I often get asked why I am so passionate about pop up campers. There are so many other types of RVs on the market. What makes pop up campers so appealing? There are all kinds of reasons why I love my little pop up camper, but one of the biggest is that it is so economical. It does make our tow vehicle’s gas mileage a little lower, but it is nothing compared to the gas mileage you’d get with a bigger trailer or motorhome–and we purchased it for a steal! Even with our remodel expenses, it was much less expensive than any other RV we looked at and loads cheaper than any hotel. It makes traveling the country on a slim budget possible for this little family of five. I’ve got too many budget friendly remodels on the blog to count, but if you need one more example, take a look at Cindy’s pop up camper project.
Cindy purchased her 1993 Palomino pop up tent trailer from her sister for $500. At first, Cindy wasn’t sure she had made a good purchase. The camper was old, ugly, and had that standard 70’s look. She had never heard of fixing up a tent trailer before, but a quick search on Pinterest turned up The Pop Up Princess blog, and she was hooked. Cindy was stunned by all the amazing reader makeovers. Her ugly trailer now had so many possibilities, and Cindy was seriously excited. She had no idea that you could turn a tent trailer into an adorable living space with just a few hundred dollars. 🙂
Cindy immediately got to work on her remodel. As with all remodels, the first step is to clean like crazy. Cindy took everything out of the trailer, including all the seats, bed mattresses, and curtains. She gave it all a thorough scrubbing. Then she removed all the knobs and hinges from the cabinet doors. Cindy wanted to reuse the hardware but knew it needed a fresh coat of paint first, so she set it aside.
Then she headed to Lowes, where she bought a gallon of off-white semi-gloss paint, a small foam roller, and a paint tray. She gave all the cabinets a good coat of primer then a few coats of the new paint. With the cabinets painted, it was time to address the hardware. It took two cans of Rustoleum spray paint to give the hinges and drawer pulls new life, but it was completely worth it. Cindy’s favorite purchase of all, though, was the peel and stick vinyl flooring she put in–and with good reason. It made such a huge difference, and it only cost a whopping $50! 🙂
Cindy knew that recovering the cushions would also go a long way toward changing the look of the camper, so she took a trip to JoAnn Fabrics for upholstery fabric. She wanted to cover the over the ugly cushions surrounding the table, but she also wanted to address her dated curtains, as well. Since Cindy was on a tight budget, she purchased just enough material to cover the cushions and add a band of fabric to the existing curtains. They were still in good shape, and once updated they looked completely different.
To cover the cushions, Cindy made a simple envelope type slipcover. She inserted the old cushions and used a needle and upholstery thread to close the opening. They look great, and if Cindy ever decides to change the fabric out, it is easy to remove them and make new covers.
The final touch was the adorable bedding, which Cindy purchased at Walmart. It was inexpensive, and it coordinates wonderfully with the new look of the camper. All in all, Cindy spent a total of $300 on her remodel. Add those expenses to the initial purchase price of $500, and Cindy and her family have a cute little retreat for only $800. Not a bad deal! 🙂
Cindy tells me they have already had their little home on wheels out several times and are amazed at how comfortable it is. It makes a great home base for exploring the woods and getting away every now and then. I bet Cindy doesn’t second guess that purchase anymore. 😀
Thanks so much for sharing your remodel with us, Cindy. You did an amazing job. It is a perfect example of what you can do on a small budget if you are willing to get your hands dirty!