RV Dining Room Renovation

Recently, RVs have been growing in popularity as both tiny homes and small vacation houses on wheels. With everything you need to both travel and live comfortably, it’s no surprise that RVs have become a popular choice for those wanting to road trip in style, while still retaining a home of sorts. However, one thing that commonly holds people back from purchasing RVs is their frequently-outdated interior decor. While many newer RVs are made in a modern style, most older interiors, and even some newer ones, are created with dark woods, excessive carpeting, unsightly wallpaper, and tacky-patterned furniture. And for some who may be interested in the RV camping lifestyle, the outdated interiors are certainly a drawback.

Making over a dinette space can completely transform the look and feel of your RV.

But not to fear! Fortunately, thanks to Pinterest and a number of tiny living and RV life blogs, many people have received the necessary inspiration to renovate their RV interiors. Renovating an RV interior is a time-consuming yet worthwhile project that allows the RV owner to create a space that is styled according to their taste. Common renovation projects include replacing light fixtures, swapping out old furniture for new furniture, painting, adding laminate flooring, refinishing countertops, updating window treatments, modernizing dinette areas, decorating, and so much more. 

Among these projects, each tends to vary in length of time needed to complete each task. This may leave some feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. If you find yourself in this boat, consider starting your renovations with a simple dinette makeover. This project is typically a quick one and can be completed with varying degrees of simplicity. Read on for a list of ideas that will quickly and affordably modernize your dinette in a way that will leave you smiling each time you see it.

Photo by @188sqft

Recover dinette cushions

The first step in modernizing your dinette area is to recover the cushions. Eccentric patterns and dark colors cover many dinette cushion sets, hindering those who may want a more modern look and feel. However, recovering these is fairly simple, and there are a number of ways to do so.

1. Purchase new dinette cushions

Some may wish to buy new cushions entirely. Amazon, Wayfair, eBay, and a number of RV supply sites sell pre-made dinette cushions, covered in a variety of different fabrics. There are many styles and sizes to choose from, and this is a great option for those who want a quick and easy fix. Keep in mind that these cushions will vary in price points, and this is likely not the cheapest option. However, the end result will be a more modern, finished product accomplished with minimal personal effort.

2. Have your dinette cushions professionally reupholstered.

Another potential option is to have your cushions professionally recovered. Many local seamstresses and furniture reupholstery establishments specialize in recovering cushions of all varieties, and RV cushions are no exception to this. When utilizing a professional, you can purchase the exact fabric you want, and you can request a number of other embellishments, such as piping, buttons, and other beautiful features.

This is not your quickest or cheapest dinette makeover option. Your seamstress may need a few weeks to return your finished cushions to you, and it will also cost you a pretty penny. And while the cost is certainly worth it, not everyone has a budget of $800+ to spend on their dinette area.

3. Recover your dinette cushions yourself (DIY)

Finally, many decide to recover their dinette cushions themselves. Even if you do not have an affinity for DIY, this is a fairly simple and budget-friendly project that can be completed with just a few basic tools. Start by gathering the supplies you need. These include a staple gun, industrial-grade staples, and some large clamps. 

Begin your project by finding the exact measurements for your cushions. This includes the length, width, and height (depth).

Next, remove the old cushion covers. Most of these unzip and remove fairly easily. You are now left with a plush piece of foam that can be used as the base for your new cushions. If the foam is old or has an odor, consider cleaning it before recovering it. If the foam is excessively worn, you may wish to replace it altogether with another piece of the same size. You can find new foam at most fabric stores.

Next, you will need to purchase a piece of plywood to back each foam cushion. You can find plywood at hardware stores. The plywood should be one inch shorter on each side than the total length and width of the cushions. If you are purchasing it from Home Depot or Lowe’s, you can have the wood cut to size in store.

Next, you will need to purchase fabric. Outdoor fabric is highly recommended, since it is great for high-traffic areas and is easy to clean. Many outdoor fabrics are also stain and sun damage resistant. Joanne’s Fabrics and many other local fabric stores have a large selection to choose from. Be sure to buy more than you need in case of mistakes or inaccuracies in measurements.

Now that you have your supplies, you are ready to begin. You will want to watch a few videos before attempting this yourself, but the basics are as follows:

  1. Lay the plywood out, and place the foam cushion on top of the plywood.
  2. Cut the fabric to size, leaving a minimum of 12-16” extra on each side.
  3. Wrap the cushion very tightly (like a present), and use clamps to hold it in place. 
  4. Flip the cushion over, and staple the fabric to the back of the plywood. Use lots of staples to ensure a better hold.
  5. Move your new cushions back to your dinette, and enjoy your new space!

Table Makeover

When making over your dinette, you may also wish to give the table a makeover. This can be completed using a variety of methods, including peel-and-stick covers, paint, epoxy, butcher block, and many other methods. You may also decide to replace the table entirely. IKEA sells beautiful tables geared towards small spaces, as do many other home and furniture stores.

In this stunning transformation, Renee of @pleadingthefifth_wheel recovered the table in her Rpod with dyed fabric and a custom table raising/lowering system.

Decorate the space!

Finally, a great way to make over your dinette area is to decorate! Decorating can completely transform and personalize a space. Simple things like adding throw pillows, wall hangings, blankets, and other simple pieces make a big difference. For best results, be sure to choose decorations that coordinate with your new cushions and/or table.

An RV’s dinette is often the focal point of the overall living space. For many, it serves as a workspace, a kitchen table, a place to hang out and relax, and even an extra bed when lowered and re-positioned. What better place to begin your renovation than at the versatile dinette? Enjoying morning coffee at your campground or Harvest Hosts location will be even better when seated at your transformed space. And once your dinette makeover is complete, you will be ready to tackle the next project (perhaps renovating your RV kitchen?).

Have you transformed an RV dinette space? How did it go? Be sure to share your tips and experiences in the comments below!

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  1. Sam Leash
    23rd September, 2019

    Sounds like you made some awesome changes and upgrades. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Susanne
    10th August, 2019

    We bought an older Rv. Took the booth dinette out, and added 2 upper kitchen cabinets to form a buffet to replace the lost storage. We put a sturdy folding table between the cabinets and added 4 folding chairs.

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