couple standing in front of their RV

Small Space, Big Potential: How To Make The Most Of Your RV Remodel

Remodeling and Renovation Tips

by LB Gabriel Posted on December 30, 2021

Those with a sense of wanderlust typically fall into two camps: ones who desire a destination and others who long for a journey. For the former camp, there’s no better way to scratch that itch than hitting the open road in an RV. Decked out with the comforts of home, an RV is a great way to rack up miles without racking up big hotel bills. If your RV is dated, though, or just not your style, you’re probably interested in sprucing things up before the fun begins.

Can RVs be remodeled? Absolutely! Undertaking an RV remodel may seem intimidating, especially if you want to handle the work yourself, but we’ve got some simple RV remodeling ideas that will turn your lackluster before into the after of your dreams.

Does renovating an RV increase its value?

Obviously, one of the main reasons why you’d go through an RV remodel is for personal use and enjoyment. However, you may also be thinking about reselling your RV one day. If this is the case, and you’d like to make some return on your RV remodel investment, there are certain design choices you can make that might help secure a higher sale price.

  • Opt for a more modern design. You may love bright florals or geometrical patterns, but neutral colors and “safer” decor typically fare better when it comes to sales.
  • Make room for family. People like RV floorplans that can accommodate more than one or two people. Where possible, add some extra seating and beds.
  • Upgrade appliances and electronics. Just like single-family homes, enhancements are attractive. Set a budget and figure out where you can add some wow factor, like an outdoor entertainment center or smart appliances.
A man doing construction work to his RV

How do you remodel an old RV?

First things first, if your vehicle is more than a decade old, there are some things you need to check for before you begin your RV remodel.

  • Make sure there’s no water damage by inspecting the ceiling, roof, and floors for cracking, bowing, or faded water spots.
  • Unleash your inner child and jump up and down on the floor a few times. It’s not just fun — it’ll let you know if the floors are in good shape. Any instability could be an indication of rot.
  • Look for signs of mold in cabinets and closets by closely inspecting the areas with a flashlight. If there’s mildew, you’ll be able to see it and smell it. If the closets and cabinets are oddly warm — several degrees above the rest of the RV — mold could be growing there.
  • Test the electrical switches and lights. If there are issues, call an electrician for assistance.

No matter how many cute throw pillows you have inside the RV, failing to address these potential issues at the start will cause big headaches down the road. Pun intended.

Once the maintenance and repair issues are addressed, and you’re ready to start your RV remodel, have a PODS portable storage container delivered right to your driveway for extra storage. Keep your RV’s interior furniture and fixtures — not to mention your tools — out of the elements but close at hand while you spruce up the inside. The best part? You can keep the container as long as you need, and when you’re all done, PODS will pick it up.

Now onto specific suggestions.

Replace the RV furniture

Say goodbye to those thick, brown suede armchairs and burgundy floral-clad benches and hello to a more clean and modern aesthetic. As with many home goods, the price range for RV furniture is pretty large — from expensive custom-made pieces to space-saving IKEA finds. Decide on your budget, then figure out which old pieces of furniture could or should be replaced. 

  • Replace heavy recliners with sleeker armchairs
  • Update the bed to a platform model that allows for storage underneath. Need even more storage options? The PODS blog has some great storage suggestions.
  • Mount a drop-leaf table on the wall instead of using the camper tables. It can be pulled out for a desk or dining table, then folded back into place when you’re done.
  • Trade bulky sofas for futons, benches, or loveseats.
  • Store your TV and electronics in a slim entertainment center.
  • Need multiple sleeping spots? Try installing some bunk beds with curtains for built-in privacy.

Keep in mind that your RV has a weight limit. Add too much furniture, and you could wind up with a functional problem on your hands. So remember to keep things light, where possible.

Paint the interior RV walls

Almost all RV remodel before-and-after images feature repainted walls. And for good reason. Choosing the right wall color can make a small space seem less cramped and more open. If you’re working with wood paneling or dark hues, lighten things up with a bright shade, like white or pale gray. If you want to paint your cabinets, remember to do some light sanding first, so the paint will better adhere to the surface. 

For more suggestions on wall colors and other small-space decorating tips, check out this decorating article on the PODS blog.
Installing new flooring into a camper van

Install new flooring

This one is a pretty significant undertaking, but new floors will completely transform your RV — especially if it currently has carpeting. You’ll have to start by taking out the existing flooring, which can be a tough job if you’re new to DIY home repairs. If you need a helping hand, consider hiring a professional for this part.

If you want hardwood floors, consider using a laminate alternative. Real wood is heavy and expensive, but wood-like laminate and vinyl look just as good for a fraction of the cost. Plus, it comes in easily installable click-and-lock and press-and-seal options. If hardwood isn’t your thing, you can prime and paint the subfloor for a custom look.

Invest in windows

One area that doesn’t get enough attention is the windows. If your windows are plastic, replace them with glass. Add some curtains for privacy, and put a blackout shade in the sleeping areas. This will add some much-needed warmth and coziness to your space.

Get organized

No matter how lovely your decor choices are, if you have too much stuff in your RV, it will look cramped and disheveled no matter what. And it doesn’t take that much stuff to overwhelm the space when you’re dealing with low square footage. 

While we’re all for smart storage solutions, the real secret sauce is keeping excess belongings out of the RV to begin with. Either prevent them from entering or, if you’ve already got a clutter problem on your hands, go cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, and complete an RV purge. It sounds intimidating, but it’s a breeze once you get started. This PODS blog article on decluttering has some expert advice.

RV solar panels on top of a camper van

Go green with RV solar panels

For extra energy efficiency, consider installing some solar panels on top of your RV. These panels absorb energy from the sun, then convert that energy into electricity. Not only can solar panels help save on electricity costs, but you also won’t have to worry about maintaining power in remote locations. Added bonus? They’re much quieter than their generator counterparts.

Now that your RV is decked to the nines, it’s time to crank the adventure up to an 11. Enjoy your “home away from home” and soak in the memories and magic of an extended road trip.

LB Gabriel is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever in Memphis, TN. A frequent PODS blog contributor, she's a sucker for any tip she can find on downsizing, cutting clutter, or minimalist living. When she's not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.

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