Area rug added to our fifth wheel RV living room

RV Tour Video: How I Organized My Fifth Wheel for Full-Time Living

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Ever wondered what full-time RV living really looks like? Let's hear from Ashley, who spent years living in Missouri in her fifth wheel camper.

About Ashley's RV

Hi! My name is Ashley Mann, and I created RV Inspiration back in 2017. I live full-time in an RV with my husband Josiah and our kitty. 

Below you'll find tons of photos, details, and links to products I use to organize my RV, but let me give you a tour first:

Our RV is a 2009 Keystone Everest fifth wheel that we purchased used from the original owner in 2016 to live in full time. We are parked in a mobile home park in Kansas City, Kansas, for now. In fact, we haven't yet bought a tow vehicle, but we hope to be mobile within the next couple of years.

2009 Keystone Everest 345s

I do realize that before we move our RV I'm going to have to go through and secure everything, move decor, etc. But that's not something I'm too worried about because I've learned quite a few hacks for securing everything in your RV.

And now for the photo tour…

The Entry Area

Shoe Storage

Directly in front of you when you enter our RV is a bamboo shoe shelf. 

Bamboo shoe shelf and wall baskets from World Market

The previous owners never wore shoes inside the RV, and after living in Korea for a year teaching English, I always wanted to adopt a no-shoes tradition in my own household. This protects our floors and is convenient for removing boots—especially in the winter.

Coat Rack

On the wall to the left of the door, we added a coat rack, mounted using the screws that came with it.

Coat rack on RV wall

Drop Zone for Hats, Gloves, etc.

To the right of the door we have wall baskets from World Market where we store hats and gloves, bills, stamps, checkbooks, and all the little odds and ends that it's nice to drop somewhere when you first come inside.

Wall baskets from World Market next to entry way

Plexiglass Cover for RV Screen Door

The previous owners of our RV made plexiglass covers for the screen that attaches with Velcro. It's perfect for nice days when you want a little more sunshine, but don't want to leave the door open.

Velcro plexiglass to make a screen door cover for an RV

Litter Box Access Tunnel

To the right as you enter are the stairs leading up to master bedroom and bathroom.  We built a tunnel through our stairs for our kitty to access his litter box in the storage bay.  We did this by removing the wood vent cover (just like the one on the front of the first step) and covering the exposed aluminum beams with a piece of carpet remnant.

Litter box access tunnel in RV stairs

The tunnel is a cardboard concrete form from Lowe's. We used foam core poster board as a makeshift cover for the area under the stairs since there are a lot of wires back there that we don't want Kitty to be climbing around in. 

Here's how it looks up close:

Litter box access tunnel in RV stairs

Have Cats? I've got 7 Ideas for Where to Store a Litter Box in an RV

Living Area

Before and After We Bought the RV

The photo on the left is what the RV looked like before we bought it, and on the right is what it looked like after we moved in.

These are the main changes we made right away to make it better suit our needs and taste.

  • Removed the factory-installed window coverings (but we left the pull-down shades)
  • Painted the walls a neutral grey
  • Replaced the sleeper sofa, recliners, and bar stools with a desk, love seat, and my sewing machine.

A lot of people choose to paint their cabinets as well, but we actually love the maple cabinets. The bookcase with the giant window and retractable TV was the main reason we chose this particular floor plan. We would like to replace our flooring with vinyl plank at some point.

Dining Area

Continuing with the tour, this is our dining area.  This is actually the first dining table we have owned since we got married in 2011. I am so happy that we can now sit down together for meals instead of just eating on the couch while watching TV or looking at our laptops. I also love that there is hidden storage under the table top and chair seats.

Under cabinet wine glass storage in RV dining area

As you can see, I decided to add curtains after being inspired by other RV owners' window coverings. I also added a rack for my wine and liquor glasses. 

On the wall between the dining table and couch is this wall sconce. In looking for ways to add some color to the RV, I decided to make a cover for it that I could remove and change if I wanted. You can read all about that project in this blog post.

2018 Update – Replaced the Dining Table

I know I said I loved our dining table, but…

I decided to get rid of our dining set and replace it with:

  • an armchair from
  • a folding table from Ikea
  • a couple of matching folding stools which I got from Etsy

This freed up a lot of space in the living area, plus added an extra comfy place to sit. And if we want to sit at a table for dinner, or if I need extra counter space for cooking, we can always pull out the table.

Armchair and Ikea table I used to replace the dining set in my RV.

Sofa Upgrade

Next we come to the couch. This was the couch that came with our RV. It was a sleeper sofa with an inflatable air mattress. It needed to go.

At first I had planned to keep the sofa and cover it with a slipcover. I bought this slipcover and really liked how it looked. 

Stretch-to-fit slipcover - idea for campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, etc. | RV Inspiration

But the couch just wasn't comfortable to sit on. 

Since it was our main seating for every day, we decided to buy a new couch. We bought the “Norsborg” sofa from Ikea (since discontinued), which came in a box and was assembled in our living room.

Something else we added to the RV was this storage ottoman/coffee table that I'd had for years but spray painted and reupholstered with a canvas drop cloth when we moved into the RV. We use it to store shoes that we don't wear as often.

Norsborg sofa love seat from Ikea and storage ottoman for shoe storage |

Related: Can you put Ikea furniture in a moving RV?

Adding a Shelf Behind the Sofa

I built this shelf to go behind the couch using 1″x6″ lumber and shelf brackets as an extra place to set potted herbs during the winter. I can never have enough plants! The shelf brackets are mounted on the wall with screws and wall anchors and have been very sturdy.

DIY plant shelf behind sofa

Here's a video with a closer look at the shelf and more details:

Travel-Proof Knickknack Shelf Added

Recently I added a shower shelf spray painted gold to the corner as a place to set decorative items. I use acrylic mounting tape to stick these items to the shelf so they stay put while the RV is moving.

Corner shower shelf used as extra storage space in RV living room

Window Treatment Replacement

To bright the windows, I made curtains out of flat sheets. 

I also made curtain rods out of stained dowel rods with drawer knobs in the ends and hung them using Command hooks. I hot glued them directly to the top of my window shades (leaving the screws exposed in case I needed to remove them). 

Using command hooks to hang RV curtains

Office & Studio Area

This is my husband Josiah's work space. 

RV slideout converted to office area and studio workspace

Josiah is a web developer and a musician. Because of all that, he needed a desk that could serve multiple purposes, so he built this one using the metal frame of an old Walmart desk he used to own. He added maple plywood slabs with a pull-out tray for his mouse and keyboard.  The electric piano can be pushed up under the shelf while Josiah is using his laptop, or pulled out for playing.

Adding an Area Rug

I really dislike our brown carpet, and since we haven't yet gotten around to replacing it with vinyl flooring, I decided to buy an area rug. I like the look of the living area so much better with the rug.

Area rug added to our fifth wheel RV living room

Kitchen & Dining Area

Here's another before and after for you: our kitchen.

Vertical Storage Added

I used mug hooks to mount wire storage baskets to the end of the cabinet for storing onions, potatoes, apples, etc. And I hung another basket for fruit over one of the cabinet doors.

Coffee Area

Below is our coffee station. We take coffee very seriously. 

Coffee station in our RV

The espresso machine is a Breville BES870XL. We use it for making lattes, but if we want a regular cup of coffee we use the French press sitting on top, which I highly recommend if you want a great way to make coffee that doesn't take up a lot of space. 

The wire basket on the wall came from World Market (it's since been discontinued – here's a similar one). It holds our manual coffee grinder, pour-over cone, and moka pot (which I used for making stovetop espresso before we got the espresso machine).

Refrigerator Door Storage

On the refrigerator, you can see our hygrometer/thermometer – an essential for RV living!

AcuRite 00325 Indoor Thermometer & Hygrometer with Humidity Gauge, Black, 0.3
  • Reliable and Accurate Readings: Thermometer and Hygrometer gauge are able to quickly report measurements

Our refrigerator is magnetic, so I bought magnetic hooks which I use to hang pot holders, measuring cups, and spoons. If our fridge had not been magnetic, I would have used Command hooks instead.

RV refrigerator doors used as storage

Pot Rack in My RV Kitchen

It may be impractical, but I bought this pot rack before we even bought this RV!

Pot rack in an RV

But when I went to install it, I quickly discovered that our ceiling is made of metal. There was going to be NO screwing into the ceiling. 

Fortunately, my husband had an idea! He removes the screws from the vent cover and screwed the pot rack into those holes. It worked! How lucky that the vent was located exactly where I wanted the pot rack!

Other RV Kitchen Storage Ideas

I found a nifty way to store my pizza pan by using magnets to stick it to the side of the microwave.

Pizza pan storage in our RV

This wall-o-spices is my pride and joy. You can read about how I made it here.

Wall spice storage rack in RV

This was a neat discovery. It turned out that behind the panel under our pantry cabinet was just empty space, so I turned it into a place to store jars.

Hidden storage behind panel in RV

The rack where my cutting boards and baking sheets are stored was purchased to hang on a cabinet door.

RV kitchen storage idea for cutting boards and baking sheets

I store my silverware next to the sink in a basket I got from a thrift store with tin cans as dividers. I like keeping the silverware where it's handy to put away.  Something else I want to mention about this photo is the sponge caddy in the sink. It kept falling until I read a tip to mount it in the corner of the sink. I didn't think it would, but it worked like magic!

Silverware storage in RV

It really bugged me to always have the ugly dish soap bottle sitting on the counter. So I bought this nifty little squeezable rubber soap bottle. It comes in lots of pretty colors (mine is the gray one). It's the little things.

Unbreakable dish soap dispenser in RV

Our RV Bathroom

Medicine Cabinet Organization

Organizing the medicine cabinet wasn't my top priority. But when I wrote a blog post about bathroom organization ideas I decided to purchase some baskets to keep things organized.

RV bathroom medicine cabinet organization

Added Storage

In the corner of the bathroom, I put up a corner shower shelf and hung a full-length mirror over the door.

Shower shelf extra #storage idea for #bathroom #organization in a #camper, #traveltrailer, #motorhome, or #RV

I love storage items that hang on a cabinet door. I use over-the-cabinet-door towel bars for hanging both my hand towel and a bath mat.

mDesign Metal Over Kitchen Cabinet Door Towel Bar Holder for Hand, Dish, and Tea Towel Rack - Over the Door Towel Bar- Hang Inside or Outside Doors - Kitchen Organizer, Omni Collection, 2 Pack, Bronze
  • SIMPLE STORAGE: Over the cabinet towel bars always keep pot holders, hand, dish, and tea towels within reach; Easy to use and install; Using this rod is a great way to ensure you always have a towel or dish rag handy; Great for use in small spaces where storage space is limited; Use as a cupboard door hanger in bathroom, kitchen, garage, and more; Using this kitchen towel holder clears counter space and eliminates clutter; Place towel rack inside cabinet door for more discreet storage; Set of 2

RV Shower Shelf Hack

Here's something else I did to prepare for future travel. I wanted to be able to pack and go in as little time as possible, so I added plexiglass “walls” to the shelves in my shower so I could leave everything on the shelves without it falling off. 

RV shower shelf hack

The Bedroom

This is the “before” and “after” view of our bedroom. I replaced the bedspread with an inexpensive down comforter and duvet cover from Target which I love. The comforter keeps me warm and cozy in winter but doesn't make my husband hot in the summer. And the duvet cover feels like a sheet on the bottom and can be removed and laundered easily.

Mirrored Closet Door Makeover

I also covered the mirrored closet doors with faux rice paper window film to mimic the look of a Japanese shoji screen. I wrote a blog post that tells about how I made them.

Saving Space in the Closet

Here are some of the ways I save space in our closet. (I share where I got each of these items in a blog post about closet organization ideas).

Storage Added to the Backs of Doors

I also use hanging organizers on the doors in my bedroom for extra clothing storage.

Extra clothes storage added to RV bedroom

We have a Splendide WD2100XC Vented Combo washer/dryer that has worked great for us so far.  That model is no longer available to purchase new, but you can order the more recent equivalent model online from Amazon or Camping World.

We put our dirty laundry in the hamper hanging on the wall. The canvas bag can be removed from the frame and closed with a draw string if needed. We use the plastic laundry basket for extra storage.

Laundry storage in RV

That's it for the inside of the RV! 

Want to see the outside? Check out how we prepared our fifth wheel for winter living.

If you didn't get a chance to watch my video tour yet, here it is again:

RV Inspiration website | Storage, Organization, and Decor Ideas for Travel Trailers, Campers & Motorhomes

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  1. Just finished “the tour” and I am impressed and inspired! I live tiny in a 30ft travel trailer in a permanent spot and love tiny living! At first it was hard downsizing but a completely different feeling when it was finished and I settled into my tiny home. And I am gradually making it truly “home”!
    I don’t think I will ever trade this lifestyle for a traditional house as I like how it feels to be uncluttered.
    I garner lots of ideas from you and people like you that live tiny and love it. I keep “stuff” to a minimum and if I ever did have to move my home it would not take long to get it ready.
    I , too, have a storage ottoman with two pretty folded blankets on top to keep handy for chilly evenings and I keep my crocheting and other needlework projects inside the Ottoman plus I have a great place to prop my feet! I have a bunkhouse model but my late hubby was creative and made the bunkhouse into a huge closet/pantry combo. It is a work in progress as far as organizing it but I am slowly figuring it out.
    It also holds my little lightweight portable washer/spinddryer. I can quickly move that appliance to my bathtub (sit it on a bathstep) and move it back to the closet. The washer is a great solution to.laying exorbitant amounts at a laundromat and since I live in Florida I can hang clothes out all year.
    Keep up the good work and looking forward to more articles!

    1. Glad you’re enjoying the website! Sounds like you’ve got tiny living pretty well figured out! 🙂

  2. I’m so happy I found your site. We just moved into a RV full time a couple months ago. We are currently in KCMO due to work but hope to be traveling soon. Our jobs will force us to travel at some point. I haven’t begun to remodel as the adjustment from house to RV has been enough for now! ha ha!

    1. I’m so glad you are enjoying the site! You sound exactly like us – we were in KCK for a year and a half, but just moved to Dallas last weekend (which is why I’m just now getting around to replying)! Good luck; I’m sure you will be traveling before you know it! For now enjoy the process of making your RV into a home!

  3. Oh this post made me so happy. We are contemplating a similar model but a bunkhouse. We will be traveling with my toddler and I was freaking out about the litter box and traveling with cats honestly. Thank you so much!

  4. Hi Ashley… I finally took your tour. It’s top quality. You are so creative! I don’t expect to live in an RV, but I could sure use some of your ideas in this small apartment. I don’t think I have the energy to do much right now. Love you two. Grandpa Phll

    1. Aw, hi! Thanks for commenting, and glad you enjoyed it and found some of the ideas useful! 🙂 Hope you are doing well! Love you!

  5. Hi Ashley
    We will be moving into our recent purchase full time in October. We have 2 kitties that will be with us and I l8ve the basement idea for their box. Can you send me info on how to do that?

    1. I actually recently redesigned our tunnel, and I plan to write a blog post about it soon, but to be honest, every RV is different, so even if I show you how we made ours, you might end up having to come up with your own solution. I had a plan in my head of how I thought I would do it, but once we actually looked to see how the area was constructed, I was like, oh, that won’t work, and had to figure out something else. The main thing I can say is that a cardboard concrete form has worked really well as a tunnel, although I recently lined it with a litter mat (hot glued in) because his claws were starting to shred the cardboard.

  6. Enjoyed reading your tips and seeing what you’ve done. I am about ready to purchase a small travel trailer and have been told do not put anything like screws or nails into the walls or ceilings. How did you hang all those lovely items? I have so many ideas for extra storage but not sure velcro and 3M will do the trick. If you’ve posted the answer previously, I’m sorry to ask the same question. Thanks.

    1. I use a combination of methods. For items I intend to be permanent, like a shelf or a coat hook or a basket on the wall, I use screws, especially if it’s obvious there’s nothing behind the wall but empty space. For decorative items, I typically use acrylic mounting tape to avoid filling my walls with too many holes. I also have a blog post with a few other no-drill ideas you can check out here if you like.

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