Front Living Room: RV Decorating Ideas

Our RV Living Room BEFORE Cheap Makeover

Motorhome remodeling was something we weren’t willing to spend money on…but with a little creative thinking, the ideas we came up with were incredibly affordable.

Before going further, we ask you excuse the mess in our “before” photos. We were overwhelmed, had our cleaning supplies everywhere and hadn’t done one thing yet, when the photos were taken. You can still tell what the decor was like…ugh! Not only did it need a huge cleaning and new decorating, but it felt so small as well.

RV Living Room BEFORE Remodeling



Where to begin? Well, an adult beverage was one heck of a good start. We looked at this rv living room (and the rest of the motorhome) having no idea how to make it feel like home, without having a pile of money to use in the redecorating process. Actually, we had put aside exactly thirteen cents for this project (money found in the couch cushion).

The first thing we did was remove that third captain’s chair that was taking up most of the floor space. We sold it on Ebay for $50, which was used to buy some paint and supplies.

Next, we began our version of gutting the camper. All window coverings came down and were thrown away (too old and dusty to sell). This includes the stained, old windshield drapes. Then everything was washed, ceiling to floor. We didn’t miss an inch. Once it was emptied out and cleaned, we were in a better mental place to think about what the heck to do with it now. So far, we’d made $50.13 and washed it down….umm, can we quit now? Nope. Not even close.

Want to see the AFTER photo? Too bad!! So did we!! hahaha….Patience is an important tip to making an rv interior look like a new space. I will post it soon……

The next step is to stare at the room and argue with your spouse on what to do next. Actually, what worked well was to distract the spouse on outside projects while deciding how to proceed. Then present him with an exhausted, yet excited face…he cannot resist saying “go for it!” I do kid a lot (obviously) and actually, working together on this was an amazing experience from start to finish (mushy part).

Our RV LIving Room AFTER Redecorating

Ok, ok…here is the AFTER photo of the living room area…

PAINTING WALLS, CABINETS, MAKING CHEAP CURTAINS –¬†We started with the big things first. We painted over all of the wallpaper, painted inside cabinets and cabinet handles, made easy/cheap curtains. Basically tackled the big picture first. Unlike our kitchen and bathroom, where we actually painted the outside of the wood cabinets, we left them alone in the living room, but stained the handles from that tacky brass look to a pewter look. So as not to repeat everything, these tips and tricks were all covered in our redecorating our rv kitchen blog post.

SUPER-CHEAP MOTORHOME WINDSHIELD CURTAIN AND DOORWAY CURTAIN – This was a tricky one! Do you know how expensive those gigantic windshield drapes are?? Well, we found an ultimate trick that didn’t involve sewing. You can read that tip HERE.As for the doorway curtain, all we did was buy one of the dark instant shade, paper blinds. It clips out of the way during the day, and is completely unable to be seen through, when we lower it at night (see photo).

Instant Shade In Our Motorhome Doorway

MOTORHOME SOFA AND CAPTAIN’S CHAIRS – Because we currently have rv cats,we wouldn’t invest much right now, if we wanted to buy new chair covers. But that’s ok…we work with throws that accent our colors and are easy to vacuum off. We have suede-like covers on the sofa…on top of a fitted, patterned sheet I found that I liked as the “base” cover on the couch. I always come home with funky fabric from thrift stores, and throw them over the chairs when in the mood. As stated previously, we got rid of the third chair that was hogging up our floor space.

Much Better Without That Third Chair





ACCENTS– As with all cheap rv decorating, any decorative accents you see were either ours from long ago, or a thrift store gem for a dollar or two. No expensive, hidden secrets here…everything was super affordable. One thing we did was paint over those brass lamp fixtures and shades, to match the colors in the living room. We also painted the drawers that are on top of the engine, at the front of the motorhome. We also, as you’ll see in the photo, leave the three cabinets open over our couch, and fill it with books, trinkets, etc.

Our "Bookcase" Above The Couch


THE FLOOR – This was the biggie for us. We took a huge risk doing this…but the carpet was so dingy, stained and gross, we thought we’d roll the dice. We love how this turned out for us. We had carpeting in the bedroom and living room, and knew it had to come out. Carpeting is nice but in an rv it gets so filthy, traps pet hair, etc. We wanted our camper to look like it had three distinct rooms, so we made the floor different in each one. We put a vinyl floor down (from an $8.00 remnant we found, if you’re wondering) in the bedroom. Cleaned and left the white kitchen vinyl floor alone…and the living room? You ready for this? We threw out that rv carpeting and painted the original plywood floor! Yes, after Jim removed 10,000 staples, one at a time, we painted it a chocolate brown using porch and floor paint…that’s it! We know if we need more carpeting in cooler temperatures, we can get those cheap college size area rugs and throw one down. For now, the wood floor works just fine, vacuums and cleans up easily. Not a problem. We love the look. And, no…we didn’t remove the carpet from the engine in the front of the rv…we just did THIS TRICK.

So what do you think? Selling the captain’s chair more than paid for the paint and curtains used to spruce up our rv living room. For the little money spent, we’re happy with our new home.

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6 Responses to Front Living Room: RV Decorating Ideas

  1. Deana says:

    Wow you’ve given me and my husband lots of ideas! We truly are the working poor and when we fell into some insurance money from an auto injury we rushed out and bought a 1989 fleetwood pace arrow for $4,000. Needless to say this RV has lots of issues (like water damage and a leak in the roof that we just fixed for $24 with two cans of that flex seal stuff which is working better than the other crap someone else mentioned to us) we live in this 34ft rv with three dogs, a pit bull, min-pin, and a mutt puppy. We’re not traveling in it even tho the engine only has 47,000 miles on it and runs great, we have water hoses to repair still… Found a lot to live on for $200 a month with water… and I’m the only one working a very limited income job so we love the tips because we need it to be cheap to remodel and replace a few things… Thank you for the inspiration!
    ~Deana and Scotty

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Deana and Scotty,

      Thanks so much for your comment. We are so happy you are finding our tips helpful! It takes time to remodel but the end result is so inspiring…we are almost tempted to do it again someday! Always keep an eye out for those Habitat For Humanity Restores. They have so many wonderful products (used) for next to nothing, including paints, flooring, trim and so much more. If you find one in your area, it is so worth the drive.

      Please keep in touch and share your progress with us!

      Thanks, Jim and Robin

  2. Susan Hines says:

    We bought a 1999 Flagstaff 25′ camper last year, it’s actually in pretty good shape, but we are getting ready to move some things around. Thanks so much for the ideas! We love looking at what others has done to get ideas for ours! I’ll have to figure out how to blog! We have three dogs, so we must make room for them and change it around a bit. We are hoping to go to the campground on Daniel Island near Charleston this summer (if and when we get this finished!)

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Glad you liked our decorating ideas…and thank you for commenting! When we started out, we had two dogs and two cats…you can do it with 3 dogs, just have to get creative! If your camper doesn’t come with an awning, be sure to buy a cheap, portable awning (like at Walmart) and put tarps on the sides, to create that extra room so the dogs can be outside, even when it is drizzling. Please keep in touch and share your results with us…we love seeing what other people do to decorate, too! Best of luck and please keep in touch…

  3. Brooke says:

    I just got done reading every page of your blog! I want to be you by the end of the year! haha…I’m a single 40 yr old female with 2 cats and a small dog. I have been planning the FT RV lifestyle for 2 years now. I intend to buy a 32-26 older used class A with low miles. My budget will be between 10-15,000 and pay CASH ONLY! I own a small but growing video/multimedia company in Stanwood, WA. I just opened a cheap office downtown and biz is slowly growing. I am doing a lot of wedding videography since it’s profitable and only a few a month I can live off and travel!
    I LOVED your design ideas. I intend to do the exact same thing. I am a very frugal person and I’ve devoured every page of your cat rv blog. I want to subscribe to both. I have family nearby I’m staying with for one year to save for the rig. I am SOOO envious of you guys…lol. I hope we can maybe meet up someday. Keep up the blog!!

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Thanks so much for your great comments and compliments. We are excited for you…and it sounds like you’re ready for the rv lifestyle! As you probably read in our last post, we are dealing with tremendous loss right now – but will be back on track, posting in the near future. Do keep in touch with us on your wishes!