You don’t have to own a sticks-and-bricks home to be a part of the HGTV remodeling revolution. Full-time RVers are jumping into the fray with RV renovations that would make Chip and Joanna swoon. RV interior renovations like the stylish Montana fifth-wheels or the updated and modern interior of this vintage Airstream show that RV remodelers can hold their own against the best of house flippers.
RV renovations don’t require any special degrees or pedigrees to complete— there’s an army of DIYers who are living full-time in their campers while transforming their campers into beautiful homes on wheels.
Whether you’re currently full-timing in a camper, dream of doing it one day, or hope to do RV renovations as a career, there is no better time than now to think about camper remodeling ideas. This post will help you see how you can jump into the camper remodeling revolution, no matter your pedigree.
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People of all types and stripes are renovating RVs
With over one million Americans living full-time in RVs, it’s little wonder that so many people have taken to remodeling their campers. Even if you feel uncertain about your camper renovating skills, you can take comfort in the fact that the majority of full-timers are figuring out the renovations as they go. Rather than having any special set of skills, RVers simply have an eagerness to learn and a willingness to try new RV remodeling ideas.
These are some of the most important factors when it comes to remodeling your RV interior:
RV renovation: gut it or facelift?
HGTV programs often show homes being completely gutted and transformed. While this is beautiful to watch, it requires a tremendous amount of skill, time, and resources.
Unless you have those things, it’s likely best to do an RV renovation that allows you to work with the good bones that a camper already has. For example, if you can’t stand the color scheme or the gaudy carpet inside a camper, that’s still a much easier RV interior to transform than one that’s falling apart inside.
The importance of good bones
When exploring campers to remodel, it is vital that you find an RV that has its bones still intact. Chip and Joanna may be able to gut an entire house, but unless you bring special construction skills to the table, this will be a difficult proposition in a camper renovation.
Instead, finding an RV with good bones that still needs work can be a great way to get into a camper that you can transform to your liking.
Here are some factors to consider when searching for a camper to remodel:
- Subfloor — The subfloor is the plywood floor that sits underneath your RV flooring. If the camper has ever had a leak that’s gone unchecked, the sub-floor will be soft in those places. You can look for this by going over every square inch of the floor to see if any spots feel soft. Be sure to check under sinks, in closets, and any other hard to reach places that could’ve suffered subfloor damage.
If you encounter mild to moderate subfloor damage you can use some premix patch and level to fix it.
If the subfloor is severely damaged, repairing it involves a time consuming and expensive process of removing and replacing the damaged section — plus removing and replacing anything covering the damaged section
- Cabinets — Are the cabinets intact or falling apart? If you simply don’t like the color of the cabinets, it’s easy to remodel a camper interior with paint. However, if the cabinets are falling apart or of poor quality, you could be in for a very expensive DIY job
- Underbody — Take a look at the underbody of any RV before you buy it. Is it severely rusty? Does it seem dirty? You should always visually inspect the underbody of a camper before signing on the dotted line
- Appliances — Test all appliances before purchasing a camper you want to remodel. If some are not working, that may not be a deal-breaker, but be sure to research how much replacing or fixing them will cost
The magic of paint
Paint — and spray paint in particular — is your best friend in any camper renovation. You can use spray paint to breathe new life into sinks that have yellowed with age. You can use paint to change the entire color scheme of your cabinets without having to strip off the old varnish. You can even paint directly on your subfloor to DIY a custom floor for your camper.
Home improvement stores are usually happy to help you select the best type of paint for a particular job. By bringing in samples of your camper renovation — such as the cabinet doors you want to repaint — the staff at these stores will be more able to guide you appropriately.
Use normal home furnishings wherever possible
If you shop at RV stores for your RV renovations, you’ll quickly notice a large markup on the prices for things like RV sinks and RV showerheads. However, you can use regular home furnishings for the majority of these projects. By shopping at home improvement stores, you’ll save a bundle and have a much larger range of options for your RV interior renovation.
Practice creative destruction
While you shouldn’t do a total demolition for your first camper renovation, you might select strategic areas and go full Chip Gaines with a sledgehammer. For example, full-timers have been known to demolish certain small sections of their campers to make way for things like mini-bars, more space, or new furniture.
Creative destruction — practiced carefully — can be a great way to restructure your RV interior without gutting its good bones.
Wrap instead of reupholstering
If your RV furniture is not to your liking, you can usually renovate it by wrapping the offending upholstery with new fabric. Wrapping is a much more affordable and less time-consuming option than reupholstering. You can pick out the fabric you like and simply wrap the old upholstery to match the way you’ve remodeled your camper’s interior.
Chip and Joanna might have the home renovation market, but the RV renovation market is wide open territory for anyone with a passion for breathing new life into a heavily loved camper. The tips above will help you remodel your camper no matter your skill level.
Just remember to get proper insurance coverage for your RV when you beauty it up!