Fixing Up An Old Rental Trailer

I'm getting out of a bad relationship and moving into an old ugly trailer. The kitchen cabinets have really been abused and are ugly. It's a rental so I can not do anything permanent. Any ideas?


I would also like to clean and spray paint the floor vents. Is that safe? Also, Any tips on hanging heavy stuff on the wall without damaging it? I don't have much money, that's why I'm moving here in the first place. Also,it looks like the safest trailer park in my area and my kids are my #1 priority. I'm just not happy with the inside of the trailer. Fixing it up would make me feel happier. Thanks for your help.

Laura from Spring Lake, NC

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I too moved into an old trailer.I found that good place to start was with a new coat of paint.It's amazing what new paint will do for you,for both your eyes, and the way you feel.I don't know what kind of walls you have-wood panels probablly[sp?]To hang heavy weight you will have to put the nail[screw]directlly into a stud.So far as the walls go i like the fastener that uses a plastic shield. you'll have to punch a hole big enough for the shield,but it's no problem with a screwdriver. They work really well. Whatever you decide,i wish you the best,but trust me,an old trailer can be made quite comfortable

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Take the vents off,or tape around them.Painting them will hurt nothing...just make sure they're good and dry.[sorry i forgot]

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If you aren't allowed to/don't want to paint, you can always use contact paper on the doors of the cabinets. I did this as a backsplash at my old apartment and it worked GREAT! Depending on the age of your kids, There are chalkboard contact paper and dry erase chalkboard paper too! These are perfect for covering a holey, or gross looking bedroom door but give the kids a place to color! (I did this on a pantry door, then took pictures of the pictures with the child pointing to it when they finished the "masterpieces") This could also be done to the bottom cabinet doors for easy busy time while you are cooking if you need them under close observation. They double as to do lists, grocery lists, calendars etc...

Hope this helps.

Color wise... the best thing I have found is the marble colors...

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If the trailer needs work - maybe you could check with the management about how much they will allow you to do with it - maybe they will buy the paint for a paint job - If the cabinets are dorky - you could cover with Contact adhexive paper (it's not so sticky nowadays & somes off) - or put on decorative pix/plaques, etc. with the globby adhesive you can buy that's like gum - I did that in a rental apartment to spiff up the dark laminate cabinets and it turned out very well. (Art work from the 99 Cent store!) If you can - pick a color scheme & try to stick with it as you fix things up.

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For the cabinets, you could also remove the doors and make simple curtains to cover them. This gives you thousands of colors and patterns to choose from. You can hang them with thumb tacks at the top or buy inexpensive rods at a store. The same material can be used in other areas to match. We lived in an 8X45 trailer with our baby for 5 years--30 years ago. It can be economical and comfortable. Dianne

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If your landlord wont you let paint try covering the ugly cabinet doors with some fabric and liquid starch. It's really easy to do and with all of the fabrics you can can go with prints or solids. It is very easy to remove and it is durable. Good Luck.

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Just make sure that you have your windows and doors open while you are painting -- ventilation is important! Also, Spring Lake is an expensive area, being right there at a military base (Ft. Bragg) is there any chance of your moving to another area that might not be as expensive, where you might be able to afford something nicer? I know moving to another area may not be an option, or may not be something that you want to do, just a suggestion. whatever happens, whatever you decide, Good Luck! Being on your own and starting over is tough, and you are most definately right your babies are the most important things! God be with you!

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I understand how you feel. I went through a divorce and I was stone broke. However try to look at as a new adventure. A time for you and your children (I do not know ages) to a night if they can stay up late to get blankets, pillows, sleeping bags out and watch movies. Have your own personal sleepover with them. Have picnics when weather allows, a lot of parks have play grounds or take another adult with you and go on hikes.(For help or if problem's arise). It is a good time to get to know your children and to let them see how things work. It will help them to see you have the strength and love to get through they will need some of your strength and love now.

Now for the decorating part. There is so much to do and you can not believe the stuff out there they have to do it with. First paint your cupboards I am assuming they are wood, it so you can paint them, let's say you have chosen celery green, peach or blue for your kitchen. paint the kitchen and also buy a second can of paint for accent, say a medium color use it on your ceiling and then use both colors on your cupboard doors around the outside and paint your woodwork around the windows also with the darker shade. Then paint on the inside panel of your cupboard doors and on the drawers the lighter color. Or you could use a cream color on your doors and ceiling and if there is a panel around the inside, paint it the color of your kitchen the same with any doors and around the windows. You can also buy rub on stickers in themes, say flowers in the kitchen. Rub them on tile and you can paint tile if you have that in your bathroom. Oh yes, it is safe to paint your heating vents just do it outside on a non windy day. If you have a AC Moor or Michael's, take advantage of the 40% off coupons, they are great. You can also use contact paper instead of paint on the inside panels of your kitchen cupboard's and any kitchen doors. There is so much to do I know, maybe your kids can help. If you have time, you can paint walls with a flat paint then buy a glaze for over the top and use a sponge to swirl it or even paint brush strokes on the wall in your living room some going up and down and some going back and forth. You could buy a wall paper border which is fairly inexpensive and put around the middle off the walls separating the top and the bottom half and paint two tones one on top and one on the bottom. If you have enough money to say nothing of time and energy which you will need in abundance at first. Also you can by strips of molding (check to make sure which one is right to use ) to put around instead of a border (and a little quicker I think) and still paint your kitchen two tone or any room in the house. Look for carpet remnant sales. There are plenty of magazines out there at the grocery store or even drug stores to help if you are stumped. Also when painting the kitchen, you can find a color that will go with your kitchen or something brighter other then what you have and paint the insides of the cupboards, so when you open them, they will be nice and clean and a lot brighter. You can also use contact paper for your shelves and drawers.Now outside you can this summer have fun painting the steps if you have any energy left. You can also make with out sewing using cardboard or pine wood some material and glue and make valances for around the top of your drapes in the living room. If you can do decoupage buy some craftbooking paper and the glue you need (this is a rainy day thing) by outlet covers and decoupage the paper you have fornd onto the swithes and outlet covers.There is so much you can do take it slow so you do not wear yourself out but it can be done alot of it quite inexpensively. If you want to put a border in say in your kitchen and can not afford the border, measure then draw a line around your kitchen for where the border should be and go ahead and paint. Then you can put the border on when you have the money and time. But good luck, it just takes time and it will all come together.

I rented a old farm house when I went through my divorce. In the old day's they used cardboard I found as insulation. You can just imagine how that kept the cold air out! Then being that a lot of property came with this house, our dog got squirted by skunks 3 times. Oh yea, that was the fun part we started having fun then! They also moved in under the porch so someone had to come out and exterminate. I think I did laundry for several years after that non stop. At least it would seem that way then. But you get through it! And prayer helps so I will say a prayer and think of you. Just let us all know how you did and what you did it will be so interesting to know!

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Thanks everyone for all the encouraging ideas. I cleaned the carpets, cleaned out the nasty vents, and was allowed to paint the master bedroom, what a chore. It looks 100% better, but when I peeled off the tape some of the paint came as well, but it still looks much better. I found a very neutral border I will put up to cover those imperfections. Any ideas on an easy way to put the border up? Most of my stuff is moved in and anymore painting will wait until I have the time and I have a few projects in mind and will post my results...hopefully they will help someone else. Thanks again.

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Home and Garden Home Improvement AdviceMarch 19, 2008
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