Who in their right mind would do an RV renovation on a new travel trailer? ME! Have you ever gone shopping for a new RV or camper trailer? Notice they all have the same 80’s style interiors. I don’t understand it. They hire designers to choose the finishes, so why they are still designing with tans and browns? The lighter grays and whites are so popular right now.
I understand that they have to stick with something that appeals to the masses, but honestly how can you go wrong with grays and whites. Those colors will be around a very long time and are so much brighter and more cheerful then the dark browns and tans they have always used. If you’ve ever had a camper you know how dark and gloomy they can be, even when new. Why not brighten it up people?
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If I can’t buy the RV I want I’ll have to renovate it myself
I decided if I couldn’t buy what I wanted then I would just have to do it myself. This is how an RV renovation began on my NEW RV.
My husband and I purchased our new RV and as soon as we got home I got to work. BTW, we purchased ours at our local Campers Inn. While he was outside talking to the neighbor about our new camper, I started removing the aluminum blinds and the ugly, tan, leather and 80’s, fabric cornices. When I started throwing them out the door he was horrified! Of course he asked me what the heck I was doing. When I explained that the decor is just not going to cut it, and gave him my ideas, he relaxed…a little…after telling me I was crazy. 😉
We had just finished a renovation on an older RV that we purchased as a project. And because of that, he was fully aware of what I could do with ugly. I think that helped a lot.
You’ll love how easy it is to get a whole new look for your camper or RV! This top 5 list will help you achieve this new look quickly and without spending a lot of money. Includes before and after pictures. Just sign up to receive my newsletter full of tips and tricks for decorating, organizing, and more. You will receive a password to gain access to my library page full of free resources, printables and cheat sheets.
The main room RV renovation
After the blinds were removed I got to work painting over the ugly tan/brown wallpaper that was in the bump out. I didn’t mind the wallpaper that was in the rest of the unit, but for some reason they added a different one in the bump out that had more brown in it. Ugh! I wanted to lighten the whole area, so white paint did the trick. So, much brighter. I used a Kilz primer first to make sure that the paint would adhere to the paper and it worked great.
I considered painting the cabinetry but I didn’t hate the wood. Instead of the oak cabinets you usually see, they were a rich brown and had nice gray undertones. So I decided to keep them as they were.
Next, I wanted to add some charm to the space so I decided on self adhesive decorative wallpaper. I found some really cool faux, self adhesive wallpapers. There is also a huge selection of self adhesive wallpapers on Amazon. You definitely need to check them out! However, I quickly learned that the self adhesive paper doesn’t work great inside a camper. I’d forgotten that campers can be damp and the paper just wouldn’t stay. So, I got out some wallpaper paste and reapplied the paper and it worked great. It’s been over a year, gone thru winter storage, and everything is still attached.
The first paper I chose was a faux brick pattern that I used to cover a corner wall between the kitchen and bathroom. It worked perfectly and really looks like a brick chimney. I love it.
The next paper was of chippy painted boards in different shades of blues, greens and cream. I used it on the divider wall between the kitchen and master bedroom. This wall has a built-in cabinet with a TV mounted above it. It was so plain without the paper and just needed something to make it stand out. Instant personality! Already I was beginning to feel the RV renovation taking on the farmhouse style.
Now, this third paper might be a little overkill, but I fell in love with it. A faux Moroccan tile back splash peel and stick paper was just what the kitchen needed. I might change this in the future because it is a little busy with the brick and the wood paper. But it works, and I really think it’s pretty. I’m thinking I might need a white subway tile look or something simpler next time.
Just like the RV designers always choose ugly wallpaper and dark wood cabinetry, they also choose dated upholstery fabrics. I just don’t get it. So, that was the next phase of the RV renovation. I went shopping for fabrics and recovered the back cushions on the banquet with a pretty teal, white, and gray cotton patterned fabric. The seat cushions were already a dark grey microfiber that I liked so I kept that.
Wanna learn how to coordinate patterns like this below? Read my post “How to Decorate like a Pro“
I had just the thing for new window treatments. I worked at a local thrift store and found some old sheer panels that had large white lace sewn at the bottom. The sheers were ugly but the lace was so pretty, so I brought them home with the hope of using it for something. Well, I made some curtains out of some gray ticking stripe fabric and sewed the lace to the bottom. I love them! It looks so good with the white walls and the other fabrics. Another great farmhouse touch!
To finish off the windows in this main area I added simple, inexpensive, white roller shades. They roll out of the way when we don’t need them but give lots of privacy when we do.
Kitchen island and sofa
Just like most RV’s, there isn’t a lot of counter space. We solved this problem by purchasing a small white island with a butcher block top. It has added storage underneath where we store our pots, pans, dishes, and bowls. It also has a shelf for spices and a paper towel holder on each end. And the whole unit is on casters so we can roll it out of the way when we need to.
The tan leather couch is OK. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either, so it stays for now. I’d love to remove it eventually and have a space for more cabinetry or for a place to roll the island to when we are not using it. We rarely sit there so it seems like wasted space to me. The only thing I did to the couch was add pillows and a soft throw to give it a little cozy feeling.
Above the sofa however, I added a wooden shelf just below the window and added some plants and accessories. I needed to make this shelf removable because the sofa does pull out into a bed. So, I managed this by gluing a 2×2 piece of wood to the wall under the window at the same height as the back of the sofa. Then I rest the shelf between the wood and the sofa back. It works great. When I need to use the bed I just store the shelf, and everything on it, in the storage space under it.
My favorite part…the beam
Oh, my favorite part of the RV renovation was the beam! There was this huge, dark brown beam that flanked the slide out. It was the only thing in the whole camper that was this dark brown color. WHY? It didn’t match anything! So I decided to paint it white and scrape it down to make it look like a distressed beam. When I first did it, the brown underneath was a little too much of a contrast, so I took some watered down white paint and painted over the whole thing again to soften the look. I LOVE IT! It really made the whole space transform into the farmhouse style. Every time I walk into the RV it makes me smile. And it was such an easy fix.
The master bedroom RV Renovation
Next up was the master bedroom. Again, this room was sooo boring with the tan wallpaper, brown cabinetry, greige bedspread, those ugly window treatments that were in the main area, and two privacy panels that matched the bedding. UGH!
The bedroom windows
My first order of business was to address the windows. The blinds and cornices where already in the front yard, LOL, so I needed to come up with some alternatives. I still don’t understand the reasoning behind those little tiny windows? It’s not about storage because there isn’t anything above or beside them, inside or out. Let in the light people!
Anyway, I wanted the windows to at least look bigger. So I purchased some 63″ curtain panels that I cut in half width wise (they were way to wide for the window) and installed them at the ceiling, and about 4″ out from each side of the window. I do this in my own home as well. This way the curtain doesn’t cover much of the window and allows as much light in as possible. It also makes the window look bigger.
Next, I installed a plain white roller shade up close to the ceiling. Then hung the matching valances on the rod in between the panels. By pulling the shade down to the top of the little window it looks like a full size window. Now the windows look like they are 2-3 times as big as they really are. Much better! In the picture you can see the actual window starts at the bottom of the roller shade and is just outside of the inside of the curtain panels.
The bedding and privacy panels
Now the bedding. I purchased a new gray coverlet to replace the ugly greige comforter that came with the camper. Then I added some decorative pillows. Easy fix.
I replaced the privacy panels with 84″ long, linen like, curtains that I folded over on the top and clipped to the ceiling tracks. The folded top make it look like a valance. It’s cute. I like that it’s just a plain fabric because I didn’t really want to call attention to it.
The bathroom RV Renovation
The bathroom was pretty decent. It had the same cabinetry as the kitchen and a white sink, toilet, and tub/shower enclosure. It’s also pretty bright in there because of a skylight. There was definitely a lack of storage though and a lot of wasted space.
To solve this problem, I made some shelves for the wall area next to the upper sink cabinet. I used the same shelving I used over the sofa because it matches the cabinetry. It was easy to install by gluing 2×2 boards on the side of the cabinet and side wall. Then I cut the shelves to fit and just set them on top of the boards. This makes them removable for traveling. I realized that by keeping things removable that there is no pressure on the walls or any chance of cracking anything during travel.
The only other thing I did in the bathroom was replace the shower curtain with the same teal and gray colors that are in the fabric I used on the banquet. Then I purchased some teal towels for the shelves.
My next project is to add something to the wall space above the toilet. It’s just a large blank wall that needs something. I might buy one of those latter shelves and lean it against the wall. I can hang some baskets from it, for more storage, and it will give it that farmhouse look I’m going for.
The bunk room RV Renovation
Our RV has a bunk room with 4 beds and a center entertainment cabinet. Our 3 grandchildren use this room and I wanted to personalize it for them. They each picked out a bed and I decorated each space with their favorite things. Owls for Addison, and superheros for the boys.
Well, already they have moved on to other favorite things, so we just finished redecorating their room. Now it is a beach, mermaid, pirate theme.
On Addison’s side we went more towards the mermaid look by adding mermaid sheets and a mermaid privacy screen out of a shower curtain. She has artwork hanging on her head wall and beach themed bins on her shelf that we purchased at Christmas Tree Shops. I also added sheer teal colored cafe curtains with burlap tabs but they were too long for the window so I hung them by the rod pocket and let the tabs hang down.
For the two boys we went more toward sharks and pirates. They each have shark artwork hanging on the head wall, and nautical bins on their shelves. Jack has nautical sheets with pirates and Axel has sharks. We went with a fish themed privacy curtain on their side. Their window curtains match Addison’s but are tan instead of teal.
We added privacy screens to the bunks mostly to give them a cool fort type space. All I did was hang tension shower curtain rods with rings and actual fabric shower curtains. Fish shower curtains
Even though they have different themes, the two work together because of two reasons. First, we stayed with a nautical, beach theme, and both of their favorites work in this theme. And second, we stayed with blues, tans, and teal colors with exception of the privacy curtains which are more colorful but still coordinate.
I added a shelf in each of the upper bunks, at the foot of the beds, to hold some bins for all their stuff. They were installed the same way as the shelves in the bathroom so they are removable. I couldn’t do this for the lower bunks because there isn’t a way to attach the shelves on the sides. So, they get storage drawers that sit on the bed. This is fine for now because my youngest grandson is only 6 and has plenty of leg room.
Everything else I have done for my RV renovation is purely decorative. I hung artwork with Command Velcro strips so I can take them down for travel as well. *Make sure to purchase command strips for the weight of your artwork. Also, by using glue and command strips for all my art and shelves, I’m not taking any chances of driving nails into the wrong places where there may be wiring or pipes.
Just remember…You can customize your RV even if it’s brand new! You’ve spent all that money…why not make it exactly what you want?
I hope you enjoyed this tour of my renovated RV. I will be finishing up some of the projects I mentioned here and more and will write another post to highlight those details.
But for now you can check out the post I wrote on our first RV renovation titled “Camper Remodel – Before and After”
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