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Caravan needs an upgrade? Consider a budget revamp

Whether you want to add extra safety features or just update a tired-looking interior, caravan refurbishment doesn’t need to break the bank. Here are the top five ways to give your caravan a makeover.

1. A new paint job

If you have a dated colour scheme, now is the time to invest in some paint. Get professional advice before you tackle the exterior, but for the inside, brush on a coat of acrylic paint. You can also update your window blinds and match cushions and bedcovers for a personal touch.

2. Space saver

If the purpose of your caravan refurbishment is to create more space in your van, have a look for things you don’t need. Some owners like to eat meals in the great outdoors in an annex, so many of the indoor cooking appliances can go. Or if you’re planning a trip for two, you may like to remove any extra beds. You can also optimise storage space by installing a pull-out pantry, custom-built shelves or cupboards. Remember, anything made to fit a corner will save space.

3. On-road entertainment

It’s easy to install a new car radio and CD player, or even one with an MP3 player jack. Or, to avoid changing the look of the caravan too much, a stereo can be installed inside a cupboard, with speakers hidden away in the bottom.

For a fraction of the cost, you can purchase a small portable digital radio. Also, a cheaper alternative to a fitted flat-screen TV is to bring one from home, or buy one and attach it to a wall with a bracket. It’s important to note that for TVs that run on 12V and 240V power, you need to consider the wiring set-up within the caravan. It’s a good idea to consult a professional.

4. Appliance upgrade

If your appliances are not working effectively or clash with your decor, it’s a good time to update them. While bar fridges are a compact and cheap alternative, they require 240V power and aren’t manufactured to withstand road travel. Recreational vehicle (RV) fridges are a better option – they’re more expensive, but durable and run on 12V power. It’s best to get in a professional for this job too.

5. Safety first

Consider your safety when you’re looking to update your caravan. An electronic stability control system (ESC) that’s specifically designed for caravans is a good investment. It operates when it identifies critical driving situations – such as manoeuvring to avoid an accident – in a similar way to the systems now commonplace in cars.

In a critical safety situation, the ESC system identifies road hazards by assessing data. When needed, it applies the brakes to keep the vehicle and van steady, preventing any further oscillation. This system can be retrofitted to your existing van.

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