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How to make a camper feel like home

If you’ve recently bought a van to turn into a camper van perhaps you’re wondering how you’ll make a camper feel like home.

When we first bought our van, Elvis, he was full of metal shelving and not much else.

It was hard to imagine getting him into a place where we could live in him as we did for 5 months while travelling around America for 3 months and then setting up in Western Canada.

However, once we’d got the insulation in (there was a lot of it!) and put in the walls and flooring he began to feel a bit more like home.

But, there was still something missing.

Over the 3 months we spent travelling the USA we added a few things here and there to make him feel more like home.

If you’re looking for some accessories to make your campervan feel like home then check out these ideas. The saying “home is where you park it” will definitely ring true!

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Make a camper feel like home with posters & postcards

diy van conversion

Towards the end of our 5 months of living in Elvis full time, we’d decorated his interior with some art. And when you hang wall decor it really helps to make your van look and feel homier.

We bought a mountainscape poster in Austin and picked up postcards from most of the states we travelled through.

We also decorated our cupboards with a road map of the USA and marked out our route as we completed it.

Together this helped give Elvis a bit more personality. It made the space in the back feel more like a living room and it certainly helped make our camper feel like a home.

The poster is now by my desk and the postcards on our fridge in our Vancouver, BC apartment but the decorated cupboards still remain.

You can get cute prints to hang in your campervan from all over the place. While I think the best ones are those you pick up during your travels, these national park posters are perfect for outdoor lovers in North America.

You can also get scratch-off posters so you can scratch off the national parks badges as you go around. and visit them.

national park posters
national park posters
national park posters
national park posters how to make a camper feel like home

If you’re putting them in your van I’d recommend getting them without a frame and then just using some double-sided sticky tape to attach them to your walls and/or cupboards in your van.

Fairy lights and string lights for your campervan

Nothing quite says cosy like some fairy lights. We didn’t actually put any fairy lights in Elvis until our Christmas skiing road trip to Revelstoke at the end of 2017 but once they were up I knew they were never coming down.

fairy lights

I bought some battery-powered string lights that give off a beautiful soft light and stuck them around the van.

I prefer the more yellow-tinted fairy lights to the cool blue ones in my own space as they’re a lot more cosy feeling.

They’re super cute to have with you when you’re camping too.

Blankets and throws

When you’re tucked up in your van watching a film or reading a book there’s nothing that’ll make you feel more at home than snuggling up under a blanket.

And, if you’re living in your van during winter as we did then a blanket is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity!

Rumpl blankets are super handy to have for outdoor lovers living in a campervan. They’re lightweight and great to include in your day hiking packing list as well as in your van so they’re multi-purpose!

rumpl blanket 2
pendleton blanket
rumpl blanket
pendleton  throw blanket 2

A rug and/or doormat for your campervan

ski sleep door mat

I found this perfect doormat which helped make our campervan feel like a home.

It couldn’t sum us up more during the winter since we tend to head up to Whistler in Elvis the night before we plan on skiing, wake up and then hit the slopes!

This camper van door mat is great for dusting off muddy boots after hiking and snowy ones after skiing or snowshoeing.

However, you could also get some more decorative ones to go at the foot of the bed in your campervan.

Rugs come in so many different styles that they’re great for adding some personality and making your conversion van feel like home.

campervan door mat
campervan door mat
campervan door mat

Adding plenty of storage space or storage boxes

storage boxes with lids

When you’re living in a small space you need to be clever with your storage space.

We had quite a bit of storage along one side of the van but added more by putting some storage boxes with lids underneath the bed.

This helped us keep everything compartmentalized and organised, preventing things from getting too messy.

Check out these amazing campervans for campervan inspiration

Some cute mugs for your campervan kitchen

Drinking your morning coffee or post-adventure tea out of a cute mug will help to make you feel at home.

There’s something special about enjoying a cup of coffee in new places and with great views. Something that’s one of my favourite things about living in a camper van.

Plus, when they’re not being used they’ll look cute on a shelf or hanging up on a peg!

Enamel mugs are my favourite since they won’t smash into pieces if you drop them or they fall off a shelf while you’re driving. And, if they do get chips in them then I personally think that just makes them look more authentic.

camper van mug
camper van mug
camper van mug

A little plant

Having a plant in your campervan can be tricky. You don’t want it to fall over and get soil everywhere. For that reason, a fake plant is probably your best bet.

Plus, it’s not going to die if you forget to water it!

Nothing says home to me like some greenery in and around my house (or van in this case!).

These little cacti and plants are a great way to add some greenery to your van and make it feel homey.

campervan fake plants
campervan fake plants
campervan fake plants

Add nice curtains or decorate your reflectix!

diy van conversion

You’ll want to shut out prying eyes when you’re chilling in your van during the day. There are a couple of ways you can do this but it depends on what climate you’re in.

If you’re somewhere that tends to be warm then you’ll be okay with just curtains. If you’re somewhere that’s colder and you need all the insulation you can get then you’ll probably already have reflectix for your window.

If you do, you can cover this in a funky pattern so that when you’re inside your van you don’t just see the silvery bubble wrap that is reflectix!

Of course, you could also add some curtains as well as put the reflectix in the windows for that extra bit of insulation!

We have a curtain that pulls across behind the driver and passenger seats and the refelctix with a fun pattern for the windows in the back.

Our curtain is like this and then we just made our own makeshift curtain rail to attach it behind the front seats and make a bit of separation between driving and home.

Modifying your reflectix

For the reflectix modification, we bought some black card from the local dollar store and some fabric from a fabric shop in Vancouver. It was a nice way to add some more camper van decor.

We used a hot glue gun to stick the reflectix to the black card and then a staple gun to staple the fabric around the other side of the reflectix.

This means that when we put it in our windows the black card faces outwards looking like we’ve got blacked-out windows, but we get some colour inside our van!

It adds some privacy and since the black card also has reflectix in it, there’s some insulation too.

Adventure-inspired throw pillows and cushions

As with rugs and blankets, adding some cushions to your camper van will transform it from “blah” to cosy very quickly. They’re super easy and practical camper van decorations.

You don’t want so many that it’ll be a pain to move them when you go to sleep since you’re in a small space after all, but it’s nice to have some to prop yourself up when you watch something or read.

If you don’t want ones with slogans then look for block colour cushion covers instead and buy the middle part from Ikea or similar stores.

throw pillow camper van like a home
throw pillow camper van like a home
throw pillow camper van like a home

Add some colour

what to think about before choosing a van for vanlife
Elvis as a work in progress

Finding a way to add some colour (even if that colour is white) is a great way to modify your campervan and make it feel more like you and your home.

You could do this in so many ways. Whether that’s by painting your walls, cupboards or shelves, getting coloured decor, adding curtains or updating your reflectix as above.

We also added some colour by upholstering the mattress for our bed.

Our mattress is in two parts as the bed folds away into a sofa where one part is for your bum, and the other for your back.

A pop of colour here and then really transforms your van and takes it one step further from the old cargo van it may have been!

A proper bed

vanlife blog that adventurer

And one last way to make your campervan feel like home is to make sure you’ve got a proper bed!

The bed in Elvis is so comfortable.

I always have the best night’s sleep when we go out adventuring in him.

Having a full-size bed was pretty important (mostly for my husband, but I wasn’t complaining!). We bought a double-size, foam mattress and used the dimensions of that to create our bed.

Since our bed folds away into a sofa bed and then pulls out for sleeping we then cut the foam to match each part of the bed.

I liked this way of having a pull-out bed in our campervan since it also meant we had a couch.

When you live in a van you’ll spend a lot of time on your sofa/bed so making it comfortable is pretty important. It’s one thing you won’t regret spending a bit of extra money on.

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Final thoughts on how to make a campervan feel like home

After 5 months of living exclusively in our van followed by 6 years of regular road trips, I have some pro tips on how you can make your camper van feel like home with some easy camper van decor.

From adding some colour and comfortable furnishings to accessories like plants and posters, your campervan can really feel like a home after a while.

Whether you have a travel trailer, a sprinter van, or just the back of a car, these van decoration ideas will make your home on wheels feel nice and cosy!

Preparing to start the van life and live in your RV or campervan? Here are the best vanlife tips and van life hacks that will help you make your campervan feel like home. Including clever vanlife interior ideas to make your van life living the comfiest possible! #vanlife #vanlifetips

Last Updated on July 3, 2023 by Hannah

Leave a comment

  1. Lydia says:

    Hello Hanna,
    I just loved your ideas on turning a camper into a personal adventurer. We fall in love with these ‘fellow’ travelers in distant countries.

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