Photo Credit: Angellina

How to Remodel an RV: A Guide for RV Owners

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Most RV designs leave a lot to be desired. They are dark, dated, and frustratingly brown. In this in-depth guide, we will share how to remodel an RV to make it a beautiful home on wheels.

We’ve been sharing tips and inspiration for remodeling RVs for years, and this guide collects everything in one place to help you work through your RV remodel one tutorial at a time.

Let’s start renovating!

Planning Your RV Remodel

No good renovation comes to fruition without a plan! In this first section, I’ll explain everything you should consider as you plan your RV remodel. Don’t pick up that paintbrush just yet!

1. Assess The Condition of Your RV

Before you plan your RV remodel, assess the condition of your RV. Have it inspected (particularly if it is new to you), and use a checklist to review every part of the RV. Search for water damage, in particular, which is costly to repair.

If your RV is a motorhome, check the engine and mechanical components or have them professionally inspected. Even if you renovate your RV beautifully, you can easily blow your budget on engine repairs or find your RV is impossible to use because of damage.

Decide before you start getting excited over wallpaper patterns and new tiles if there are any major repairs that might make an RV remodel not worth it.

2. Set Your Budget

You can renovate your entire RV for under $500 (I did!).

You can also renovate your entire RV for over $25,000.

Photo credit: Alice Zealy of rain2shine ventures

And anywhere in between.

Most renovations will be under $5,000 if there is no major damage or costly repairs to be made. Set your budget based on what you want to update on your RV and how much you want to spend. We dive deeper into this topic including estimates on what different types of renovations (like adding tile, replacing floors, painting, adding new furniture, etc) cost in this guide.

Read Next: How Much Does an RV Renovation Cost? (+ How to Save Money!)

3. List Your Priorities

Depending on your budget, you may not be able to afford to tackle every part of your renovation. List your biggest priorities (like adding a tile backsplash in the kitchen or creating a shiplap wall) and allocate your budget accordingly.

Will you replace furniture?

Do you need to find solutions for storage? (Storage organizers are always more expensive than they should be!)

Do you need to add bunk beds to fit the whole family?

Photo Credit: Aryn Dedwylder

List out your top priorities and tackle those first to stay on budget.

4. Define Your Style and Gather Inspiration

How do you want your RV interior to look and feel? Are you going for a beach house vibe? Modern and sleek? Coastal chic? Contemporary? Boho? Gypsy? Vintage? Farmhouse? Cabin?

There are so many possibilities! Click on the links above to see examples of these different design styles in RVs. Use a Pinterest account to save photos to a board to keep all your inspiration organized as you plan your renovation.

Find inspiration on our Pinterest account where we save beautiful RV renovation photos by room. Check out living room makeovers, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and more.

Photo Credit: Rving Dogs and Wine

As you save photos, make notes on a color scheme, patterns, furniture, etc you want to include in your renovation. You’ll need it for the next step!

5. Shop and Select Materials and Finishes

Here comes the fun part! Now that you’ve made your plan and budget, it’s time to start selecting materials, paint colors, furniture, and more. This can be fun if you love to shop, but it can also be overwhelming. We track the most popular items we see used again and again by RVers and save them in our Amazon storefront.

Shop one of these lists to start getting ideas for materials:

Choosing paint colors and/or wallpaper can be daunting too! Pick out paint swatches at your local hardware store and tape them to your walls to see what they look like in different lighting. For best results, buy a sample jar for cheap and paint a section of your walls or cabinets to see how it looks. Some paints look different in different lighting!

Look at how this paint changes shades of gray in different lighting.

As you shop, keep a few things in mind:

1. Do not add weight to your camper.

Your camper can only support a certain amount of weight. Check your manual for the exact number for your model. You’re looking for the GVWR or gross vehicle weight rating. Keep in mind that moving in your belongings like clothes and pots and pans count against this number too. Give yourself plenty of cushion to not get too close to it as you remodel.

This becomes very important to monitor as you renovate, particularly if you are adding and removing furniture. Note the weight of furniture removed and furniture added. Most residential furniture is significantly lighter than RV furniture and can help shed a few pounds from your dry weight.

Check out this guide to RV furniture to get a good pulse on where to find furniture that won’t add weight to your rig.

2. Paying more for better quality materials > doing the work twice.

Use good quality paint! RVers make countless painting mistakes that lead to so much extra work. Avoid this by using quality paint.

Read Next: The Best Paint to Use in Your RV (For Walls and Cabinets!)

3. Not all residential items will work in an RV.

Heavy ceramic sinks, residential toilets, bidets, bathtubs, faucets, tiles—not everything you see or want will work in an RV. Not only do items need to be lightweight, they need to be durable enough to handle the moving earthquake that is an RV and small enough to fit your space. Look at product dimensions, weight, and installation requirements before buying.

6. Create a Timeline

RV flipper Erin Cherry completed a recent renovation in only two weeks while working a full-time job! But for most RVers, fully remodeling an RV is a multi-month process completed on weekends when the weather is good but not so good that you’re out enjoying it!

Photo Credit: goodnews8989

Here is an estimation of how many days different aspects of a renovation might take so you can begin to figure out your timeline.

  • Demo (removing furniture, cabinet doors, handles, mattresses, valances, etc.): 1 full day, or more if you discover water damage
  • Priming: 1-2 days
  • Painting: 1-2 days
  • Letting the paint cure before bringing in furniture and scuffing it: Priceless (at least a week!)
  • Installing flooring: 2-3 days (This can take longer if there are stairs or particularly small nooks and crannies in your RV!)
Photo Credit: Tomaz Coast to Coast

This can take significantly less time if you can devote full days in a row to your remodel, but most people we talk to are indulging in this passion project on late nights and weekends!

7. DIY Versus Professional Help

The last step before you tackle your RV remodel is to figure out what parts of this renovation you will complete yourself and where you will hire a professional.

I’ve heard from many RVers that they regret hiring professional painters (“I had to redo it all myself!” “Waste of money!”) and others that are so glad they hired a professional electrician. Think about your skills, your tools, and your time. Certain projects like light fixtures can be done by anyone, but you can save time and make sure it’s done right by hiring a professional.

DIY: How to Replace RV Light Fixtures in 7 Easy Steps

If you want a little bit of help with your RV but still want to do the work yourself, these RV renovators offer consulting and can give you advice while you DIY your renovation.

How to Remodel An RV: The Process

Now that you’ve got a design plan and materials let’s start remodeling your RV! If there are any major repairs that need to be completed—like window leaks, a new hot water heater, a slide motor, etc.—we recommend tackling those before you begin renovating.

1. Demolition Day!

I remember the first time I ever had the privilege of demolishing something. It was incredibly fun. I felt so powerful with the hammer! Demo in an RV is pretty simple and can be knocked out in a day. You’ll need a good power drill!

Most items in your RV will come out with a power drill or a screwdriver. Items like your couch can be a little trickier.

Keep an eye out for water damage after removing your major furniture pieces. There could be soft spots on the walls or floor that were hidden before.

2. Rebuild Flooring and Walls

If you find water damage, your next step is to rebuild your subfloor or walls (whichever is needed). Professional renovator Casie of Tomaz Coast to Coast gave us the lowdown on how to replace your subflooring if you find water damage.

Replacing Your Subflooring

  1. Cut the existing floor along the walls or in a straight line to reinstall it (if you want to keep it). Cut along the perimeter of your soft spot where you expect to see the damage. Pull up more as needed if the damage is more widespread than you originally thought.
  2. Cut out the soft spot on the subflooring.
  3. Cut 1″x2″ boards to create supports for the new subflooring.
  4. Cut and lay a piece of plywood—cut to size— over the open section.
  5. Clean any mold with vinegar and a scrub brush. Carpet or soft surfaces with mold should be thrown away.
  6. Replace the existing flooring or install new flooring.

You can see this in action in this Instagram video:

Did you know that many manufactured RVs lay out linoleum as waterproofing? If you’ve been wanting to pull up your RV carpet, see if you have linoleum flooring already waiting underneath!

Replacing Walls

Similar to the above process, you may need to replace parts of your walls due to water damage.

You can get a good idea of the scope of this project in this Instagram video. Tomaz Coast to Coast is a must follow for anyone who wants to get tips as they remodel an RV!

You can see more on how to tackle water damage in your walls and how to replace your siding in this post.

3. Prep and Prime

I always recommend priming first since it involves preparing all of your surfaces and it can get messy. It’s best to do it before you install new floors! Even if you lay plastic to protect your floors, painting over new floors is stressful.

Sanding and prepping to prime. Photo credit: rain2shine ventures

To prep your walls, first look for any ripples in the wallpaper and fill any holes. You can fill holes with wall putty. If you find large ripples in the RV wallpaper, that is a sign of water damage. Remove the wallpaper and check for mold and water damage.

For More: How to Repair Damaged RV Walls

To prepare your RV cabinets for paint, sand and clean them with TSP. I won’t dive too much into this steps in this guide, but you can learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how to prep and prime here:

Read Next: How to Prime Your RV Cabinets and Walls Like the Pros

Note: If you are installing new cabinets, we recommend installing them before you prime and paint your walls, but this isn’t a project most RVers tackle!

4. Paint, Wallpaper, and Build Accent Walls

A decade ago, the only way you saw RVs being renovated was with a coat of paint. Today, people do amazing things!

Scroll through these photos for more ideas on how renovators get creative with their accent walls. The links below will share more photos and tips for how to recreate the look.

5. Install New Flooring, Adding Countertops

Once your walls are beautiful and you’re done painting your walls and/or cabinets, it’s time to add in everything new. Add your new countertops, or give your existing ones a makeover and install new flooring. If you’re adding a backsplash to your kitchen or bathroom, install it once your countertops are finished.

Photo credit: RVing Dogs and Wine

More: Peel-and-Stick Tiles for RVs: Shopping & Installation Guide

If you’re replacing your shower surround, adding a bathtub, or replacing a toilet, now is the time!

(But most people opt to paint their shower instead of replacing it!)

For most RVers, these can be the most laborious and out-of-your-comfort-zone tasks. Take extra time, ask a friend for an extra set of hands, and follow tutorials to help you through these tasks.

6. Install Fixtures

Let’s start installing things:

And if you’re feeling really bold, hang decor on your walls!

Here’s a quick tutorial video on how to install light fixtures in your RV:

7. Move in Furniture

We recommend moving in furniture last so it isn’t in your way while you’re installing items like light fixtures and so you can let the paint fully cure before risking scuffing it.

Photo Credit: bbandtherv

Be sure to anchor and attach furniture to the floor with straps and D-rings.

8. Decorate!

There are renovations like this:

Photo Credit: @sprinkle_those_doughnuts

And there are renovations like this:

Photo Credit: Wayland Ventures

Make your RV feel like home by decorating it! Add plants, rugs, themed decor, throw pillows, and more to add color and personality to your home on wheels.

Read Next: How to Add Bold Colors and Patterns to Your RV

9. Time for the Maiden Voyage

Camping or living in your RV is a great way to catch any mistakes or changes to be made. Once you’ve got everything moved in and your remodel is complete, take a short trip or spend the day in your RV to find any last minute fixes.

Tips for a Great RV Remodel

Keep these nuggets of wisdom in mind as you plan your RV remodel.

1. Stay on budget.

You won’t be able to enjoy your newly remodeled home on wheels if you’re stressing about how much you went over budget! Run the numbers and keep on track to avoid stress and stay happy with your final product.

2. Create a cohesive style.

Avoid adding too many colors, patterns, or decor to make your design feel cohesive. Refer back to the inspiration photos you saved to figure out how to balance your style as you renovate.

decor details in RV bedroom remodel by the wandering wilsons

3. Consult with a professional as needed.

Even if you’ve remodeled homes, remember that RVs are built differently. Systems will run differently, and everything must be durable enough to withstand movement. If you hit a wall with an aspect of your renovation, consult with a professional RV renovator for advice.

4. Make it sustainable.

Reuse and up-cycle supplies as you renovate to save money and reduce your waste. Consider finding used items from Good Will or Habitat for Humanity ReStore to finish your renovation.

Get More Sustainable Ideas: 99 Inexpensive Camper Remodel Ideas For Any Budget

5. Organize as you move in.

Photo Credit: Suzanne Taylor

Clutter can make any renovation look bad! Find creative ways to stay organized with your storage to keep your surfaces clean.


1. Is it worth it to renovate an old RV?

This depends completely on the condition of the RV, how long you want to own it, and the brand of RV. Some old RVs like Airstreams can be 60 years old, but look better than new. Motorhomes are less likely to be renovated because the additional engine and systems mean high costs to maintain.

2. How do I make my RV look like new?

The first way to make your RV look like new is to recover the walls with paint, wallpaper, or some other treatment. (Board and batten is very in style right now!)

The second way to make your RV look immediately newer is to replace the furniture. A new couch makes a big difference!

how to remodel an rv
Photo Credit: Haley G.

And lastly, update those window treatments. Accordion blinds scream old RV!

3. How can I remodel my RV without painting?

Painting is a huge investment of time! Check out these renovations for ideas on how to makeover your RV without painting.

How to Remodel an RV

We love looking at gorgeous remodeled RVs and hope this lengthy guide (kudos on making it to the bottom!) helps you make a plan to remodeling your home on wheels. Bookmark this page as a reference as you work through your renovation. And, most importantly, share your renovation in the comments! We can’t wait to see what you create.

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