Whether you want to improve aesthetics or improve efficiency in your RV, there’s a little bit of Tim Allen attitude in all of us. Some projects are simple and take a few minutes while others are more extensive and require careful execution. These five RV modifications or upgrades can make a big difference in your RV life.
Get a new mattress.
This DIY is simple: shop. It can be as simple as adding a pillow topper or memory foam to the existing mattress, or it may be worth ordering a mattress that is custom made to fit your RV. There are several companies that do this. Sleep is very important, and a comfortable mattress if the foundation of a good night’s rest. This is an RV upgrade that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Lay new flooring.
Many RVs (especially older models) come “out of the box” with areas of carpet. Carpet, however, will stain and wear and look grimy over time. This type of flooring is also more difficult to clean at the campsite, because it usually requires a vacuum. One way to modify your RV is to replace any carpeted areas, or even run the new flooring throughout the entirety of the RV for a consistent, refined look. Laminate and luxury vinyl flooring are lightweight, DIY options that withstand traffic and dirt. There are literally hundreds of choices on the market that can suite any budget and desired appearance, from wood grain planks to the look of natural stone tile. They can also be made to be a floating floor – no adhesives or fasteners – which is important because a floating floor can shift… and we know our RVs shift in transit so it offers some level of flexibility.
To remove carpet, you first need to remove RV furniture, such as pedestal seats, the kick panel on the sofa, and, in motorized RVs, the center console between the driver and passenger seats. Remove the base shoe or quarter round away from the base board and save it for later on. Take up the old carpet, making sure to clean up the staples. Sweep and mop the floor. Before you add your new floor, you need to put down a vapor barrier and underlayment, in that order.
Start laying the laminate or vinyl flooring along the longest wall, making sure to leave some space away from the wall (usually a quarter-inch according to many installation instructions). Work in rows. If laying plank, stagger the rows by starting the new row from the cutoff from the first. Keep the full-width pieces for as long as possible, cutting the last row to fit the remaining space on the RV floor. It’s easier to install flooring around cabinets and other workarounds if you create a template. A piece of cardboard works perfectly. Cut the cardboard to fit, mark the outline of the cardboard into the new flooring, and then cut the new flooring with a jigsaw or cutting tool. Once the new floor is in place, replace the base shoe or quarter round molding and nail it into place. This covers the gap at the edge of the floor. You can fill any holes from the finish nails using wood filler or painter’s caulk.
New flooring makes a big difference in a sticks and bricks home. Think about what it could do for the look and livability of your RV!
Make your fridge door an operation’s center.
A savvy use of space and a way to make the RV feel more like home is to utilize the front of the refrigerator. In this day and age, there’s less of a need to hold on to papers. Magnets and papers make the front of a fridge look cluttered – not to mention they could easily fall off while in motion. Yet, we still need a way to remember things. Instead, paint the fridge door (one side may be enough if it’s a double door) with chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint can be found at any crafting store. It takes minimal time to paint the door. The longest part of the job is waiting for the paint to dry. This chalkboard can come in handy when you have a checklist you need to follow (such as items you don’t want to forget when you leave the campsite, ideas for activities, a grocery list, or to leave a note behind for somebody else (such as that you’re going hiking down such and such a trail and will be back at such and such a time).
For RVs without a large fridge or those without a fridge at all, you can still use chalkboard paint. A good spot is the back of the entryway door.
Add more towel racks.
You can always use more. Double racks further utilize the functionality of the space to allow for more towels to hang. Whether it’s in the bathroom, in the kitchen, or even in sleeping areas, towel racks are easy to find and easy to install – and make a big difference.
Illuminate dark spaces.
Storage space under the bed and the inside of cabinets are made more useful if you add some LED lights. These lights can be hard-wired to run off the electrical system or run off of battery. Motion detection lights are even better because you don’t need to add or find a switch. Lights help you locate items more easily and without fumbling around, especially at nighttime and in the early morning.