Camping/ DIY

Painting Camper Cabinets : Our Pop-Up Camper Makeover

Our Pop-Up Camper Makeover: Painting Camper Cabinets

Painting Camper Cabinets makes such an impact in a camper makeover!  It’s the most simple and inexpensive way to give a camper new life.  Here are some tips and things we learned when painting the cabinets in our pop-up camper.

By far the biggest impact in our camper makeover is the change we made to the cabinets.  We gave the cabinets a fresh coat of white paint that makes our camper so cheery and bright, and I LOVE it.  I can’t believe how much of a big change the white paint made.

Trust me, painting is worth the effort!

Now I’m going to be honest here and tell you that painting camper cabinets is not a fun job.  It’s tedious and annoying, but oh boy, are the results ever worth all the effort!  There really is no better way to make an impact than with fresh coats of paint!  The paint process took us the most time, but we wanted to do it properly so we didn’t ever have to do it again.  So my best advice when painting your camper cabinets it to take the time to prep, prime and paint.  Take.  The.  Time.

Before we get started, I wanted to show you a quick picture of what our cabinets looked like BEFORE we painted them:

And here is how they look AFTER!  Fresh and bright.  All the heart eyes.

Painting Camper Cabinets

Our Pop-Up Camper Makeover: Painting Camper Cabinets

Camper Cabinet Paint:

When I initially chose the paint colour for the cabinets, I had picked a colour that I thought was more grey.  But when I applied the paint, it was definitely more white than I thought it would be, but I really like it.  For this paint project we used 1 can of primer paint and 1 can of cabinet paint.

  • Primer:  We used KILZ Premium Primer:  High Hide Stain Blocker  $26/can
  • Cabinet Paint: We used SICO Evolution Paint, Custom Colour in Eggshell  $55/can.  We made sure to use a durable cabinet paint so that we could easily clean off scuffs and dirt that are an inevitable part of camping.
  • Grate, Fire Extinguisher and Vents: We used High Heat Enamel Spray Paint by Tremclad in the colour Aluminum  $13/can

Our Pop-Up Camper Makeover: Painting Camper Cabinets

How we painted the cabinets:

  • Clean First!  Before we painted we made sure to clean all of the surfaces that were going to have paint applied to them, with TSP.  We used a TSP liquid cleaner…just follow the directions on the bottle.
  • Fill Holes:  Because our camper is older, there were a fix nicks and holes that needed filling.  We used wood filler to fill those before we painted.
  • Remove the cabinet doors.  We opted to remove the cabinet doors so we could paint them outside of the camper (we set up a painting area in our garage).  It was much easier to have them in a bigger space to paint.  And while my husband primed those, I primed the inside of the camper.
  • Remove the hardware.  We didn’t want to paint the hardware, so we removed it, making the task of painting the cabinets much more quick and easy.
  • Tape it!  To have clean painting lines we applied painters tape to all of the edges, outlets, and things we didn’t want to paint.
  • Prime:  Once we cleaned all of the surfaces and let them dry fully, we applied 2 coats of primer.  The better coverage you have with primer, the better coverage you will have with the cabinet paint.
  • Cabinet Paint:  Once the primer had dried completely, we applied 2 coats of the cabinet paint.

Things to note:

  • Our camper cabinets are not real wood, which is typical of most campers.
  • We did not sand our cabinet doors, as we didn’t feel the need to.  We just made sure to use a really good primer.
  • We did not paint the hardware, instead we opted to keep them as is.  We may replace them later.
  • We did not paint the plastic trim along the counters, instead we opted to keep them as is until we replace the countertops.

Our Pop-Up Camper Makeover: Painting Camper Cabinets

The Little Painting Details

In the makeover process we also discovered all kinds of nooks and crannies and little things that needed painting, as well as things like the fridge, furnace grate and fire extinguisher holder.  Here is how we approached these:

  • The Fridge:  We weren’t really sure how to approach the fridge…do we paint it, do we leave it?  The original colour was the same as the kitchen cabinets which looked like oak.  After we painted all of the cabinets white, the fridge just really stood out and didn’t look right.  So we decided to paint the outside of the fridge with the same white paint as the cabinets, and we’re really happy with the way it turned out.  We did however, opt not to paint the plastic trim around the fridge because we just didn’t think this high-use strip would hold paint well, so we left it alone.  We may eventually replace the whole fridge, but for now it’s good enough.
  • The Furnace Grate, Fire Extinguisher Holder and Vents: Both of these were a shade of brown that just didn’t match our vision for the camper.  So to freshen these up I spray painted them with a high heat enamel spray paint in a matte silver/grey colour, and they look brand new!
  • Under the cushions and inside drawers and cabinets.  Once we removed all the cabinet doors and cushions, it was easier to see everything that needed painting.  We basically painted everything that we could see.  But we didn’t paint inside of the cabinets, I just didn’t see the need to.

Our Pop-Up Camper Makeover: Painting Camper Cabinets

We are absolutely thrilled with the results!  The bright paint has completely changed the look of our camper and we love it so much!

Our Pop-Up Camper Makeover: Painting Camper Cabinets

For more of our Camper Makeover, visit my blog posts here:

Want more camping inspiration?  Follow my Camping Board on Pinterest!

Happy Camping!

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