Personalized Van Space.

Decorating a Camper Van to Personalize Your Space

The van life movement has taken the world by storm—at least parts of it. There are numerous reasons to forego a more traditional home and lifestyle. Yet, there are also limitations and tradeoffs. While you may be limited on the layout due to space and weight constraints, you can easily enjoy decorating a camper van to suit your tastes. 

Why Van Life? 

Folks seeking greater flexibility, adventure, and a break from the traditional life tethered to a specific location (often combined with a heavy mortgage or unaffordable rent) find this new way of living appealing. It’s gained greater traction through social media as countless individuals, couples, and even families share their journeys, tips, and some pretty awe-inspiring views to fuel even more interest.

Beyond the influence of social media (especially Instagram and YouTube) showcasing the idyllic aspects of living on the road, people are also attracted to living more sustainably and enjoying a simpler way of life. Living in a van is a great way to consume less and lower your carbon footprint. 

In addition, van life has a long-term appeal due to changing economic conditions, societal norms, and the evolving nature of work. The cost of living—especially rising housing costs across the country—has driven a greater desire to live debt-free. Van life can be an economical alternative. And an increase in remote or traveling work opportunities has made it more feasible for people to live on the road, rather than being tied down to a single location for employment. 

Innovations in van design, technology, and infrastructure support (such as more accessible van-friendly camping spots and facilities) further make this alternative living arrangement more popular. 

Personalizing and Decorating a Camper Van

Despite the limited space, there are many creative ways of decorating a camper van to make it feel like home. These include: 

  • Choosing a theme or color scheme: Choose something that reflects your personality and tastes. You could go with a bohemian style, beach theme, minimalist, retro, sci-fi, or eclectic—go with any style that makes you happy. Remember that choosing a consistent color scheme or theme can make the van feel more cohesive and organized, making it feel bigger and airier.
  • Invest in storage: Custom-designed or built storage solutions are a great way to maximize the space and keep you organized. Some important options to consider are multi-functional, such as a bed that can convert to a sofa or tables that can be turned into a desk and folded away when not in use. Using hidden compartments and vertical and hanging storage can help you use every inch of space without looking cluttered. 
  • Soft furnishings and textiles: Adding cushions, curtains, rugs, and comfortable bedding not only makes your space homier but is also a great way to personalize your space. Again, pick patterns and textures you love that fit your theme or color scheme.
  • Add art: Wall space is at a premium, so it’s even more important to hang artwork and photos that truly resonate and make you feel at home. Use magnetic frames or adhesive strips to avoid damaging the walls, and rotate through your artwork occasionally if you have more than you can hang at once.
  • Bring the outside in: Small houseplants can bring more life to any space. They can also help improve air quality and keep you connected to nature, especially when your campsite doesn’t offer jaw-dropping views. Remember to pick low-maintenance plants that can thrive in limited sunlight. 
  • Consider privacy: If you’re sharing your van space with a friend or partner, you may sometimes just need your own space. Retractable privacy screens can create private sections within your van for dressing, sleeping, meditating, or being alone with your thoughts. Even if you’re on your own, you’ll also want to consider good window coverings that can be adjusted or removed to regulate your privacy and the temperature. Again, the material chosen can have a dramatic effect when decorating your camper van.
  • Mood lighting: Lighting can dramatically change the mood in your small space. You can add string lights, LED strip lights, solar-powered lanterns, or a fiber optic light system to create a cozy, warm, unique atmosphere. You can also install a sky or moonlight to bring in fresh air and natural light during the day. Lighting can also make the space feel larger and more open. And if they open, you’ll appreciate the fresh air. 
  • Grab your gadgets: You know what makes you happy. So, make room for those things that really suit your lifestyle. If your must-haves include a hot cup of coffee, then a good coffee maker is essential. If you live for movie nights, then add a compact projector to turn your van into a theater. If you thrive on adventure, make room for your mountain bike or ski gear. If you enjoy relaxing by the fire and playing music, your instrument(s) could be a necessity. You may even be able to turn your gear into decorations when not in use. 
  • Expand outside your van: To truly embrace van life, you’ll want to be able to expand your living space. Include a foldable awning, outdoor mat, comfy outdoor chairs or a hammock, and a place to prepare and cook meals. You’ll not only be able to enjoy the scenic views and fresh air, but it provides extended space to entertain. If you live or stay in a place with agreeable weather, you may also want to consider an outdoor shower with a privacy screen to rinse off after your adventures. 
  • Surround yourself with scents: Specific scents can bring back positive memories. A signature scent that reminds you of home and loved ones can make your van more inviting. Some popular options include essential oil diffusers, incense, or scented candles. All can create a pleasant and familiar atmosphere. Just remember to keep an eye on any open flames and blow them out before you get back on the road. 
  • Make regular updates: Keep your space fresh and dynamic by rotating decorations. For instance, you can decorate for each season or holiday if that makes you feel more at home.  

Even if you aren’t the most talented do-it-yourselfer or you’re on a limited budget, you can easily decorate a camper van to add personal flair, functionality, and comfort. Try self-adhesive wallpaper or vinyl wraps, curtains or fabric covers (using fabric glue or clips if you don’t sew), adding removable hooks and shelves, freshening up with a new coat of paint, or tossing in a few throw pillows. Even small changes make a big difference.

Decorating a camper van with your own flavor and flair helps you create a space that’s personal, comfortable, and homey. The key is to be creative and resourceful and have fun! After all, this is YOUR space, so make it fit your needs and lifestyle. 

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