Projects & Improvements

Before and After: This Travel Trailer Is a Total Surprise on the Inside

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Sharon Cumberbatch)

A reader moved into this trailer without realizing how much work it needed, and it’s always so much more difficult to renovate a space when you’re already living in it—especially when your home is essentially one room. It took some serious determination and a bit of boldness, but this trailer is now home sweet home.

Reader Sharon Cumberbatch, who kindly submitted this project, lays out what the situation was:

The before image shows the old wood paneling, old flooring, wallpaper, and the clutter I found impossible to deal with.

I hate that feeling of hopelessness and frustration, so I feel her pain.

(Image credit: Sharon Cumberbatch)

And now! It appears that Sharon dealt with everything like a freaking champ, and this is now a trailer worthy of a White Stripes video. The black walls are so sophisticated (not to mention surprising) and turn the “small spaces should be painted light colors” theory on its head, while the red and white add jaunty, poppy perkiness. I especially enjoy the way the white handles and black sink and drawer pulls tie the three colors together.

(Image credit: Sharon Cumberbatch)

This first paragraph evokes such visceral empathy—I can picture exactly what this must have been like for Sharon and how difficult it would have been to tackle this project and get and stay motivated:

Living in a camper can be very challenging as I’m learning. My boyfriend and I recently moved out of our home and into a camper to allow us to travel more and just enjoy a simpler life. I hadn’t given much thought prior to moving on whether I was going to renovate and decorate. So we moved! It was awful the first couple of months. The camper had an old smell to it, the walls had a terrible color with wallpaper borders, and that old fashion wood paneling, ugh! It became nearly impossible to keep the place organized, and I lacked zero motivation to clean and focus.

We decided that we would re-paint the camper and change out the flooring. It took us two months to get the work done. Initially we did not have the motivation to tackle the project. However, after tripping onto objects and not being able to find keys, handbags, and the like, we knew it was time to get to it. The paint cost us roughly $100. We had to paint the camper all white first, then when my partner was away I decided to go all hardcore and paint it black, white, and red. I was initially scared to try black on the walls, but to my surprise I loved it!

I am a huge fan of Sharon’s spunk, and would also like to interview this boyfriend. Have any of you ever gone rogue, design-wise? This bold move paid off handsomely, and it’s always so much more inspiring to keep a clean, beautiful space clutter-free.

(Image credit: Sharon Cumberbatch)

The new floors are so beautiful. And we can see here that this trailer has a surprising amount of windows, so even with the darkest possible walls, it is still a bright space. The white paint at the top (the cabinet on the left, the cubby straight ahead, the ceiling) serves to open the space quite a bit; you get all the glam drama of black walls without the cave-like feeling of a black ceiling. All the plants and that darling red chair on the right add so much vibrancy and personality.

Now that this affordable and admirable makeover is complete, Sharon shares what she learned as well as some advice for others in similar situations:

I love the black walls the most. It gives off an intimate feeling, classic and elegant, yet it feels homey. If I had to do it over again, I would think through the space before moving in and renovate before moving in. However, it has been a learning process and actually very enjoyable experience.

Take your time, think through it, do some research and don’t be afraid to try a bold color even if it scares you.

Thank you, Sharon!