7 Tips to Make Your RV Feel Like Home

Trick out your RV with creature comforts and favorite mementos to make you feel right at home as you roll on down the road.

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Simple changes can make your recreational vehicle a more inviting, comfortable and cozy place while you explore the highways and byways. Here’s a collection of insightful tips to help you add personal touches to make your RV feel like a true home away from home.

Decorate Like It’s Your Living Room

You don’t have bare walls in your house, so why stare at empty walls in your RV? Adorn the interior walls with fun images and family photos to bring a bit of home with you on your journeys.

Mona Mesereau, who has traveled more than 17,000 miles across 30 states in her family’s RV, suggests hanging framed lightweight posters and pictures with nail-free adhesive hangers. To keep pictures from swinging when you’re on the move, put a few tabs of mounting putty on the back and gently push the picture against the wall.

Adhesive hooks of varying sizes and strengths can also be used for hanging key chains, pet leashes, hand towels and jackets to keep the indoor RV space organized and clutter-free, just like at home (wink).

Make Scents

Smells evoke feelings and memories, so if you have a signature scent at your permanent home, bring it with you in your RV. A good oil diffuser can freshen up the tight quarters of an RV quickly. If you don’t have a home scent to copy, try sweet orange, lavender, eucalyptus and black spruce oils. They’re among the most effective at eliminating odors.

And take advantage of one of the perks of RV travel: Stop at roadside stands and farmer’s markets for fresh-cut flowers. This foldable vinyl vase that can be secured to a window or bathroom mirror with a suction cup is perfect for displaying blooms in your traveling home.

Re-Create Your Bedroom

There’s no reason to stick with the (often chintzy) mattress and bedding that came with the RV.

“We replaced all the mattresses with thick, organic ones,” says Rina Nehdar, of LA Family Travel blog, who purchased an RV this summer. Add plush pillows, soft sheets, an aromatherapy spray and a clip-on reading lamp to complete the vibe. “After all, if you’re not comfortable sleeping, you won’t enjoy the rest of the trip,” Nehdar says.

Extend the same bedtime comforts to any other family members or guests by replacing the RV’s standard foam sleeper sofa with a comfortable loveseat or couch, which is also more home-like. Remember: Before you buy anything, take the measurements and make sure it will fit through the RV’s door.

Add Comforts of Home

Think of the little things that make you feel comfortable at home and take a version of them on the road with you.

Add a shaggy rug or two for your bare feet to touch after a long day. If you’ve got pets or kids that love coming in with their dirty paws/shoes, purchase a washable runner rug to make cleanup easy. Ottomans are a great, small spot to put your feet up after a breathtaking day of wilderness hiking, plus it can double as storage or an extra seat. Eye-catching pillows, an ultra-soft throw blanket and flameless candles all bring homey vibes.

Pro Tip: If you exercise on the go, add an exercise ball instead of an extra chair or ottoman. “I used my bright blue stability ball as an ottoman and stored it in the shower when we were traveling,” Mesereau says.

Up Your Bathroom Game

They don’t cost much, but good-looking, unbreakable bathroom accessories makes it feel like you aren’t roughing it. And resist the temptation to outfit the RV bathroom with ultra-cheap towels! Choose some bath towels that are at least as nice as the ones at home. Maybe everyone gets their own color, to keep make it clear who’s whose.

Bring Mementos to Feel Connected

Make room for items of sentimental value, whether it’s art someone in your family created or a favorite tabletop sculpture. Show it off prominently when parked — you could even replace one of the cabinet doors with a clear acrylic panel, to act as a display case — then stow it away in a safe spot before travel. Personal items solidify your connection to home and effectively bring fond memories along for the ride. That’s especially comforting when you’re on the road for longer periods.

Themes, too, can feel comforting, especially if they connect to a hobby or favorite permanent location. California-based Nehdar chose a familiar beach motif. “Every hook, picture and enhancement we added adhered to this theme,” she says.

Decorate for the Holidays

Just because you aren’t home for a holiday doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate like you are. If you know you’ll be on the road for a holiday or birthday, pack a few of your favorite holiday decorations. Mesereau hangs a string of battery-operated lights and places pine branches in empty wine bottles in her RV to spread winter holiday cheer.

Lavanya Sunkara
Lavanya Sunkara is a NYC-based writer covering travel with a focus on sustainability and conservation. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Cruise Critic, Fodor's Travel, Forbes, and USA Today among many others.