Sunday, December 4, 2011

Inexpensive Fix-Up Ideas for a Vintage Trailer

After you get a vintage travel trailer, you can spend a small fortune fixing it up inside--but you don't have to. Here are a few ideas to borrow.

If your trailer has a rear bed, you can use a tension rod and curtain rings to turn a favorite throw or blanket into a sliding drape in front of the bed. Close it once you're in bed, and you have the warmest, coziest little sleeping spot you can imagine. Or, pull it closed to hide a messy bed in a hurry...or just leave it pulled to the side, to create a sense of visual depth to a small space.

This trailer has an upper bunk that folds up and latches. To decorate the underside, which shows when the bunk is not in use as a bed,  a pair of screen-printed placemats (found at a thrift store) is affixed with upholstery tacks. The placemats can come down in a flash with little harm to the surface. You could use maps, souvenir pennants, or other items in this fashion.

The cabinet doors were taken off, spray painted with high-gloss black paint, and put back on. The wooden picture frame, from a dollar store, is screwed into the door. The cowgirl picture is a photocopy.

The trailer's original, dark-brown paneled walls and ceiling were painted with a fauxing technique to resemble a lighter wood grain. The ceiling-edge trim is jute rope, applied with a glue gun and secured every few inches with an upholstery tack.

The cabinets over the dinette feature pieces of old leather belts, connected with a belt buckle and then nailed on with upholstery tacks.

The gingham curtains are home-sewn and trimmed with rickrack. The curtain by the entryway door has a row of pockets at the bottom, great for keeping things like reading glasses within easy reach.

 The backsplash is basically a sandwich. The first layer is a section of metal roof flashing, cut to fit with tinsnips and sprayed with high-gloss black paint. The middle section is a collage of favorite vintage cowgirl graphics. The top layer is plexiglass. The 'sandwich' is fastened to the wall with mirror clips.

A number of the toss pillows, like this one, were made by using the fronts of themed, screen-printed cotton tops. This is a great way to repurpose those cute, blinged-up tops that you may be ready to recycle out of your wardrobe for one reason or another.

Here's a way to use some of the belts that may be lurking in your closet: Buckle them around pillows. You'll never have to do the 'pillow chop' again!


  1. hahaha! I am famouse for the "Pillow Chop"! No deco pillow is safe from me!

  2. Brilliant! I'm on the hunt for a vintage trailer and I'm already lookin for great ideas to decorate! Although Cowboy (or girl) style is not my style I love the blanket curtain idea!


  3. Love decorating the inside.. I think I have changed decor 3 times on this last trailer.... just a big girls doll house!

    1. I love this! My home is ever evolving and my trailer will too.

  4. I love the belt on the pillow! Great ideas!

    Smiles, cyndi

  5. I just purchased my first vintage trailer - a 1968 Shasta compact - not quite sure how to set up the interior to suit my living needs...have many ideas but it is definitely a small space to work with...contemplating a twin bed in front which means removing the dinette area - the gas capability has been disabled so I will be going all electric with appliances - I'm sure the wiring needs to be upgraded though...just looking for ideas - love the curtain idea - and the pillow thoughts!

  6. Does your compact have the two sofa beds down the long walls, or the U-shaped cushions around a table?

  7. emmagerl-I just bought the same! Mine's red striped and needs work. I'd love to see you ideas :) I'm thinking I'm going thr western style like this cutie!

  8. I just picked up an intact 1963 Red Dale trailer that I am tricking out! All by my lil' ol' self, with the help of years of experience wielding power tools with my Daddy's guidance as a construction genius. I had to remove bottom half of door, re-seal all windows, rooftop and sides and will eventually paint it by hang to resemble a really whimsical vardo wagon. I am a gypsy at heart... and am scavenging things to do the work from construction sites (with permission of course)... so my output is going to be close to zero beyond the purchase price. Colors are chocolate brown and mint green inside.. :)

  9. I have a Red Dale--one of my favorites! Keep up the good work!

  10. You know I have always loved how you decorate! You are the Queen of the trailer park.

  11. Merely a handmaiden--LOL! See you out camping again, soon!

  12. I have a 1968 Cricket, I painted it random shapes of colors, and dong the inside hippie style. My theme is "summer of love", or "Age of
    Aquarius", can't decide. A little of both. Lots of peace signs, tye dye, etc.