How to Convert a Van on a Budget with PVC Panels

How to Convert a Van on a Budget with PVC Panels

May 2, '23

A trend that picked up during the pandemic due to international travel limitations and the cost of living, ‘van life’ has become all the rage again, with more people travelling cross country in their trusted campers. And even now since restrictions have eased, more and more people are choosing to adopt the ‘digital nomad’ life, living full time out of their vans. But it’s not just full time ‘van-lifers’ that have jumped on the trend, with staycations continuing to be on the rise, part-time travellers have also been converting their vans into a liveable campers, or upgrading their current vans so that they can travel in a little more comfort, whilst also saving money by cutting out the pricey holiday rentals.

If you’re looking to explore van life yourself by refurbishing your own camper, it’s important that you spend time looking into the right materials for the job, that not only suit your interior style, but also perform to keep you comfortable during travel. While there’s plenty of design inspiration to be found online, from nature-inspired interiors and boho style, to more contemporary modern van renovations and more, it is also extremely important to consider the practical elements, such as insulating materials for your van walls, ceiling and floor.

From living areas to bathrooms and kitchens, pvc panels are a lightweight, versatile and affordable cladding option that can be mounted directly over existing van interiors, making them suitable for quick and easy installation in every area of your camper. Whether you’re searching for a distinctive eye-catching design to bring excitement to a living space, or you’re on the hunt for some on-trend marble panels to add a sleek and contemporary look to your interiors, keep reading as we walk you through the benefits of using these panels in your van renovation, along with our own panel recommendations to help narrow your search. 

Benefits of PVC Panels for Camper Vans

If you’re contemplating whether or not PVC wall panels are the right option for your van conversion, we’ve listed a number of the greatest advantages of this type of cladding which may help you make a more informed decision when planning your renovation. 

When renovating a van to live in, one obvious factor to consider during the design process is that everything is confined to a small area which means, in most cases, the kitchen, sleeping area and living room will be open plan. With not a lot of space to move around, it's likely that most areas of your van will be used everyday, which is why we would recommend choosing cladding that doesn't collect dirt or mark easily.

One of the main benefits of PVC panels are their smooth surfaces. As they don’t have any pores or holes which could gather dust and dirt easily, PVC panels have a remarkably straightforward cleaning process, making them a suitable and hygienic option for use as van wall cladding. Compared to the rigorous and lengthy maintenance process and abrasive cleaning agents that are needed for regular drywall or tiles, PVC panels help to save time on cleaning and therefore free up more time for you to explore new places, and as a bonus, they won’t weigh the vehicle down like these more traditional building materials.

These low-maintenance panels are ideal if you’re going to be leaving the camper in the garage for an extended period of time, as they are mould resistant, so there is no need to worry about them building up grime as the weeks pass by. Regardless of your concerns when it comes to maintaining a clean mobile home, whether you’re worried about a build up of condensation while cooking, or bringing muddy paw prints in if you decide to bring your pet with you on your travels, PVC panels can alleviate these worries, providing a fuss-free solution to van renovation. 

How to Choose PVC Panels for Your Van

When choosing the most suitable PVC panels for your van conversion, there are a number of factors that can come into play. To help you make the right decision for your conversion or renovation, we’ve compiled a four-stage guide that has been made to cover everything from selecting the right colour and style, to the size and panel profile. We would also recommend taking note of your van’s layout before you start making your van renovation ideas a reality, ensuring you consider each and every space that you’ll need to cover within your campervan. 

Van Conversion Ideas

Whether your van is big or small, PVC wall and ceiling panels can help to bring your camper conversion ideas to life. Below, our experts at the Panel Company have recommended a range of panels that we feel would be perfectly suited to bringing a touch of home to your van and its unique size and layout requirements.

Gloss White Panels

Our no.1 suggestion for those looking to renovate a van on a budget are these simple white wall panels. If you’re looking for a more contemporary style for your camper van conversion, our gloss white PVC panels provide a clean and modern appearance that is the perfect base that allows for any design or style to be built on top of in your space.

Gloss White Panels

Made with a glossy finish for an easy to clean and hard-wearing style, our Gloss White V Groove panels will provide an instant upgraded appearance to your ceiling and walls that can help to emphasise the natural light in your van interior. Like our other PVC panels, this cladding is both moisture and water resistant, so installing this cladding in your camper will ensure that these interiors withstand the test of time.

Wood effect panels

Featuring a tiled effect with a unique and decorative wooden pattern, our Wood Grain PVC panels can be used to achieve a chic, yet rustic inspired van interior, that reflects the true nature of van life.

Wood Effect Panels

The Vox Motivo Light Wood panels from our wood grain pvc panels collection are designed with 3D printing technology, enabling a more realistic appearance. Easy to clean and 100% waterproof, these wood effect panels are the ideal choice for use in confined spaces where everything is close together, such as in van renovations.

Brick effect panels

Looking for something a little bit different for your van conversion project? Our rustic Brick Effect Wall Panels will help to add character to your home away from home. Designed to add an industrial feel to any space, these PVC panels are perfect if you want your camper to stand out from the crowd.

Brick Effect Panels

Our Vox Vilo Vintage Brick Wall Panels are designed to replicate the appearance of a real vintage brick wall, while the practical properties of these PVC panels make them more hard-wearing, easy to clean and durable than traditional brick. As well as adopting a stylish appearance, this functional and high quality alternative to traditional brick is completely water resistant and lightweight - making these ideal for using in your van renovation kitchen or bathroom.

Stone effect panels

Our marbled Stone Effect PVC Panels can be used to blend with any contemporary interior, especially those who favour a more maximalist look in their space. Providing an ideal alternative to tile cladding, these statement panels are pleasing on the eye, with a distinctive washed effect that can help you achieve a unique van interior.

Stone Effect Panels

Featuring accents of a mixture of colours, we would recommend using the Sofia Dark Stone Effect PVC Panels alongside a black, white and grey colour scheme. This cladding is also incredibly practical due to its moisture resistant features, making it another suitable choice for either the bathroom or kitchen in your van.

Tips on Converting a Small Van

Once you’ve decided on your preferred PVC panels, the next step is to make sure they’re fitted correctly. This is easily done by following our straightforward installation guide, which lists all our recommended tools and includes only the essentials you’ll need to carry out your van renovation, helping you to stay on budget. For small van conversions, you might be concerned about the difficulty of fitting these panels, but this guide also illustrates how best to install every type of panel - from ceiling to floor, and wall panels, meaning you’re covered from every angle.

Find camper conversion ideas at the Panel Company

Whether you’re planning to convert your van in time for the summer holidays, or are simply at the renovation planning stage, The Panel Company is home to an extensive range of contemporary and on-trend panels that are bound to look great in your new camper van. Find our hand-picked range of sleek and durable PVC wall panels and ceiling panels online at The Panel Company.

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