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We’ve learned a few things after 7 years of sharing gorgeous mobile home remodels and interviewing homeowners. We’ve featured mobile home remodels done by famous professional interior designers and grandmothers of 8. With each and every story we learned something new about making a mobile home beautiful and you’ll find all those lessons below. Think of our decorating hacks for mobile homes as a cheat sheet to help you transform your house into a beautiful magazine-worthy home.
The best advantage of owning a mobile home is how amazingly affordable they are – we bought our 1978 Homette for $5,000! Of course, there are disadvantages with older mobile homes. Many older mobile homes have low ceilings and smaller doors or outdated VOG wallboard or wood paneling.
Luckily, all of that can be fixed and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
Armed with our best decorating hacks for mobile homes, you can turn your boxy boring rectangle into a stylish home that reflects your family’s taste.
Light and space are two of the fundamentals of interior decorating so let’s begin with creating the illusion of space and paint does that very well.
When you hear about painting your home most people think of walls but in our experience, your ceiling should be the first place you paint.
Paint your Ceilings
A significant disadvantage of smaller mobile homes is their low ceilings. We’ve learned the secret to making seven-foot ceilings look like 9-foot ceilings – paint. Learn four more ways to make your ceiling appear taller here.
You can one of two ways with ceilings. If you paint your walls a darker color you’ll probably want to go with a ‘ceiling white’ to bounce the light around as much as possible.
One professional designer told us that if you’re using a slate gray and a pale dove gray on the walls, you can have the paint mixer tint your ceiling paint with a drop or two of the gray you’ve used to soften the color up a bit.
New ceiling paint makes a small mobile home feel bigger. Source: Kaplan Realty
Painting your mobile home’s ceiling will absolutely make your home feel taller and brighter. White paint will let the light bounce around and brighten your space in just one coat.
Learn how to paint your mobile home’s ceiling here.
Paint your Walls
Once your ceilings are painted a nice bright white, move on to the walls. We’ve seen a lot of dark grey walls in smaller mobile homes these last couple of years and we love it. Look at the single wide in the image below. That dark grey with the bright white ceiling is gorgeous!
Painting your mobile home walls dark is a great way to add warmth and dimension.
Yes, you can paint your mobile home walls in rich, saturated color–you just have to do it the right way. Common sense might say that bright, white paint makes small spaces seem bigger, but the opposite is true for lots of spaces.
Notice the darker grey on the left and light grey and white on the right. Source: Kaplan Realty
It’s really an optical illusion, but if you paint the three walls a deep tone, and the wall with the windows a lighter one, the eye is drawn to the light wall and the darker color tends to recede, providing a contrast that magically creates space. Learn more about using accent walls in your mobile home here.
Another decorating hack for mobile homes is using your windows to your best advantage. If your windows face south they get the most light so you can use a slightly more saturated light color. If your windows face north use the lighter shade to help bounce the light around.
Make sure you use a matte flat paint for your darker wall color, the paint should absorb light on those darker walls, not reflect it.
Add Trim and Crown Molding
Get almost 8 foot of this crown molding for $20 at Amazon.
Nothing makes a room look richer and more elegant than crown molding. Most mobile homes come with narrow laminated molding strips preinstalled. They aren’t wide enough to do what trim and molding do best – add interest and warmth (and hide cracks).
Replace the factory molding with a basic 3-3/58″ inch deep crown–your local big box store has a huge variety, from solid pine to pre-painted polyurethane, in 8-packs or single boards.
You can even have Lowe’s or Home Depot cut the trim to the right lengths and miter the corners for you.
You can also rent a miter or coping saw for the project. The only other tools you’ll need are a tape measure, staples, a finishing nailer and nails, caulk, and a stud finder.
The two main color choices for molding is white for the more modern style home and stained wood for your more traditional styled home.
This gorgeous double wide has recessed and pendant lighting.
Light Fixtures are Game Changers
Our next best decorating hack for mobile homes is to replace the light fixtures. Big box stores and Amazon are good sources for replacement lighting; they offer inexpensive, stylish fixtures that are easy to install and designed with smaller space living in mind.
Recessed lighting hits all the marks for best low ceiling lighting–it’s affordable, it provides good lighting, and it’s unobtrusive. Since the fixture is in the ceiling, you’ve got walking clearance and a modern, sleek look.
Professional installation might be necessary with recessed lighting, or any new lighting if you have older wiring. You can kill two birds with one stone by having new insulation blown into your ceiling at the same time you get new lights installed. Both improvements are great investments.
Track lighting is a good substitute for recessed because it doesn’t require professional installation. You can hide the wiring in the tracks. Just be sure to choose low profile styles so they don’t hang too low in high traffic areas.
Jennifer Simon has decorated her 1964 Chateau beautifully! Grey walls, gorgeous curtains, new flooring, and new light fixtures completely transformed the vintage mobile home:
Beds and dining room tables are perfect places to go a little wild with chandelier style lighting.
For bathrooms you want your lighting to be bright and functional. Depending on your style, you may want to go with a traditional fixture over your mirror like this gorgeous bathroom in a vintage mobile home (the same 1964 Chataeu above):
Love this 1964 Chateau’s bathroom!
New Window Coverings Make a Big Impact at an Affordable Price
Curtains are making a comeback, but not the frilled and floral ones you grew up with. Today’s curtains are a bit more subdued in shape but just about anything goes when it comes to the print. From florals to zigzag, the sky is the limit!
There are two schools of thought when it comes to curtains. Team one thinks your curtains should complement your walls. For example, dove gray walls would get a nice pale gray curtain that almost fades into the wall color. Team two think your curtains are the perfect place to add color to your room and the wilder the better. We love both ideas!
Just be sure to hang your curtain rods as close to your ceiling as you possibly can to pull the eye up to help make the ceiling appear higher.
This 1964 Chateau mobile home uses dark grey walls, white ceilings and trim, and curtains to create a gorgeous living room:
In addition to curtains, we feel it necessary to mention plantation shutters. They used to to be for the fanciest of houses, but as with all trends, they’ve become fairly affordable in the last couple of years.
Plantation blinds with wide faux wooden strips are an easy and inexpensive way to dress up your windows. These blinds are a polyurethane–which means easy upkeep–and available in several colors and wood finishes. They’re also easy to install– a tape measure, electric drill, and a little patience are all you need to upgrade your windows in an afternoon.
Plantation shutters look great on kitchen and dining room windows.
Related: Mobile Home Decorating Ideas for Every Room in the House
Our Favorite Decorating Hacks for Mobile Homes Prove You Don’t Need to Spend a Fortune to Have a Gorgeous Home
With these affordable decorating hacks for mobile homes, you can have a whole new home on a weekend without spending a fortune. Do you have a favorite mobile home decorating tip? Share it in the comments below.
As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living, if there’s anything we can help you with please let us know in the comments below.