RV toy haulers are typically built with no decorating sense. But, with a little creativity and eye for color and design, we’ll show you how we transformed our Heartland Cyclone into a fun and amazing living area. Check out our custom toy hauler interior makeover that made our camper look more like a home…or ship cabin??
RV toy haulers are typically man boxes on wheels. By definition, a toy hauler a type of RV that has living quarters in the front part of the camper and a garage and exit ramp in the back portion. There are a couple manufacturers in the motorhome division who market toy haulers. But towable fifth wheel and travel trailer manufacturers take the lead in producing these cool adventure campers.
RV manufacturers are purposeful in their neutral design concept to appeal to everyone. They are excessively masculine and lack very little style and personality. And, like all RVs really, toy haulers are no exception when it comes to drabby interiors.
Well, I told Dan, if I’m going to live full-time in our fifth wheel toy hauler, then I want to design and decorate our RV to give more of a home appeal. So, I set out on a quest to put some color and creativity in our man box on wheels.
Our RV Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler Interior Makeover
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BEFORE our Cyclone Toy Hauler Interior Makeover
Before share how we decorated our toy hauler interior, know that this particular makeover only entails the kitchen and living area. It does not include the garage; nor the bedroom. Our bedroom decorating really jus bedding entailed new bedding and pillows. In our bathroom, a simple shower curtain, towels, and countertop ensemble completed that part of our toy hauler interior makeover.
My focus was on the main living area and kitchen where we spend most of our time preparing meals or watching television. One caveat though when planning our RV remodel was to decorate; not renovate. I didn’t want to paint, rip out cabinets or structurally alter anything. After all, our Cyclone toy hauler was brand new.
I just wanted to add a little color and style by adding a fun theme without altering the actual interior structure of our fifth wheel toy hauler. Since our backgrounds come from the sea and ocean, it made perfect sense to ideally turn our camper into a cute little land yacht.
Being this was my first RV remodel and makeover, I turned to Pinterest to get some RV decorating ideas. 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.
I also Googled RV decor, RV decorating, how to decorate my RV (or camper), camper renovations, camper mods, camper updates, etc. to guide me to blogs and YouTube videos.
Setting up a decorating workspace
First, we our toy hauler interior makeover took place while we were parked at a campground in Kentucky awaiting the sale of our house. So, we had access to home improvement and home decor stores. As well, we had an address to receive shipped items.
Because I was going to be doing a lot of sewing and fabric laying, Dan set up my workspace in our toy hauler garage. That way, when I was finished for the day, I could just close the door.
Things brought from our house to complete our project:
- Sewing Machine
- Sewing Supplies – thread, pins, fuseable bonding tape, sewing scissors
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Banquet Table
- Wine (and glass)
I’m starting with the window treatments because it’s the first noticeable feature we see upon opening the door into our RV.
Each RV manufacturer typically installs those boxy cornice board window valances on every window. It’s a clever way of hiding the window shade mechanisms. We did not want want to remove because they hid our pleated shades mechanisms and side strings.
So, I came up with the concept of creating a fabric valance that hangs on a tension rod that’s inserted up inside the top of the existing cornice board window valance. We didn’t need full curtains because our pleated window shades were plenty for privacy and blocking the light. But I didn’t want a standard frilly looking cheap valance. I was vying for something custom, unique and sharp looking. So, I rough-sketched a pennant-like window treatment for all of the windows.
After taking measurements each window (width x length), I calculated how much fabric I was going to need.
I used a simple white broadcloth for each pennant backing. The reason I used a broadcloth backing instead of the decorative fabric was two fold. First, to give a much more professional finish. Since our windows were tinted, nobody would see the fabric pattern anyways. Also, what UV rays would be coming through the window would just fade them terribly anyways.
Believe it or not, I ordered my designer fabric from Amazon. Once the fabric arrived in 2 days, I was ready to get to work.
Window treatment valance fabrics:
Creating the Pennants
Taking my window measurements, I decided how large I wanted my pennants to be. After which, I bought sheets of white poster board to make a couple templates so each pennant was the same exact size and shape.
After inspecting all of the fabric for flaws, I laid it out and pressed all of the wrinkles and creases out using my iron on a steam setting onto my ironing board.
I laid my designer fabric out print side down. Then, making certain the point of my pennant template lined up perfectly with my stripes or patterns, I traced my pattern onto the fabrics. For every pennant I cut, I also cut a white broadcloth backing.
Leaving a 3/4″ seam edge, I sewed all edges of each pennant except for the top edge in which I left open with a raw edge.
Once all the pennants were sewn, I then turned them inside out. I steam-pressed them flat; making certain all points were sharp. After all of the pennants were crisply pressed, it was time finish the top edges.
I carefully folded the top edges inside each pennant and steam-pressed them together. This made it easier for me to do a final seam stitch to close them up on the top of each pennant.
Lastly, I steam-pressed each pennant so they were crisp and ready for hanging onto my tension rod.
Fabric Decorating Tip
If you don’t want to use a sewing machine, you can use iron-on bonding tape instead. Just follow the manufacturers’ directions.
Hoist the Sails!
This part of our toy hauler interior makeover is what I’m most proud of. And, it’s the most fun because I get to be the first to see my work of art.
First, I attached 5 curtain clip rings evenly spaced to the tops of each pennant. This would allow each pennant to hang handsomely; disallowing sagging or bunching.
Once all the rings were attached to each pennant, according to my sketch, I arranged my pennants in an overlapping configuration on a spring tension rods, appropriately sized for the width of our windows.
Now, it’s time to hang my pennant window treatment! I slid the ends of the tension rod as far up inside the brown cornice board as I could without interfering with the pleated shade operation. Once the rod was hung and I was happy with placement, I firmly placed a wad of mounting putty under each end of the rod; molding it around the bottom of the rod ends to keep them from slipping and falling.
For the single slide-end windows, I did the same process using a shorter spring rod and only one complimenting pennant.
And VOILA!!! My custom designer window valance!
Adjacent Window and Door Treatments
After finishing our window treatments over the sofa, I wanted to create a different window treatment design for over the door and window on the stair 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. Seriously, this is one of the easiest window valances you could make.
Measure your window width. Add however many inches to cover the curved ends of the curtain rod so the valance meets the wall. Also add 1 1/2″ extra to allow for seams (3/4″ on either side).
Then, decide how long you want your window valance to hang down. Add 1 1/2″ for seam allowances (3/4″ on top and 3/4″ on bottom). Cut two panels. Like our pennants, I used the white broadcloth for the window-side and patterned fabric for the interior design side.
While I was busy sewing and steam-pressing, Dan hung up simple standard-size white aluminum curtain rods. Just an FYI though, the window had a cornice board window box. However, it didn’t stick out as far from the wall.
Dan actually mounted the curtain rod over the existing window cornice board. My valance hung in a way to hide it. He did have to screw the brackets into the wall instead of the tiny useless nails they came with. That way, they were surely not going to fall during transit or when shutting the door.
Once my valances were sewn, I slid the top rod pocket over the curtain rod. Then, I attached the curtain rod onto the wall brackets.
Carefully, I fanned the bottom third of the valance and slid the decorative cording on either ends (you can see the result in the photo below).
Truth be told though, I really wanted the cords incorporated with a monkey’s fist. However, my fancywork sucks. So, I just went with ‘if you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot!’. After I was finished, I was pleasantly surprised at my results.
Check out our life ring decor above the door.
Don’t want to mess with making valances or curtains, here’s our video on how to recover your RV window cornice boards YouTube tutorial:
Garage Sliding Door
Our Cyclone toy hauler had a sliding glass door that separated the living area from the garage. There was already a black curtain on the garage-side. However, there was nothing no privacy curtain on the living area side.
But, I wanted to add a little distinctive separation but with a splash of color. I simply installed a shower extension rod over the sliding glass door and added a curtain. Again, we molded some mounting putty under both ends of the extension rod to insure it wouldn’t slip or fall during transit.
I hung two regular 72″ curtain panels that fit the door 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 (sorry, no photo of the red)
However, unlike the former blue curtain that had a rod pocket, I took down the extension curtain rod and slid on 2″ curtain rings and rehung the rod. Once my red curtain was finished, I just clipped the top of the curtain to the hooks.
The existing loft curtain was absolutely hideous and totally useless. Whoever was the person who measured the length needs to go back to school. The curtain was about 5″ too short. So much for privacy.
But, since we didn’t want black anyways, I used some of the remaining blue and white coral patterned fabric to make our loft curtain. I did not use the broadcloth lining this time because the loft skylight provided a little light.
All I did was unhooked the existing black curtain and measured the two pieces. However, I added extra 6″ to the length so the curtain to dust the bottom of the loft floor (hidden). I also added 3/4″ seam allowance on both end of each curtain.
Since the black curtain had that weird RV-exclusive curtain bracket mounted on the ceiling, I simply hand-stitched small plastic rings in evenly measured increments onto the top of my new curtain. After the curtain was finished, I hooked the rings onto the ceiling hooks.
And….TA DA!!! The two curtain panels meet in the corner. Oh, by the way, there’s just a smidgen of the red curtain on the garage glass door we talked about earlier.
Kitchen Cubby Concealment
There was an small cubby in our RV kitchen where I stowed my spice jars and bottles. However, it was unattractive. So I simply made a cute little valance out of the existing striped designer fabric.
I simply doubled the width of the cubby and measured the length; adding about 3″ to create enough of a pocket to slide onto the extension rod. I also added 3/4″ to each side, top and bottom for seam allowances.
Once the small curtain valance was finished, I slid the extension rod into the rod pocket. Using the mounting putty, I mounted the rod up inside the top; securing it with the same mounting putty in all of my other applications above.
Oh, now, isn’t that cute!? No more ugly modge podge of different size jars and bottles.
Now that we’ve finished with all of our sewing projects, let’s jump into some other cool custom updates we added to our toy hauler interior.
Since you just saw the photo above, you’re probably wondering about that awesome cabinet. Since our particular toy hauler didn’t come with much kitchen storage, we had to come up with creative ways to store our food stores.
There’s a space underneath the kitchen cabinet that slides over the counter when the slide is deployed. We found this cabinet with tons of baskets to hold all of our small kitchen essentials. When it’s time to bring the slide in, we’d just relocate it to the garage when we were hauling down the road.
We also found a much small table with baskets to store small things in yet serve as a small lamp table. Unfortunately, the table lamp in the above photo did not stay with us. It was way too heavy and a pain to store on travel days.
Other storage ideas that may work in your own RV or motorhome:
While there’s no shortage in overhead lighting in our toy hauler, it’s way to bright and invasive. So, we turned our pendant lights over the kitchen island into softer accent lighting.
The original pendant lights came with boring frosted glass globes. Keeping with the color scheme, I wanted something more custom but with a splash of color. I instantly fell in love with these red pendant light shades ( picture below).
We also installed two single stemware racks for our wine and lager glasses. And yes, we stowed them on travel days.
Our toy hauler’s interior landscape comes with a long five-seater sofa. That may be great for a bigger family. However, for just the two of us, it was kind of weird. There was no place to set our drinks or eat our dinner unless we set up the big table tops and poles which took up valuable floorspace. And, I needed a real place to work at my computer that was more ergonomic that included a desk and chair.
So, we removed two sections of the sofa and stored them in our storage unit in Kentucky. We kept them just in case we changed our minds or sold our toy hauler. And we’re glad we did because two years later, we traded it in for our Landmark.
We could now dine at it or use it as a workspace. Keeping in mind, we chose to keep it small because of the depth of our slideout. This little remote work office space was just what I needed for my laptop.
Interior Decor Elements
Most of our coastal theme decor was relocated from our stick and bricks. We wanted to bring a little piece of our old home into our new home. Our two guest bedrooms were decorated in coastal and nautical themes. So, the decor was perfect for our toy hauler interior makeover.
We added a small metal rack that we mounted on the cabinet side. It was a way to display our coffee mugs and dishes since we didn’t have a cabinet to store them in.
However, I need to say this. Some of the decor elements were short-lived. It got old having to pack it all away in a plastic tote on travel days. It also became a pivotal moment that even starting out our RV lifestyle, I learned that I didn’t need all of that stuff.
Final thoughts on our toy hauler interior makeover
So what did you think about our remodel makeover. We appreciate our decorating style may be unique. But, as you can see, you can customize your own RV interior to your own liking; making it your own home…on wheels.
More RV interior makeover ideas
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