Have an RV but feel like it’s lacking a little originality? A DIY RV makeover is a great way to add your own style and aesthetic to your home on wheels, and the process may be easier than you think.
Outdoorsy got the chance to speak with Linda Stephens, Lazydays Vice President and General Manager of Retail Accessories, about a big project that she recently undertook: an RV makeover. “Even though I work at a big RV retail and rental company, I wanted to have the chance to do an RV makeover for myself,” she says. Stephens, a mover and shaker who learns by doing, wasn’t satisfied with talking about makeovers she hadn’t tried herself. As the woman behind the Lazydays retail operation RV Accessories & More, she felt like she had to do more. So she took on the project with her colleague Kim Rolon, and the two got to work remodeling in their spare time.
Stephens began her remodel with a little research on sites like Pinterest and DIY blogs. She took note of the influence of glamping, or glamorous camping, on RV design. “As part of my job, I spend a lot of time uncovering new and future trends in RV design,” she explains. “While working on the launch of our latest store, I saw firsthand that many RV owners want to “glamp” and accessorize their RVs. I researched some of the latest trends online, and saw that this is a real movement that is happening across the RV market.”
The pair quickly learned that renovating an RV wasn’t just about adding some elbow grease. It was also about having a little fun. “I ended up having so much fun glamping up this 2012 fifth wheel that I worked on it evenings and weekends,” Stephens says. She and Rolon documented their journey to share with their customers.
Here’s a visual tour of some of the changes they made, along with a list of her biggest takeaways.
1. Fixture and furniture switch-outs make a bigger difference than you think.
Stephens changed out the furniture, floors, light fixtures, wallpaper, and used stick tile to create a massive visual change in the fifth wheel she renovated.
2. Yes, it’s possible to paint RV walls.
This was probably one of Linda’s biggest surprise findings. “If people can paint their house walls, why can’t they paint their RV walls?” She adds, “Prepping is crucial. You have to use the right primer and the right paint, but it’s definitely doable. Most people just don’t realize that. We prepped and painted the cabinets, walls, the table, chairs, too, just like you would at home.” Painting is a great and easy way to give your RV a different vibe without having to purchase any new furniture.
3. The most common obstacle for most people is lack of trust in themselves.
When Linda talks to customers, she says that one of the biggest challenges she has is getting RV owners to trust themselves to experiment. You might not get it all perfectly right to begin with, but you will start to feel more comfortable playing around and finding what you like best.
Most people can do the renovations themselves, even if they aren’t super experienced. Check out this two-week RV renovation project from YouTubers Scott & Tay.
4. If you buy a preowned unit, switching out paint and furniture can make the RV feel like your own.
You don’t have to start brand new to add your personal flair to a rig. It is possible to make even a preowned RV feel like your own. Just like moving into a preowned house, all it takes is your own imagination and extra effort.
5. Pinterest, Instagram, and closed Facebook groups provide amazing inspiration.
“I had 79 pictures posted to my Pinterest board when I began,” Stephens explains. “Kim and I started gathering those pictures before we even began our own project. We loved the before and afters. We also found Facebook groups that helped a lot. A favorite group covered was vintage Airstreams. People want a full experience when they’re camping and they want to make it their own space. All it takes is a few searches on Facebook, and you’ll find closed groups with 30 or 40k people and lots of wonderful ideas.”
Finding a community is also beneficial if you run into issues. Other RVers are often eager to help if you post about an problem that you run into during your remodel. You’d be surprised what you can learn!
6. Avoiding structural changes is what allows you to do-it-yourself.
If you’re changing out toilets, cabinets, or redoing wiring, you’re going to need to hire an expert. But when it comes to light fixtures, you just need to make sure the voltage and size is consistent. You can do a whole lot more by yourself than you think. And it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, either.
7. It can be really fun to make the RV space your own.
In part because no one thinks it’s possible, making the RV space your own can be incredibly fun and exciting. RV furniture manufacturers do a great job of allowing you to personalize the details when you purchase, but this is taking your own imagination to a new level. Want a beach-themed bedroom with framed ocean photos and painted shells? It’s all yours.
8. Use stick tile.
Stick tile is easier to use than you might imagine. You just remove the wallpaper, scrape the wall, and you’re ready to stick on the tile. You can even change it out every season if you choose.
9. An RV remodel can make your RV even more rentable.
“It was incredibly exciting to feel the project come together. This was a 4-year new coach from 2012. We rent out this coach today. Whenever a renter enters the space, they say, ‘This is absolutely beautiful. You gotta see this!’ to neighbors and friends. It’s so satisfying.”
10. It’s addicting to share your accomplishments with others.
The unveiling moment is a big moment of truth. It’s the basis of entire networks like Food Network, HGTV, and DIY Network. Imagine if you were the creator of that moment of success. Linda said, “The amount of pride you get out of doing the before and after — and the interest from others along the way — is incredible.”