Car Styling Tips for Spring

Spring is in the air, which always gives me fresh energy and determination to clean out our cars. Over the long winter, it can be easy to accumulate literal “junk in the trunk” (In addition to inevitable holiday weight gain: a figurative, yet very real kind of “junk in the trunk”.) We had a day over 60 degrees last week, so we marched out to the Honda (armed with our new cordless Dyson and motivation to get our car looking so fresh, and so clean.)

Seeing April 1st on the calendar feels like the official start of a new season, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share my automotive styling tips for Spring.

Decorating the front of your car can be tiring, and styling the back of your car can be just plain exhausting. But it doesn’t have to be! No matter what kind of car you drive, you probably have to work with limited square footage, and little to no wall space. My typical principle of “decor goes on the walls” is forced out the window (or in this case, the sunroof), and a bit of ingenuity is required to achieve a comfortable “home-on-the-way-to-and-from-home”.

1. Fuel your color palette with textiles.

While the exterior of your car may have color, the interior is most likely neutral. Hearing a “pop” is never a good sign while in your car, but seeing a “pop” of color is the best way to achieve a cozy and “lived-in” vibe. (But not too lived in…)

When choosing textiles for your back seat, it helps to think of the space as a loveseat-on-the-go. Two coordinating throw pillows and a throw blanket will add necessary color and comfort without feeling too cluttered. The exterior of our car is navy, so I chose to echo this on the interior with a vintage indigo throw. Keeping your color palette limited is always a good idea when you are working with a small space, so I chose to focus on blues and pinks.

They often say that “the rug makes the room”, and cars are no exception. I’ve seen plenty of helpful guides that show you how to choose the right size rug for a living room or a bedroom, but I’ve never seen one that shows the best rug size for your backseat.

I opted for a doormat (roughly 1.5×2), but it dominated the floor space and couldn’t be laid out flat. After a quick Google search, I found that this is the smallest size rug you can purchase that isn’t for a dollhouse, so I had to get creative. Folding a doormat in half makes it the perfect size for the tricky long and narrow space in between seats.

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Adding greenery to a space is the easiest way to infuse a bit of life, but working with limited square footage can be a challenge for larger houseplants (carplants?).

2. If you need more square footage in the back seat, push the front seats all the way forward for a more “open concept” space.

 

When the seats were in a safe driving position, the back seat felt cramped.

But look at how much valuable floor real estate opened up when I pushed the seats forward! There was suddenly enough room for a medium sized fiddle leaf fig tree, which really elevated the space.

3. Carry the touches of greenery into the front seat.

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While a large houseplant is perfect for the back seat, you’ll want to find a more low-profile option for the front. A small, potted fern will carry the greenery moment into the front (without taking up too much precious dashboard space.) If you actually plan on driving your car, put the large plant behind the passenger seat, and scoot the driver’s seat back to a safe position. The dashboard is an excellent place to display bits of life, like small plants and family photos.

4. Most people don’t know that the cupholders were actually designed with the intent to store vases of flowers.

A few blooms in your accent color and a sprig of eucalyptus is all it takes to create a statement bouquet for the center console. Be sure to choose a vase that is equal or smaller in size to a large McDonalds cup, which is the typical capacity for most cupholders.

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5. Decorating your dashboard with vintage books adds character and charm, and guarantees reading material in case you encounter traffic.

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6. Utilize your trunk space to create an inviting lounge area.

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When you stand at the back of your car and think about how to style your trunk, there is no need to be exhausted. Remember to focus on your color palette, and opt for a mix of textures to create visual interest and depth that isn’t overwhelming.

When choosing a rug for your living space, a good rule of thumb is to have at least the two front legs of your furniture on the rug. We drive a Honda CRV, which has a fairly large trunk. I used a vintage 2×3 rug in my accent color to really ground the space.

Depending on your trunk space, you may be able to include both an armchair and an end table. In this case, I chose a child’s vanity stool and a small rattan ottoman. Since cars have limited storage space, I grabbed one of the throw pillows from the back seat to accessorize this lounge area. Repurposing car decor is one of the most important principles for achieving a cozy, uncluttered car design. The dashboard reading material and a small succulent give this space its finishing touches, which will invite your car guests to curl up in the child’s stool and settle in for a good read.


I hope that these car styling tips were helpful, and will fill your inspiration tank with fresh fuel for Spring on this beautiful April 1st. 😉

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