A few years back I told my husband that I was interested in flipping a camper. We had done a few home flips and I thought a camper would be a fun little project. Read along for my story of our first camper remodel before and after.
I was thinking in my mind about doing a little pop-up camper and glamping it out. Well, he came home one day pulling a 29′ travel trailer! He never even told me he found one. What a surprise!
Even though that wasn’t what I had in mind, I turned my gears and decided it would still be a fun project and got to work planning the camper remodel.
Disclaimer: This camper remodel before and after happened a few years ago and we have since sold this camper. It was also before I started blogging so the images are kind of terrible, and I can’t find the final after photos I took. But, that being said you will definitely see the dramatic difference in the photos I have included. See our newest RV Reno here
First things first in this camper remodel. This RV needed some repairs.
The RV had been in an accident and the front end was dented in the corner. It wasn’t horrible but it needed to be pulled out and we needed to fix the leaks and repair the damage that had been done on the inside because of it.
Repairing the water damage in the RV
I enlisted the help of my father who is a master handyman. We got to work repairing the ceiling and walls in the front of the trailer. This was not easy work. Ripping out the old material was hard because they glued everything down. But, after some sweaty work, we finally got everything out and began building it all back up.
We needed to add some new wall supports because the old ones were rotten and had some mold. So we used some 1 x 2’s and 1 x 4’s to rebuild them. We also replaced all of the old insulation.
Adding new cabinets to the RV
The next step in this camper remodel was to install upper cabinets. We first installed the outer cabinets so we could see the framing we needed to attach them to. As we worked we added extra framing where we needed to make sure the cabinets were sturdy.
I purposefully did not purchase cabinets that went from the storage compartment to the ceiling like the original ones because I wanted to use the storage compartment to make a side table for the bed.
After we secured the side cabinets we added the upper center cabinets by attaching them to each other and then to the side cabinets.
Camper remodel – Replacing the flooring in the storage area
Before we rebuilt the bed frame and storage area we needed to put down a floor. This would be the area in the storage compartment and the storage area under the bed. You will not see this at all from the inside of the camper. We used a grey sheet linoleum that went from the floor up the back of the wall.
Rebuilding the bed and storage compartment
The next step in the camper remodel was to rebuild the bed frame and storage space at the very front. We used 1 x 4’s and 1 x 2’s to build these. It was pretty easy because the bed is basically a square box and the storage area a long rectangle. We added plywood to the top and sides when we finished working inside just to give us some room to move around. We left the top of the bed loose so you could lift it up to access storage under it. The other storage area would be accessible from the outside only but it made nice side tables for the bed inside.
Time to replace the walls and ceiling in the RV
We hung some paneling that matched the other walls in texture. We couldn’t find an exact match but it didn’t matter because I was planning on painting all the walls anyway. So the texture was all that really mattered in this case.
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The ceiling was tough to replace. We used white paneling with a shiny surface. (Again it matched the texture in the rest of the camper.) We needed to glue it in place so we needed to find a glue that would hold pretty quickly. So we ended up using liquid nails and it worked great!
Then we used some makeshift supports to temporarily hold the ceiling up while it dried and that did the trick. Then we added 1″ molding strips in between the seams of the ceiling panels and corner moldings along the top of the walls.
After we added the plywood I painted all the cabinets and plywood gray and the walls and ceiling white. You can’t even tell we replaced anything!
Remodeling the layout of the camper-before and after
The next phase of the camper remodel was remodeling the layout of the camper. Number one was the banquet seating. Before, the seating was along the side wall in the bump out and an ugly sofa separated the bedroom from the rest of the camper. I hated this layout because when you sat on the sofa you faced the back of the banquet! It made absolutely no sense. So I decided that I wanted to switch the placement of the banquet and the sofa. You can see the seat of the sofa in the picture below.
We completely removed the sofa with the exception of the back wall and kept that wall as a separator to the bedroom. I love the way the back wall separates the kitchen from the bedroom. And with the folding accordion screens it really makes the bedroom feel like a separate space. See the next image.
We then rebuilt the banquet and used the wall behind it to attach the table to. This layout was much better.
We replaced the old sofa with a free-standing futon from IKEA that folds out into a bed. This way the camper still sleeps 5-6 people. Its new home is now along the side wall facing the kitchen. This really opened up the space.
We were also able to add a side table to the sofa by purchasing one that has legs that slide under it.
Decorating the newly renovated RV
Now it was time for the fun part. Decorating. As you can see above I’ve painted all the walls and cabinetry. I also reupholstered the cushions on the banquet with a blue, gray, and white floral pattern on the back cushions, and dark gray for the seat cushions. I also purchased a solid gray cover for the futon.
In the bedroom, I added gray wood look paneling like this one to the back wall to act as a headboard. Everything is really starting to come together now.
In the kitchen, I painted all the cabinets gray and walls white then added some metal wall organizing grids from The Container Store to the walls. Look at the before and after pictures! What a difference in how light and bright this space looks now!
I also painted the refrigerator with chalkboard paint.
Here are some photos of the space all painted before I finished decorating. At this point, I still had a couple of doors to paint, and reinstall, in the bathroom, and the trim around the bump out.
Here are some after photos with some of the decorating done and from when we actually used it camping. I can’t for the life of me find my photos of the actual finished project and we have since sold this camper so I can’t take any more. But if I find them I will upload them.
I added simple plastic organizer drawers to the nightstands for some extra storage. This still left room to put a few things next to the bed like a clock, cell phones, etc.
Oh, how I wish I could find the finished photos! UGH You can see how my grandson decided to try out the chalkboard paint on the fridge. 🙂
The grandkids loved this bunk area. Addison had her own area in the top bunk and the two boys shared the bottom bunk because at the time they were both little. The clump of fabric on the top bunk was a shower curtain that I hung from a tension rod to give them a privacy screen. I stole the latter from an old bunk bed that we weren’t using anymore.
The magnetic wall organizer was the best idea I had for this camper. We were able to organize so many items and get them off the counter. I also was able to use the deep space behind the sink by utilizing a lazy susan. I don’t know why but I love the corner sink!
Thanks for checking out our 1st camper remodel before and after post. Again I’m so sorry about the quality of the photos and lack of final images. And as I said if I find the final photos (I know I took the final images all decorated) I will add them. 🙂
Time to check out our newest RV Renovation RV Renovation-Farmhouse Style. I promise the images are way better! This is a renovation on our brand new Puma RV. It is truly our home away from home.
And read about these great desk ideas for your RV RV Desk Ideas