136 weeks and 6 days | A Caravan Makeover with Wallpaper Direct

Last month, I mentioned that we’d traded our beloved caravan — Dolly — in for a ‘new’, larger model.

I use the term ‘new’ very loosely. The new van may have preceded her chronologically but certainly not in any other areas.

If Dolly needed a bit of updating when we first bought her, this new van needed an entire facelift.

Pretty she aint.

A caravan makeover was definitely in order!

**grim interiors warning — the following shots are not for the faint hearted**

Dolly_too

caravan makeover
Attractive, red stained carpet. Nice.
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Dark and dated kitchen area…
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…and wooden walls and panelling as far as the eye could see

I have got LOTS more ‘before’ photographs that I could show you but I’ve always tried to maintain my blog as a happy place — a collection of beautiful things — and the pre-makeover photographs set my teeth on edge (and make me feel a little bit queasy) so  I think I’ll leave it there.

Little by little over the summer months — with the help of Wallpaper Direct — my boy and I transformed the very ugly little tin box, you see in the snaps above, into something rather lovely.

No mean feat when you have twin toddlers in tow, I can tell you ;)

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HOURS of work condensed into a little grid of nine pictures!
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Doing a little bit of touching up
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Ta-daaah!
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So much cleaner and fresher :)
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Gorgeous cheery colour and pattern

We wanted something a little different from our first van; which was a vision in Cath Kidston. For her successor, we wanted something bright and fresh and a little more graphic.

Wallpaper Direct have literally got the best choice available. Whatever your taste — or style — they’ve definitely got something to suit. I was absolutely spoilt for choice and felt like a kid in the proverbial sweetshop.

Initially, I was thinking along the lines of Orla Keily but ended up being swayed by the gorgeous designs of Verity Wilkinson’s Layla Faye range.

For the living quarters of the van, we chose ‘Daisy Chain Small‘, a gorgeous yellow and white graphic print with a retro edge. We’ve also chosen a coordinating print for the bathroom area but I’ll keep that under my hat until we’ve finished those renovations! One thing at a time — that may be a job for the spring ;)

We’ve no curtains, blinds or proper cushions yet but — those things aside — this little van is well on the way to becoming a perfect little home from home, for us to enjoy camping trips and festivals.

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Brightening up the kitchen area with cheerful accessories and lovely patterns
Caravan makeover — kitchen
The seating area
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Even my little Home print got an airing!

It just goes to show that wallpaper is so versatile. It really shouldn’t just be restricted to the walls of a house — it can be used on furniture, ceilings — even an ugly little caravan can benefit from a little bit of pattern and colour!

There’s still a LOT to do though.

Lots more finishing off inside — plus I have some very ambitious plans for the outside of this funny little box on wheels. Bear with me, as I can foresee there may be a fair few ‘caravan related’ posts coming up over the next few months ;)

And for anyone wondering what we’ve christened this little van?

Well, initially she was Lionel (don’t ask).

Then she was Wendy (Wendy-House — on wheels).

But for two little boys — who have only ever understood  that a caravan is called ‘Dolly’ — it was very, very difficult to persuade them that this new van had any other name.

So everyone, please be upstanding for…

‘Dolly Too’.

Dolly_too_NEW7

Huge thanks to the lovely folk at Wallpaper Direct who collaborated — very patiently — with me on this caravan makeover! :)

All photos, thoughts and words — as ever — are entirely my own.

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About The Twinkle Diaries

Big eyes & a happy heart. Festival goer, gin lover. Lives in a haphazard state of chaotic bliss with a lovely husband, twin toddler boys, three cats & four chickens.

116 thoughts on “136 weeks and 6 days | A Caravan Makeover with Wallpaper Direct

    1. Aaaah ME TOO!!! I was so gutted when we waved goodbye to Dolly but I can see I’m going to LOVE this new van just as much!! We have already had one outing — albeit, it was half decorated — but there was so much more space!! Can’t wait for next year’s festival season!! :) xx

  1. I love Dolly Too! What a project, that wall paper is rather stunning. I’ve actually got Dolly envy – I’m seeing the benefits already. I can see how handy it’s going to be with the festivals. Not to mention kids and caravans – they are the holidays that I remember fondly from my childhood. You must feel very rewarded with your efforts. Nicky #twinklytuesday

    1. Thanks so much Nicky — it was a labour of love, that’s for sure!! The first van was a lot faster to complete as we didn’t have the twins then! Can’t wait for festival season to come round again!

    1. Thanks Carie — I’m delighted with it. It took SO much more work than the original caravan makeover. Things take four times when you have little ones to manage!! No free time to crack on and decorate!! ;)

  2. Oh my goodness, it looks amazing! I’m not usually a wall paper fan (we have some spectacularly awful ones in our house that I am desperate to get rid of), but this works so well. It looks so bright and cheerful :) #twinklytuesday

  3. Wow! This looks absolutely amazing!!! I absolutely love it, what a tremendous job you have done, you clever lady you. Never thought I’d say this, but you’ve actually got me wanting a caravan (that isn’t of the gypsy variety). X

    1. Aaah thanks so much pet! I absolutely HATED caravans before we bought Dolly 1. Having her transformed our lives!! Festivals and camping are a LOT more lovely when you have a comfy, cosy little crash pad to come back to! I’m not a fan of tents — or grim, dirty old caravans either!! ;)

  4. Wow that looks fantastic! I’ve only ever stayed in dated caravans at holiday camps so had no idea you could make one so cute and stylish. Great job :)

    #twinklytuesday

  5. Wow that looks fantastic! I’ve only ever stayed in dated caravans at holiday camps so had no idea you could make one so cute and stylish. Great job :)

    #twinklytuesday

  6. Oh wow that is amazing! I so need some help with sorting out my caravan you would go mad if you could see it! I absolutely love the yellow and now a thinking of painting my caravan cupboards white. Absolutely tremendous work love! x

    1. Do it. Honestly pet — it’s a lovely, lovely project to have on the go. Initially it seems daunting but you just can’t go wrong. Really! Cos, at the end of the day, nothing can be as grim as how they look to begin with!! ;) Any questions ever, just holler!! xx

  7. Stunning is not the word Caro. Wow! It is so fresh and bright and clean – how are you going to keep it like that with two small boys in it? My three would wreck it. Good luck to you though. You (and your husband) have outdone yourselves.
    Fionnuala

    1. Aaah thanks so much lovely — that’s so kind of you :) The boys are pretty good actually — we have a little awning that they can trash — the inside stays nice and clean and tidy (usually) ;) x

  8. Wow that is an incredibly transformation and Dolly Too looks fabulous. I love that wallpaper print – gorgeous pattern and colour and love the coordinating mugs too! #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Thanks pet. It really WAS a vision in brown. Not my favourite ;) LOve it now though — am so looking forward to doing the exterior — and the loo!! We’ve got some lovely co-ordinating paper for that!! :) x

  9. This is amazing. I didn’t think you could better the last one but you have! That yellow is so fresh and cheerful, I love it. I love the arrow light and the sweet pictures too. I’ve never had the guts to do wallpapering myself but maybe I should be brave! Becky x #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Aaah thanks chick — that’s such a lovely thing to say :) I didn’t think we could either, if I’m being totally honest! I LOVED the original Dolly — we had some really amazing adventures in her. So happy that this new one has worked out so nicely. Looking forward to making some lovely memories for the Twinkles :) x

      PS — DO IT!! Straight walls are EASY to wallpaper. Caravans are *slightly* trickier — I wouldn’t say do a caravan makeover for your first attempt but a square room, with not many fiddly edges is easy!! I promise ;)

      1. Thanks for the pep talk! It’s only for the bathroom so shouldn’t be as challenging! And also only a smallish part above some times, so should be OK for a first attempt. Going to check out Wallpaper Direct to see what goodies might go with out bathroom! Xx

  10. Ahh she’s so lovely! Fresh yet cosy at the same time, and I love all the little yellow accents you’ve used too. The wallpaper is fab, will have to check out the rest of the range as it looks right up my street. Wishing you and the family lots of lovely adventures in Dolly Too!

  11. Oh wow what an amazing transformation it looks so much bigger with those wooden panels painted white. You’ve done a great job I would happily spend a week in their and I am no natural caravaner! #twinklytuesdays

  12. Caro I can’t actually believe I am looking at two pictures of the same caravan here – this is the best makeover I’ve ever seen! It’s utterly gorgeous, just perfect, the wallpaper is spot on and I love all the little details that tie it all in. You are going to have so much fun in Dolly Too next summer! #HomeEtc xx

  13. Wow!! You have worked SO hard! It looks amazing. I can well imagine how many hours of labour that transformation took which, like you say is a herculean task with two little ones to accommodate! I absolutely love the yellow. Were you able to buy the co-ordinating mugs from the same designer or was that just a happy co-incidence? Well done you two! That is an outstanding update. #HomeEtc xx

    1. Thanks pet — it has been a labour of love that’s for sure. Wallpapering so many small, fiddly walls is pretty hard. But hey! It’s done now :) Mugs were from elsewhere — I’ve just been picking up bits and pieces from all over the place as we go along! x

  14. love love love this makeover! what a huge difference. I love yellow and have been sneaking it in wherever I can. (I’ve just bought a yellow graphic print shade from john lewis which will look perfect in Dolly Too ( I quite liked Lionel but he definitely looks like a she!) #HomeEtc

  15. This is amazing Caro! Whenever I see these it reminds me of what great things can be achieved with a bit of hard work.
    I love the wallpaper and the white paint changed the whole feeling of the caravan! I cant wait to get well and be able to do more decorating etc. I was going to do my daughter’s room but decided to leave it for now as I’m actually thinking of looking for a new home- with better wheelchair access etc so will wait until we move to do up the rooms (or get someone to do it for me) as i obviously cant do it myself.

    Angela x

    1. The white paint is the thing that really changes the feel of it. Particularly painting the ceiling — you suddenly feel that the whole space it so much lighter and brighter! You’ll get there with your decorating pet :)

  16. Dolly Too is totally adorable – you are just such a clever lady you really are. She looks amazing and so bright and vibrant you couldn’t help but have a wonderful happy time every time you take her away. I bet you can’t wait. Well done on achieving all of that with your twins in tow!!
    Linking up with #HomeEtc linky
    Sammy xxx

    1. Thanks lovely! I associate Dolly with adventures — whenever Dickie used to pull up outside with her in tow I’d get SO excited! I’m SO looking to making lots of happy memories for us and the twins with Dolly Too :D

  17. Wow, this is AMAZING! I would never think to use wallpaper in a caravan, but you have totally transformed it! What a fab space for holidays – so bright and cheery, I absolutely love it. Loving all of the little details you’ve added too, you really do have such a talent x

  18. Caro, lovely lady, this is absolutely stunning. Beautiful. The transformation is amazing!!! It can’t be the same caravan. Can it?! The original looked very much like the interior of the caravans my parents had when I was a child. You are so talented. I love the freshness and cheeriness. And it is so YOU. The wallpaper makes it for me. And you have given me hope that we can transform are very dated and disgusting kitchen. How did you do that seating? It is fab! Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    1. DO IT!! Honestly. Initially we were looking at motorhomes but you have to pay tax, mot and insurance on them. PLUS they’re mega expensive! Caravans are cheap as chips and you don’t pay anything to keep them, as they’re classed a trailer and not a vehicle. PLUS you can turn them into a cute little house ;) xx

  19. This transformation is quite unbelievable! What a massive achievement Caro, you must have worked so hard I just don’t know how you do it but looking at these pictures it must be worth it. It all looks so beautiful and the wallpaper is just perfect, really lifts the whole thing (and sits nicely with your lovely Home print) I look forward to more caravan posts! I’m going to send this to my mum, her and her partner are thinking of getting a caravan and I think this might just inspire her! xx

    1. Thanks lovely!! It seemed like a lot more work, this time round, as we had the boys with us! When we first did the original Dolly, we were on our own and it only took 2 or 3 weekends. Dolly Too has taken the whole summer!! That said, it’s a bigger van and we did a LOT more wallpapering too! Tell your mum to go for it — honestly — buying a caravan is one of the best things we’ve EVER done. Festivals and camping trips are SO much fun :D xx

  20. What an amazing transformation! Dolly Too looks so bright and comfy now! Id certainly be happy in there #twinklytuesday

  21. Oh WOW Dolly too is absolutely gorgeous! It doesn’t look like the same van. She is so bright and cheery. I love that wallpaper and I am starting to plan for when we can properly decorate, I will have to pop over to the website. I also love the floor, it makes such a massive difference. It’s a fab job Caro xxx

  22. Wow, Caro! What an amazing transformation – Dolly Too is beautiful!

    I know what you mean about them typically being grubby and generally a bit chappy – we had three caravans when I was younger. They were awful beyond measure. I would have enjoyed our weekend trips a lot more if our caravan looked like Dolly Too.

    Can’t wait to see what else you do with her! Xxx

    1. Thanks lovely :) I wouldn’t have had a good night’s sleep if we’d have left either van in their original states!! It’s just not my bag AT ALL!! There’s no need for them to be brown and horrible is there? I certainly wouldn’t want my house to look like that — not sure why they’re still made with brown wood panelling these days…!

  23. Oh my gosh this is incredible! What an amazing makeover. I need you to do my house haha. This is so, so beautiful. I love the colour scheme, I love the prints on the walls, I love the light, I love the fabric on the chairs. It’s so perfect. Well done! xx #twinklytuesday

  24. My word, I had never actually realised you would bother with updating the interior of a caravan. This, however, looks magnificent. Great work. Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

  25. Three cheers for Dolly Too! That wallpaper is so perfect and adds such a great style. Love the before and after piccies (I know what you mean about before pictures, they’re never the loveliest but I do like to see the real nitty gritty so thanks for sharing them!) and I can’t wait to see the finished version X

  26. Oh I love it! Such happy, summery colours, and I love the way you’ve got cups to match the wallpaper. I’ve used Wallpaper Direct in the past and you can find really original prints there. Great choice!

    1. Thanks so much Naomi — I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out! I’ve used Wallpaper Direct a lot in the past — they have a fabulous range and really great customer service too! Super-quick delivery :)

    1. Thanks so much Sabrina. I have LOADS of those before shots but they’re SO grim!!! YUK. Looks a million times better now — amazing to think how many of these ugly little caravans there are in the world! One less now at least ;) xx

  27. Caro! This is amazing. I have serious tin box envy. We inherited Tin Box 2 from my parents and they are still very fond of her. I think they would have a fit if we did anything to the dark wooden interior but if and when we move on I’ll be asking you for some design consultation on Tin Box 3! :)

    1. Thanks so much Claire!! I’m really pleased with it. I was gutted to sell Dolly but she was just too small for our needs. Dolly Too is a 4 berth — the perfect size and exactly the same make as Dolly 1. Plus she was cheap as chips to buy. Totally vile inside when we first bought her — I bet your mum and dad’s old van is in much better nick — dark wood interior or not!! WHY are they always brown inside?? I just don’t get it! If they made them lovely and bright and quirky inside, they’d be a lot more popular, I’m sure! x

  28. What a transformation! It’s amazing and I genuinely mean that. It looks like a totally different caravan!! You’ve inspired me to paint our kitchen units whilst we wait for a new kitchen. This transformation just goes to show the power a bit of white paint has! xx ps. I’m still trying to load my vlog club video, my youtube doesn’t like me adding anything at the moment

  29. So bright and cheerful. I must search for photos of Dolly 1. I love how bright it is and look forward to seeing the bathroom project in the future. Thank you for sharing!

  30. totally madly in love with your caravan!
    considering to do something similar :) :)
    just a little question: what kind of brand and type is this caravan and where do your 2 children sleep in it?

  31. wow! absolutely stunning difference! Can i ask what paint you used? I have just bought my first caravan and desperate to paint all the cabinets/shelves!

    1. Thanks so much Laura!! That’s lovely of you! I’ve just written a blog post on exactly this, funnily enough!! Due to be published in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned and watch this space! ;) xx

      1. Wow amazing. My house is very shabby chic which is the style that reflects my personality and makes me feel good. So when I’m in a caravan I really struggle with the dated design, even new caravans seem dated to me. You have inspired me so much. I’ve decided to buy a cheaper caravan now instead of newish and invest in redesigning it. Can’t wait to see the blog regarding the paint you used. Also did you set a budget? I’m worried costs might spiral out of control. And has dolly 2 stood the test of time? Many thanks x

        1. Thanks so much Deanne! I totally agree — not sure why all caravans are brown and beige inside. Even the brand new ones are so uninspiring. Dolly 1 was more shabby chic! Pop and have a look — https://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk/130-weeks-and-6-days-our-cool-caravan-dolly/ — you can see the before and after pics on that post too.

          She stood the test of time for 6 years until we outgrew her and we’ve had Dolly 2 for a couple of years now. The wallpaper and paint still looks as fresh as the day we did it. We bought Dolly 2 for £750 and the renovation cost a couple of hundred pounds — plus our labour. The main things you need to budget for are paint/wallpaper/flooring/fabric (assuming you’re going to cover the seats). All the accessories can be picked up along the way! I’m working on my makeover post now — watch this space!! :)

  32. Oh this is so inspiring – we’ve just ‘acquired’ a tired 80s/90s van with all that beige interior and I thought we were going to have to gut everything and start again, but you’ve shown how a pot of white paint, some wonderful wallpaper and laminate flooring can transform the interior with minimum ‘invasive surgery’.
    Thank you

    1. Aaah your message has made my day!! Thanks so much for getting in touch Alexandra. Apologies for my delayed response too — I’m so behind on my comments.
      I’ve ‘almost’ finished a post which outlines the kind of products we used on both the caravan makeovers — I’ve just got to edit my photos and then I’ll be ready to publish :) watch this space!

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