Renovate your RV, they said. It will be fun, they said.
We’re still trying to figure out who “they” are and why we decided to listen to them as we embarked on the remodeling of our recently acquired 22-year-old Class C RV. But the more we look at what we’ve been able to achieve in its transformation the more we are pleased with our decision to turn a motorhome into our home.
In this post, we hope to inspire you to consider several relatively easy and inexpensive DIY projects that will transform any older RV or campervan conversion into a modern home.
We should point out that we are not remodeling experts. We’re not professional carpenters, plumbers or electricians.
So the DIY projects we’re sharing with you below are not so complex that you can’t tackle the project yourself or with a little guidance from online and at your local hardware store!
1. Add a laundry chute to your RV
Who likes dirty laundry? We don’t! And in previous RVs, we did everything we could to hide our dirty laundry. Out of sight, out of mind, right?!
So with this remodel one of the first things we did was to convert an outside storage bay into a hidden laundry chute.
Simply put, all you need to do is to cut a hole in the storage bay from above, install a hinge and add a handle!
2. Swap out your old sinks and faucets
RV sinks and faucets are notoriously not pretty and hardly functional. And they certainly don’t age well. If you own an RV older than 10 years or so you’re likely all too well acquainted with the yellow-ish color of the old sinks and faucets.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can relatively easily swap out the faucets and sinks with the same standard RV ones.
But if you want to step it up a notch, consider replacing the old ones with residential faucets and sinks. You may need to get a few adapters and might have to cut a new hole or two in the counter.
But we are 100% happy with our decision to install a vessel sink in our kitchen, a deep basin sink in our kitchen and two new residential faucets to go with each.
3. Add accent colors to cabinets and doors
Painting the interior of your RV is probably the single most effective way to transform your RV. But it is a tremendous amount of work to do it right.
That said, if you just want to spruce up the living space a little you can simply commit to adding accent colors to the cabinets and doors to give it a contrast to the walls and floor.
Although we did decide to paint all of the interior walls of our motorhome light grey, it is the white cabinet doors and teal kitchen cabinets that really make the RV feel like new.
4. Change out your curtains or blinds
RV manufacturers must drive the accordion-style blinds and valences market. It is hard to find a used RV that doesn’t have some form of outdated valence covering up a wonky accordion blind or terribly patterned curtains.
One of the first demolitions we did in our RV was to rip out the valences. After painting, we installed heavy-duty residential curtain rods throughout the RV and draped curtains more suitable to the rest of our interior decor.
5. Update to LED light fixtures
To better use your RV power supply you should immediately replace any incandescent light bulbs in your RV with much more energy-efficient LED light bulbs. These are inexpensive and are typically compatible with existing light fixtures.
If you want to step it up a notch, remove any outdated light fixtures and replace them with more modern LED fixtures.
We did this with 2 sconces in our living room and love the look and feel the lights provide. Plus knowing they draw less than half an amp per hour is a bonus!
6. Add a backsplash to your kitchen
Adding a backsplash in your kitchen can add instant transformation to your RV. Like traditional brick-and-mortar home backsplash options, you have a wide range of patterns and materials to choose from.
In our first RV, we went with a lower-quality vinyl backsplash. But after a year it began to yellow and peel off the wall.
With our latest RV, we spent a few extra dollars for more heavy-duty vinyl floor tiles that are a little more challenging to install but that definitely adds more durability and should only be a one-time project.
7. Upgrade to butcher block countertops
This DIY camper project is not one for the faint at heart. But if you are tired of looking at cheap particle board countertops with a laminate surface that is peeling up in parts then consider upgrading to butcher block countertops.
Not only are they hardier and more durable, but also they are incredibly appealing to the eyes. We used a dark stain and added a food-safe Waterlox coating to seal the counter and match our interior decor.
While we were at it we cut a new hole for our residential faucet and sink and modified the plumbing slightly to fit it all together.
Note: If you opt to add new sinks and faucets you may as well go ahead and add these countertops at the same time, or vice-versa.
8. Spruce up doors with wooden strip designs
Our Class C motorhome came with a pocket door between the kitchen and bathroom and sliding barn doors to close off the bedroom.
These doors were, you guessed it, drab and outdated and lacked any excitement – particularly in respect to all of the other RV DIY projects we were working on.
So we took out the doors, sanded and primed them and then cut and mounted ¼” wood slats in patterns on the doors. We then slapped on another coat of paint to match our teal accents and the texture and color of the doors added a new dimension to our living space.
9. Build towel and toilet paper racks
Many things in the RV manufacturing world are pretty much the same regardless of which brand, make or model RV you have. Towel and toilet paper racks are no different.
We removed the cheap plastic racks in our bathroom and built our own industrial-looking racks to match the updated decor in the rest of our motorhome. Then we purchased a simple metal pipe clamp from the local hardware store and painted it black.
Then we stained and cut wooden dowels to the desired length. For under $10 each, we now have a more modern towel and toilet paper holders throughout our bathroom.
You don’t have to commit to an entire RV remodel in order to spruce up your home on the road. In fact, with a few dollars and a little bit of time, you can bring your older RV into the present with a few of the simple DIY RV projects listed above.
Of course, if you do want to remodel your entire RV we’ve got lots of great ideas for you! But to get started, consider these 9 simple DIY projects to give your RV more of an at-home feeling on the road!
About Chris and Lindsay at Called To Wander
Chris and Lindsay, along with their two cattle dogs Everest and Huckleberry, have been traveling mostly full-time in their RV since 2018. Having started their journey in an attempt to drive from Alaska to Argentina, they quickly fell in love with life on the road and have chosen to spend their time touring the North American continent. Harvest Hosts members since 2018, they run a website and YouTube channel where they document their experiences and help others pursue adventure on the road.
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