Selecting you color scheme for your campervan interior is a huge decision to make. Once you paint, there is no way to go back, unless you spend extra time and money to redo your work.
With so many different beautiful colors out there in existence, it was hard, even for me, to make a decision which paints and stains we wanted to go with. Creating a color scheme helped me organize my (too many) preferences and narrowed my choices down to the best combination.
What is a color scheme?
Why is it useful to create a color scheme for a van interior design?
Designing the campervan interior can be different than from a normal house since the interior area space of the van is limited. As a result, the arrangement of your colors in your campervan can have a greater affect on the atmosphere of your living space.
You could also say that designing your van interior is easier than a traditional home interior design because you only have to think about one inclusive space that comprises your kitchen, dining and bedroom. But this can also be tricky because small spaces are easy to feel cramped and uncomfortable if you end up choosing the wrong color combination.
Understanding the basics of color theory
Of course there are so many ways to define each color, but color theory simply means how colors or combinations of colors can affect the mood, feel, or symbolism in a particular space.
In general, warm colors (e.g. reds, yellows, oranges, etc) give energy, warmth, and exude a welcoming mood. They are great colors to add in a living room since these colors are used for dining and lounging; where people get together and socialize.
Cool colors (e.g. blues, greens, purples, etc) create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. These colors are suitable for spaces like the office, bedrooms, or bathrooms, where people focus on their work or relax at the end of the day.
Neutral colors (e.g. whites, browns, grays, etc) create a natural, earthy feel, and they are great colors to be used in every day spaces. These colors would be used in places you see the most, like walls or ceilings, or the exteriors of homes and other buildings.
For myself I had no idea where to start when we first began our campervan conversion, but from my experience working as a graphic designer I told myself that getting inspiration really helps to get started.
For our van build, I mostly perused Pinterest for visual inspiration, like everyone else. I created three boards.
The first board is for most specific terms like “ford transit campervan interior”. I can see how other people, who have same vehicle as us, designed their van interior. But the most specific terms usually result in the least number of design selections.
Then I create a very general board, “Interior Design”, which for me is the most fun part since the design results are unlimited. I then save the designs that I like. This helps me to discover new ideas and get inspired. Eventually you can find your preferences and gradually narrow down the specific type of design or colors that you love.
For example, I personally tend to be attracted to Moroccan and scandinavian style designs, where blues, whites and browns are often used.
Finally I create a third board with semi-specific terms like, “Living room scandinavian style” or “Rustic white kitchen” etc. Now that you kind of understand what types of colors and tones you like, you can start to search specific room types; kitchens, bedrooms, and dining rooms with those preferences.
Choose a Base (Neutral) color
It is best to choose a neutral color for a base color, which is the biggest area of your campervan interior. Personally I think it is better to select lighter tones like off white, cream, or light brown. If it is a normal house, you can be adventurous and choose more rich colors, but in a campervan, since you are always so close to the walls or ceiling, your eyes will probably get very tired living in a space with bright colors. Can you imagine always being surrounded by a bright red wall?.… :/
In our case, we went with an off-white paint as our base color for our walls.
Choose a Secondary Color
After your base color, you can think about the second biggest area of your van. In our case, we decided on a dark brown color for our ceiling and countertops. I think the dark browns of our secondary color match well with our off-white base.
Choose An Accent Color
Since the dark brown color of our countertops and ceiling is pretty strong, we choose light blue as one primary accent color.
But you can choose a wide range of accent colors that fit your style. Bold colors like red, yellow or even black work well here. It really depends on your choices for your base and secondary colors. For example, if I selected a light brown for both my base and secondary colors, I might choose yellow, or green, or something less neutral for my accent color.
You can also have multiple colors, but don’t be too greedy. In order to have a more refined interior design, it is always better to keep it less complex. Simple is better.
Interior Decoration Tips
Once you finished building your van interior it’s time to decorate your room.
The reason we kept the van interior color quite neutral was because we knew we wanted to purchase multiple arts & crafts items while traveling Mexico, and these Mexican crafts are usually bright and colorful, which I love!
Having a simple color scheme in my van interior helps our decoration items to stand out without the campervan interior becoming too noisy on your eyes.
Most of the basic items like our kitchen backsplash, cushion covers, and pillows are natural colors. But when I try to purchase small handicraft items, I search for items with warm colors like red, yellow, or gold.
Design is all about organization and making information tidy so that the information makes sense for everyone. Color plays a huge role for human brains to process information and it also has a large effect on our psychology.
The biggest tip for interior design is to try creating a home that makes you want to always come back. Tasteful interior design helps to keep your mind healthy, and encourages you to keep striving forward with your van life dream.