RV Renovation: Planning Our Fifth Wheel Interior Makeover

Every RV remodel or renovation project needs to start with a good plan even before picking up a paint brush or hanging art on a wall. But, what if you don’t even know where to start? We’ll help walk you through the interior design planning process of your future RV makeover.


Most DIY’ers get their ideas from television, magazines, Pinterest, blogs, and YouTube videos. After countless hours of sifting through websites, photos and how-to-guides and interior decorating ideas, the vision comes together.


If you’re going to take on the compete RV remodel process, know that it’s going to take much time, patience, and resources.

If you aren’t articulate in design, even this first step can be daunting. Not having the knack of color coordinating, knowing how to select the right textiles or finding the perfect decor finishings, you may want to hire an interior design consultant who specializes in RV renovations or remodels.

A consultant’s role is to evaluate a client’s needs and provide expert advice and opinion on what needs to be done. The client then takes those recommendations, purchases all of the supplies and does all of the labor themselves (or hires someone separately). Oftentimes, a consultant will go with the client to stores to pick out paint colors, textiles and fabrics and decor. They may be compensated either by the hour or by the project.

If you’re not wanting to get down and dirty to commit to the labor portion of your RV remodel, you’ll need to look at hiring a contractor. If you’re working with a consultant, they will most likely recommend one in their network.

A contractor’s role is generally to evaluate the client’s needs and actually perform the work. You agree to terms that they will complete the project in a specified period of time for an agreed amount of money. Usually, though, a contractor will leave the color, textile and fabric decision making to the client. Typically, a contractor is compensated by the project.


Its important to pick your remodel location according to resource availability. Position you and your RV near one or two home improvement stores are located. As well, if you’re going to have to place orders, ensure whether or not your RV park will allow you to receive shipments and deliveries.


Once you’ve decided whether you’re going to do the planning and labor yourself or hiring professionals, you’ll need to set your budget. Become aware of how much your paint, fabrics, furnishings, hardware and accessories will be. If you know up front how much each of these are, it will be easier to keep to your budget.


Project Folder – After deciding whether you’re going to tackle your own RV remodel or hire a professional to do it, you’ll first begin by putting all of your information into a project folder. I chose a bright color two-pocket folder so it was easy to distinguish.

Your project folder will help to keep you organized. This is where you’ll put your paint chips, fabric swatches, flooring samples, magazine clippings and product brochures. It will also hold all of your receipts.

You’ll want to take your project folder everywhere with you. I kept mine in a small tote bag in our truck so I had it anytime I was out shopping.

Tape Measure – After taking measurements in your RV or camper, you’ll want this on hand when shopping for fabric, furniture, and decor accessories.

Notebook and Pens – Even though information can be logged digitally, having a notebook to keep measurements, stock numbers, color dye-lot numbers, etc., will prove essential. You’ll also want to keep a ledger of your expenses. Don’t forget to keep a pen and a highlighter or two.


Fabrics and textiles may be the inspiration of your design. color palette or theme. When shopping for fabrics, ask fabric swatches. Also, ask the store to check to make certain the fabrics you’re choosing will be in stock or if the fabrics you’ve chosen need to be ordered.

Know that when it comes time to buying or ordering your fabric for your window treatments, pillow or cushion covers, etc., plan to buy 10-20% extra in case you need to replace damaged or ripped elements down the road.

“It’s easier to match paint color to fabric
than it is to match fabric to paint color.”


When you visit the paint section of a home improvement store, you’ll want to match or coordinate your paint color(s) to the fabric swatches in your project folder. You may want the exact colors in your fabric or shades lighter or darker. You can select lighter or darker shades. If you’re working with a fabric pattern, perhaps picking out the least used color in the pattern for a bold impression.

My recommendation is get as close to what you’re vying for. Grab lots of paint chips. They’re free. Then, place all of your paint chips in your project folder.

Once you get them back to your RV, stick them everywhere on the walls. You’ll want to see what they look like under natural light throughout the day as well as artificial light(s). You’ll find that the color paint chips you picked out will look vastly different than what they did in the store. Take your time in selecting the exact colors. If you’re looking for a more open and airy effect, you’ll want to look at lighter colors. If you’re vying for a more dramatic effect, brighter or darker shades will accomplish your objective.

An important note, if you don’t see the exact color you want in the paint manufacturer brand that you will be using, you CAN select another brand’s paint chip. Most paint stores or paint mixing specialists can color match whether its from another brand paint manufacturer or fabric swatch, pillow, bedding, towel, a cushion or an item that you just love the color.

We will talk later in another blog about how to choose the correct primer and paint as well as application. We will also discuss how to figure out how much paint you’re going to need.


Dimensional wall coverings and tiles add definition, dimension and character in your room. Think about it. It would be boring if you or your designer kept all of the surfaces and textures the same throughout the space you’re wanting to remodel.

When we were remodeling the galley/kitchen in our RV, we wanted something different on the wall behind the cooktop. We wanted this area to be a focal point when we or guests stepped into our RV.

You’re going to want to take measurements of the area you want to cover plus 20%. Why plan an extra 20%? Because oftentimes, you may lose some product to correctly align or match patterns.


What is ‘hardware’ exactly? Hardware is your finishing elements that will pull the room together before adding your decor accessories. Examples of ‘hardware’ are cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, door knobs and hinges, etc.

Now that you have selected your fabric and paint color(s), you’re going take your project folder to a source that sells hardware pieces. Important to note; if you’re going to be shopping for drawer handle pulls, you will need to either take one of your existing handle pulls with you or take an exact measurement of the distance between the two holes where the handle is screwed into the drawer or cabinet.

After you’ve honed down your selection, I recommend purchasing one of each design.

When you get back to your RV, replace the old hardware with the new hardware and leave them up for a few days. Like your paint chips, you’ll want to see what they look like on your cabinetry in natural and artificial lighting. Once you’ve decided on which you like, either purchase them if they have quantity or place your order. Again, keep all orders and receipts in your project folder.


Simply said, some RV manufacturing design concepts have the most hideous flooring. Most are dark and in patterns that hide scuffs, marring, cuts, slices and damage.

If the flooring in your RV is not ideal to your the design you’re going for, it’s not an absurd idea to change. Be aware, the flooring you choose for your RV must withstand drastic temperature changes and extreme flexibility. You will also need to keep in mind of added weight to your RV so picking out marble, porcelain or ceramic tile simply isn’t going to happen. Nor are any hardwoods.

All of this said, it’s not a project for those who are not physically able to withstand hours on knees and getting up and down. Additionally, there will be a lot of measuring and cutting which may require strength. If you admit lacking in those, seeking a professional installer may be your resource.

We will discuss RV flooring solutions and installation guide, so please check back soon.


Once you’ve painted, hung your window coverings, replaced all of your hardware and installed your flooring, its time to go shop for your furniture. But first, before heading off to find the perfect pieces, you’re going to need to measure the spaces where your furniture pieces are going to go. I recommend writing your measurements down with descriptions and placing them in your project folder. Don’t forget to take your tape measure; you’re going to need it.

We will discuss how to select your furnishings in another blog soon. This is extremely important, so you’ll want to stay tuned!!


Again, correct measurements are going to be key. In finding that perfect wall art, you’re going to need to measure the wall space(s). Though you already may be aware, its good to be mindful of the weight of your accessories, wall art and how they will be secured in your RV.

I highly recommend not buying any accessories until you’ve completely finished any or all of your remodel project. What you may have purchased prior to even your planning may not work or look right once it’s finished.


Planning and organization is most important in your design project. I recommend taking your time with your decisions and research the products you will be using in all applications.

If you’re not comfortable or don’t even know where to begin with your design project, please email me alwaysonliberty@yahoo.com

My consultation fees are affordable to assist in how little or how large of a project you need. I can consult from a distance or if you’re where we may be located, I can consult in person.








2 Replies to “RV Renovation: Planning Our Fifth Wheel Interior Makeover”

  1. I love your ideas. I have just purchased a 2010 Montanna Moutineer. I love the wood,but I do not love the brown curtains and valances. I can live with the,walls because they are are a sandy color. I thought I would begin by adding color through new thermal drapes. I thought a turqouse blue would bring in a coastal flare. Really don’t want to go pure white. Changing the dark recliners for a sleeper love seat from Ikea. Would love input. How much do you charge for a consult?

    1. Nadine, from reading your post, it looks like you don’t need a consultant. You are well on your way to beautifying your RV. You’ve got great ideas and foundations to get started. Don’t forget to check out our other interior design and decorating blogs (i.e. flooring, backsplash, bathroom, painting, etc.). They are good step-by-step guides to get you rolling on your project.

      Might we also recommend checking out http://www.chickerystravels.com as I consulted for her on their interior decorating. She blogged and created youtube videos on the process. It looks like you know what you want, just GO FOR IT!

      – Lisa

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