No home is perfect. In fact, if you’ve lived in yours a while you probably know all its little irritations in addition to all its positives. Things wear out over time, and, of course, they don’t start out perfect either. While that may sound like the bad news, the great news is that you don’t have to maintain your mobile home as-is. Instead, you can break out of your holding pattern and get to work changing the features you find most bothersome about your place.
So much to love (and not to love)
Everyone’s going to have different things they dislike about mobile homes. And if you’re living in one currently, your own perspective is probably born of experience with your home. Other people may have preferences based on their own experiences. Or they might simply be feeding off the negative stigma surrounding mobile homes—a stigma that may stem in part from a lack of knowledge of what mobile homes have evolved to be.
But just what are the things that could get on mobile home owners’ or even visitors’ nerves? Let’s dig into the features that could drive you nuts. But, don’t worry, we’re not going to leave you there. Once you identify a problem, what’s the next reasonable step? Why, figure out how to fix it of course!
So, don’t let any mobile home downsides keep your home from being all it can be. We say, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” (Provided you have some elbow grease to apply to the problem, too).
Let’s throw out some things that could be unlikeable about your mobile home (or any mobile home). See if any apply in your own case!
Not a fan of your vertical aluminum walls on the outside?
You know that iconic metal mobile home look? You may feel that it simply marks your home out as a mobile home. After all, you don’t see stick-built homes with exteriors like that, do you?
For a moment, imagine a mobile with skirting that’s metal and 4 walls that are metal, too. Or maybe you don’t have to imagine it. Maybe it greets you every time you pull in your driveway.
Painting is one way
Naturally, you could be looking to transform the look of your exterior a bit if this describes your mobile home. And if your dislike stems from the fact that your home’s metal outside just needs freshening up, then paint might be your go-to method.
You could choose to stick with a color close to the original or select something radically different. However, it would probably serve you well to choose a conservative color—unless you have some pretty solid design savvy for choosing outside-the-box colors while maintaining classiness instead of tackiness. Here’s a mobile home paint job to get you thinking.
Siding is another way
But painting isn’t the only way to cover up an exterior you’re not too excited about. Actually, if you want to go the extra mile, consider siding your mobile home. Think about it this way, siding is a pretty common home exterior. Metal—not so much. So, it might actually be a way to slide your mobile home closer to the look of a stick-built home.
Want to tackle the strips that connect vinyl over gypsum wall panels?
Mobile homes sometimes come with vinyl over gypsum (VOG) wall panels. In theory, it’s a great idea. If you were a mobile home manufacturer, wouldn’t you opt for an easier wall? That way, you could eliminate some of the work involved in hanging sheetrock, taping it, spreading joint compound over seams and nail holes, sanding joint compound, priming, then finally painting.
But things don’t always come out as good in reality as they do in theory. And if you’ve bemoaned your mobile home’s VOG walls with their batten strips, you may know this first hand. Here are a couple of possibilities to change your mobile home interior wall look.
Get rid of them in favor of paint
One way to go is simply to take them down. Then, you can follow some of the steps in the process we outlined above. Remember how we listed what the manufacturer didn’t do to your mobile home walls? Well, it’s almost like you’ll be backing up and doing those steps yourself.
Remove the strips and use joint compound and joint compound tape. Once it dries, sand it down so that the seam area will be level with the rest of your wall. (You want the paint to have a smooth and level surface to adhere to).
Try a variation on paint
You don’t have to stick with a plain old paint job, though. Actually, you could purchase chair rail and install it to add some interest. Or you could even go full bore and purchase wainscot panels for the lower wall area. Imagine what a classy look you could create in place of your former dismal appearance.
Maybe you’ll opt for wainscoting with recessed panels. Or, you could decide to go with the Shaker style. Paired with a blue wall, you might achieve a Jeffersonian appearance in your mobile home. Whatever you do, use wainscotting and a new paint job to do away with those unsightly strips.
If strips are driving you nuts in your bathroom, too, try tiling partway up the wall. As with the wainscotting option we just discussed, this could give you a great new look. Removing the strips and replacing them with joint compound and paint on the top half and tile on the bottom half will be a fresh start for your mobile home walls.
You can also think about replacing those strips and putting up textured wallpaper. Try 5 Textured Wallpapers to Transform Your Home.
Drapes or tapestries
Some mobile homes might be able to make use of drapes or curtains hung on the walls. And others might be able to handle tapestries. However, be sure that it blends well with your style and doesn’t look tacky. Check out How To Choose & Arrange Wall Hangings.
Dealing with dark (and dated) faux wood paneling?
Maybe your mobile home wall panels aren’t just a simple neutral wall. Instead, they’re wood paneling. Or at least, they look like wood paneling. In your mind, this weighs down the entire appearance of your mobile home.
Not only do you generally feel like you’re living in a dimly lit cave, but you also feel like it’s a cave from the ’80s. Rust-colored shag carpeting anyone?
Just what do you do with all that wood? Here are a couple options:
- Tear it out.
- Paint it.
- Lean into it. Instead of accepting it as an ugly part of your mobile home that just doesn’t fit with the rest of your look, why not shape the look to this feature? Start with How to Make Wood Paneling Look Modern Without Painting It: Five Ways from Rain on a Tin Roof.
Stuck with ugly cupboards?
If your mobile home cabinets are original and your mobile home isn’t a new model, you might be a little disappointed at what they add (or don’t add) to your room’s overall appearance. Your mobile home cabinets might be pretty well secured to the home though. So, while you’d love to change things up, you feel hopeless.
Well, there are two ways to go from here. For one, you can rip out those cabinets. Yes, that may require some extra work due to the way the cabinets are secured. You may find yourself afterward doing damage control—perhaps filling holes that have been created or even placing new sheetrock.
However, this option does give you the freedom to choose cabinets you love and start fresh. Plus, this solution doesn’t have to involve brand new cabinets. Actually, you can replace with cabinets you purchased when someone else was getting rid of them (try an online auction or garage sale site). Or, you can search for deals at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Your second option is to bring on the paint! Check out Brooke Riley’s phenomenal paint re-do over at re-fabbed for some inspiration. And don’t stop at just paint. To totally transform your look, consider selecting new hardware, too. You might be surprised what new cabinet handles and drawer pulls can do to your cabinet situation.
Option three might sound overly simplistic. Wash them. Yes, grab some good old soap and water and clean them off. Ugly cabinets are no good, of course, but ugly cabinets that are hosting years of accumulated grime are worse.
Does your mobile home skirting leave a lot to be desired?
Plain metal skirting can be ugly. And if it’s in a state of disrepair, it adds insult to injury. Some of you may be looking for a way to make this distinctive mobile home feature look less, well … distinctive.
Of course, there are other options for skirting than the simple metal paneling. You can try faux brick or faux stone. You could even replace your skirting with wood.
Another option is to cover it up so it isn’t visible. And what better way to do that than with plant life? Try Best Foundation Plants for Stellar Curb Appeal.
Have a very visible hitch?
Now, in some newer mobile homes, the hitch won’t even be visible. However, some homes will have the iconic metal triangle still be attached and protruding from one end of the home.
No, it’s not sightly. And no, you’re probably not to attached to it. (Well, figuratively speaking you’re not attached to it. Literally speaking, you are very much attached to it).
So, what can you do if it’s a bit of an eyesore?
- Plant a bush to conveniently cover it up. Check out The Best Plants and Shrubs to Hide Outdoor Yard Objects for ideas.
- See if you can build a secondary structure around it. A small lean-to or shed could help you conceal that hitch. Obviously, the protruding hitch will obstruct some of the shed’s storage space. But still, you can work in items around it. (Note: when constructing secondary structures, be sure to abide by all applicable legal rules and also be sure to put safety first).
- If it’s rusty and ugly, consider repainting it.
- Removal might also be an option.
Not exactly features, but not exactly fun, either
There are some mobile home issues that may not count as “features” but aren’t enjoyable to deal with regardless of what category they belong in.
Not all neighborhoods are created equal, and mobile home neighborhoods are no different. Run-down parks with ugly mobile home and unkept yards are obviously less preferable than clean, trim parks.
Our tips for finding a good neighborhood
First, scope it out. Don’t make any commitments sight unseen. Take a look at the area yourself. The house may look gorgeous but if the neighborhood makes you uneasy, pass it by. Second, you can check with other locals. Plus, you may even consider checking with local law enforcement to see if they can tell you whether it’s a high crime area.
Smaller than optimal size
Unsurprisingly, mobile homes often end up on the small side. While double wides (and even triple wides) are options, you may find yourself in a home with smaller quarters than you’d like.
If this sounds like where you are right now, don’t despair. Think creatively to make the most of the space you do have. Here are a few tips:
- Go minimal. Maybe you don’t actually need or use all of the items you currently have. By slimming things down, you may find yourself with a roomier mobile home.
- Hide things out of sight. Whether it’s random clutter or need-to-have items, you don’t have to leave them visible on your table or countertop. Establish a tidier, fresher look by busting through the clutter and by creating homes for important items that you can’t get rid of.
- Find furniture that doubles as storage. Maximize the space your furniture takes up by using it as storage, too. For instance, choose a dining room table with built-in storage. Or snag a chest to serve as a living room center table—that way you can store stuff inside.
My mobile home is full of problems. Where do I start?
Here’s a great question. Where do you start when you feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of issues you think need to be attended to in your mobile home? Maybe you’ve been reading this list and you feel like we’re describing your own home to a T. You feel a sense of inability to tackle all of the problems because there seem to be so many of them.
Well, the first thing to remember is not to give up because the job seems too big. Most jobs can be broken down into their component tasks. The second thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all at once. And that can take some of the weight off your mind and the pressure off your wallet.
List the things that need doing. Then, break them down into smaller jobs. Confer with your calendar to determine when you might have time to tackle the work and set realistic goals for yourself. You might find that successfully completing a few jobs fills you up with enthusiasm to get through the rest of the list.
Prepare early for the upcoming seasons
Remember that your interior DIY projects can be tackled in the winter once the weather gets cold. In fact, they might be great jobs to keep you busy and help you ward off cabin fever. But, outside tasks—you may want to think about them before the weather gets prohibitively cold. Plan ahead for a great, cozy season in your mobile home. And remember to make time to give your mobile home a fall makeover.