My Stylish Guesthouse-Caravan

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When it comes to designing a home, personal comfort is often followed by something with guests in mind, usually a spare bedroom or social area that can be used by family or friends who come to visit or stay. A spare bedroom may be enough, but aspiring to a full guesthouse or extension to improve comfort and privacy is becoming more common, with things like the ‘Granny annexe‘ and ‘guest wing’ now popular when it comes to home improvement. However, with home sizes constantly decreasing and more people living in flats or compact family homes, fitting in a private space for guests is becoming increasingly difficult.

There is a simple, if unconventional, solution: the guest-caravan. With a bit of garden space or a driveway, the humble caravan or mobile home can soon be converted into a trendy guest space, maintaining comfort and privacy and avoiding the need to roll out the sofa bed when people come to visit.

How to make it look good

Parking a caravan on your lawn might not be the best idea without a bit of an aesthetic touch, so take into account how your brand-new caravan guesthouse will look from the outside. Why not add a new lick of paint to cover over the boring old white aluminium or add some potted plants to help it blend in with the rest of the garden?

Getting the décor right on the inside is also key. Aim to to blend in with the rest of the house and minimise any dated looks usually found in a caravan, including unsightly MDF furniture and lightweight fittings.

Consider removing the classic foldaway table and compact kitchen and adding a small sofa to create an all in one living space. Some pictures and a funky rug will go a long way to making your caravan a bit more homely and will help to get rid of the ‘temporary’ image. Pinterest is a great starting point for ideas, with thousands of interior design ideas and even a few dedicated pages to caravan interior design.

Cool neutral colours are in fashion, but feel free to go wild and pick something totally outlandish. As with any small space with limited light, however, try to avoid dark colours where possible to ensure maximum light reflection throughout the space. You can also use a simple trick to make your caravan guest space seem bigger, by deploying a few mirrors in strategic spots. Using a large mirror on a free wall space will give the effect of a larger room and will also reflect more light.

When the sun goes down, having the right lighting will make your guest space somewhere to relax, rather than just somewhere to sleep. Rather than low-voltage strip lighting, consider using lamps and uplights or even battery LEDs to give off a warmer glow.

Stay safe and legal

Depending on where you live, some local councils require prior planning to be sought before caravans can be installed permanently, even on private land. This applies especially if the caravan is connected to gas, water or heating systems, so make sure you contact the planning department of your local authority before investing any money.

Installing lights, cooking equipment or retrofitting an older caravan can involve working with hazardous equipment and live electricity, so make sure you are qualified or get someone who is. Caravans can sometimes be highly flammable, so take the right fire safety precautions and even consider asking your local fire service to provide an assessment and smoke alarms.

As with any part of your home, ensure you take out the right insurance to provide coverage in the unfortunate event that something does go wrong, with dedicated static and leisure home insurance the best option.

Plan ahead and do your homework

Just like any home improvement project, adding a guest space can often be an expensive and complex task, with professionals needed for the bigger parts of the project. By drawing up a plan and having enough money to complete a caravan-guesthouse, aspiring designers can divert more time to making the space look perfect and avoid some of the common pitfalls that come with DIY home renovations. By taking a few precautions and understanding the best approach, your unused outside space could soon become the perfect way to entertain guests without sacrificing comfort in your home.