The Affordable RV Makeover – Inexpensive Camper Remodeling Ideas

Note Our Old RV Dinette Area On The Right

When you are frugal rv living, you will recognize quickly that you will get what you pay for, where rvs are concerned. As we’ve said before, you shouldn’t overspend on a motorhome or travel trailer…just make sure the important parts are functioning and sound (appliances, motor, no water damage, good tires and axles). Don’t base your decision on decor that isn’t your taste, or a dull interior that needs a good cleaning.

Here Is Our New RV Dinette

Most likely, when buying an older camper, you will not care for how the inside looks. In fact, as exciting as it is to be purchasing your used rv, you might feel a bit down because it wasn’t what you pictured living in. But we’re here to tell you that your recreational vehicle is going to feel better and more homey than any fancy, new camper on the market. How? Because you are going to create a one-of-a-kind home on wheels, like no other on the road. When people step inside, they are going to be in awe of how every little inch of that trailer is 100% you and your taste. They will think you spent a fortune, but you haven’t spent much at all. Even better, by cleaning and decorating yourself, you actually just increased your rv’s value!

We will be making blog posts, sharing all of the different rv remodeling tips we’ve either invented or learned, for our entire 1993 Fleetwood Bounder. But this specific post is here to get you started in the right direction. We renovated and/or cleaned every single space in our motorhome. It took 4 weekends to accomplish it and we are still amazed with the results. We are not “handy” by nature, we did not build cabinets or furniture…we worked with what we had. Not being a seamstress by any means, we utilized only very minimal sewing. You absolutely can do this. So once again, do not buy your rv based on aesthetic desires – just make sure it functions, is not damaged and will need no large repairs such as appliances and tires.

The Remodeled RV

We touched and cleaned every square inch of our motorhome interior, in one way or another. We painted most walls, but left some wood paneling to add a nice accent look to coincide with cabinets. Working room to room, we took down all window coverings and replaced with affordable, clean curtains we made. We got rid of all brass lamps and cabinet handles by painting them (even painted lamp shades to match). All carpeting was ripped up and replaced with linoleum and/or porch and floor paint. Furniture was cleaned, dried and then covered with cute throws or fabric. We found many materials (paint, flooring, trim) at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, thrift stores or clearance items at stores like Walmart. Paint supplies were found at Dollar Tree. Curtains and fabrics (even sheets can be used) were either long curtain panels on clearance, that could be cut and used for a whole room, or they were thrift store items (a $1.00 tablecloth was the main coloring pattern for our entire kitchen, and became a window curtain and dinette valance). Be sure to visit our posts that go into detail, room by room, to see how affordable our rv renovation was, and how beautiful the results turned out.

Our one favorite tip, which worked out exactly how we planned, was to make each room a different decor, to give the motorhome depth and to give us a sense of different areas to lounge in. When you look down a 30 foot rv, it often looks like one long hallway of the same color scheme. Even the highest quality decor can be so boring to view. We made our living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom all their own styles – and we love each and every room.


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6 Responses to The Affordable RV Makeover – Inexpensive Camper Remodeling Ideas

  1. Nadine says:

    Thank you so much for all of your great ideas! We have been working on an older rv for about 3 weeks and already have made great improvements, thanks to your ideas! Feel free to check out the pictures on our blog. Next is replacing the windshield draperies that rip a little more each time we have to use them! Ugh! They are so old and dirty…we are having a problem with the hardware because the brackets are the “E” type with a sliding track and I am not sure how to replace those brackets. It looks like they need to be riveted in somehow? Have you come across this? Great job you guys! :) http://celticcampers.blogspot.com/

  2. Linda says:

    Great job. I am also looking to up date my rv. You said you painted the walls. Did you paint directly over the wallpaper (all rv’s come with) or did you do something to prime them first.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Hi Linda…Yes, we DID paint over the wallpaper. We used FLAT Kilz and that worked great for us. Some people will say “don’t do it!!” but if you put it on conservatively, there shouldn’t be any problems. You just don’t want such heaviness that the wallpaper starts to come off. I would do the inside of a cabinet or closet first…apply Kilz, let it dry, apply paint and see how you like the look. Just don’t go glossy no matter what you do…it just doesn’t look good over wallpaper. Our wallpaper was so adhered to the walls (it is different than in a regular home) that they aren’t budging at all…and look quite good! If you have other questions, let us know…take care, J&R

  3. Good decoration. No matter how old your camper trailer is, you still need to decorate the indoors because you will stay, sleep, watching TV, and do what you usually do at home there. so, make it as comfortable as you can.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      You are so right! In such a small space, it is important to make it comfy…and to feel like home. Thanks for commenting!