A pop up camper remodel can be a great DIY project for beginners or seasoned pros—it all depends on the camper and your renovation dreams.
If you’re a first-time DIYer, look for a used camper that has minimal wear-and-tear and doesn’t have any water damage. (Water damage can often indicate that a roof or floor needs to be redone, which can require a lot of extra time and money.)
But if you’ve got renovation experience and DIY skills, the only limits are your budget and imagination.
Here are some cheap and easy ideas for your next pop up camper remodel—plus some inspiring trailer transformations!
Pop Up Camper Remodel Ideas
Pick a New Color Palette
A purposeful color scheme is one way to freshen up a camper’s tired interior and give it a more cohesive look. Before choosing colors, think about how you’d like the camper to feel. Warm and woodsy? Cheerful and colorful? Fresh and airy?
Gather inspiration images, then consider the colors that are part of the looks you like. You can also search for “color palettes” on Pinterest to help you visualize which colors go well together. (Or check out some of the trailer transformations at the end of this post!)
Once you’ve chosen a color palette, think about ways you can update your camper with the new hues. Consider painting cabinets, reupholstering cushions, hanging new curtains, or adding accessories.
Freshen the Fridge
Swap out your camper’s old refrigerator for a new one or redo the one you have. You can paint the exterior of the refrigerator with appliance paint, chalk paint, or cover the front panel with removable wallpaper or contact paper.
Larissa from The Pop Up Princess refinished a refrigerator with off-white appliance paint when she updated her cabinets, then added chalkboard vinyl to the front. You can also cover a small fridge with dry erase decals to turn it into a surface you can write on.
Refinish Tables & Countertops
Camper tables and countertops can be made from several different materials. Your refinishing options will depend on what yours are made from. DIYers Matt and Katie made a brand-new dinette table with real wood planks, then painted it to match the rest of the camper’s updated decor.
If a new table and countertops aren’t in your budget, you can also paint existing surfaces or cover them with printed contact paper.
Make Cushions More Comfy
Reupholstering old cushions is a popular way to update a camper, but you also might want to update the insides. Not only can foam cushion inserts act as scent sponges (see below), they tend to break down or flatten over time. Buy new foam inserts for your camper’s cushions and cut them to fit. It’ll make sitting and sleeping more comfortable.
Clear the Air
Campers often smell like…campers, a musty mix of campfire smoke and mildew. When you buy a used camper, it helps to air it out, but you can also freshen the camper’s cushion covers and other fabrics by hand-washing them.
Remove the covers from the cushions and the curtains from the windows. Hand-wash them using a detergent like Woolite, then let the fabrics air dry. If washing isn’t an option, you can also spray fabrics and cushion inserts with Febreeze or essential oil sprays.
Update Outlet Covers
When you’re updating a camper’s interior, don’t overlook the details. Replace outlet covers, switch plates, and grates with new ones or spray them with a fresh coat of paint. You can also cover switch plates with wallpaper or contact paper.
Repaint the Exterior
Most pop up camper renovations focus on the interior, but don’t overlook the outside of the camper. There are two main methods for repainting a camper’s exterior: spraying or using a roller. Make sure to use a paint that’s formulated for exterior surfaces and always use a primer and topcoat.
Pop Up Camper Remodel – Trailer Transformations
Practical tips are great, but sometimes you need help seeing the potential in a worn-out pop up camper before you commit to a renovation project. Each of the following DIYers bought a used pop up camper, then used their skills and creativity to make it their own.
Melanie from Simple Made Pretty remodeled her family’s 2005 Jayco Swift in just 5 days! If a speedy transformation is what you’re after, she recommends buying a used camper that doesn’t have water damage (a common issue) and has minimal wear-and-tear.
Grace from The Southern Glamper and her family remodeled their 2001 Jayco Qwest over a two-year period. They updated the electrical and plumbing, and also made a lot of cosmetic changes. Grace used the existing slate gray cabinets (no repainting needed!) to inspire the camper’s new mint green, coral, and gray color palette.
It’s rare that any renovation project ends up being under budget, but that’s exactly what happened when Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life updated her 2004 Forest River Rockwood camper. The pop up was in excellent shape so Jo-Anna and her family were able to focus their efforts on cosmetic updates like painted cabinets, new upholstery, and a new floor.
Sara from She Is Making Lemonade found her family’s 1996 Fleetwood Sierra camper on Facebook Marketplace for just $800. They had their work cut out for them: The heat, air-conditioning, and refrigerator weren’t working, and the camper had been sitting in storage for a long time. But after a lot of work—and refreshed cabinets, flooring, and fabrics—the camper is a bright and cheerful getaway for their family of three.
Tiffany from Homeschool Hideout and her family had a small budget for their camper. They didn’t intend to do a big update, but their smart shopping and DIY hacks made it possible! Along with a few other projects, they were able to repaint the cabinets, re-cover the table and countertops, update the floor, and reupholster the cushions. (Tiffany used patterned contact paper to give the table and countertops their faux-marble finish.)
Interested in even more pop up camper remodel ideas? Check out our previous pop up camper post!