11 Ideas for Decorating Your RV
Talk about style on the go! We sourced 11 RV decorating ideas straight from owners themselves. The conclusion? Small spaces deserve big style, too.
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Instead of a lengthy floor-refinishing project or keeping something you don’t love, consider inexpensive peel-and-stick floor tiles. Melissa Beaudry, an avid RVer and DIYer from Minnesota, went with a geometric print in her 1961 Shasta, in keeping with the mid-century atomic vibe. It’s easy-clean for the muddy in-and-out that comes with camping and the outdoors, she says, but also adds an unexpected polish to mobile living.
Maximize your square footage by using walls strategically, with decor that’s useful, too. Basket-woven bins, hanging plants, hooks for mugs and pans — Mountain Modern Life uses beautiful, functional objects to great effect. They’ve sourced a lot from HomeGoods, World Market, Hobby Lobby, and vintage or thrift shops. Plus, they DIY’ed some sweet hang-up spots by screwing basic hardware-store cup hooks into a slab of reclaimed wood.
Consider Fancy Finishes
Small spaces mean you might have some room in the budget to splurge. A mini marble countertop graces the minimalist interior of The Nomadic Health Coach‘s teardrop, where she lives full time. Other splurge ideas: A designer wallpaper you’ve always loved, a tile backsplash for the kitchenette, or luxury linens.
Create Campsite Appeal
Your awning can provide style as well as shade and shelter from the elements, provided you use the right material. Acrylic and vinyl are popular, tough materials; just treat them occasionally with the appropriate waterproofing or UV protection sprays for no-mildew, no-fade finishes. (Check the label to make sure the material and spray are compatible.)
Find cute, kitschy or uncommon fabrics on Etsy. Sew Country Awnings makes true awning canvas, waterproof and resistant to color fade. Pick something that matches your camper or your spirit and become the Big Person on the Campground Campus.
Love bright colors? Spotlight them in your RV to inspiring effect. The key is to stick with one. “You have a really small space, so less is more,” says Stephanie Hansen, owner of the camper van known as the @wonderbreadvan. She went with a royal blue stolen from the van’s racing-stripe exterior, using it inside on upholstery and small accents. Everything else lets the eye rest. That break is accomplished with neutral tones and dialed-back patterns.
Create Visual Space
If you prefer a modern aesthetic, try this mantra when renovating your RV interior: simplify, simplify, simplify. Ruthlessly edit color and finish choices down to two or three picks, to feel truly free on the open road when you’re in transit. Count on a mostly-white palette to create light visual space.
The whizzes behind Mountain Modern Life hewed to crisp black and white with warm wood accents, which nails the light, airy modern-lodge look and lets the eye rest on the beautiful horizon instead.
Keep items safely and beautifully secured in your small, mobile space. Use Velcro strips to stick art to walls and shelves or inside cabinets. Find solutions to keep pretty daily necessities accessible and secure, such as magnetic strips for colorful spices. And while open flames on the road aren’t illegal, they also aren’t advisable. Flameless candles provide the ambiance without the hazard.
Pick a Theme
One easy way to edit down what belongs in your RV decor is to choose a theme. Beach, ’50s diner, glampers and travel (complete with atlas wallpaper) are all popular, fun choices. Minnesotans Lisa Eng-Sarne and her husband Chad took a Tiki lounge theme to the limit with their early ’60s Nomad.
Lisa found vintage fabrics for the curtains on eBay, and says she now has way more Tiki mugs than she’ll ever need. That kitschy mid-century Hawaiiana gives them a getaway they can take anywhere, be it far away or just in their driveway for the occasional happy hour.
Clean Up Your Closets
Replace visual clutter with something that’s nice to look at. Store items on closet shelves in patterned or neutral fabric bins, so things won’t tumble into one another in transit. Target and The Container Store offer affordable, fun options.
If your miniaturized closet can’t handle standard storage-box sizes or matching pieces, you could always close off the clutter visually with a pretty fabric curtain. Beaudry, with the ’61 Shasta, uses both — pretty, organized bins, plus a cute curtain to separate it from the rest of the vehicle.
Make Furniture Multitask
Convertible furniture is a must in a small space. Molly and Charlie Forbes of @silverfox.airstream had @vinylluxupholstery remake their Airstream’s main living space, revealing a completely convertible eating area, table and bed. Upholstered in forest green, it captures the spirit of the outdoors while providing a neutral enough backdrop to compliment their Pendleton southwestern-style textiles. The lesson: Smartly designed multi-use furnishings can still be stylish canvasses for your RV interior.
Consider Going Custom
Is an RV just a gleam in your eye? A custom-made teardrop could be your new travel companion. Stephanie Weiss’s 2012 Vistabule Teardrop Camper was built in St. Paul, Minn., by a family-owned company. Custom builders know making the most of each feature is key, and can tailor your rig to your travel demands.
The interior of Weiss’ camper is lined with a marine birch plywood, which has a beautiful inner glow. The bed folds into a couch, window-privacy screens fold down into little shelves, a galley kitchen pops out from the trunk, and much, much more, all in a 1,200-pound trail-along.