My little vintage caravan – DIY display cabinet makeover

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You can never have too much storage, right? Especially if you’re like me and you’re forever picking up cute little thingmebobs at car boot sales and love to receive little trinkety gifts from friends. But that does mean that I have a lot of ‘things’ yet don’t really have anywhere to keep them.diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-16diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-14 No, I can’t just have a clear-out and get rid of them; everything I’ve kept has a memory attached to it and I want to cherish my belongings and the happy times that came with them. The only thing I don’t want to do is pack my precious items away in boxes. Even though this might be a neater solution than having bits and pieces on every surface, I want to actually see them and enjoy them daily. So what’s the solution? More storage of course!diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-17 diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-19Okay, there’s only so much space in my little vintage caravan and, to be honest, it’s all rather awkward. Conventional cabinets just don’t seem to fit, and there always seems to be a wheel-arch or a window that needs to be worked around. So this week I’ve finally found something that fits in the space and gives me the display solution I need.diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-8 diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-18Let’s start with step one; my husband made me a storage unit – a sideboard, if you will – that fits exactly between the door of the caravan and the seating area. This therefore needed to straddle the wheel-arch and somehow hubby has managed to do it. He built shelves above and to the side of the arch and a leg to the left so that the unit would float above the wheel.diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-3 So far I’ve left the wood unfinished as I quite like the grain, but I may paint this in the future, and probably will do when my husband makes some cupboard doors to cover the wheel arch as planned (which will give me a great space for storing wadding and teddy bear stuffing!).

This sideboard made excellent use of the space but the wall above was looking really bare (although how bare can it be with DIY patchwork wallpaper?!) and this seemed like a wasted opportunity. There was space for shelves and although I’m not completely sure that shelves could be attached to the walls of the caravan, a shelving unit would be ideal to turn this sideboard into a dresser.

It needed to be slim so that it didn’t take up all of the surface space on top of the unit, and I didn’t want it to encroach into the caravan too much to maintain the feeling of spaciousness that the sideboard had created. So I shopped around to try to find a storage solution. After checking all my favourite second-hand places – ebay, freecycle, gumtree, facebook – I decided to search DIY stores and I found the ideal cabinet at Homebase.diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-9

diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-5It was a shallow display cabinet with glass sliding doors and was precisely the right sizes to sit on top of my caravan sideboard. There were all kinds of discounts on the Homebase website this week so I was able to get this unit at less than the cost of the same cabinet on an auction site. But I couldn’t just buy something off the shelf and put it in my caravan could I? No, I needed to DIY it, and I headed to the wallpaper section to find me some makeover supplies.diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_I wanted the back of the cabinet to look pretty on the inside to fit in seamlessly with my patchwork wallpaper so I browsed the wallpaper section and found my dream wallpaper; this bright blue cloud pattern called ‘Fresco Cloud 9’. I seriously love it and want to cover my house in it now too – or maybe even a ceiling?! Anyway, it was perfect to cover the inside of the display cabinet so I got started on a quick makeover.diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-2 diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-4The cabinet arrived flat-packed so it was really easy to cover the back piece with the wallpaper. I think this would be a fun makeover for children’s bedroom furniture too – imagine a wardrobe with a view inside! – cool, huh? I actually used double-sided tape rather than wallpaper paste to stick the wallpaper to the back board as I was being rather impatient and didn’t want to wait for the paste to dry. However, the wallpaper looked great for about a day before it started to wrinkle a little and I’m sure that this wouldn’t have happened if I’d pasted it on properly!diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-10diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-26Even though you can’t really see the slight wrinkles on the paper when the cabinet is filled with my little trinkets, I still know it’s there, so when I decide to paint the whole sideboard, I’ll also take the display cabinet apart, spray-paint the sides and recover the back board with the same wallpaper, using paste this time. diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-22diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-25Anyway, I’ve since filled it with all of my pretty little trinkets and I actually still have plenty of space in the cabinet to add to my collections! I love being able to see all of my favourite things in one place and I consider it to be more of an artwork to look at rather than a storage solution. Love, love, LOVE!

What do you think of my DIY idea? Will you too consider adding a decorative touch to the back of your cabinets and shelves in the future? If so, I recommend pasting the wallpaper, haha! Let me know what you think and any of your own storage solutions for the important things in your life by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy.

Author: Cassiefairy

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

5 Comments

  1. I have a vintage caravan on my drive which I intend to ‘vamp’ up in retro. This is the sort of looking I’m aiming for but I doubt I could stretch my ability to take out the cupboards etc. but your blog has made me realise it’s possible. so I’m painting outside in baby blue and a sort of pink with brown line in the middle. Inside I want a very paste pink and duck egg with flowery material for the curtains and plain for the darts. I’m using duvets sourced from 2nd hand shop for curtains and then looking for a contrast colour for the seat covers. I’m hoping I ca get this done after it has been serviced and if it’s road worthy! Wish me luck!

    • Wow your project sounds amazing Jane, please do keep me posted on how it progresses! If you take some before and after photos maybe we could even share your vintage caravan project on the blog?? Good luck with it all! x

  2. Pingback: My little vintage caravan – I’ve been featured in Caravan Magazine! | Cassiefairy - My Thrifty Life

  3. This is lovely – what a clever idea – well done

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