Renovating a Pop-Up Camper On a Budget

Here at Gillette’s, our fantastic and easy trade-in process means that we always have a slew of great RVs coming in, and I just can’t help but feel my DIY skills tingling when I see those older models! I’ve seen my fair share of RV makeovers out there, especially on pop-up campers! My sister and I have been toying with the idea of going halvsies on a used pop-up and are going crazy on the DIY, which would honestly be just as much fun as actually going on camping adventures in it! This gives me the perfect excuse to research some DIY ideas while showing you just how easy it is to renovate a pop-up camper on a budget!

Finding a Good Pop-Up

You can’t do a good pop-up renovation without a decent pop-up! Renovating should only be done on a used pop-up, or one that you don’t care about having a warranty on. Most of these projects will definitely void manufacturer’s and extended warranties on new pop-ups, so keep that in mind! We always have used pop-ups coming in here at Gillette’s Interstate RV, so be sure to check in often if you’re in the market for a fantastic used model! If you find an older one, don’t let the age of it deter you from considering it. We have had some pop-up models as old as 1996 that have been in nearly pristine condition! Used pop-ups are kind of like a diamond in the rough, so keep your eyes peeled for roadside sales, or for the best deals and the highest quality, just keep checking in-store or at!

When choosing a used RV, you’ll want to take a good, critical look at every aspect of the pop-up. You’ll mainly want to keep an eye out for canvas or body damage, as well as water damage. A hole in the canvas isn’t the end of the world, but if the canvas as a whole is in bad shape, a re-canvassing of the entire pop-up could be in order, taking this venture from a relatively inexpensive DIY to a costly professional job. Also, look for holes or cracks in the sidewalls or roof, and check the entire inside for water damage or mold. If you find any of these things, we say give that unit a pass and move on to the next one.

Fabrics—The Easiest Pop-Up Makeover

Pop-ups that are just 5-10 years old can look super dated, and don’t even get me started on the crazy-hideous styles you find in pop-ups from the 90s (sorry to all those who love 90s pop-ups)! The easiest way to transform your pop-up’s interior is to redo all the fabric surfaces! Head down to your local craft or fabric store and start your search in the clearance section! Find something that fits your family’s style, or pick a certain theme or color scheme to decorate around. If you find a fabric outside of the clearance section, wait until a sale comes up, or keep your eyes peeled for coupons! The beauty is that you can choose literally whatever pattern you like to make your pop-up totally unique to your style! Take that, uninspired RV interior designers!

Before you head out, make sure to evaluate approximately how much yardage you’ll need, and which items you’ll be redoing. Consider making some new window curtains, bunk curtains, recovering dinette cushions, and any other cushion or curtain that you may find. This is doable whether you’re handy with a sewing machine or not, as there are plenty of no-sew and machine-friendly curtain and cushion cover tutorials out there. A little color goes a long way when it comes to new fabrics in your used pop-up!

Give Your Cabinets New Life With a Paint Job

Though it’s more of an undertaking, a new paint job can take those cabinets from “90s hot mess” to “modern Pinterest dream” without too much work. Choose a paint color that strikes your fancy. It seems that the trend right now is lighter-colored cabinets, from stark white to a pleasant eggshell color. The lighter colors seem to blend nicely with colorful linens and can adapt to new renovations in the future.

It also seems to be a trend (although a bit of a fizzling one) to use chalkboard paint on different components of the pop-up. Painting the doors of under-dinette cupboards looks like a cool idea, so you can jot down exactly what’s stashed inside without having to dig around for something that’s not even in there. Another idea out there is to cover the dinette table in chalkboard paint, which could be super fun for kids, but seems like it could get really messy really quickly.

Make It Your Own With Unique Decor

Another fun component to renovating your pop-up is finding awesome coordinating decor to take your camper to the next level! I can’t be the only one here who gets an absolute thrill from finding the perfect piece of decor that fits a theme! Any excuse to visit the craft store/home decor store/secondhand store, am I right? Hit up places like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Marshall’s, Hobby Lobby, and even your local Goodwill for awesome and unique decor and to save money! Or if you’re like me, troll around Amazon and other online retailers to score some good deals! It’ll be easy to go over your renovation budget by splurging on decor, but have some self restraint and hunt around for the best possible deals!

Be on the lookout for fun coordinating throw pillows, bedding for your bunks, bunting and garlands, LED battery-operated fairy lights or fun string lights, plants, and other fun pieces! Just keep in mind that these will need to be able to be packed up when it’s time to leave, so maybe avoid extremely fragile items or large items that don’t store well. Sure, you want a cute space, but don’t forget that you’re going to be camping … out in the wilderness … with bugs, dirt, and maybe even messy kids. You can go full-blown Martha Stewart on your pop-up if you want, but just be prepared for real life too! Try to find pieces that are both decorative and functional, like baskets, shelves, door mats, cute kitchen utensils and decor, and more. That way you can still make great use of the space you have without sacrificing the theme that you’re trying to build up!

What do you think? Are you ready for a pop-up renovation on a budget? Giving a pop-up a makeover is definitely like a twofer, as you’ll have the opportunity to get really crafty, then you’ll get to head out for camping adventures in a cute space! Just remember, we definitely have some hidden gems as far as used RVs go here at Gillette’s Interstate RV! We also have a wonderful selection of new RVs for sale near Lansing for all you DIY inept, so shop now and save big! Have you renovated an RV, or have neat DIY ideas for decor? Share pictures of your pop-up or RV renovation, or share your thoughts on unique RV makeovers! We’re excited to see how you’ve turned drab into fab!