Simple DIY Projects to Upgrade Your RV
Living in an RV doesn't have to be uninspired.
Nowadays, there are more young people joining the ranks of full-time RV travelers than ever before. What was once a travel pastime of the retired, has become a lifestyle for people of all ages who are simply looking to add more travel and adventure into their day-to-day life. Take us, for example. We decided to quit our jobs, sell our belongings, and travel the country full-time. We were tired of sitting behind a desk, while the outside world swiftly went on without us.
But while we were shopping for RVs, we found that there were very minimal modern motorhomes, and way too many outdated ones. We understood that most RV companies were catering to a certain demographic originally, so the interiors of the RV were quite specific in style and decor. However, we wouldn't let that stop us. No, living in an RV didn't mean that you were permanently living with your grandparents in a retirement home in Naples. We decided it was time to upgrade our RV with simple DIY projects that added more of a modern flare.
We bought a 2007 Itasca Navion, 24ft. We chose this model primarily because it did have a more upgraded feel on the inside as far as furniture, cabinetry and overall look was concerned. However, there were definitely some projects that needed to be completed ASAP in order to jazz up the interior to more 2015/2016 standards. This is what the interior looked like originally...
Two things that we realized had to go immediately: the wallpaper & the upholstery. These were two very simple projects, albeit time-consuming. So, we started with the paint.
How to Paint Your RV
Painting probably took the longest to accomplish, simply because of all the nooks and crannies that RVs have. Seriously, you'll be amazed at how many areas require a very small brush and a ton of patience. But, the beautiful thing about RV wallpaper is that it's thin and can be painted over with ease. This is all we needed for the project:
1) Paint + Primer
2) Two Roller Brushes
3) Paint Tray
4) Rubbing Alcohol
5) Paper Towels/Towel/Rag
6) Smaller Brushes for Nooks
7) Masking Tape
First things first, take down all fixtures that can be unscrewed and removed. This will make your life so much easier when you start painting. Anything that can be taken down, take it down. For everything else that cannot be removed (handles, trim, stove, etc.) tape up with masking tape. Again, this will make things run so much more smoothly once the painting begins.
After everything is taped and removed, start rolling. You'll see that the paint covers the wallpaper smoothly enough, but does require more than one coat. We did two, and that was enough for us.
The edging is important, so keep in mind that patience really is key. You don't want to rush the process and have it be sloppy and uneven. This is your home, after all. The slower the process, the more time you take for each wall, the better it'll look in the end.
This is what the painting process looked like after we finished...
Just like that, we brightened up the inside of the RV and gave it a fresh, more modern feel.
Adding a Backsplash to Your Kitchen
Another simple RV Do It Yourself project is adding a backsplash to your kitchen. We love backsplashes -- we love what they add as far as design, but more importantly we love that they protect our walls anytime we cook. Let's be honest, we can throw down in the kitchen and at times our walls take the brunt of it. So, we wanted to add a backsplash. BUT, when you're in an RV weight is everything. You can't add subway tiles, or tiles in general really, because it could throw the balance off.
Luckily, we found an amazing product called Smart Tiles, which gave the look and feel of subway tiles without all the added weight. Here are the products we used:
1) Smart Tiles
4) Measuring Tape
Adhering the tiles was an absolute cinch. You pull off the backing of each square and voila! Adhesive. The toughest part of the whole process was measuring to fit the tiles in the small space in the kitchen. The tiles come in squares and you need to fit them properly in order to make sure it's straight and perfectly connected all throughout. The directions that come with Smart Tiles are a huge help, so make sure to give it a good read through before applying. Also, I added a video below that made a world of difference for us before we began. After that, simply measure the wall and cut to fit! Here's what it looked like after...
Such an easy and inexpensive fix to brighten up our interior.
Next on the list, we needed to get rid of the upholstery. Our couch that was in the slide was extremely bulky and would be so expensive to have recovered. It only happened upon chance that we decided to rip out our entire couch, but oh the results were worth it.
Removing Your RV Slide Couch
We really only used a few things in order to do this and they all happened to be in our toolbox. A common wrench, a screwdriver, and some scissors. Each couch in an RV is screwed into the slide bottom along with the seat belts, so you'll need to unscrew them first before trying to remove the couch. Note: Most RVs are different with how a couch is screwed in. You may need a few other tools instead.
The process was very straightforward. We went underneath the couch and removed each and every screw. It was daunting at first because there were about 9-12 in total that needed removing, but once each was out, the couch just slid out, off the balancing bars. We also unscrewed the balancing bars, which left nothing on the slide except a beautiful slab of wood. We actually ended up staining the slab of wood a darker color in order to make our slide a bit more of a modern nook.
We measured the front of the slide to find a metal capping so that it made the space look a bit more cohesive. The metal capping we found in Home Depot, and all it took was a screwdriver to affix it to the front of the slide.
There you have it, three very simple DIY projects to upgrade the interior of your RV. All three projects cost less than $100, and a few days to complete collectively. But boy did it make a world of difference in our space. Who said living in an RV had to be uninspired?