How to Customize the Interior of a Van Yourself

by Heather Finch

A van or minivan can be more than a vehicle, it can be a way of life. From the Volkswagen Vanagon to the Chrysler Town & Country, vans have made their mark on culture and society for many decades. If you are looking to spruce up the look of the interior of your van without permanently affecting its resale value, there are several options available to create your home away from home without busting your budget.

Create curtains

Measure the length and height of your side and rear windows.

Cut and hem cloth to these dimensions to make curtains, or add fullness by making them 1 1/2 to 2 times the width of your window.

Attach adhesive Velcro above your windows.

Sew the counterpart of the Velcro to the length of your curtains.

Hang curtains. Remove when you are driving your van.

Update upholstery

Measure the front dimensions of your seats. This will be the height and width of the area you sit on. Bucket seats will require three pieces (headrest, back and seat) and bench seats will require two (back and seat, unless the bench seats also have headrests).

Measure fabric in these dimensions plus 2 inches on each side. Hem fabric 1/4 inch to prevent fraying.

Attach elastic bands to hold the fabric pieces in place. For headrests, you will need one strip of elastic across the width. Both bench and bucket seats will require two elastic strips for the back (one 5 inches from the top, one 5 inches from the bottom) and two for the bottom (one 8 inches from each side). Adjust measurements as needed to account for varying seat dimensions.

Revamp rugs

Measure the spaces for rugs in the interior of your van. Purchase several small rugs to fit . Rugs manufactured to use around a toilet work well around bench seats in the back of your van. Runners can be used in aisles between bucket seats or in front of bench seats.

Create a whole new floor (can only be used in vans with removable seating). Remove seats.

Measure the interior floor space. Purchase a rug (outdoor or grass carpet works well) and cut to these dimensions using a utility knife.

Cut holes where the seats go.

Lay carpet and replace seats.

Rescue the resale

Remove small rugs or carpet.

Remove seat covers.

Take down the curtains. Peel away the Velcro above the windows and use a glue remover (such as Goo Gone) to remove the residue.

Realize the value. All items of flair are removable, and original carpet and upholstery have been protected.


  • check Economize your customization by using old sheets or items from thrift stores. Save old (and loved) clothing from the landfill by using it for seat covers or making throw pillows. Be creative! Use different, coordinating fabrics for the headrest, back and bottom of seats.


  • close Do not drive with curtains on your van. This will reduce visibility and potentially get you pulled over by the police.

Items you will need

About the Author

Heather Finch has been a freelance writer since the turn of the 21st century. Her official career began during her freshman year of college writing editorials about anything from manners to politics. Writings by Finch have appeared in the Western Herald, the Sturgis Journal and She has a bachelor's degree in creative writing and environmental studies.

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