Maximise that space.
Living in a van is all about maximising the space that you have and getting creative with it. It's the small DIY projects that can make all the difference in turning your van into a home. We've used these personal touches to add some vibe and fun to the interior of our camper, Aramoana.
8 ways to add vibe to your van home.
1.) Start hanging plants.
Wherever we go we attract many stares and comments from passers by about our homemade hanging pots. I couldn't find a macrame plant sling anywhere so I got fed up and decided to use what I had on hand. I strung together some empty yoghurt pots, braided the top of the rope and hung it from an S hook. Insert some cheap succulents and hey presto we had an instant garden. While it may look precarious swinging about, it's amazing that when we drive around the toughest corners they remain intact. We tried something similar with some fresh herbs but the interior of the van is just too hot and I am the first to admit I don't have a green thumb. I also bought a vase to place fresh flowers in but soon settled on drying out some wild flowers instead.
2.) Say yes to hanging fruit bowls.
We bought some lightweight wire bowls and suspended these from the lip of our high top roof with some S hooks. (Make sure you load up on S hooks when you see them because they are useful for hanging everything!) We store our fruit and veggies in these and take them down only when I need to use the gas burners for long periods of time.
3. ) Instant mood lighting.
There's nothing quite like lighting a few candles and switching on your fairy lights before you settle in for the night. It definitely makes for some mood lighting and is much less harsh than the internal lights our camper has. I love to read in bed so battery powered fairy lights for me were a must. We bought three 1 metre strings and they are so lightweight that we managed to secure them using small pieces of medical tape. I am a true sucker for candles so when I found glass lanterns I just had to have them. My favourite is to buy vanilla scented candles so that your van smells lovely. We are extremely cautious with the candles, use them only with adequate ventilation and have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergency.
4.) Embrace zero-waste glass jars.
I looove glass jars for storing all of our dry goods. Glass because it looks better, cleans better and means you can shop in bulk to avoid packaging. We line our jars up in rows on the shelf of our high top roof. Not only does this help to maximise our cupboard space, but it is so easy to see and grab ingredients as I cook. Jars are also excellent for making smoothies in or shaking sauces together. I couldn't do without them.
5.) Add personality with artwork.
I found a cheap blackboard and every now and then refresh it with an inspirational quote. They are great for writing shopping lists or reminders if you need them. I also painted a small square canvas with some water based acrylics and secured these both with strips of velcro to the inside dome of our high top roof.
6.) Start a chinese laundry.
Create your own DIY laundry line with some string and wooden pegs. I rigged up a small line inside our roof which can be used to hang not only wet cloths and towels but artwork and accessories as well. If the weather is really terrible, we zig zag extra lines on the inside of our high-top roof to accommodate all of our laundry.
7.) The smell of baking.
Nothing quite adds vibe and makes your van as homey as freshly baked cakes and bread. It's so easy to turn a heavy dutch cast-iron pot into an oven. I purchased a small cake tin and rest this on a small circular cooling rack, inside the preheated cast-iron pot. I monitor the temperature closely and am still trialling the best recipes, but I've turned out some great banana bread and apple cakes.
8.) Choose colourful linens.
Living in such a small space, colour becomes really important. I chose some small accented pillows, bright pashmina throws and a green felt grass carpet to add some brightness to our interior. It is a great contrast against the subtle grey tones of our van.