Before you start remodeling your motorhome, know what you want and then create a plan for your living area that’s based on the best use of the space. Ideas for remodeling your RV can come from many things, such as Pinterest, picture from a catalog, an ad from a magazine, a picture of a room that you have seen from other RV remodels, or a sketch in a notebook. It doesn’t matter how you go about forming your plan – but you need to have something down on paper. If you try to remodel your living area without a sound idea, you will probably be disappointed with the results. A simple piece of graph paper can help you map out the space you will be working with.
When planning your remodeling strategy, think about the functions you will need and what practical items you will need. For example, if you have lots of company in the form of children or grand children, the most important component of the living area might be a comfortable sleeper sofa. Does the TV need to be repositioned for easier viewing? Do you need more seating or less seating?
Maximizing Your Floor Space
In a camper, storage areas, wall and floor space is most important to use wisely. When buying or designing furniture, try to use pieces that fill up all of the available space. For instance, it’s better to install a sofa that spans the entire length of a wall than to put in a loveseat that leaves a small, unusable section of wasted space at one end. Similarly, take advantage of space that is overlooked. For example, the area above your RV’s doors and windows is often a good place to install a bookshelf or a cabinet. Heating vents, valves, gas lines and water pipes may all be found underneath RV furniture. Look carefully underneath and around furniture before removing anything to find fixtures so that you do not damage them. You also need to mark them on your floor plan so that when you are placing new furniture, you won’t create a problem.
Facing the Furniture Question
The biggest question when it comes to the living room is – recover the existing sofa and chairs or buy new furniture? Replacing furniture gives you more designing options, because you can choose entirely different styles and types of furniture. If you think you want to recover the sofa and/or chair, visit an upholstery shop so you know what it will cost if you want to recover the items. Many a times, replacing the old upholstery may be even more expensive than buying an entirely new set of furniture! I discovered this when I wanted to recover some old patio furniture cushions! I could buy a new set for what they quoted me for just the cushions. Getting an estimate will let you know what your options are. If you are good with your hands and regularly work on home improvement projects, then you might want to redo the upholstery yourself. You will save on the labor costs, get the exact kind of fabric you wanted and get further savings by buying it by the square yard. Of course, you need to be very sure of your skills and what you are doing before investing in a major project.
You can purchase new furniture specifically designed for RVs and trailers through various outlets. There are even companies that sell entire living room sets. Narrowing your choices is going to be the hard part!
Where to Buy Furniture
For under $3000 you can buy an entire RV full of furniture, including a dinette, captains chairs, sofa and side chair. Flexsteel is a top manufacturer of RV furniture and many high pricetag RVs have Flexsteel furniture in them. Your living space can look like a high end motorhome for not a lot of dollars. Of course, you’re not limited to RV furniture manufacturers. If you have a small budget, shopping for living room items at a regular home store or discount outlet is an option. Just be sure to take your floorpan and measurements with you. The most important part of this is measuring the space in your RV or trailer so that you will know what size furniture will fit. Also, measure the door of your RV to make sure the new furniture will fit through the door! Another consideration is to make sure that if you purchase a sofa or chair that has reclining options that the mechanism is on the interior of the piece or is accessible when placed in the space. Choose lightweight furniture for your RV and trailer to stay under your weight-carrying capacity. Every RV and trailer has a recommended weight-carrying capacity. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations on weight guidelines for your vehicle.
Let the Light In
One of the simplest modifications you can make to the living area is to remove outdated or unattractive window blinds, curtains and valances and replace them with new more-appealing ones.
Blinds and valances block light and reduce your viewing area and they tend to get in the way of the operation of the window locks. Cornices, by way of their bulky appearance, violate one of the primary principles of decorating small spaces. RV and trailer manufacturers too often install tacky window coverings. This is especially true in older units — favoring functionality over eye appeal. As a result, most RV interiors are significantly darker and more confined looking than they have to be. By using fabric shades, mini-blinds, or honeycomb shades, you can now enjoy lots of light, great views, stunning color, and high levels of privacy.
There is no reason you can’t have window coverings that are both functional and attractive. Measure your windows and purchase blinds or curtains that appeal to your sense of style and that match your new decor. For a larger selection of design options, shop for standard house blinds and curtains.
Another option for window coverings are the American Duo day-night shade system is a two part advanced roller shade. The day portion is a clearview solar sun screen, allowing easy vision out while blocking the view looking into the interior. This material is commonly seen as an exterior sun shade on the front of coaches. The night portion is a solid sheet of 4 ply vinyl/fiberglass material. Installation of these shades is fairly simple with the provided snap-in clips.The spring tension can be adjusted to change the speed at which the shades retract. The uppermost stopping point also has to be pre-set before installation. This will be determined by the size of the window valances the shades are being installed into.
Usually the flooring in the living area is carpet or a mix of carpet and vinyl. If you like carpet you can probably find a carpet dealer who will sell you a large remnant for cheap. Most RV remodelers choose to remove the carpet because of the difficulty in keeping it clean. Many opt for laminate, one sheet vinyl or peel and stick flooring instead. Vinyl flooring styles have changed dramatically and you can find designs that look like ceramic tile, slate, bamboo, saltillo tiles and wood flooring. The Armstrong Flooring website will allow you to order samples so you can test how the flooring you like would look.
Another item that many remodelers of RVs do is reposition the television so that it is easier to view. RV manufacturers have not given much thought to placing the TV, especially in older models, in a location where you can view it straight on. Some remodelers have created a location directly across from the sofa or theater seating which will sometimes mean blocking a window. It’s your decision!
Some RV floor plans have a chair directly behind the passenger seat. This creative remodeler removed it to make way for an electronic/computer center. If you work from your RV and a computer is an important component, this is a great idea!
This set up is another nice option for creating a computer work station if you have cab seats that swivel. If you work while traveling you know how important a work space is!
Working with the Walls
Lastly, the walls. As discussed in the previous blog, you can paint or wallpaper over the existing wall coverings with the correct primer and glues. One remodeler left some wood paneling as an accent wall but painted the rest. If you’re not sure about what products to use in painting or wallpapering, ask for advice from the staff in the home improvement or paint store.
When choosing a paint color remember that neutral colors will make an interior seem more spacious while darker colors have the opposite effect. This is particularly true for walls, window dressings, and large pieces of furniture (like sofas). To keep things interesting, take advantage of vividly colored lamp shades, table cloths, throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, and accessories. The result will be a roomy looking RV with lots of color and plenty of style.
If you decide to redo the cab area, the carpeting can be replaced or you might consider installing a molded vinyl flooring. The seats can be recovered or new captains chairs can be bought and installed. This area is probably one of the most challenging areas to remodel, especially if you have motorized seats. It might be best to go to a professional RV remodeling company for this work.
Whether you go with a fifth wheel, travel trailer, RV, or something else all together, you have a large selection of used and new to pick from at Rocky Mountain RV and Marine. Let us help you purchase your dream home-away-from-home!The best tip of all is to do your research and communicate with others who have gone through this process. Make Google, Yahoo and Bing your friends! You’ll be amazed at what’s out there! If this all seems like too much work, come see us for a new RV!