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 Many older mobile homes have low ceilings and smaller doors or outdated VOG wallboard or wood paneling.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.
The Most Affordable Decorating Hack for Mobile Homes will Always be New Paint
Light and space are two of the fundamentals of interior decorating so let’s begin with creating the illusion of space and paint
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 personalized 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
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.
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.
18 thoughts on “Our Favorite Affordable Decorating Hacks for Mobile Homes”
Is there any type of already made molding that you can put around the ugly, metal molding, pounded in with nails or screws around the windows? I don’t want to build something around it, as I’ve seen. I’m looking for something made that can be purchased and screwed in.
Yes, you can buy trim/molding at Lowes and they will even cut it for you (with the diagonal ends) in whatever lengths you need. All you’d have to do is nail it in place. I’m a big fan of adding wider trim along the ceiling and around doors and windows. It gives the home a more finished look.
PS I wouldn’t go too thick with the trim. You don’t want the trim to overpower the window, it should just emphasize it. If it’s a regular mobile home window I’d probably go with a 3″ or 4″ thick trim. I’ve seen thicker trim installed on the bottom of the window to mimic a sill. You may like that look.
Best of luck!
I never thought I would end up living in a mobile home but a regular house was too much work for me- sadly as a woman I did not know how to do many home repairs.
I ended up buying a trashed old double wide and I cannot tell you how happy I was to discover your site!
Right now the old wavy plastic roof on my “Florida room” ( I think that means a non-insulated or heated or cooled enclosed part of my home) and I can explore what options I have because your site is a treasure trove of resources and inspiration.
I do have one hack that I’m not sure everyone is aware of – my place was all brown cheapo shiny wall panels. There are products that you wipe on and they degloss the walls so you can apply paint and have no problems. Just putting it out there….
We just bought a ’73 West double wide in a 55+ park in Florida. We weren’t planning on buying anything so old, but we couldn’t pass up the great deal we got. We plan to do a full renovation on it and are looking forward to enjoying our retirement mortgage free in the sunshine! Thank you for your great ideas! I have my list started!
Congratulations Laurie! The low cost of mobile homes is appealing! Please take lots of photos of your remodel, I’d love to add you to the blog!
I have a 1994 24’ x 60’ Hallmark Manufactured Home. My 93 yr old Dad recently died, & since I was a only child, I inherited Everything. My parents were married over 60 years, & they bought this home in 1996. After my Mom died in 2008, my Dad just didn’t want to fix up anything. So I really need to Remodel the kitchen, & of course there is the awful MDF kitchen cabinets. The front of the ones under the sink has some water damage. Your article on “Painting Kitchen Cabinets, or just Replacing the Doors”, was very helpful. I Have-To hire Contractors, Handy-mans, etc. My days are over, I gutted & Remodeled 2 Big kitchens, & 4 Bathrooms, etc. etc. in my 2 stick built homes. I’m Not looking forward to hiring contractors or anybody to fix all that needs to be done. I’ve had some awful experiences in the past with my own homes. Your Tip about asking a Mobile Homes Sales park, about contractors was a great idea, so I’m going to call a few. I’d like to replace the 2 long recessed florescent Lights in the kitchen, with recessed pot lights. I don’t have a clue, will they have to replace the entire ceiling? And all of the other 5 rooms have that “Popcorn” ceilings. I had it removed in my own home, is it the same to remove it in a Mobile Home? I Really, Really, enjoy this site. It’s very helpful, & great ideas for just about everything! I’ve already told a few people about it. Thank you for having it…….
Condolences. I’m so sorry for your loss.
Thank you for the kind words – I appreciate you taking the time to comment. It is difficult to find anyone willing to work on manufactured homes. If you have a regular long fluorescent light that’s sticking below from the ceiling (and not flush with it), you should be able to remove the light and just use the original hole. It’s usually the same size as any other ceiling light hole. With such a large light there may be some screws or clips you’ll need to remove on the ends.
You may want to look at some of the modern track lighting systems, you could probably change the lights out yourself and save a ton of money. Pot lights are awesome but they are a pain to install after the fact unless you are willing to replace a ceiling panel (and that’s a whole other animal..lol).
The popcorn will depend on whether you have drywall that’s been texturized or whether you have the regular mobile home gypsum ceiling panels. If it’s drywall, you can scrap it off. If it’s the mobile home gypsum panels you will probably need to cover it with new drywall.
I hope that helps! Let me know how it all goes.
Love this article, however I have recently moved into a 1970 ish moble home and the bathroom has a lovely garden tub/shower which I will replace eventually (a WHOLE other project) but have currently cut into the drywall to the right of the sink area and it is hollow, currently have and medicine/vanity type mirror that I want to get rid of and hardly any storage. The hollow wall is where I would like to put storage and linen, but cannot find any videos on how to complete this project. Please help.
We just did the same thing!! Can’t wait to see your remodel!!
So glad I found your site! A friend of ours is on the verge of buying a single-wide, and it will be the first home she’s ever owned. We were looking for ideas, on her behalf, on how to go from basically OK although blah to a spiffy updated look both inside and outside. We’ll stop by again and look at your great site in more depth. Thank you so much!
Glad you found us, Sandy! I hope she finds lots of inspiration and ideas for her new home. I was exactly where she is 8 years ago – it’s an exciting time! (Tell her to take lots of photos so I can feature her home some day!)
I am looking for mobile home rehab specialist in the Indiana, Illinois, Missouri
We haven’t set up our contractor directory yet (working on it though!) so I don’t have any way of helping you other than advising you to use Google or to call your local mobile home supply store or dealership for recommendations. Best of luck!
I live in a double wide that I’ve done a lot of work on. I too look for more inspiration for future projects. I would be happy to have my home and projects featured. Having raised my 3 children here and am now an empty nester I have my quilt making business in my home. So I live and work in a double wide.
I’m sending you an email now! Based on those gorgeous quilts in your Etsy store (simpledreamquilts.etsy.com if anyone is interested), you are going to have a gorgeous home! I’m in love with that modern one. My grandmothers quilted and one of my favorite childhood memories is sitting under a hanging quilt frame and pushing the needle back to her. I loved ‘helping’ her!
I am so very pleased to have found your blog.
A new owner of a Manufacturer Home and loving it.
Thank you for all the tips and remodeling ideas.
Congratulations on your new home, Dolly!
I’m so glad you found us! I hope your new home gives you lots of warm nights and wonderful memories! Thank you for taking the time to comment. If there’s anything I can help you with just let me know!