6 Simple RV Renovation Ideas

In the past decade, RV ownership has risen a tremendous amount. From people living and traveling in RVs full-time to people who own RVs and travel for vacations and weekends, the RVing lifestyle has captured the attention of millions. The call of the open road beckons many to escape their traditional life and seek out adventure, exploration and freedom, even if only for a short while. After all, traveling in a vacation home that can go anywhere is rather alluring and convenient. However, RV interiors are often known for being rather outdated, leaving many wanting to customize their RVs. For this reason, RV renovation has risen in popularity, as many look to make their RVs their own.

The world of RV customization and renovation is vast and varied. Some people gut and build out their own homes on wheels, starting with a Sprinter van, bus, or work vehicle as a shell. Others remodel a motorhome or fifth wheel, leaving the layout the same but changing much of the decor and color scheme. While the renovation possibilities are endless, there are some fairly simple things you can do to leave your RV interior feeling more homey and custom. Some of these are fairly simple, and others require more of a time commitment. No matter what you plan to do with your home on wheels, these simple suggestions are a great place to start!

“We wanted a space that felt like home instead of a standard RV. With a little bit of elbow grease, it all came together! All of the small finishing touches really brings our space together.” – Shi Delgrosso, @lifewithjoey_rv

1. Decorate your RV.

Decorations are one of the most basic things you can update in your RV. Changing out simple things like window treatments and bedding can really improve the overall look of your space. In addition, you can add wall hangings, throw pillows, and area rugs throughout to create a personal and homey feel as soon as you walk through the door. Consider decorating with cute finds from your travels, or bring along your favorite pieces from your sticks and bricks home to travel along with you. Whatever you do, be sure to keep it simple! A little goes a long way in a small space.

Complete remodel of interior bedroom walls – Darla Clark

 

“I loved the dark mahogany wood and low ceiling of my RV but after 6 years, it was just too dark. I decided to paint walls, cabinets, take down beige cornice and headboard. Now I have a bright cheery room.” – Louise Turner, @geritolgypsy

2. Replace furniture.

One of the things that leaves many RVs looking so stock is the furniture. Depending on the age of the RV, some of the furniture may be covered in floral or tropical prints, or checkered/striped patterns. Adding in some new furniture is a fairly simple option that really helps to update the space. Futons are a great replacement for couches, and Ikea has an awesome selection geared towards small spaces. Dinette bench cushions can be covered rather simply, as well. Any furniture swapping you do will have your RV on the way to feeling more personalized in no time.

“Complete makeover. I upgraded to a residential refrigerator and replaced booth dinette with custom built buffet with scaffolding tubes and a table with pets painted on the top. I then finished the project with a new light fixture and valences to match the new palette.” – John Schroeder

 

“We painted every inch. New floors, removed dinette, new blinds, furniture, hardware, etc!”- Stacy Dinkel, @stacydinkel

3. Add a backsplash.

Backsplashes are fairly easy to install and can really improve the overall look of your bathroom or kitchen. Traditional ceramic backsplashes are not typically recommended in a moving vehicle. However, peel-and-stick tile backsplashes are user-friendly, inexpensive, and perfect for RVs. There are so many styles to choose from, and they can quickly add a personal feel to your RV and minimize stains that can occur while cooking. Be sure to read instructions and use a heat-resistant backsplash if you plan to install yours near the stove.

“I added glass tile in our bathroom above the sink.” – Robert Novella

 

“We had just a plain sprinter van that got converted into our tiny home on wheels for a family of 3! We have a full bathroom, solar, pull out-pantry, all custom woodwork and a big closet.” – Gianna Bachowski, @ourvanquest

4. Add details throughout.

Changing small details throughout your RV can also make a big difference. Things like drawer and cabinet pulls, faucets, light switch covers, light fixtures, and curtains are fairly simple to swap, yet add lots of personality to your space. Adding a wallpaper accent wall is also an excellent choice. Little by little, customizing these basic interior features will add homeyness to your RV renovation, making it more your own.

“I have a powder room/toilet area that is about the size of a wall-in closet, and I needed something that would make me smile. I found a door vinyl decal that makes me smile. Now I sit on the dock of the bay.” – Louise Turner, @geritolgypsy

 

Rescued an ambulance which was going to be sold for scrap, brought it back from the brink and converter it in to an off grid campervan!
“Rescued an ambulance which was going to be sold for scrap, brought it back from the brink and converter it in to an off grid campervan!” – Marrick Mills, @northern_campers

5. Paint!

Painting an RV interior is no small task. However, this is one thing you can do that will change the entire look of the interior renovation. White is a popular color, as it can make a small space feel much larger. Many other colors are also quite popular and may stay cleaner-looking over time.

When painting, one must decide if they plan to do the walls only or the walls and the cabinets. It is always recommended to lightly sand everything first. RV wallpaper and cabinets are typically covered in a laminate-type material which paint may struggle to adhere to. Many recommend painting with primer first before painting with the final color. Painting may take up to an entire week to complete and is a very big element of renovation. However, the results are so worth it to create a space that is lighter, brighter, and more modern.

“Complete renovation inside. New paint, refinished countertops, and new flooring. I replaced the dinette and couch and removed two bunks for more floorspace in the bunk room.” -Jeremy Huff

 

“We renovated this RV for full-time travel as a family of 5. Flooring, walls, custom couch, barn door, dining table and bunkhouse.” -Erin Meredith, @ourlivelytribe

6. Replace the flooring.

Flooring is another huge task that completely changes a space. Most RVs are carpeted, but wood-look floor can make the RV look much more modern. Tearing up carpet is a lot of work and requires removing tons of staples. But once this is complete, you may start laying flooring.

Real hardwood floors look beautiful, but they are often too heavy for RV weight limits. Laminate floors often look like wood at a fraction of the price and weight. Peel-and-stick and click-and-lock floors are the most popular options for RVs. Each has pros and cons, so be sure to do research and decide which is right for you before beginning a flooring swap.

“We converted a short bus into a fully off-grid cabin on wheels.” – Peter Kolsch @wandathewonderbus

These ideas are just some of many used to customize RVs. Options and possibilities are truly endless. Renovating an RV is a big decision and you should be prepared to do a lot of research before you begin. The entire process may be challenging, yet rewarding in making your RV feel more like a home. After all, enjoying your next campground or Harvest Host would be even more fun from a newly renovated RV.

“We purchased our trailer in October 2018 and renovated the entire inside to accommodate our family of 4 (including 10-month-old and 3 year old)! It is for our camping adventures as a family and we love it!” – Dana Bolster, @reimagined_rv

Have you completed an RV renovation? What was the process like? Feel free to share any tips, tricks or ideas you might have in the comments below!

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  1. Todd
    18th November, 2019

    1990 airstream airliner 33ft
    Total roof and interior gut.
    3 months 2500 later
    Better than new but a vintage airstream

  2. Bekah
    31st October, 2019

    I just bought a small vintage RV to renovate, it needs a complete overhaul with rebuilding of ceiling, roof, flooring, etc. I’m excited to do ALL of these things from your article in there though! I love the changes from before and afters.

    1. Sam Binger
      14th November, 2019

      Hey Bekah! Congrats on the new RV. Stoked to hear that you plan to renovate. Best wishes with your new project, hope it turns out great. 🙂

  3. Followgram
    26th July, 2019

    It s not easy to find cheap AND easy fifth wheel remodel projects out there, so we hope this post can help! I think we need to start though, by saying neither one of us have an eye for design. Decorating is not one of our strong suits. But with a little bit of effort, we were able to transform our Forest River Rockwood fifth wheel into our home for little effort, time, and money.

    1. Sam Binger
      23rd September, 2019

      Hey there! It’s great to hear that you were able to make your fifth wheel more homey. Hope this post helped give you some more ideas! 🙂