Interior design: Mobile home decorating ideas and tips

Living in a mobile or manufactured home does not have to limit your decorating possibilities. Your only limitation is creativity.

Living in a mobile or manufactured home does not have to limit your decorating possibilities. You don’t have to put limitations on your decorating scheme because it’s not “mobile home appropriate”. The only person who can choose what is or isn’t appropriate is the person living in the home. Your home can be as beautiful and stylish as a mansion.

Depending on the size, age or upgrades in your home, you may have different challenges than someone in a site built home. If your home is not permanently set, meaning that it may be moved sometime in the future, you might want to take that into consideration too. Whatever the challenges or considerations the tools to overcome those challenges are out there.
Paneling On The Walls

Mobile home decorating ideas and tips

Paint is a fabulous and cheap way to update any home, mobile or otherwise. Color choices can make very small rooms feel larger. Using cool tones in a satin or semi-gloss will reflect light as well as make cleaning your walls a snap.

Older mobile homes often have that old “piney” looking wall paneling. While wall paneling is becoming popular again, the fake pine of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s quickly dates your mobile castle. You can update that old paneling with paint pretty easily by using sandpaper to lightly roughen up the surface and using a quality primer. Once your primer dries, you can use paint to add color.

A great look for the wall paneling is a distressed and aged look. You can achieve that by using any of the popular crackle kits that are found in paint or craft stores or by lightly sanding in the grooves of the paneling and here and there on the paneling. By giving it a light sanding you’ll be removing a bit of the paint to give it a really old feel. This achieves a great country or cottage look.

If you find the perfect wallpaper for your space but the wall the paper would be going on is paneling and you don’t want to spend the money to have the paneling removed and drywall put up, there is something you can do. First lightly sand the paneling and then fill the grooves in the paneling with spackling or drywall mud. Let it dry thoroughly and then sand so it’s a smooth surface, even with the paneling. Use wallpaper liner on the paneling, which goes up just like regular wallpaper and gives your wallpaper a great surface to adhere too. Then hang your wallpaper on the liner just like you normally would hang it on a wall.

Wall Board And Seam Strips

If your home is little newer you might have those drywall boards tacked up to the studs and the seams covered with flexible strips. The wallboard is usually covered with a vinyl paper that seems like it would strip the top layer of drywall off if you tried to remove it, which it just might. These strips are unmistakable tags of a mobile or manufactured home. They are also very unattractive. They make the idea of hanging wallpaper a real challenge and they complicate painting. The good news is that they can be removed and the seams filled in, but this is really best for the home that is permanently placed.

To remove those strips all you have to do is just pull them off. They are usually just tacked up and come off fairly easy. Put up drywall tape that looks like little tiny fencing over the seam and then fill with drywall mud. If the tape is too wide for the seam and is resting on the walls, you can cut the drywall tape so that it just covers the open seam. Make sure you smooth it out and get it as even with the wall as you possibly can. Let it dry and sand it down. You can now paint or wallpaper right over the filled seams.

Painting is another option for the vinyl walls and strips. Again, paint is by far the easiest and least expensive way to update a home. In order to paint vinyl covered walls it is absolutely essential that you use a top quality primer such as Kilz. The primer does two things; one, it bonds to the vinyl wallpaper better than a regular paint and gives the paint a more appropriate surface to bond to and two, it covers any of the funky designs that the manufacturer may have used on the vinyl wallpaper. If you do have some bright green or maroon stripes, or something to that effect, you may have to use more than one coat of primer.

Another neat and relatively inexpensive idea for the walls is drywall mud. If an old world type of look is wanted this is an excellent way to achieve that. All you do is get a bucket of drywall mud with enough to cover the square footage of your walls. You smear on the drywall mud with a trowel leaving semi-circular grooves in the mud. You can also try to smooth out the mud, but you’ll get a more dramatic effect by leaving grooves and marks. You don’t want to cake the wall with the drywall mud by getting it so thick it won’t dry. The goal is to cover the wall and give it a brand new look. It will take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to dry completely depending on the amount of mud used. Make sure the mud is completely dry and then paint. This is a great choice to use decorative techniques on, especially sponging, rag rolling or scumbling.


Another trademark of a mobile home is the window. Mobile home windows look like storm windows on the inside and out. There are options of getting regular windows now a days when you order a new home, but that’s an expensive upgrade. It’s also an upgrade that a lot of sales people don’t bother to tell their customers about. There are actually a couple of different tricks for the windows.

If you realize after you move into your home that you hate the “standard trailer park window” you can go to any home improvement store and buy a ½” to ¾” wide white masking tape or painters tape. Using a ruler and a small level run tape in two rows down and across the inside of the window. This gives the illusion of actually having paned windows.

You can also use glass paint to create your own faux stained glass windows. If this is your choice be aware that it’s time consuming and doing all the windows will take a great deal of time, but it’s still an option. You could make beautiful and intricate designs by removing the inside window and laying it flat on top of a pattern. Then simply use your glass paint to recreate the pattern design on the window.

Another trick is to put molding around the outside edges of the window. This is a little more difficult because you will need a miter saw in order to get perfect angled cuts for the corners but it’s certainly an effective do it yourself project.

You could easily combine all of these options to make some gorgeous windows. Top any one of these with some nice curtains, which is not the standard curtain used by most mobile home manufacturers, and you’ll have some stunning results. It’s also possible to put a cornice board over your mobile home windows too. The possibilities are only as limited as your ideas.


An Interior Designer once told another Interior Designer that she couldn’t possibly consider a particular wall border for a mobile home model. The border was a rather sophisticated look of a fox hunt and not at all suited to a “trailer”. This is a complete myth! The absolute only limitation to any decorating project in a mobile home is the decorator’s creativity.

You can change out kitchen cabinets or paint them to whatever suits your taste. Want new appliances? Go to the local appliance store and buy whatever model you want. There aren’t “mobile home” appliance brands that are separate from regular brands. You have to make sure you get the right size, but so does every other homeowner, mobile or not. Want a hardwood floor? Again, the local home improvement store carries this type of product and it can go in a mobile home just as it could a site built home.

For additional decorating ideas, look through home decorating magazines. See what kinds of ideas those inspire and then get to work on your castle.
Written by Cheryl Lewis

Subscribe Scroll to Top