So chances are you are nearly done with your van conversion and firstly I want to say…congrats! It’s a bloody hard slog to get to this point. You are trawling through Pinterest eagerly sourcing inspiration because, let’s face, it now the basics are in the bare ply isn’t quite cutting the mustard of getting you an Instagram worthy vehicle. You have a vision for your new home and there are those little touches which help to make your house (van) a home. I thought I could be your fairy godmother for all things tops and tricks on bringing life into your vehicle:
So many images you see online you see an abundance of greenery. Leafy touches protruding from corners and filling empty surfaces. I brought along my Aloe plant to double up as sunburn relief which, at the time, was an epic idea. I bought a super cute cream macrame hanger and imagined my little pal swinging slightly in the back whilst we toddled across Europe. Well, what I imagined and what I got where vastly different. In the back of our van we must have had about 3 times more G force than what you feel in the front, sending my hanger (and plant) flying pretty much instantly…soil everywhere, marked walls and a sad sad plant. Following this, I used some non-slip matt which worked about 80% of the time but when taking the corners a little too heavy handed we often ended up again, with that muddy mess all over my sofa aka my bed. An absolute distaster. Plants are a great way to bring life, quite literally, to your home but if you do choose to have them in your van there are a few things to consider. Building them secure housing is an absolute must and also ensure you don’t put them on your window ledge that burning direct sun is not what they want. Finally never believe what you see on those inspo pictures 100% they are all staged 100%! Since my Aloe is sadly no more I now have a selection of succulents lined up sick into their decorative pots and to the side with strong tape.
Yes you’re living in a van, but do you want to look like you do? Well fair play if you do, but for me, I liked the idea of checking if my top half matched my bottom half without realising it didn’t after passing a shop window and catching my reflection. A full length mirror, if you have the space, adds a beautiful focal point and reflects light in those darker areas of your van. In all honesty the cheaper the better as you want a super light mirror, nothing heavy and nothing to be super precious over because we have ours screwed and glued to the bathroom door for extra security.
Cooking in your home on wheels can be more luxurious than a portable gas hob. We installed a fixed double hob to give a homely feel in sleek black glass to align with the decor. Also, being British we couldn’t live without a good brew and so used our kettle as a feature, choosing an aesthetically pleasing but useful cast iron version. Lastly, a sink can be sexy too. When looking online these super heavy ceramic sinks cropped up. This wasn’t feasible due to weight and space so when I came across a hack I was super excited about and cannot wait to share it….a salad bowl. Yep that right, our sink is nothing more than a vehicle for lettuce. From Wilko’s and costing no more than £4 it was a steal. A steal yes, but also a key interior feature of our van in my opinion especially when paired with the matt black tap I had installed.
It’s all about the ambience, cosying up after that long walk in the wilderness and crawling into your van and argh those blinding lights have been turned on and you look like a mobile Blackpool illuminations parade. Battery powered fairy lights to the rescue! Wrap these dainty wire style beauties around any areas you see fit and create the warm glow when you don’t need your bright LEDs. Tip: Choose the warm options always even with your LED lights because the pure white option will leave you feeling cold.
In those finishing touches we loose ourselves, the softest cushions and embellished throws but never forget you are in a van. Scatter cushions look lovely but keeping them on your sofa when taking that roundabout is a challenge even the best driver would struggle with. As well as when it comes to bed time because you’ll be stacking them on your front seats if you aren’t careful. Vases, mirrors, trinkets all aligned for the perfect photograph you see online but in reality they are brought out for the occasion or genuinely they must be superglued to the surface (bigggggg commitment, do you love that porcelain tiger enough to ruin your freshly varnish worktop?). Keep things minimal and ensure you have canvas bags to story any breakables away. One item I think which are an absolute must in our van are candles, again much like the softer lighting of fairy lights, candles illuminated our cosy home on the colder winter nights. Flickering next to us as we watched films in bed and provide a perfect ambience. Double bonus is the warmth from the big chunky ones almost like having a tiny fire (obviously be careful!)