Lifestyle

RV Makeover Ideas for Your Next DIY Project

by Kelsey MulhollandFeb 10, 2022

While RVs have been around for decades, the rise in popularity of DIY renovation has only more recently crossed into the RV world. While some choose to honor the original details of their vehicle, others have revamped them to become modernized mini houses. If you’re looking for ways to brighten up your space, or completely remodel your RV, here are a few RV makeover ideas to spruce up your home on wheels.

Before you get too overzealous and whip out the paint brushes and screw drivers, you’ll want to do a thorough inspection for any signs of damage. I promise it’ll be much easier to tackle any issues before making updates, and you’ll avoid doing twice the work. If there is nothing that needs to be fixed, start your engines!

Get Organized 

Marie Kondo said it best— “Imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t this the lifestyle you dream of?” 

Before you can add, you must subtract. Nothing makes a tiny place feel even smaller than clutter. Before you roll up your sleeves and get started on your list of RV makeover ideas, first get rid of what you don’t need and organize what you do. 

Space is a luxury in RVs and we need to make the most of what we have. To use it most effectively, I suggest looking at your vertical space. Items like hanging laundry bags and shower curtains with pockets get items off the floor, off the counter, and out of sight. 

Next, take the time to hide any visual clutter by covering wires and chords. I’ve used both these chord hiders and clear command chord hooks for our TVs and other devices. This may seem like a small step, but it makes all the difference.

Warm Up Your Floors 

These days, there are plenty of products that are perfect for RV makeovers. When making changes, you want choices that are durable, lightweight, and dependable. Lucky for us, peel and stick comes in all shapes and sizes from—flooring, tiles, even wallpaper.

Oddly enough, many RV floors are white—of all colors for camping! If you’d like to switch up your floors, there are tons of peel and stick vinyl options that look like wood or ceramic tiles. These are great options because they are cost effective, water resistant, and easy to install.

I used this beautiful faux wood flooring in both of our RVs. It brings a warm and cozy feel to almost any space instantly. While not necessary, I opted to use the additional adhesive for long-term use. 

Pro Tip: Lay your planks out beforehand to get an idea of where you want them to go. This way you won’t have any sticky regrets later. 

Use Lighter Colors to Make Your Space Feel Larger  

An RV kitchen and bedroom with with walls.

If you’re open to a more permanent project, one of my favorite RV makeover ideas is to refresh walls and cabinets with a simple coat of paint.

Lighter colored walls immediately make a space feel bigger than it is, and a pop of color on the cabinets can give it a fun vibe. If you are painting cabinets, you may need to sand and prime depending on the material. You’ll want to use a base coat (or paint that includes a base coat) so there are no issues down the road. For our walls we’ve used Behr Premium Plus, Paint and Primer in One. 

While it might be a pain, I suggest taking off all cabinet doors and drawers if painting them. Yes—that includes hardware too.

Pro Tip: If you are painting in more humid climates, a few extra fans and open windows can quickly help speed up drying times. 

Try Peel and Stick Wallpaper

If you want to change up your walls, but aren’t completely set on a color or print, try out peel and stick wallpaper. The best part is, if you change your mind, you can simply peel them off and swap them out for something new. 

I’ve used this in rental units and on RV walls and it holds up great in permanent places and in homes with wheels.      

Pro Tip: Applying peel and stick wallpaper in your RV can be a bit tricky. It’s typically easier with an extra pair of hands, and additional smoothing tools. This will ensure there are no creases or bubbles. 

Avoid Extra Weight With Peel and Stick Backsplash 

Much like wallpaper, peel and stick tile is the perfect option to add a backsplash. Unlike actual tiles, it won’t add weight to your rig, and won’t crumble or fall when on the road. The best part—no caulking or upkeep necessary.

While there are tons of options, I recently chose a classic subway “tile,” that has a bit of dimension to it. I put it in both the kitchen area and bathroom. 

Pro Tip: The thicker options do tend to be a bit heavier, so if you want to ensure it will hold up long term, we recommend using additional adhesive. 

Use Texture to Make Your Space Feel Like Home

Now for the fun part! Adding a few cozy accessories here and there will really help make your RV feel like home. Depending on the season, adding fun textures, fabrics, and colors can make a big difference.

Curtains

Accordion style curtains are standard for most RV windows. While these are good for privacy, they are usually very dark and tend to break a bit easier in my experience. 

You can completely replace these with something lighter like bamboo blinds, or simply cover them with an updated curtain. If you want more light, neutral tones are the way to go, while thicker curtains with blackout backing are great for privacy and keeping in heat. 

Pro Tip: Most windows in RVs are all different sizes, so make sure to measure carefully. While we didn’t have any issues finding curtains to fit, you can always opt to purchase ones cut exactly to size or DIY your own.

Pillows

Most couches and dinette cushions in RVs come in standard, neutral tones. Adding pops of color, texture and prints with throw pillows and blankets always make a space feel more like home. 

These can also easily be swapped out depending on the season or holiday. Instead of purchasing new pillows each time, try buying throw pillow covers. They’re a cost effective option and take up less storage space when not being used. 

Bonus points for throws that double as indoor and outdoor blankets. The point of camping is to spend some time outside, so having accessories that can do both is always helpful. 

Rugs

If you decide now is not the time to redo your flooring, area rugs are a great alternative to make your flooring feel new. You can add a more durable mat at the door to help trap dirt or sand, a runner along the kitchen area, or a small rug in the bathroom.

These are especially helpful as they add a bit of extra warmth on those chillier nights.

I hope these RV makeover ideas spark your creativity when completing your DIY projects. Whether you are a beginner or expert in RV remodeling, remember that just like traveling—it’s about the journey, not the destination. 

Kelsey Mulholland is a lifelong lover of all things outdoors who recently decided to combine her interests of interior decoration and camping to renovate RVs into the the tiny homes of her dreams. She is slowly making her way throughout the country and learning everything she can along the way. To join her on her journey, you can find her @Catch_Kelso.

Image credit in order of appearance: Klavdiyav – stock.adobe.com, Nomad_Soul – stock.adobe.com, Brizmaker – stock.adobe.com, Korchemkin – stock.adobe.com