Before and After: This 152-Square-Foot, 1976 Camper’s Renovation Keeps the ’70s Vibes But Adds a Colorful Twist

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Wood paneled 1970s RV camper van interior

Name: Ariane Walder (they/them), my partner Zach, and our two dogs Toaster and Daxman
Location: Everywhere
Type of home: RV
Size: 152 square feet
Time lived in: 4 months, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: We moved full-time into our vintage RV after getting burnt out by intense non-profit jobs and “the grind.” We needed to hit the road and figure out how to live life differently. We originally planned to paint the interior white and bright, and then we remembered that we bought a vintage camper because we love vintage! We decided to keep the epic original wood paneling and play up the ’70s disco vibes with our own original twist.

We wallpapered the ceiling and had our best friend do a mural of a snake slithering throughout the floor. We covered the bathroom in pink flamingos, we added plants, disco balls, fun lighting, tiling, pillows from our travels, personal knick-knacks, items for the dogs, and a bunch of art, and suddenly, this 1976 camper became our own home on wheels. Renovating and decorating an RV comes with a lot of challenges.

As many RVers will put it, our home goes through an earthquake every time we drive. And with that said, we want it to be as easy as possible for us to get up and travel on any given day. For that reason, everything on our counters and shelves is velcroed and taped down. All the tile is peel and stick. We’ve tried to impact the original structure and paneling as little as possible so try to hang most art without nails.

We identify as queer, fun, and adventurers. This is absolutely reflected in our home. First of all, our home is on wheels! It gives us the ability to travel every day and explore. And, our home is filled with knick-knacks and art that we’ve acquired from our travels. Frida is from a previous trip to Mexico, the living room pillows are from Morocco, and the lanterns are from Vietnam. And we get to collect and thrift new items every day! We have filled the home with as much fun as possible, hence the maximalism. Bright colors, tons of patterns, art, and unique pieces make us really happy, and happy is our goal. And while this space is first and foremost ours, we so value community. We love hosting friends for drinks here and we even have a guest bed for sleepovers! Our space feels creative and inviting.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Vintage/retro, cozy, groovy, funky, playful

What is your favorite room and why? Well most of our home is one room, but I love the “bedroom.” It’s the coziest! Pillows, books, plants, and the most gorgeous windows. It almost feels like a cabin. The best day on earth is a rainy day, parked in the forest, snuggled on my bed with a cup of tea, a good book, and a view of the storm.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We are huge Squatty Potty fans and we just upgraded ours for one that fits our tiny space and aesthetic better! This fan got us through the summer! We love how small it is (again, small-space friendly!) and love the retro aesthetic. We just ordered, and have not hung yet, this three-tiered fruit basket. This is perfect for #vanlife or #rvliving because it doesn’t take up counter space! It will keep our fruits and veggies safe and bruise free on travel days.

Any advice for creating a home you love? 1. Go for it! We never thought that we’d be able to fit so many different types of pieces together but once we went all out with wallpaper and paint colors, everything else started to work together. 2. The smaller the space, the easier the transformation. It’s so fun living in such a tiny space because one plant, or a bit of wallpaper can go a really long way! We bring one piece back from a thrift store and it feels like we’ve changed the whole home! 3. Notice what types of spaces bring you joy, or feel good to be in. We had been loving really colorful and vibrant and creative bars, homes, and art spaces and decided to emulate that.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form