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  • Writer's pictureJessica Morgan McAtee

Travel Trailer Makeover

This project was completely unexpected and unsolicited.

It happened when we purchased property for our Tiny House. The parcel came with a travel trailer. It's a 1989 Road Ranger. In an attempt to pay less for the land, we asked the sellers to exclude their Road Ranger from the sale. But they insisted. At first we were a bit bummed because we saw it as an old piece of junk.

Then I started brainstorming. I went online and found ideas about how I could revamp her. Since our Tiny House is...tiny, this travel trailer ended up being the perfect solution for guests!

Because this project was completely unexpected, and therefore not in the budget, I hoped to do my work with less than $500. Also, since Kelly was busy building the Tiny House back at the wood shop, I knew I was going to have to do this little project all by my big-girl self. That was intimidating but it turned out being completely doable, even for someone with no experience.

Despite being so old, the owners did take really good care of her (they weren't old, the camper was). She was pretty clean and damage free. Though, part of the floor was rotting in the bedroom from an old leak and that required a bit of help from Kelly to fix near the end of my project.

I applied some VERY basic upgrades to create an entirely new guest space. Plus, the total cost of phase 1 was way under budget at $300, which left room for some cute final touches (art, pillows, etc). It took me about 7 weeks to complete it.

For the sake of keeping this post digestible, I will not go into extreme detail about how these steps were carried out. I can assure you they were not terribly complicated. I had never done any of this before so my skill level is right about zero.

All supplies came from Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Goodwill, the Restore or Amazon.

Here's the quick overview video and I will go over more details in this post along with the materials. Please excuse my ridiculous get-up. We were camping when we filmed.

Here are some before pictures.

We got rid of the mattress and had a new replacement on hand.

I planned to do a simplistic rehab by painting the whole thing crisp white. I wanted it to look updated, clean and simple with some nice artistic touches. Peel and stick were my go to solutions, because I am not handy. We wanted our guests to have a comfortable spot to camp along side of us in the Oregon woods.


The first step was to remove all of the extra and unwanted clutter and parts. This included taking down the window treatments, the weird, small bunk & the plastic shower "curtain". Luckily, a screwdriver did the trick.

I also removed all of the pillows & cushions. Some of the cushions had hinges and folded. The technique I used to cover them does not allow for that, so I cut them so that they were each individual cushions.

I re-covered them with canvas by stapling the cloth onto thin pieces of wood cut to be a few inches less than the size of the cushion. Grandma helped me sew the corners of the canvas.

I got this canvas at Walmart. The heavyweight and large size were best because some of my cushions were quite large and I needed something that could cover them on 3 sides.

For the sofa-back cushions, I went fancy with these curtains from Walmart.

Then I took down all of the bathroom and cabinet doors by removing hardware from the walls and that weird bunk area. In order to paint the walls, I needed it down.

Anything that was going back up, like cabinet hinges, was painted silver instead of the strange gold color it was.

This was also painting prep. I knew that I was eventually going to cover most of the exposed surface areas (floors, counter tops, cabinets, etc) and I am really impatient with drop cloths, so removing anything that shouldn't be white was useful.

After all of the cloth, hardware, cabinet doors and drawers were out. I sanded everything. The walls and doors were sanded. This is because I intended to paint the entire interior white. Paint doesn't stick to the surface of the cabinets without this step.

Painting is the best way to make a big difference on a small budget. It freshens up and gives it a whole new look. I first primed then painted the walls and ceilings white.

The shower, sink and toilet were refreshed with this appliance epoxy. It made them white again instead of the yellowed color they were rocking. It's really toxic stuff, thus the cute pink mask.

My next job was to paint the kitchen cabinets, hood, faucet knobs and range. I used spray paint for all of them.

I bought some blue paint from the re-store for $2.50 and painted the bedroom wall and the bath cabinet.

I got really into peel and stick, which I had never before done. I used peel and stick backsplash, countertop (both from Amazon) and flooring applications. They were very inexpensive and easy to install, even for someone with zero experience.

The final touches included a few pieces of art from Goodwill and a $175 shopping spree at Walmart mostly because we live out in the middle of nowhere and there are no other stores nearby. Sheets, bedspread, throw, curtains, rugs, towels, and pillows all came from Walmart.

I bought a small sample of mint paint from the restore and painted another accent room in the bedroom and the mirror frames.

I cannot sew, so I cut the curtains (from Walmart) and purchased iron-on-hems so they fit the windows. I did the same thing with the pink curtain that divides the bedroom from the kitchen.

I took some local photos of our forest, a volcano and the Astoria bridge and had them spread on a canvas ( This brought my grand total for the makeover up to the $500 original estimate.

That's our guest-house makeover in a nutshell. Not only is it great for visitors, it serves as a hang-out place when girlfriends come over. With my husband home in the tiny house, it is nice for the ladies to have some space and him to have privacy and peace when we gals are up laughing past midnight.

This project was affordable and practical on many levels. I am really proud of how it turned out. We thought it was an eyesore, and it ended up being a blessing!

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