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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Camper van lighting ideas to illuminate and inspire

Updated: May 10

camper van lighting

It's no wonder that more people are researching camper van lighting ideas as 'Van Life' (with the ever-growing hashtag #vanlife to document the enviable lives of its adopters) has become a cultural phenomenon. The camper van lifestyle offers an appealing blend of freedom, adventure, and a minimalist approach to living on the road. This trend gained popularity as camper van lovers began sharing their unique journeys and experiences of converting their campervan's interior into a mobile home on social media platforms, inspiring people to have a go themselves. 

Embarking on van life might be a liberating experience, but creating a cosy and functional living space within the confines of an (often tiny) camper van can be challenging for sure. One key aspect that transforms the ambience of a mobile home from meh to marvellous is the lighting. In recent years, camper van enthusiasts have explored a plethora of lighting ideas, utilizing innovative technologies and creative designs to enhance their living spaces

How to embrace camper van lighting ideas for different interior styles

In this blog post, we'll explore various camper van lighting ideas, from strip lights to remote-controlled LEDs, and how they can make your van life experience brighter and more enjoyable. To ensure there are some ideas for everyone, I'll delve into some interior styles and look at how you can embrace lighting ideas, staying true to these styles. 

Technology-led camper van lighting ideas

High-tech camper van lighting is all about seamlessly using cutting-edge innovations to merge functionality with a modern look. 

All the LEDs

Unsurprisingly, LED technology takes centre stage, offering energy-efficient brilliance and versatile customization. LED lights have become a staple in camper van conversions due to their energy efficiency and versatility. Low power-consuming LED strip lights, puck lights, and light bars are excellent choices to provide ample and bright light throughout the living area.

smart lighting for camper van lighting
Image credit: Solar Centre

Smart lighting

Smart lighting systems, equipped with mobile app integration and voice control, are seriously convenient, allowing you to make even the subtlest changes to colour temperature and brightness remotely.

Remote control convenience

If smart lighting with its app-controlled systems is a step too far you can easily enhance the convenience of your camper van lighting with remote-controlled options. Whether it's adjusting brightness, changing colors, or turning lights on and off from a distance, remote control functionality adds a touch of modernity to your van's interior.

camper van lighting ideas
Image credit: Menkind

Motion sensor technology

Motion sensor technology enhances both security and energy efficiency, ensuring that lights activate only when needed. Incorporating solar-powered exterior lights further amplifies the high-tech allure, harnessing renewable energy to illuminate the surroundings. 

Boho-style camper van lighting ideas

Incorporating boho-inspired lighting into your camper van is a good idea to infuse a cozy and eclectic atmosphere into the limited space. Boho camper van lights often embrace a mix of natural light and creative artificial sources. 

LEDs (again)

when it comes to bulbs, consider using LED bulbs for their energy efficiency and versatility in creating a warm and inviting ambience. 

All about aesthetics

Where boho camper van lighting ideas come into their own is with the fixtures and materials used in the lighting scheme. Opt for interior lights with unique and handmade fixtures, such as string lights or pendant lamps. Ceiling lights can be adorned with vibrant shades or unconventional designs to enhance the boho vibe. 

Magical string and fairy lights

Incorporate fairy lights or string lights into your camper van's interior for a whimsical and enchanting ambience. These delicate lights can be hung around the ceiling or draped across cabinets, providing a warm and cosy glow reminiscent of a fairytale setting.

Don't overlook task lighting.

To maximize functionality, include task lighting like a rechargeable reading light powered by rechargeable batteries, offering flexibility in a small space while minimizing the need for much power. When it comes to boho camper van lighting, the key is to balance the natural light that filters through and the creatively designed artificial lighting elements, creating a bright and harmonious living space.

Help! The budget is tight - I need money-saving camper van lighting ideas.

jar of coins
Image credit: Menkind

Saving money on camper van lighting ideas is practical and allows you to allocate your budget to other essential aspects of your van life journey. Here are some money-saving tips for camper van lighting.

Shop Secondhand:

Explore thrift stores, garage sales, or online marketplaces for preloved lighting fixtures. You might find budget-friendly options that can be easily refurbished or incorporated into your van's interior.

Bulk LED Purchases

Buy LED bulbs and strips in bulk to take advantage of discounts. LED lights are energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long run, and purchasing in bulk can significantly reduce the per-unit cost.

Energy-Efficient Bulbs

Choose energy-efficient bulbs, such as LED, which may have a higher upfront cost but consume less power and last longer, ultimately saving you money on replacements and energy bills.

Solar-Powered Lights

Utilize solar-powered lights for exterior lighting. These lights charge during the day and automatically illuminate at night, eliminating the need for additional power sources and reducing energy costs.

Rechargeable Batteries

Opt for rechargeable batteries for your lighting fixtures. While the initial investment may be higher, rechargeable batteries save money in the long term by eliminating the need for frequent replacements.

Repurpose Existing Fixtures

Instead of buying entirely new fixtures, consider repurposing or upgrading existing ones. A fresh coat of paint or new shades can give old fixtures a modern look without the expense of buying new.

Use Natural Light

Maximize natural light during the day by strategically placing windows and skylights. This reduces the reliance on artificial lighting and saves energy

Comparison Shopping

Before making any purchases, compare prices from different retailers and online stores. Look for sales, discounts, or bundled deals to get the best value for your money.

Can I adopt an industrial interior style with my camper van lighting ideas?

Yes! The trick is to opt for materials with an industrial style for example metals and dark woods, smooth glossy surfaces ceiling dome lights designed with an industrial edge, can serve as a focal point while providing ample illumination in the compact space. For increased efficiency, consider incorporating rechargeable lights powered by a robust V battery, ensuring sustained brightness while minimizing energy consumption. To enhance functionality, integrate motion sensor technology, enabling lights to activate only when needed, thereby optimizing battery power. Replace traditional halogen bulbs with energy-efficient LED alternatives to reduce both energy consumption and heat emission, contributing to a more comfortable and eco-friendly industrial-inspired camper van environment. This fusion of industrial style and modern lighting solutions not only elevates the visual appeal of your mobile space but also aligns with the practicality required for life on the road.

Minimalist lighting ideas for a camper van

Embracing minimalist lighting ideas in a camper van can create a clean, functional, and aesthetically pleasing living space. Here are some suggestions to achieve a minimalist lighting design...

Built-In Ceiling Lights

Install sleek and recessed LED ceiling lights to provide even illumination without taking up much visual space. This minimalist approach eliminates the need for bulky fixtures while ensuring a well-lit interior.

under-cabinet lights
Image credit: B&Q

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Opt for discreet LED strips or puck lights under cabinets to illuminate specific areas like the kitchen workspace. This not only adds functionality but also contributes to a clutter-free look.

Integrated Reading Lights

Choose minimalist reading lights that can be integrated into the cabinetry or wall panels. Adjustable and foldable LED reading lights are both practical and visually unobtrusive.

Wireless and Rechargeable Lights

Eliminate visible cords by using wireless and rechargeable lights. This reduces clutter and provides flexibility in placing light sources where they are needed without being constrained by sockets.

Natural Light

Maximize natural light through strategically placed windows or skylights. Use light-coloured window coverings to allow as much natural light as possible during the day, contributing to a bright and airy atmosphere.

Minimalist Pendant Lights

Consider minimalist pendant lights with clean lines and simple designs if you desire a focal point. Hang these lights sparingly to avoid overcrowding the visual space.

Hidden Lighting Fixtures

Conceal lighting fixtures within the architecture of the van, such as within storage compartments or recessed areas, to maintain a streamlined appearance.

Multi-Functional Lighting

Choose multi-functional lighting fixtures, such as those with adjustable arms or swivel capabilities, to serve various purposes without cluttering the space with multiple fixtures.

I hope you found some of these ideas useful or inspiring. Don't forget to scroll down to the very bottom of the page and subscribe to receive my monthly newsletter, which is packed full of updates, info and offers.



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