If you are going to the live vanlife for a while, your campervan kitchen can make or break your experience! Being able make a nice cup of coffee in your campervan or cook a delicious meal is super important, especially when you will be on the road for a longer period of time.
Whether you are converting a campervan from scratch, or pimping an existing one, this article will give you some inspiration to make your campervan kitchen look super classy! 😀
This blog has been contributed by Maaike from Dutch Travelblog Reisgelukjes. Together with her husband Tom, they have upgraded their old Volkswagen T4 Westfalia campervan to a nice modern van!
What's coming up
- 1 Pimping a Volkswagen T4 Westfalia campervan
- 2 Plans for redecorating the campervan kitchen
- 3 Preparation
- 4 Painting the kitchen
- 5 Wrapping the doors with adhesive film
- 6 How to wrap campervan kitchen doors yourself
- 7 Concrete look
- 8 Putting everything back together
- 9 Extra advice about campervan kitchen reforms
- 10 More about pimping an old Campervan?
Pimping a Volkswagen T4 Westfalia campervan
Maaike and her husband Tom fell for their Volkwasgen T4 Westfalia Campervan straight away!
Maaike loved the colour and Tom was sold because he could stand straight up! A Volkswagen diesel is also known to be reliable and it was still completely furnished. This was great, since they only had three weeks for preparing the van for their trip to France.
One of the big to do’s was to redecorate the kitchen. In this blog Maaike explains how (with a little bit of help of dad!) they revamped their campervan kitchen.
Plans for redecorating the campervan kitchen
The older Westfalia interiors are not known for their modern vibrant designs. But we didn’t want to demolishing the kitchen! It was designed in a smart way, lightweight, had everything we needed and still worked properly.
The only problem: it was 50 shades of grey with a hint of purple. Very nineties!
So we did some research and came up with some great plans for redecorating it! Nothing a bit of paint, wrapping adhesive film on the kitchen doors and redecorating the countertop in a concrete look can’t fix! The campervan kitchen would have a completely different look.
The first step of pimping our campervan kitchen was to disassemble as much as possible: all the doors, hinges, doorknobs. Then we degreased everything with water and a few drops of ammonia and sanded everything down. This worked very well for both the parts to paint and the parts we would wrap with adhesive film.
The kitchen got a lot of dents over in the last 24 years. So we used lots of putty for restoring all these dents before painting.
The main material of the kitchen was the very practical (and ugly) formica. This is not the best adhesive substrate for paint. So every surface we wanted to paint got two layers of a multi-primer.
Painting the kitchen
The painting of the kitchen was a pretty straightforward job. We painted the insides of the door to save on the costs of adhesive film.
After the kitchen being used for 24 years there were a lot of permanent stains inside the cupboards. So we also painted the insides to get a fresh clean look.
Wrapping the doors with adhesive film
After measuring the doors we ordered adhesive foil in wood look for all the kitchen doors.
Learn from our mistake: order more than you think you need! The first door was like the first pancake: it failed. And honestly: maybe one or two other doors also failed the first time 😀
And that while my dad, who helped us, has some experience with stickering and wrapping. It is a job for the patient. Not as easy as the website pictured it. But as long as you stay calm, you’ll get the hang of it!!
How to wrap campervan kitchen doors yourself
So how to wrap a campervan kitchen with adhesive foil by yourself?
Start by ordering the foil – we ordered it at a Dutch site. When you’re starting the wrapping, first start by sticking the foil at one side. Then slowly work towards the other side. Constantly remove the back layer and then immediately use the tool to remove any air bubbles while stickering.
Work your way to the other side centimeter for centimeter. Small errors can be corrected. But sometimes you get a tear and then you can throw the entire sheet away.
So I repeat: don’t forget to order some extra foil. We did not and it took us 2 days to receive the extra foil ordered. Not really a problem, since we had enough chores working on the campervan in the meantime. But still, we also had to pay for shipping twice.
The countertop was also a dilemma. What to do with the grey formica on top? But we were hesitant, since it is a surface with heavy duty performance. We could paint it, we even saw examples of wallpaper with layers of lacquer.
Then we came across a treatment for a concrete look and we loved it right away. This treatment is being used for several purposes in houses, amongst which kitchen countertops. What works for redecorating a regular kitchen would also work for a campervan kitchen, right?
The fun thing is that they also sold samples, which were enough for our 0.7m2 surface we had to cover! We needed three things.
First, we used a primer which gives some structure and already a base color.
Second: the paint for the concrete look. This defines the definite color en gives it the concrete-like structure. It’s a bizarre material to paint with, because it feels like painting with melted marshmallows. But it’s quite easy and really sloppy with a big brush. When it dries the little lumps dissapear. What remains: concrete look countertop!
After that it’s time for step 3 and the last material: varnish! This is important to get a waterproof finish. Put on several thin layers for the best waterproof result and to not get a whitewash effect.
Putting everything back together
The phase of the putting everything back together is great fun! All the doors, doorknobs and hinges back place finally gives an idea of the end result!
Extra advice about campervan kitchen reforms
The most important advice here: plan enough time in your schedule.
For example for the paint to dry. We did not have that much time, so our paint already suffered some small damages during our first trip. Also the varnish on the countertop needs time to harden.
We have however also gotten some stains and “blisters” on the countertop. We blame it on ourselves: we often leave the countertop open, in the hot sun in France right behind the window. I think that’s what caused the blisters. Fortunately I have saved some of the concrete paint and varnish for a touch up. And luckily the underlying formica is also grey, so you have to know it to see it.
My advice would be to look for rather similar colors while renovating your campervan so damages aren’t too obvious.
More about pimping an old Campervan?
If you’d like to know more about our Volkswagen T4 Westfalia, Maaike wrote an article about it o her Dutch blog. If you can’t read Dutch, it’s also great to just see pictures of the process and result 🙂
Maaike from the Dutch Travelblog Reisgelukjes is an avid traveller in the Netherlands and abroad. She found her new “gelukje” (little piece of happiness) in her volkswagen campervan!