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How To Make A Camper Van Interior Look Bigger

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One of the biggest sacrifices of van life is to downsize your living area and move into a vehicle with  significantly less space.  Though this can be challenging, you can design your vehicle’s interior to make your campervan feel bigger and less claustrophobic.

Having a small interior living space doesn’t mean you have to live in an cramped home.

So in this post, we give 5 tips that will help the inside of your campervan look bigger and spacious through specific interior design techniques.

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    1. Choose lighter colors For Your Walls

    It’s no secret that lighter colors, like white and yellow, help to brighten internal spaces and make these areas feel larger.

    And since the walls of a campervan usually assume the largest area inside the vehicle, painting these walls with a lighter color can really help to open up your internal living space and feel more spacious.

    In our campervan, we selected a warm, off-white paint for our walls (and cabinets). And as a result, our entire van interior feels brighter and more spacious.

    Because the walls of a campervan are much closer to your face than in a normal home, selecting an intense color for your walls, like red or green, can increase claustrophobia and make your eyes tired.
     
    Painting campervan walls white
    Painting our campervan walls with a warm white paint

    2. Plan A Color Scheme

    Common mistake that people make is to have too many colors in their camerpvan, which makes the van interior feel more busy and cramped.

    We think displaying colors is a good thing, but only in limited and contained areas (like a small area rug).

    To make a campervan interior feel more spacious, it’s best to create an interior color scheme of no more than 3 colors:

    1. Primary color
    2. Secondary color
    3. Accent color

    Main colors and secondary colors should be applied on bigger area such as walls, ceiling and floors, natural colors like warm white, light gray and brown. Accent colors should be applied in smaller space but can be bolder to add character and creativity in your room.

    Also Read: How To Create A Color Scheme For Camper Van Interior

    Woman in Van Interior
    Our van interior color scheme (white, dark brown, light blue)

    3. Focus On An Open Floorplan

    When designing your campervan layout, remember that ‘more is less’.

    This means, the more you plan to install in your van, the less airspace you’ll have and the more cramped and claustrophobic your van will feel.

    In order to make your campervan interior feel bigger and more spacious, focus on maximizing  airspace inside the van.

    This means:

    • Avoid partitioning the van with floor-to-ceiling constructions
    • Create sufficient space between overhead cabinets and counters & bed
    • Simplify furniture construction for a more streamlined look
    An open floorplan makes a van interior feel more spacious

    Also, when prioritizing an open floorplan, be OK with making sacrifices and leaving out certain things in your van.

    For our campervan, we decided to forgo building a bathroom and floor-to-ceiling closet. Sure, these installations would have been nice to have, but they were not critical for our travel lifestyle and would have made our van interior feel less open and spacious.

    Building a camper van? Download our free e-Books with intuitive electrical, solar, and plumbing diagrams.

    4. Clear the clutter And Be Organized

    Clutter is a big taboo in a small campervan and can make your van’s interior feel smaller than it actually is.

    But taking the time to clean and organize the inside of your van, you can make your campervan’s interior feel bigger.

    Top tips to keeping a van clean organized:

    • Put small items back immediately once you are done using them.
    • Don’t let used clothes lay around. Put them away.
    • Prioritize a few minutes every morning to sweeping and de-dusting the van.
    Cleaning A Camper Van - Starting Van Life
    Sweeping: Our van life morning ritual

    5. Be selective & minimalistic about interior decoration

    Interior decoration is a great way to add a character in your camper. And it can be tempting to want to bring in as many things from your home to your van as possible.

    But once again, ‘more is less’.

    To really make your campervan’s interior feel bigger, learn to be selective with the things you choose to bring into the camper. Try to keep your decoration to a minimum.

    Decorating organic shape items and fabrics like floor rug or pillow/throws are great ways to create a depth and contrast in the space and brings warmth and cozy feeling to your camper van interior.

    7 Items For A Photogenic Campervan - Cushions
    Our throw pillows

    Final Thoughts About Creating A Spacious Camper Van Interior

    Initially, you might think that it is difficult to create a spacious campervan interior. But with proper layout planning and thinking minimally, you can build your own open and cozy time home on wheels.

    If you have any questions, please let us know if the comments below.

    Happy building & traveling!

    Go Back: Campervan Interior Design Guide

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