Customise your kombi

How to customise your kombi camper: tips for styling your van to suit your lifestyle

From the colour of the bodywork to the choice of flooring, every single decision you make - or inherit from a previous owner - will have an influence on the individual character of your VW campervan.

There are so many approaches you can take when considering how to customise your kombi. I am always astonished by just how unique the exact same cabinets can look in different vans. Layout and colour are the major drivers, followed by lifestyle and styling. Think about what you like and how you plan to use the van.

Do you favour clean lines and contemporary textiles or would you rather your kombi had an old-school hippy vibe? Will you be travelling with children or pets? Do you like to cook? Where do you want to eat? Is it important for you to have a sink? Will you be camping off grid or plugged in to 240V at a caravan park? Will you be on the move daily or set up for a week in one spot? Perhaps you're considering full time vanlife?

All of these decisions will affect your choices and the sort of environment you hope to create for the interior of your vintage Volkswagen kombi.

Selecting your layout

The main decider when it comes to cabinet layout will be your rock and roll bed seat

A rock and roll bed seat can be either 3/4 width or full width. Your van may already have a bed installed or you may need to order one. If you plan to carry passengers, make sure your rock and roll bed seat is compliant with the legal requirements for your region.

For customers comfortable with a 3/4 width bed seat there is opportunity to install valuable additional storage units alongside the bed. Lowd Vans Winkipop (T2) or Johanna (T3) layouts provide optimum storage facilities for kombis with 3/4 width R'n'R beds. Each of these layouts has a free standing cabinet sited behind the front passenger seat, with fridge and sink cabinets behind the driver’s seat and two large lockers running next to the extended bed, down the whole length of the van.

For those whose preference is for a full width rear bed seat, there are still plenty of cabinet options. Consider how you envisage using the space and what your priorities are. Here the main decision maker will be whether you have a front bench seat installed or want to maintain a walk through from front to back of the van. 

For those with a walk through, our popular Marengo (T2) and Jan Juc (T2) layouts allow the rock and roll bed to be fully extended over the floor locker. There is a similar new layout, Rincon, in development for the T3. 

If you have a van with both a full width bed and a front bench seat, consider our Roadknight (T2) or Fairhaven (T1) layouts which run widthwise across your van, offering larder, sink and fridge cabinets.

Choosing your colour palette

When it comes to ordering your cabinets, the choice of colour will have the biggest impact

Each of our three standard colours - Grey, White or Black - create very different impressions. As a further detail, the birch ply trim can be left as natural timber, with a clear acrylic coating, or painted to match the colour of the cabinet fronts. We also offer three vibrant colours - Orange, Sky or Mint - on selected complete assembly packages. 

Of the neutrals, white is the most popular choice. White cabinet fronts help create an impression of space and reflect light in the interior of your vehicle. Grey cabinets have the advantage of neutrality. Grey coordinates with most exterior paint colours and blends unobtrusively with a wide range of decorative styles. Black creates a strong graphic statement and can look very slick. The brighter colours can look fantastic but should be carefully considered - generally we don’t recommend colour matching them to the exterior of the vehicle unless you are very confident.

Identifying your lifestyle

How you plan to use and inhabit your van will have implications on what it looks like

Whether you are day trippers or van lifers, setting up your van thoughtfully will make your life easier. Often a good starting point is to identify what doesn't work currently. If you have inherited an old fit out, chances are it can be improved upon with better materials and facilities. Make a wish list of your ideal provisions and non-negotiables. What did you miss or hanker for last time you went away?

Consider how much time you want to spend setting up or packing away. If you plan to travel in fine weather and stay in one place for a week you might prefer to set up your cooking and dining  areas in the open air. Travelling long distances every day probably means a quick pit stop with minimal set up would be preferable. What sort of facilities will there be at the sort of places you want to park up at overnight? Bush camping in national parks will mainly have limited provisions and you may need to bring all your own water. Caravan parks usually have communal kitchens on site so perhaps a sink in the kombi wouldn’t be a priority.

Styling your interior

Just like your home, your kombi camper is an extension of your personality

Once you have made your mind up about layout and colours and worked out how you want to use the space, it is time to accessorise. This is where your own character comes in to play and you can really make your kombi unique. The texture, pattern, colour, quantity and scale of all the items you choose to style your interior will add up to the overall vibe. Gradually accumulating a collection of carefully selected, useful and attractive furnishings and fittings will build a nurturing, sustaining environment and one that feels like home.

The addition of fabrics can really transform an interior. Curtains with tie backs add cozy vintage charm, whereas simple blinds generate a fresh, contemporary look. Layer hand stitched patchwork quilts over warm flannelette sheets or pair boho paisley shawls with textured embroidered cushions. Set your table with an op-shop tablecloth and retro tupperware platters or sip stovetop coffee from steaming enamel mugs, snuggled under a knitted throw. The addition of a sheepskin or rag rug on the floor overnight adds a welcome touch of simple luxury.

Now you’ve started on your journey, you'll find the opportunities to customise your kombi are endless. Take inspiration from some customers' interiors over on our Living Lowd gallery.

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