Making your van home feel cosy and inviting is super important, whether you’re going to be hitting the road full-time or just at the weekends. You want your camper to feel like home so that when you return after a day of exploring, you feel relaxed. A relaxed environment makes for a less stressful experience, fun evenings and great memories.
I’ve lived in my camper for almost three years and, at this point, it feels more like home than any house I’ve ever lived in. Plus, I can take my home wherever I like! So, let’s dive in and take a look at ten ways you can make your camper feel like home.
Featured Image Credit: @brina.explores
1. Decorate Your Space
Whether you convert your own van home or buy a ready-made campervan, decorating your space is essential. Campervans bought ready-made can feel a bit utilitarian and cold. So, it is especially important to add your own decorations if you have gone down this route.
When you buy a house, you will likely have plenty of redecoration and renovation plans to make it feel like home. You can also do this in a campervan. Small jobs like painting the cabinets to suit your taste or re-upholstering seat cushions can go a long way to make a van feel like home.
Even if you build your camper van from scratch, make sure you add your own personal flair to the design. It is so easy to create a van that looks like any other on Instagram. Striving to add something unique will make your space feel like your own.
2. Bring Finishing Touches From Your House
When you go on a trip, or move into your van home, an excellent way to make the interior feel personal to you is to bring finishing touches from home. It can be easy to get pulled into the idea that you need camping-specific everything when you go travelling in a van but, believe it or not, regular bowls do the job just as well as camping bowls.
Having things like proper cutlery and cooking equipment makes life easier and also removes that feeling of being somewhere other than home. If you use disposable cutlery or a spork every time you eat, you won’t get that homely feeling. Sure, you want to make sure you choose things that won’t break or get damaged, but if you store dishes properly, this shouldn’t be a problem.
As well as bringing practical items from home, choose a few decorative things that you love. For example, you’ll still need cushions and blankets on the road; these can come from your previous home. This sort of thing also don’t need to be camping-specific and using items that you already own will add to the homely feel.
3. Use A Duvet, Not A Sleeping Bag
For me, using a duvet (or comforter for our American readers) is a sure-fire way to make your van feel like home. Travelling in a van isn’t quite camping, it’s warmer and more luxurious, and your gear should reflect this. Sleeping bags are designed to keep you warm in a tent, where you’re basically outside. A van has insulation, and probably a heater too, so it is much warmer than a tent.
Using a duvet is super cosy and also makes your camper look nicer and more like a traditional house. You also get to choose and change, your duvet cover. This is a great bonus as you can select a cover to go with the design of the rest of your camper. Having a couple of duvet covers is also an excellent way to alter the feel of your van if you fancy a change.
4. Get Organised
It’s important to be organised in a small space, your van home won’t be comfortable to live in if there is stuff everywhere. Lots of van dwellers are outdoorsy people, and there can be a lot of gear that comes with outdoor activity. It’s essential to make sure you have space for everything you want to bring on your road trip and that you know where everything is kept.
Organising your gear not only means your camper is a more relaxing space, but it also allows you to get out there quicker. You won’t have to start your day searching for something that should be easily accessible.
Being organised not only goes for outdoor gear but also day to day items. Cooking is no fun if you have to spend five minutes looking for every ingredient, knowing that everything has a place makes anywhere feel like home.
5. Self Conversion
Converting your van yourself is the ultimate way to make you camper feel like home. Completing a DIY conversion means you will know every single nook and cranny of your van like the back of your hand. You will also know exactly how everything works, which means you’ll know how to fix it too.
If you complete a self-build camper, you can add your own design and layout choices to your camper. Your van home will be unique to you and will reflect your personality in every way. You can choose everything, from what sort of bed you want, down to the colour of your cabinets.
Building your van yourself also gives you a massive sense of accomplishment, living in something you have crafted yourself is hugely satisfying and something to be proud of. This sense of pride about your tiny house makes it feel more homely, as you love the space.
6. Make Your Van Home Functional
It’s all well and good making your van home look pretty, but before any of that your van needs to be functional. What works for one person might not work for the next, so it’s important to spend some time thinking about what you need in your camper.
If you have never travelled in a van before then it might be a good idea to rent one out for a short trip. By doing this, you can see how a layout works for you; what you like and what you’d change. Then, when it’s time to build or buy your van, you will know what sort of layout would be best for you.
7. Get To Know Your Space
When you first move into a new space, not knowing where anything is can get frustrating. This is also true for your van home. Spend time moving items around to find where they work best and get to know where everything is. Being able to find something quickly, and always knowing where the coffee adds to the feeling of being at home!
It’s also a good idea to learn how your electrical system works inside your camper. If something goes wrong, it’s good to be able to know what to look out for and how to repair the problem. Understanding how your camper functions will enable you to feel confident when you go on a road trip.
Your van’s engine is an extension of your home, so it’s great to have some knowledge about what’s under the hood. This is of course much more complex than the interior electrics but knowing a few basics is always a good idea. Always bring along your vehicle’s manual so you can look up any problems, or just make sure you have good breakdown cover…
8. Fairy Lights
This may feel a bit cliche, but let’s face it, fairy lights do make any space feel warm and cosy. Adding fairy lights to your van home is a quick, easy and cheap way to add a homely touch to your camper. Plus, it means that you can have softer lighting inside, creating a pleasant atmosphere in the evenings.
There are many different types of fairy lights out there; I’ve found that simplicity is best. Like everything in a van, you want your fairy lights to be small and long-lasting, which is why LED string lights are a win. As they’re battery-powered, using fairy lights at night also means that you are not draining your leisure batteries so that you can stay off the grid for longer.
9. Put Up Some Photos
Just because a camper is small, it doesn’t mean it can’t be personal to you. Photographs are a great way to make a van feel like home, especially if you’re going on a long road trip. If you are going to be travelling for an extended period, then photographs of friends and family are a nice touch.
A van home is an adventure mobile, and it’s fun to document your journey along the way. A great way to do this is using a Polaroid camera; this way you can put up pictures from your trip as it is happening. A Polaroid camera also saves you from making a trip to the printing shop, something that always seems to be on my list of things to do but never actually happens!
10. Ensure Your Van Meets All Your Basic Needs
For somewhere to feel like home, it should meet most, if not all of your basic needs. A tent, for example, is unlikely to feel homely for an extended period as it doesn’t have heating, a toilet, a kitchen or shower. If you can include as many of these things as possible in your camper, then it will feel more like home.
Some necessities to think about are electricity, water, cooking facilities, heat, a toilet, a shower and somewhere comfortable to sleep. While you might decide you don’t need all of these points, the more you include in your van, the less you have to rely on other people. Being as independent as possible will make your camper feel like home.
I think it’s most important to remember that travelling in your van home isn’t camping, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Being in a camper gives you more independence and the ability to make a more permanent base for your adventure. Making a van homely is easy, and hopefully, these points have given you some inspiration for your camper.