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 RV camping 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 However, RV interiors are often known for being rather outdated, leaving many wanting to customize their RVs.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!

Related Posts

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Krista Kronner
    27th August, 2020

    I’m in the process of renovating a Minnie for full time living not just small trips. I would love to take out the bed and put a futon in place of it but its also where the storage is from outside. Can anyone point me in the right direction of someone near Tampa FL that can help with details like this. I have concept of what i am trying for but thinking I may need help putting it in place. I dont mind the work just need help figuring out how to do it and right. Need to be able to still sleep at least 4 as I have 2 kids. Painting is not an issue most is already done and went with paint I already had and was able to tint to the shade i wanted. Practical Storage is also an issue. Also trying to figure out cat play area as we have 2

  2. Jan Cook
    23rd August, 2020

    We have a mid-bunk slide out that measures 48″ across. The previous owners removed the bunks and we’re having trouble brainstorming what to do with it. We were thinking of making it into a guest room, but there is little room across and it slides in. Any ideas?

    1. Kim krier
      28th August, 2020

      When I thought about taking out the bunk in my 5th wheel I was gonna turn it into a closet and storage space or a pantry to store more dry goods. Just a thought.

    2. Sam Leash
      31st August, 2020

      Lots of folks replace unneeded bunks with all sorts of modifications. It all depends on what you need in your RV. Some people install a desk instead, while others add pet supplies, such as a cat area or dog crate(s). Best of luck to you!

  3. Carl whitehead
    28th July, 2020

    Need someone that knows what they are doing. Remove benches and table and replace with table and chairs

    1. Sam Leash
      11th August, 2020

      Yes, I would definitely say it’s important to know what you are doing before beginning a big renovation project. A table and chairs is a great upgrade in an RV!

  4. Judy SMITH
    13th June, 2020

    We need to have our dinette and couch reupholstered. Anyone know of a reputable person on central Florida?

    1. Sam Leash
      29th June, 2020

      I don’t personally know of anyone in the area, butt here are several online shops that will custom-make zippable covers for couch and dinette cushions!

      1. Kendra
        20th July, 2020

        We are hoping to purchase an RV tomorrow! Any chance you can send me the online resources for zippable cushions too? Thanks!

        1. Sam Leash
          11th August, 2020

          Hey Kendra! I found mine on Etsy. Just try searching “zippable RV dinette cushions,” as there are several great options. Best of luck to you!

      2. Kendra
        20th July, 2020

        One more thing! Do you know if the shiplap in your photos is peel and stick too, or is it that really thin wood? I’d love to do this in my RV!

        1. Sam Leash
          11th August, 2020

          The photo is peel-and-stick, but I have seen people use both real shiplap and peel-and-stick. Both turn out great!

  5. Terry
    17th May, 2020

    I’m in the process of renovating a travel trailer right now. I’ve wallpapered, painted and will soon do a back splash in the bathroom. It is definitely time consuming, but worth it. I’m using a product called beyond paint and am very happy with results so far.

    1. Sam Leash
      19th May, 2020

      That sounds lovely! Now is a great time to renovate. 🙂

    2. Deb
      17th June, 2020

      Can someone with little carpenter skills renovate an RV. I want to tackle it and have done tons of research, however I’m apprehensive.

      1. Sam Leash
        29th June, 2020

        I have few carpenter skills, and I have renovated two RVs. It’s totally doable! Just be sure to do plenty of research first.

  6. Shannon
    26th April, 2020

    If there is anyone in AZ that can renovate an RV. Has experience in doing so please reach out to me. Thank you

    1. Sam Leash
      19th May, 2020

      Hi Shannon! There is an excellent company in Phoenix called RV Fixer Upper. I recommend contacting her through their Facebook or Instagram page.

      1. Susanna lee
        22nd June, 2020

        Hi Sam! I’m looking to get RV but hasn’t been an easy step for me… perhaps lack of knowledge and in the midst of on going research.

        So many websites it can be overwhelming. Either case, would love your expert advice an what we insure you’d recommend.

        Get a used and renovate or purchase a renovated one?

        So many questions.. would love to connect. Thank you so much in advance!

        1. Sam Leash
          29th June, 2020

          Hey Susanna! Either of those options sound great. If you purchase a renovated RV, you may pay a higher price, but you will be saving yourself lots and lots of time and headache. However, if you purchase a used RV and renovate it, you will likely save some money, and you will have full control of how the remodel turns out. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. Todd
    18th November, 2019

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

    1. Sam Leash
      6th December, 2019

      Wow, that sounds like an awesome renovation! Thanks for sharing, Todd! 🙂

  8. 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 Leash
      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! 🙂