.

And, finally, revamping the exterior.

There’s way too much content for one post — and there’s also a LOT of photos!!

Whether you have a vintage caravan that you’d like to freshen up or a static caravan that needs an overhaul, these tips should help you create the old ‘new caravan’ of your dreams!

Caravan renovation can seem daunting initially. But over the years, I’ve discovered that if you treat it in the same way that you would any other home DIY project, you can’t go far wrong.

Hopefully, my tips for decorating a caravan for beginners will help you on your way!

Insider Caravan Inspiration

Whether you have a motorhome, a camper van, or a caravan, you can transform your recreational vehicle into the perfect tiny house on wheels. Ideal for family holidays and weekend getaways. 

With a few simple updates (and a little bit of elbow grease) you can turn your van into a cozy place, to kick back and relax.

Keep reading to find out what caravan interior paint to use,

Decorating a Caravan » Part 1

Painting Woodwork and Veneer Covered Walls

The interior of most older caravans and travel trailers — even some new ones — seems to be a sea of brown. Or — worse — orange wood.

In some cases it’s real, in a lot of cases it’s chipboard; covered in a plastic wooden-look coating. The doors in both our vans have been solid wood but the surrounds have been constructed from a veneered MDF.

Some tips on painting a caravan interior, including the best paint for caravan interior.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Some tips on painting inside caravan interior, including the best paint for caravan interior.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Some tips on painting a caravan interior, including the best paint for caravan interior.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Either way, it can all easily be given a fresh, clean look with paint. Painting a caravan interior is one of the quickest ways to overhaul a tired-looking van.

How To Paint Caravan Cupboards

You can read my method for painting caravan cupboards plus all the woodwork here in this post.

How To Paint Caravan Cupboards
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

You’ll find all kinds of info, including on what paint to use for painting caravan cupboards.

Annie Sloan chalk paint would also probably work well if you were after a flat, matt finish.

Especially as it seems to cover most surfaces without the need for priming. That said, although I’ve used it on furniture I’ve not tried it myself on a caravan, so don’t quote me on that!

Painting The Walls and Ceilings of a Caravan

We used the same cupboard makeover paint on the walls — and ceiling — of Dolly 1.

But for Dolly 2 we decided to try a different approach and although we used the cupboard makeover primer to undercoat the walls and ceiling — we did the second coat in standard white emulsion.

This was a triumph.

It saved us quite a lot of money and looks amazing — especially on the ceiling. It gives a lovely matt finish.

Tips on decorating a caravan, including how to paint a caravan ceiling and the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Tips on decorating a caravan, including how to paint a caravan ceiling and the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Tips on decorating a caravan, including how to paint a caravan ceiling and the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

You’d expect it to flake or crack but  a couple of years on and it still looks fabulous. I’m so delighted with the finish.

We painted all the plastic struts with the cupboard makeover paint first. Tthen went over the whole lot with the emulsion paint and a roller.

Decorating a Caravan

Now, there will be a point — probably when you’re half way though the renovation — that a sense of panic will begin to set in.

Don’t worry!!! This is perfectly normal!!!

Decorating a caravan is fun but can be a bit of a messy job. Particularly as you’ll be working in a very tight space.

Plus it doesn’t help matters if you’re a bit of a chaotic worker (like me). I don’t do things in order. I always start with the very best of intentions. But invariably things start to look like a total bombsite; as I don’t work in a logical sequence. It drives Mr D nuts.

Opening the door to chaos can be a bit overwhelming but — trust me — just work through it. Keep painting. It will look amazing eventually.

To give you a little spoiler alert — these are the kind of scenes that you may be faced with when you’re midway through decorating a caravan.

Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Not pretty.

And definitely alarming.

When you’ve spent a substantial amount of money on purchasing the van in the first place, it’s a slightly scary prospect to see looking like this.

But stick with it.

Give everything a couple of coats of paint and — bit by bit — the sea of orange wood will begin to diminish.

Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Painting a caravan interior
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Eventually you’ll have painted every surface. Apart from the ones that you plan to wallpaper (if you’re going down that route).

Wallpapering a Caravan Interior

We’ve wallpapered both of our vans. Not sure what made me think that wallpapering a caravan was a good idea but it is.

It totally works.

I went for a shabby-chic feel for Dolly 1. It has been said (on more than one occasion) that it looked like Cath Kidston had thrown up on her. But I take that as a compliment.

Here’s how she looked before her makeover.

Pictures of our first caravan makeover — the before pictures!
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

And after a little bit of elbow grease — a lot of paint — and one roll of wallpaper, she looked like this.

Small caravan interior ideas — kitchen inspiration.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Small caravan interior ideas — kitchen inspiration.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

I went for a more graphic Orla Keily-esque look with Dolly 2 and used a range by  Layla Faye from Wallpaper Direct.

Pop and have a look at the original post for more info.

What wallpaper to use in a a caravan.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

What Tools Do You Need For Wallpapering a Caravan Interior

Wallpapering a caravan follows the same process as papering anything else to be honest.

I used standard tools — ruler, scalpel, brush, sponge and a papering table. And on both occasions I used a standard wallpaper paste; Polycell Maximum Strength, if memory serves.

The trickiest thing about wallpapering the interior of a caravan is trying to cut around tricky angles. But apart from that it’s no different from wallpapering a room in a house.

I wallpapered the ceiling in one of our bedrooms a couple of year’s ago so it’s something I’m quite confident doing.

I also quite like working on small surfaces — as opposed to large rooms. So in some respects I find it easier than wallpapering a house.

Tips on decorating a caravan, including the best paint to use.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Inspiration for a small caravan interior
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Inspiration for a small caravan interior
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Yellow colour scheme for a small caravan interior.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Yellow colour scheme for a small caravan interior.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Yellow colour scheme for a small caravan interior.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Some Tips For Decorating a Caravan

Here are my top tips for painting a caravan interior.

Make sure the walls are grease free.

Caravan walls can sometimes get a little greasy, due to cooking in such a tiny space. So making sure you give the surfaces a good wash down with sugar soap is always a good idea.

Paste both the wall and the paper. I always hang the paper from the top edge and trim the overhang at the bottom.

Make sure you smooth the paper down well and buff out with a dry wallpaper brush. This will get rid of any bubbles.

It can look a little bit alarming when the paper is wet. But the bubbles tend to settle down and disappear when the paste is dry.

I remember feeling so nervous when I wallpapered Dolly 1.

Would it be a waste of a £30 roll of paper? Will the paper stick? Would it last?

I had visions of the opening her up after the first winter to find the wallpaper hanging off the walls. Or peeling paint everywhere. But that never happened.

We had Dolly 1 for almost 6 years and the paper and paint looked as good when we sold her as the day it was put on.

So there we have it! A few tips on decorating a caravan. Next time I’ll talk about painting a caravan exterior.

Painting the interior of our touring caravan Dolly — the finishing touches to my second caravan makeover
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s got in contact about Dolly 1 and Dolly 2. I love receiving your emails and would be thrilled to see how you get on with your own van makeovers.

Please do drop me a line with any before and after photos! Caro xx

Some More Posts on How To Decorate a Caravan

Looking for more tips on how to decorate a caravan? Check out these posts below.

Caro Davies editor of The Listed Home
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Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.

Home | The Listed Home Blog | Tips For Decorating a Caravan | Painting and Wallpapering a Caravan Interior

132 thoughts on “Tips For Decorating a Caravan | Painting and Wallpapering a Caravan Interior”

  1. Dolly Too is A-mazing! We have just bought a caravan, and it’s interior is very much like your before pictures. It’s pretty dismal, so I’d like to give it a make-over. I was wondering if you have ever wallpapered onto a textured surface in a van? All of our walls seem to have a slight raised pattern to them so I’m wondering if wall papering would work or whether I should maybe stick to painting.

    Reply
    • Hi Olivia! YES! I did — both times — with Dolly 1 and Dolly 2! Much, much cheaper than getting them professionally done. A proper upholsterer would probably have a fit if they saw how I’d done it but it’s fine for our needs. They look fab — if you don’t look too closely!! ;) I have pictures of how I did it and will do a post when I have time, but essentially I did it almost like wrapping a parcel. With velcro on one side so they can be removed for washing. Cx

      Reply
    • Thanks so much Lone! And thank you for stopping by!! :) The primer and eggshell I used were both water based. You could use oil based paint if you wanted though, I don’t think it would make any difference :) Hope this helps! x

      Reply
  2. Hi, we’d just started renovating our first caravan and I happened to stumble across your post. Our van is the same model as yours but a two birth. I’ve found the information you’ve shared incredibly useful but wondered how you did the rest of your van E.g light fittings, taps, the bathroom and exterior. I know it’s a massive amount of information for you to recall but any advice would be amazing! ?

    Reply
  3. I want to do this with My caravan we bought one just like your colours inside . Got it in September want to update it . Where is that pink green flower wallpaper from I’m thinking that will go with my green curtains etc.

    Reply
  4. Hi There
    We have been inspired by you too! My other half is worried about wear though, we have two boys, (4 & 2) and he’s worried that the paint will mark and we’ll be forever touching it up, how did Dolly fair? thanks Fi

    Reply
    • Hi Fi!! Aah that’s lovely, thank you! Our twin boys turned 5 this week, so lots of rough and tumble but both Dolly 1 and Dolly 2 have seemed to wear pretty well.

      The paint has marked around the door but that’s not down to the boys — that’s more to do with us dragging furniture and caravan supplies in and out at the start/end of each journey.

      To be honest, I don’t mind touching up here and there, as it’s infinitely better than it was to begin with. I’d much rather have to touch up scuff-marks — as and when they appear — than put up with the sea of brown that we had to begin with :) Good luck with whatever you decide! xx

      Reply
  5. Hi there. Both your Dolly’s are fantastic! We are away to start decorating our “Daisy” and while we are not nearly at this stage yet we were wondering if you painted the exterior of your vans and if so what method and paint did you use plz? Thank you. X

    Reply
    • Hello Gill!! Thanks so much for your lovely message :) Yes — I painted the exterior of both vans. I’ve got a blog post in drafts, explaining the kind of paint I used and how I did it. It’s not quite ready to publish yet but watch this space!! ;) xx

      Reply
      • Hi Caro, we are about to take charge of our first caravan in a couple of weeks. It is abut 15 years old and I am buying it from a friend. I can see from the pics she has sent me that it would really benefit from a make over as it is coming in its original form.. I am terrified at the prospect of prettying it , though ! Wondering about starting with the exterior first so looking forward to reading your post on this. And thank you for sharing your tips with such honesty!

        Reply
        • Hi Rona!! Aaah don’t be terrified! Look upon it as an exciting project!! I would start with the interior first — there’s less pressure, as you can start small (and people can’t see what you’re doing!!!). I plan to publish my exterior post before the summer is out, so watch this space! x

          Reply
  6. Hello
    My partner has taken down the original plastic type wallpaper down, he wants to paint over the left paper but I’m wondering if he needs to cover it with paper first and what paint we should use thanks x

    Reply
    • Hi Charlotte! So sorry, your message was caught in the spam — I’m so sorry for the late reply! I wouldn’t have bothered taking the original paper down, I think I’d have probably just painted or papered straight over it.

      If there are remnants of old paper left, it might be wise either wallpapering over it, or putting lining paper up if you’d prefer a painted finish. I know from experience that if you’ve not got a nice clean finish, paint doesn’t sometimes work too well. Let me know how you get on!! Apologies again for the delayed reply!

      Reply
  7. Hi i have just bought a rapido folding caravan its in really good condition can i paint the interior walls.

    Reply
    • Hi Beverley, Congratulations on your purchase! Exciting times ahead and lots of adventures :) I would imagine it would work, on principle, if the unit is watertight and built like a traditional caravan? But as I’ve never painted one myself, I wouldn’t like to say 100%.

      If you were keen to do it, you could paint a small unobtrusive section — then leave it over a few months (preferably over the winter) — to see how it withstood time and atmospheric conditions.

      The painted surfaces in both our touring vans has never peeled and lasted well over years but as I’ve no experience of folding caravans I just wouldn’t like to say. I’m really sorry! But if you do it, let me know how you get on!! I’d love to know :)

      Reply
  8. Hi Caro, we have just bought a 3 bed static caravan in Spain. It’s in good condition but has the horrible fake wood type cupboards and walls so I am absolutely delighted to find your blog on renovating the caravan. Looking forward to doing ours and looking forward to your finishing touches blog. Anne x

    Reply
    • Hi Anne! Aaah I’m so delighted you found my blog! And yes — I stayed at my parents’ static caravan last weekend and was itching to get my paints and brushes out on their cupboards and walls too!!! Good luck :) Let me know how you get on!

      Reply
  9. Oh this is great … I have recently bought a rather old and battered motorhome and I was considering “prettying” her up a wee bit inside…. I have saved this post for tips when I decide to do it! Thanks for the tips and inspiration!

    Reply
  10. Hi. Absolutely love both your caravans. I’ve just bought myself a 2 berth 1990s caravan as a project and have just reached the overwhelming chaos phase of the renovation. Its so nice to see the journey you went through with your vans and comforting to know this mess isn’t forever! ?

    Reply
    • Stick with it Ami!! The chaos bit is really disconcerting — with both vans I’ve reached a stage where I’ve suddenly regretted starting!! But keep going and — all of a sudden — things begin to take shape and start to look much better!!

      Reply
  11. Hiya, I’ve recently finished a renovation on an old caravan and it looks fabulous, however, after a bout of hot weather the wallpaper is lifting at the edges? Any ideas? Thanks so much x

    Reply
    • Hi Vicky, did you paper both the walls and the paper? I always tend to use lots of paste on the edges of the paper, to make sure they really stick down well. Also, did you wash the walls down before you started? It may be that they were a little greasy?

      If I were you, I’d use a scalpel and gently peel back the paper, then add more paste to the wall — and the paper — and stick it back down again, using a decorating brush to smooth it down well. Good luck! :)

      Reply
  12. hi caro just started my project ha,wish me luck its a 2 birth abbey 1996 shes a lovely old lady but needed brightening up stumbled on your site and so glad i have as its given me the confidence to go for it as your make overs are amazing.gone for a shabby chic look so fingers crossed

    Reply
  13. I have also been inspired, I am buying my first caravan (v old 5 berth 1994 van and it needs a total revamp)

    My question is did you bother to paint inside cupboards or only outside and doors etc???

    Reply
    • Hi Ed! Brilliant — old caravans are the best kind!! It’s so nice being able to revamp them and turn them into something lovely :) And in answer to your question — no!! I painted both sides of the cupboard doors — but not the inside of the actual cupboards. You definitely could though — if you could be bothered. But in my case, it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ Good luck!

      Reply
      • Ooh just seen this Caro. Where can I find your post about how you sprayed the fittings and the materials you used? Many thanks for your posts – they are just fab and very inspiring. I am itching to get going and we haven’t even bought the van yet!

        Reply
        • Hi Katie, I haven’t written it yet I’m afraid! I’ve written posts on flooring, painting the exterior and decorating the interior. I still have a few posts to go. Thanks for your lovely messages! :)

          Reply
  14. Love love love what you’ve done with both Dollies.we bought a 2 berth last year and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her!!! The other half objected as he said it would devalue or make it problematic if /when we come to sell her. I feel it would be easier to sell as not all of us want hideous fabric and brown brown brown!
    Did you find it easy selling the original Dolly ?
    Mel X

    Reply
    • Aaah thank you SO much Melanie! And YES!!! I could have sold Dolly 1 a hundred times over — she was SO popular I had people fighting over her and we eventually sold her for almost £1K more than we bought her for.

      I suspect that if you have a new van, you’d be pitching to the wrong audience — the staunch ‘caravaners’ love the shiny beigeness of new caravans.

      But if you’ve got a tired old van (like both Dollies), a makeover is only going to increase the value as they’re not worth very much in the first place. People are drawn to the quirkiness of them! And the fact that they look so homely. We’ve had offers on Dolly 2 — even though we don’t plan to sell her on just yet. But I know that when we do, we’ll make a profit again, just as we did with Dolly 1. Hope that helps!! Good luck with your makeover! xx

      Reply
  15. I totally fell in love with your caravans a couple of years ago and they are the only reason I agreed to buy a caravan in the first place!! Two years later and we’re finally ready to get started. A couple of questions- did you spray your plug sockets, plastics grills etc? And if so, what paint did you use? And also, did you paint the inside of the main door? Ours is a shiny plastic finish and I was just wondering what paint you used for that. Thanks in advance! Can’t wait to get started now!

    Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth!! Aaah what a lovely message to read first thing in a morning! Thanks so much. I have a post outlining all of this info. Along with what I use to paint the exteriors too. Once the summer’s out of the way, and the twins have gone back to school, I’ll post it on the blog! :)

      Reply
  16. Hi Caro, I absolutely love your caravan restorations. I have just bought a 1991 Sprite who despite her age is in pretty good condition but in need of a revamp!
    I plan to paint and use wallpaper, so I can’t wait to see your post on that because I’ve never used wallpaper before!
    I’m interested to know how long it took you to complete your project from start to finish?

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Emma!! That’s so lovely of you :)

      Dolly 1 took just a couple weekends from start to finish! We didn’t have children then so it was a lot easier to just crack on and finish the job!!

      Dolly 2 took maybe 6 weekends… but we were trying to juggle childcare with decorating the van!!

      It’s been spread out over time too. We finished the interior before starting on the exterior on another weekend. Weirdly, Dolly 2 (even though it took longer, cumulatively) felt quicker to complete, as we knew what we were doing!! Good luck with your van makeover!!!! :)xx

      Reply
      • Hi, love the finished look and a definitely going to redecorate my van, so glad I stumbled across your blog! Can you tell me though, what you used fo flooring? Thanks

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      • This is a great post but can i just check, would you recommend using cupboard primer to paint all walls and ceiling then put paper on top? We have recently purchased a static caravan and i need to remove the dressing table from the bedroon to create enough space for a cot so im going to need to redecorate the room as id imagine it will mark the wall, thank you x

        Reply
        • Hi Claire, You can almost treat it as you would a house. Fill and sand anywhere that needs it first — if there are holes left by the dressing table etc.

          I painted every surface of our van with cupboard makeover paint, then emulsioned over the top with a roller, or wallpapered. Good luck! Let me know how you get on! :)

          Reply
  17. Thank you so much for your posts. Love your Dolly makeovers. I am revamping a 1981 Windsor caravan that I live in at my daughters, so it’s The Castle…..
    All the brown & orange has gone, now cream & green with red touches. Have recovered seats, made new curtains, remade roller blinds, but I am wondering what to do about the orange fridge door. Any suggestions? It is metallic.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your lovely message Louise! Could you send me a pic of the fridge door?? I cant visualise what you mean — it would be easier to give advice if I could actually see it :)

      Reply
  18. I am renovating a 70 s sprite and as it’s going to be a glamping van on our site wether I could varnish over the paper to give a washable surface on changeover days. I would value you input.

    Reply
    • I’d definitely give that a go Lizzie. I’ve varnished wallpaper before — but on a box not a wall! I used Polyvine Decorators Varnish — it’s great as it doesn’t yellow over time. If you’re nervous about painting directly on the wall, varnish a piece of spare paper first, to see if you’re happy with the finish. Let me know how you get on!

      Reply
  19. Hello:) I’m so glad I came across this page!! I recently brought the same transfer as you and currently doing it up… while struggling ? can I ask you how you have your bathroom/ wardrobe room as mine is just a shell at the moment ?
    Thank you:)

    Reply
    • Hi Jess, I’ve wallpapered the loo/bathroom — we got rid of the shower and the horrible sink unit. But the wardrobe is very separate — they’re not integral? Has yours been knocked through? C

      Reply
  20. I’ve cleaned the walls and used wallpaper however it’s come off after a few months. I’ve got 10 damp traps in various places and they are all dry…. What should I use to put the wallpaper back up with?

    Reply
    • Hi Louise, for both of our caravan makeovers I washed the walls down first, then used wallpaper paste — and pasted both the paper and the walls, before putting up the paper. Both vans were kept outdoors during the winter months and the paper hasn’t peeled in either case. Is it peeling just at the edges? Or is it coming off in entire sheets?

      Reply
  21. Hi Caro, it’s coming off in entire sheets. I made the paste thicker than the instructions said. When I realised what was happening I tried using PVA and that’s come off too.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Oh bless you Louise!! What a nightmare! If this was me, I’d get the whole lot off and start again. I’d strip the paper off and clean the walls thoroughly; so they’re totally free of any glue or paste. Then I’d give the walls a light sand — wash them down again — and start again.

      If you don’t want to waste money on another roll of wallpaper, it might be worth buying a roll of lining paper and trying a section with that, first.

      Just to make sure that it adheres to the walls properly and you’re not going to have the same issue again.

      Personally, if I was happy that the lining paper was firmly stuck down — after a couple of week’s or so — I’d then wallpaper over the top of it. If it began to peel then I’d probably just paint the walls instead.

      I’m so sorry that you’re having such a nightmare!! That’s the exact scenario that I worried may happen, when I papered our first van, but happily, it’s not happened yet with any of the vans I’ve renovated.

      Good luck Louise — please let me know how you get on!! xx

      Reply
  22. Hi Caro. I’ve just happened upon this blog and LOVE it!!! We’ve just bought a 30yr old 2 berth caravan very similar to Dolly 1. Its covered in orange pine everywhere so can’t wait to get painting…
    I have 2 questions for you… we are leaving our basin and shower unit in the ensuite.. i was just wondering how you attached the metal corner unit in Dolly 2 that is holding loo rolls?
    Also our caravan doesnt currently have a fridge in it… is there one you would recommend or do you think we should go to a caravan scrapyard/graveyard and see if we can pick one up there?
    Youre post is such an inspiration!!! Can’t wait to start!!!
    Dani x

    Reply
    • Hi Danielle!

      Aaah that’s so lovely of you! Thank you :) Re the corner unit, we attached it to the wall with screws and rawl plugs.
      As far as the fridge goes, if you want a second hand one, there are various caravan breaker companies all over the UK — probably best to Google for one nearest you. Or eBay is always great for caravan spares!

      For miscellaneous items — vents and covers etc — Venture Caravans have a great range (plus an eBay shop) and they have brilliant knowledge too. They’ve been really helpful for us over the years!! Good luck!!! XX

      Reply
  23. Hi, loving your work and it’s making me so excited for our project! Can I ask did you reupholster yourself? I can sew but it looks like a huge task!

    Reply
    • Hello!! Yes — I did do the upholstery. It’s not a professional job by any stretch but looks WAY better than the horrible old floral cushions! I’ll put together a blog post showing how I did it… watch this space!!

      Reply
  24. So I’ve just bought an old caravan that looks gross and found this wonderful blog thank you for your pictures and ideas I can’t wait to give it a make over. ??

    Reply
  25. Hi! Your lovely blog has given me the balls to start upcycling my van ? Can I just ask what you did with the inside of the door to the caravan?x

    Reply
  26. This is amazing thankyou for sharing ?
    Just bought a Genuis 500/5 for a project an all questions I had you clearly answered through both dolly 1 and 2 I’m soooooo excited
    Brilliant post ??

    Reply
  27. Hi, can you advise us on painting the rubber seal around the top of the wall before the ceiling begins. Can we paint it using the Dulux difficult survives then emulsion just as we have done the walls of the van please?

    Many Thanks
    Jacqui ?

    Reply
  28. We’ve just bought a 1998 Abi Dalesman almost identical to Dolly 1. Please can you tell me how you recovered the upholstery?

    Reply
      • Hi I’m amazed at both dolly’s & so inspired ! We have just started on a very dilapidated caravan, lots of broken parts, do you have any advice on broken cupboard door stays ? I can’t find a video anywhere to show me how to fix those ! & I too am after upholstery covering advice & curtain advice please
        Rachel

        Reply
        • Hi Rachel, it depends on what van you have. We bought replacement door stays for both Dolly 1 and 2 — but can’t find anything suitable for Dolly 3 (although we haven’t looked very hard, to tell you the truth!!).

          If it’s an old van, you can try a breaker’s yard — or speak to a caravan spares company like Venture.

          Reply
  29. Hey
    Loved looking at your dollies :-)
    Myself and husband are looking at buying an older caravan mainly to see if we enjoy caravanning. I would love to know how you did your sofas as they look amazing!!

    Reply
  30. Hi there, we have just started our caravan project.
    I am looking for advise on the best way to cover the cupboard and covered MDF boards.
    I can see you used crow makeover cupboard primer, is this the only paint you used? or was this as an undercoat and another paint as the top?
    thank you would really appreciate the help.
    p.s love your van!

    Reply
  31. Hi

    Another massive fan! Beautiful makeovers!

    I have just bought a pretty immaculate van to live in but it’s just not homely enough! I am planning to paintball the wood (or not wood) cupboards and there ALOT of them.

    You talk about cupboard makeover paint and I’d be massively grateful if you can be more specific? I just don’t know what I’m looking for! I want to keep it water based if possible, for the sake of fumes (I live with two big dogs as well-not sire how that is going to work out, but still….)

    Very many thanks for your inspiration x

    Reply
    • Hi Jane, Thanks for your lovely message!

      I have used a variety of cupboard makeover paints over the years but I’ve just started giving Dolly 3 her makeover and have been using a primer that I’ve been using in the house for my home DIY projects. It’s called Zinsser Bin — there are two kinds (red and blue) but I prefer the blue one which is water based. I used the white version for paler topcoat and the grey version if I’m painting a darker eggshell. I’ve even used it on plastic — it looks fairly alarming when you first apply it… the first coat is very patchy!! But once you give it a second coat — then a topcoat with the eggshell of your choice — it looks amazing!

      Good luck with your makeover! Send me some pictures when you’re done :)

      Reply
  32. Just bought my van but it has the original wallpaper on.Do I have to take the old paper of first and do I have to buy special wallpaper and paste for wallpapering walls in a caravan

    Reply
    • Hi Ellen, if the wallpaper is on firmly — not peeling anywhere — I’d wallpaper over the top. And no, I’ve used ordinary wallpaper and wallpaper paste when decorating all of our caravans.

      Reply
  33. Hi , love your posts
    I am currently trying to make a 1985 eldis whirlwind into my craft room and happy place . Just got to the halfway panic stage and OMG ! What have I started.
    Glad to know that’s how it’s supposed to go. X

    Reply
    • Oh bless you!! I know that feeling all too well!! Just concentrate on a bit at a time — don’t feel overwhelmed by the bigger picture. Eventually you’ll come to a point where all the smaller areas will join up and you realise you’ve nearly finished!! :)

      Reply
  34. I loved reading this post, we have just moved, more or less full time, into out static caravan. It’s 4 years old and the walls are covered in the usual boring beige hessian pattern vinyl wall covering. All the floors and worktops are brown. I really won’t to change the whole look of it to a light beach hut theme as we are right by the sea, but not sure how to paper over the vinyl walls. Did you have the same stuff in your caravan?
    Any tips gratefully received.
    Linda

    Reply
    • Hi Linda! Thanks for your lovely message! Yes — the walls in both of the vans were vinyl. But not highly textured — they were wooden veneer in most places. The ceilings were textured though and we painted those.

      If the walls are highly textured in your van, and you feel that it might show though the wallpaper, you could always line them first. That would give a great finish.

      If it were my static, I don’t think I’d hesitate to do it. Maybe try on one wall in one of the smaller bedrooms first, just to try it out.

      I keep trying to persuade my mum and dad to let me decorate their static van. They’ve got horrible textured candy stripe walls! LOL!! They’re not having a bar of it though — they keep saying they like it because it’s ‘original’!!

      I can’t wait to get my hands on it — there’s so much scope to make it beautiful! Letv me know how you get on. Good luck!

      Reply
  35. Hi Caro
    I am so happy to have found your posts. We have just bought a very dated van with lots of (inspired by you!) potential.
    I was just wondering where you got your seat fabric from? I love it as it is so versatile – I could stick all sorts with it!
    Also, do you have any posts on your newest van?
    Thank you for all the inspiration
    Julia

    Reply
    • Hi Julia, thanks for your lovely message! The original seat fabric was a roll bought from Clarke and Clarke. It wasn’t upholstery fabric but did the job perfectly. They were fully washable and held up really well. I have barely written anything about Dolly 3 yet as we haven’t really got stuck into decorating her yet. As soon as I have, I will absolutely share it on here. I have started the shower room, so that will probably be the first thing I’ll post about :) Watch this space!

      Reply
  36. Hi there,

    I have had great pleasure in looking at Dolly 1 and Dolly 2 being renovated. My wife and I have just brought a 2004 Lunar Lexor 4 birth with a fixed bed.

    I was worried about starting the make over but feel a little more optimistic now.

    Where did you start? Was t just priming all the wood work? I have a hand sander, would you recommend to use or just key it with handheld sandpaper?

    Seeing your post has really got me excited to start the new project. :)

    Reply
    • Hello! No — I didn’t use our electric sander — I just gave the woodwork a light key using a piece of sandpaper. And I painted the ceiling first, followed by the woodwork! Good luck — send me some pics when you’re done! I’d love to see what you do:)

      Reply
  37. Hi there,

    I love what you did! Can you tell me how the weather affects the wall paper? I did one wall in my motor home’s bathroom but when it gets a little warm, the paper bubbles up and looks awful.

    Reply
    • Hi Lloyda! We have had no issues at all — with any of our vans! :) I was really worried that — after the first winter — the paper would be hanging off the wall but it stuck fast and years later looked great.

      If you watch Dolly 2’d guided tour, at the end of this post — https://thelistedhome.co.uk/guided-tour-of-our-upcycled-caravan/ — you’ll see how it all looked almost 5 years after I’d done it. If you’re using the shower in the motorhome’s bathroom, this could be an issue with the paper. And also, maybe historically, someone used the shower in there and the walls are holding a little moisture? This would certainly cause the paper to bubble.

      I think, if it was my van, I’d strip the paper off. Check the walls with a damp meter — then prepare the wall with a damp proof paint, before papering again.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  38. Hi Dolly 1 & 2 look amazing, We have a 2004 Luna as well that we have decided to live in on a seasonal pitch as a change of lifestyle. Loving it to be honest, but the sea of brown is a bit much so wanted to paint, and you have given such good advice so thank you! Just one question our ceiling is a vinyl ‘wallpaper’ with a few creases from age do I have repaper or just paint over, and also do you have any ideas on how to remove the creases?

    Thanks again for a fantastic post!

    Reply
    • Without seeing it, I’m not really sure what to suggest. If it really bothers you, could try stripping it off and starting again. But, to be honest, once you’ve given the ceiling a fresh coat of paint, and freshened up the rest of the van, you probably won’t even notice ;)

      Reply
  39. Hi

    I am so impressed what a fab job. Definitely going to have a go.

    Could you tell me have you got a blog for covering the seats. If not any tips on covering them yours look great ?

    Reply
    • Aah thank you ever so much! And no!! I still haven’t written one! I’m just about to cover the seats in our new van though, so will definitely create a post, showing how I do it :)

      Reply
  40. Starting Caravanning late in life (63) just bought a quite an old Castleton Rosella. I plan to follow what you have done, amazing and absolutely beautiful caravans. A couple of questions did you leave the ‘worktops as they where or paint or cover. Also I would love to cover the two sofas but can seem to see how I can get the backs off.

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara! Good for you – I’ve just started on my third van :) We painted the exterior over the Easter weekend. Now looking forward to starting the interior. With regards to your questions; I left the worktops as they were. They were wooden and in good condition. Plus I liked the contrast against the paint :) And I’m sorry — I can’t help with the seats. Our sofa cushions – on all three vans – have been fully removable; they’re not fixed. Good luck! Send me some pics when you’re done! :)

      Reply
  41. We love your little caravans well done and thank you for the inspiration to get moving and bring back to life our little swift 12/2
    I was wondering if you could help me with the drop down sink unit in the shower/ loo room
    It’s so dated and wanted some advice on how to bring it back to life
    All Suggestions would be greatly appreciated

    Reply
    • We had a drop down sink unit in Dolly 2 but I took it out in the end and we just had the loo in there!!

      As we never used it, it just felt like a waste of space.

      That said, if you wanted to update it, you could try painting the outside, so that when it’s closed, it looks a bit nicer and ties in well. I’d suggest using Zinsser All Coat Colour Match as it covers just about anything!!

      Reply
  42. Hi! Your caravan is fab!! Can I ask, how you wallpapered the Wood around the doors and the back of your cabinet please? Did you do it differently to wallpapering walls? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Debbie! Thanks for your message. I did it in exactly the same way as I papered the walls. I used wallpaper paste to stick the paper down. The wood veneer had a really smooth surface so it didn’t cause any issues at all :)

      Reply
  43. Hi, did you write the caravan name yourself on the outside? I am wanting to name my caravan and not sure if stencil or free hand is best. Thanks

    Susan

    Reply
  44. Thank you for the tips and advice, l am getting my first caravan on Saturday and can’t wait to put my stamp on it! So this has definitely been an interesting read x

    Reply
  45. Both makeovers look incredible!
    We’ve just bought our first tourer (2005 model) as a couple with 2 boys age 10 and 8. We’re so excited to begin our adventures. I want to give it a new look without changing everything. Mainly due to cost! Any tips? The furnishings are a burgundy colour. ??

    Reply
    • Aaah thanks so much Lisa! If the soft furnishings are plain burgundy, you could just add some coordinating cushions — teal and cream would work really well :) Or if not, cover up with throws or make simple loose covers. I bought a roll of fabric which was enough for both vans.

      Reply
  46. I’m so happy that I came across your blog. We just got our first caravan and despite it not being dramatically outdated inside I really want it mainly white inside. Thank you for all your tips and advices. All the best from Paula & Maniek.

    Reply
  47. Just about to embark on an old caravan makeover project, trying to spend as little as possible on it. Your makeover project is just what I was looking for to convince my husband that it’s worth the effort. The caravan is going to be static as it’s touring days are over and as it was given to us it’s not going to cost us anything to keep at our property. It will be a chill pad for our granddaughters and friends when they visit and an overspill to sleep extra guests. So keep your fingers crossed and I’ll post a photo when finished. We’ve recently cleaned the outside of it as it was green with moss and algae, it cleaned up beautifully.

    Reply
    • Hi Yvonne!! It’s DEFINITELY worth the effort!! It’s one of the best decisions we ever made. Turning these dated little tin boxes into a lovely homey space is so rewarding. Good luck! Send me some before and after pics when you’re done! :)

      Reply
  48. Love your blog! Great job on Dolly 1 and Dolly 2!

    Question: everyone seems to paint with a brush. Has anyone tried just taping off the windows and using a paint sprayer?

    Reply
    • Hi Patricia, thank you! And yes — I’m sure lots of people have used spray. I don’t have a driveway and wouldn’t be able to do that on the roadside, hence the reason I always use a paintbrush. But there’s no reason you couldn’t :)

      Reply
  49. Thank you for your tips
    Due to rotting wood I have stripped my caravan down and now have a fresh new interior to start rebuilding, never done anything like this before so hopefully it will go ok?

    Reply

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