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How to revamp your motorhome’s furnishing fabrics

Anna Lyon and family love everything about their home from home – except for the furnishing fabrics, which they didn’t choose. Time for a change!

So, does it really make that much of a difference, what the interior colour scheme of your motorhome’s fabrics looks like, when on holiday, you spend the majority of your time outside?

We have put this question to ourselves on many occasions since we heard the news that our new ’van had inadvertently been upholstered in a different choice of material from the one we had originally specified.

A before and after of Anna's revamp of her motorhome's furnishing fabrics
A before and after of Anna’s revamp of her motorhome’s furnishing fabrics

Better quality

This admission came with the positive note from the dealership, that the fabric they fitted was in fact harder-wearing, of a much better quality, and consequently, more expensive. But we were not expected to pay the revised price if we agreed to accept their error.

At the time, we convinced ourselves that we were actually much better off – the cheaper, dark grey colour might have made the ’van feel smaller inside. And when comparing fabric samples, it was obvious the fitted fabric was a heavier weight – clearly more durable in the long term.

As leisure vehicle owners for almost 10 years now, we absolutely cannot fault the aftersales care, build quality and layout in our ’van. However, with the limited choice of fabrics on offer, the interiors, in our opinion, are just a little bit disappointing.

We think that by not updating to lighter interiors or offering alternative options, some manufacturers are missing out on the opportunity to take their models on to the next generation.

Personal touch

For our first summer holiday in TinTin (as our ’van quickly came to be known), Harvey did his utmost to personalise the interior, removing net curtains and putting out our designer fabric cushions and throws; but this still could not detract from a definite feeling that, when we retreated inside our ’van after a lovely day, there was just a lot of beige.

Scissors laying on top of fabric

This was reinforced when we ventured inside other motorhomes at the NEC Show later that year, where it was noticeable that some manufacturers were trying to make refreshing changes, appealing to a younger demographic and families such as ours, looking for a brighter, fresher-looking space. We decided to make a start on our interior design mood board that very same evening!

Fine fabrics

Gorgeous A4 fabric samples, ordered from eBay (Pandoras Upholstery, £1.99 including postage) were lying on our doormat just a few days later.

Deciding on Orla Kiely Early Bird Granite Cotton as our family choice of curtain fabric, we hoped Kayleigh Grinstead, from Colchester Bridal Alterations, would agree to help us.

Leaving our old curtains with her so she could produce some templates, we discussed the look that we were trying to achieve. This was clearly not a straightforward task, as she had to take into consideration carefully replicating the amount of pattern on show in each window and ensuring that the curtains hung properly.

Hand-sewing all of the edges made the stitching invisible. We were impressed with the care Kayleigh had taken, and the great attention to detail, and we were absolutely delighted with the finished articles.

A woman sewing fabric together

Choosing a colour

Practicality was the key in our choice for the cushions – we were aware the material needed to be fire-retardant, durable and stainproof.

Sitting our dog Lucy on a mocked-up seating area that we constructed from grey towels and green paper, we tried to gauge her opinion of our fabric colour choices, as well!

We concluded that we were looking at material ranges used in public areas. Directed to Sprung Classic Upholstery by a local dealership, we found that Mark and his son Chay, a friendly duo with more than 39 years of experience, immediately put us at ease.

With an extensive collection of fabric samples to choose from, we were a bit overwhelmed at first, knowing that we could “spec anything”.

Mark and his team worked away in the background, leaving us to narrow down a selection of samples. Then, just as we were about to leave, Harvey noticed an offcut lying on the table.

Back home, we mocked up the choices in TinTin, and it was quickly apparent that the offcut was, in fact, exactly what we were looking for.

For the contrasting piping on the settee upholstery, we decided that the green of our sofa at home would be perfect.

We confirmed the colours and costs straight away, so the transformation could begin at once.

Making the cushions

Once again, we were very impressed with the care and attention to detail clearly in evidence as Mark and his team went that one step further, to ensure that our removable cushions would fit perfectly.

A man on a sewing machine

So, just one month after our ideas were initially put in place, we had our new interior.

In our minds, we would ideally like to replicate the elegant white interior finishes and beautiful clean lines that a lot of the Continental companies offer, with no more traditional upholstery patterns or natural wood.

The finished revamp of the motorhome's fabrics

However, we had done as much as we could to improve our space and try to bring just a little Scandinavian style into our own touring life.

And will this change our holiday experience? Well, sitting here in our spruced-up TinTin, I am smiling, so clearly, it’s been worth every penny!

Looking for more great DIY inspiration? Then be sure to head to our Back to Basics – DIY & Maintenance category, where we’re sharing simple projects that could make all the difference when you’re on tour! 

Future Publishing Limited, the publisher of, provides the information in this article in good faith and makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement in determining the appropriateness of the advice to their circumstances. Individuals should take appropriate safety precautions and be aware of the risk of electrocution when dealing with electrical products. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future nor its employees or agents shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information. You should check that any van warranty will not be affected before proceeding with DIY projects.

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