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How To Design a Stunning Camper Van Interior – 7 Simple Steps

Camper van interior design is a simpler process than a regular home because all you need to think about is the space of approximately 8 square meters or less, and despite constraints posed by a limited space, there are numerous design possibilities available to you.

By following seven simple steps outlined in this post, you’ll be on your way to creating the stunning camper van interior that you’ve always envisioned.

1. Prioritizing Your Needs

Switching from a spacious home or apartment to a compact camper van can be quite a daunting challenge. It requires prioritizing your essentials, finding common ground through compromise, and sometimes making certain sacrifices.

Consider taking a moment to contemplate your current lifestyle and write it down on paper. 

Woman kneeling on floor making a list
Prioritize your needs

How Many Family Members?

How many family members will be in your camper van? Are you bringing pets? These factors will remain constant despite the change in living situation and help you to make decisions on the general layout of your van.

What Are Your Must-Have Appliances?

Consider your lifestyle and interests when deciding about which appliances to install in your van.  

The easiest is to start with the most oversized items, for instance, in my case, RV fridge and sink.  Next, I prioritize having an instant pot and blender, as they make cooking a breeze.

This process helps you when you create a floor plan in the the next step: the the kitchen counter, drawer, and cabinet size. 

Do You Need a Toilet and Shower?

When designing your camper van’s layout, consider the space needed for toilets and showers. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may need to make adjustments to counter or bed size.

It is essential to carefully consider the space requirements of these elements to ensure that your layout is functional and efficient. 

Also Read: How To Transition To Van Life: Planning Tips And Considerations

2. Create a Floor Plan

Now that you are clear with the priorities of things you want to bring into a camper van, it’s time to start creating a floor plan. While 3D it’sling software can be helpful, it’s not necessarily required. You can still create a practical floor plan using whatever software or tools you can access or even simply sketch the plan on paper.

Learn More: Camper Van Floor Plan Creator: Design Your Layout FREE!

Complete camper van floor plan diagram (Birds eye view)
Complete camper van floor plan diagram (birds eye view)

The first thing to do is choose which bed type you prefer, which will help you determine the appropriate size of your kitchen counter and other storage spaces.

Fixed / Permanent Bed

A fixed bed allows ample storage space at the back and is ideal for those with a lot of outdoor equipment. However, it may come at the cost of reducing your living space.

Compatible / Foldable bed

On the other hand, a compatible or folding bed provides more living space and a larger table surface, which would be more practical for working or dining with family and friends. Please note that compatible beds do come with the downside of limited storage space underneath the benches.

Learn More: Why DID NOT Choose a Fixed Bed for Our Camper Van

3. Get Inspiration

Now, it’s time to get your hands on your creativity. Finding what appeals to you and creating a mood board helps you to organize your preference for design and style.

Social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Houzz offer thousands of images with various styles, themes, and colors. Reading interior design blogs can also help generate creative ideas. 

You can also visit furniture stores or art galleries to see how professional interior designers put together different pieces of furniture and color schemes.

Learn More: How To Use Pinterest For Camper Van Interior Design Inspiration

4. Create a Color Palette

Color decision is a significant aspect of interior design that sets the mood and tone of a space. Choosing the right color palette can significantly impact the look and feel of a room, affecting the entire atmosphere.

Based on the inspirations you collected in step #3, start thinking about colors for each of the below van interior sections:

  1. Wall
  2. Ceiling
  3. Floor
  4. Furniture
  5. Accent (pillows, rug, etc)

Selecting the color for the walls is an essential initial step as it covers the largest surface area of your van.

Then you may then proceed to choose colors for the ceiling, floor, and furniture. It is a a good idea to add another color (or two) to create contrast and depth in the space, rather than adhering to the same color scheme as your walls.

Woman in Van Interior
Can you spot the four colors in our campervan?
4 colors that make up our van interior color scheme

5. Choose Correct Lighting

Lighting can significantly influence the comfort and ambiance of the camper van interior. The optimal lighting plan should incorporate various lighting options to produce various effects.

When choosing the ideal lighting scheme for your camper van, it’s crucial to consider three essential areas.

1. Color

It is essential to consider the room’s purpose when selecting the lighting colors you create the desired ambiance.

For example, warm lighting hues, such as orange or yellow, can create an inviting and cozy atmosphere, leading to calm and relaxation in the space. Neutral or white lighting hues can make rooms appear larger and can be used to increase concentration or productivity in a workspace.

2. Sources

The most popular light source for camper vans is LED puck lights, normally installed on ceilings for more substantial and more direct lighting to achieve optimal visibility. Reading and fairy lights, softer and dimmer lighting to create a relaxing ambient in the bed area.

3. Locations

Fairy lights inside a jar in a Ford Transit camper van
Fairy lights in a jar

It is essential to consider the various areas where you will be spending time and the activities you will engage in. You can create a comfortable and inviting living space in your van by considering your lighting needs.

For instance, a general lighting fixture on the ceiling can cover the entire space, while an additional fixture above the kitchen counter can provide focused illumination. Adding a light source around the bed area can create a dimmer light for a more relaxing atmosphere. 

Read more: Campervan Lighting Ideas For Setting The Right Mood

6. Interior Decoration

Interior decoration is an opportunity to infuse your style into your living space.

Instead of overloading the space with small decor items, prioritize displaying pieces that hold deep value or meaning and reflect your unique narrative instead.

Incorporating organic materials, natural elements like plants, fabrics, or wicker baskets, etc, to balance out the geometric shapes of the furniture and add more warmth & welcoming feeling to your van interior. 

Wood figures decorating our campervan interior
Wood figures purchased in Mexico

Read more: How To Decorate A Camper Van

7. Declutter & Downsize

Even after you are done designing, building, and decorating your camper van, the work of maintaining a beautiful interior is never finished.

Overhead cabinets in a camper van
Keeping clothes folded nicely in our overhead cabinets

Ensuring sufficient room in your van can create the illusion of greater space and reduce any sensations of confinement. Downsizing and reducing personal belongings is necessary, given the limited storage capacity of a camper van compared to a more standard living space.

Maintaining a regular habit of cleaning and organizing the interior of your van is essential to creating a welcoming and spacious environment.

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