If you’ve ever stepped foot into any RV straight from the factory, you’re sure to notice how bland, boring and brown their interiors are. RV manufacturer prescribed decor, in general, lacks personality, creativity and zest. So, being the creative type, I set myself on a mission to make our new RV look homey and reflect our personalities with customized features. This is how I completed our toy hauler interior makeover.
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Once we permanently moved into our fifth wheel toy hauler, I wanted to make our man-box-on-wheels more customized. I needed to add a little color and stylish theme without altering the actual interior structure of our fifth wheel toy hauler. But, our mission was to decorate, not renovate. And since we are sailors at heart, we turned our man-box-on-wheel toy hauler into a stylish land yacht!
While I get that RV manufacturers are purposeful in their design concepts by trying to remain neutral to appeal to everyone, I still think they could try just a little bit harder to make the interiors more stylish and less masculine. Well, we made that happen to our former Heartland Cyclone toy hauler.
Before we go on though, this makeover is about the living area of the toy hauler. It does not include the garage.
OUR TOY HAULER INTERIOR MAKEOVER:
Pinterest! Pinterest! Pinterest!
First, I became a Pinterest Junkie. Being this was my first RV/Camper remodel makeover, I typed in the search bar camper renovations…camper mods…camper updates…RV decorating. Before I knew it, my secret RV Deco Board had hundreds, if not thousands, of pins. I was super excited to get started with my own design.
Before I continue, I completed our toy hauler interior makeover while we were parked at a campground in Kentucky awaiting the sale of our house. So, Dan set up a work room in the garage of our Cyclone. I brought my sewing machine and set it up on one of the removable tables. I also brought in my ironing board and iron. After I would call it a day, I simply shut the sliding door to keep our two kitties from frolicking in my fabric, thread and everything else kitties like to tear into.
I’m starting with the window treatments because it’s the first feature in every RV that everyone sees upon opening the door into an RV. Each RV manufacturer installs boxy cornice boards (valances) on every window. It’s a clever way of hiding the window shade mechanisms. Since Dan was not keen on removing them, I had to create a different window treatment concept. Ours weren’t too terribly bad. They weren’t overbearing with those awful patterned fabric coverings.
Since we already had pleated shades for privacy, instead of making actual curtains, I designed my own cool pennant window treatments to accent the windows. Wanting to get away from a monotone color, I opted to incorporate stripes with patterns to give definition and interest.
After taking measurements, I calculated how much fabric I was going to need. But that’s not all. I wanted to back each pennant with a simple white broadcloth. Looking from the outside, the backs of each pennant. The reason was two fold. First, to give a much more professional, cleaner finish but also, to protect the pattern and stripe fabric from UV rays coming through the window. So, I ordered all of my fabric from Amazon; yes, you heard that right. I’d get it in two days.
In the mean time, I headed to the office supply store to get a few sheets of white poster paper so I could make a template to cut all of the pennants the same exact size and shape. Also, I set up my workspace in the garage and got all of my sewing supplies ready.
Once the fabric arrived, I was ready to get to work.
Cutting and sewing
After inspecting all of the fabric for flaws, I laid it out and pressed all of the wrinkles and creases out with my iron on a steam setting. I then laid the fabric out print side down. I then, traced my pennant template onto the fabric, making certain the point lined up perfectly with my stripes or patterns. (enlarge photo below).
Now, taking into account of the pennant size, I allowed an extra 3/4″ to allow my seam line. I sewed all edges except for the top edge. Once all the pennants were sewn, I turned them inside out and pressed them flat; again, with the steam iron. I then, folded the top edges inside neatly and pressed them together. After which, I returned each pennant to the sewing machine and sewed each pennant shut on the top edge.
I again, pressed each pennant thoroughly so they were crisp and ready to hang.
Sewing Tip: If you don’t have a sewing machine or don’t want to deal with one, you can use Heat Bond Iron-On Adhesive instead. Just follow the manufacturers’ directions.
Hoisting the pennants!
This part of our toy hauler interior makeover is what I’m probably most proud of!
Once I made all of the pennants, I simply hung them on a 3/4″ spring tension rod, attaching them to curtain clip rings; arranging them in a layered fashion like in the photo below. I then, secured the rod up inside the brown cornice board. Once the rod was hung, I added a little removable tacky poster putty under each end of the rod to keep them from slipping and falling during transit.
On the single windows on each end of the slide, I did the same but only with one pennant, a shorter spring rod and again, reinforcing with putty.
The window treatment textile fabrics I used:
After finishing the pennants for the windows over the sofa, I created a different window treatment design over the door and window on the landing that leads into the bedroom. The style of valance I was vying for are called Stage Coach Valances. They are a simple straight double-sided valance tied up with white cords.
Truth be told, I really wanted the cords incorporated with a monkey’s fist (rope knotted balls) however, after trying, they just didn’t work right with the concept I was aiming for. So, I just ended up using my fancywork skills I learned in the Coast Guard to make my own tie-ups. Oh wait, I lied. I sucked at fancywork (aka macrame’) so I just went with ‘if you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot!’. After I was finished, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. And…no one else was ever the wiser.
While I was busy sewing, Dan hung up simple white aluminum curtain rods. Of course, the scary part of that is he had to screw the brackets into the wall. But hey, this is our home and we were only improving it. That way, they were surely not going to fall during transit or when shutting the door.
Oh, and check out our life ring decor below.
Now, just a little side note, if you don’t want to make curtains and just want to recover your RV window cornice boards, check out our YouTube video on how-to tutorial:
Garage Sliding Door
We had a sliding glass door that separated the living area or our toy hauler from the garage. There was already a black curtain on the garage-side however, no curtain on the living area side.
So part of our toy hauler interior makeover, I wanted to add a little distinctive separation by throwing in a splash of bright color. So, I simply installed a shower extension rod over the sliding glass door and added a curtain. Again, we installed that removable poster putty under the ends of the rod to insure the rod wouldn’t slip or move during transit. Or, have it fall and bonk us on the head going in and out of the garage.
I then hung a pre-made curtain that actually was the same measurements so it fit perfectly.
A few weeks later, we ended up changing the curtain color to red later because there was too much blue as you can see in the photo below:
The red curtain though, I had to create myself. I simply used a heavier and thicker red duck cloth that was less see-through. I used the same measurements from the blue curtain but adding the 3/4″ seam allowance like the others I sewed. However, unlike the former blue curtain that had a rod pocket, I deinstalled the shower curtain rod and slid on 2″ drapery rings and rehung the rod. Once my red curtain was finished, I just clipped the top of the curtain to the hooks.
Sorry, no picture. Who would have thought I would have written a blog five years later about this? But, for a moment, picture in your mind a red curtain instead of blue.
Another part of our toy hauler interior makeover was to replace the existing black loft curtain that was about 5″ too short. It was hideous and I couldn’t stand it.
Since we didn’t want black up there anyways, I sewed a new loft curtain to coordinate with the rest of our new coastal interior decor. I chose a blue and white coral pattern fabric so the over-the-loft skylight could still give a little light without being overpowering.
All I did was unhooked the existing black curtain and measured the two pieces. BUT, I added extra measurement to where I wanted the curtain to dust the bottom of the loft floor. I then cut (again, allowing additional 3/4″ seam line) my two pieces and sewed the edges. Since the black curtain had weird RV-exclusive loops that attached to the hooks that couldn’t be transferred to my new curtain, I simply measured even increments and hand-sewn sewed small white plastic rings onto the top of the curtain. I then hooked them onto the hanging hooks on the ceiling and VOILA!
There was an open cubby in our RV kitchen that I stowed small kitchen essentials in. It was ugly when everything was in there. Also, nothing stayed put during transit. So I simply made a double rod pocket curtain and installed two short spring expansion rods at the top and bottom of the curtain.
I simply measured the cubby and doubled the width of fabric and allowed enough allowance for the rod pockets.
Above our RV kitchen island hung a wood feature that suspended two down-rod pendant lights. They had boring contractor-grade tan glass globes. I’ve seen nicer light shades at yard sales. Anyway, I wanted something more custom with a little splash of color. And, I fell in love with these red handblown pendant light shades (below).
We also installed two single stemware racks for our wine and lager glasses. And yes, we stowed them on travel days.
Part of our toy hauler interior makeover was to reintegrate better seating. Our toy hauler’s interior landscape showed a long five-seater sofa. There was no coffee or end tables to even set our drinks. Even so, we didn’t have a dinner table; either dining booth or free standing table too either eat or work on our computers at. There were temporary table setups that included the standard RV poles that stuck in the holes in the floor while the other end was where we set the tabletop into.
While it was a so-called fix, it didn’t allow us to comfortably sit at them for long periods of time. They weren’t the right height for office work and certainly weren’t made for short statured persons like myself.
We removed two sections of the sofa. Now, this really depended on which sections we took out. Obviously, we kept the two ends. The one middle section we chose to keep was the electric-powered recliner section. We stored the other two sections in our storage unit in Kentucky; keeping them in case we changed our minds or sold our toy hauler (and we’re glad we did!).
Dan plugged in the electric wires too the reclining feature and then hooked the sections together making it a three-section sofa. Ahhhhhh, that’s much better and gave a much more homey look.
Once we downsized the sofa, we picked up a dark red small campaign writing desk to set in the corner where two former sofa sections stretched into. We also added a couple stylish galvanized steel based stools.
This little setup was two-fold. We could dine at it or use it as a workspace. Keeping in mind if the width of the slide, we chose to keep it small. We also wanted to keep the cost low in case it wasn’t going to work out for us down the road.
And, it DID work out for us. It was an amazing addition that added character and personalization yet gave us a little functionality to our small interior living space.
Part of our toy hauler interior makeover was to create additional hiding places for our belongings. Since our particular toy hauler didn’t come with much storage; either over the sofa or in the galley, we had to come up with creative ways to store our food stores.
There was a space underneath the overhead kitchen cabinet that slid over the counter when drawing the slide in. We just relocated it to the garage when we were hauling down the road. We used this cabinet for supplements, spices, small cooking tools, and other kitchen essentials.
Oh and look how we improvised covering the cubby with a small curtain to hide my junk in there. The pocket curtain is on an expandable tension rod (from Walmart for less than $3) slide up inside the cubby and secured on the ends with decorator’s putty so the rod didn’t fall down during transit. By the way, that putty is amazing!! We use it for securing everything in place so we don’t have to pack away some of our pretties and wall art from shifting on the walls.
We also needed a small table with baskets to keep small important things in yet serve as a small lamp table. You can check out our 10 Cool RV Modifications and Improvements blog post to see where we got those storage cabinets!
Tip: We ditched the lamp because it was too heavy and cumbersome to pack each time we got on the road. We also no longer use candles. They emit toxins as well as candles are fire hazards in RVs. We learned these things the more we traveled.
Most of our coastal theme decor was relocated from our stick and bricks. I wanted to bring a little piece of our old home into our new home on wheels. We had two guest bedrooms that were decorated in coastal and nautical themes. So, the decor was perfect for our toy hauler interior makeover.
We had a two-shelf cubby. We used the top shelf to store our plates in a plate holder (because there was no cabinet appropriate to do so) and the bottom shelf, we did a nice coastal arrangement. Yes, we admit, it was a pain to pack it all but we didn’t mind because that was our home.
Also, notice the small rod iron mug rack that we mounted on the cabinet side. Yet, another way we could store our dishes in a creative and artistic way.
Admittedly though, some of the decor eventually became a pain in the behind when it came time to move because I had to pack it all away in a plastic tote. I quickly learned that even then, I didn’t need all of that stuff. But, it was still cool.
So that is our Toy Hauler Interior Makeover . We know our decorating forte isn’t for everybody. We all have our own different tastes in interior design and decor.
Don’t forget to read our other RV Interior Design articles…
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