RV INTERIORS: 12 Fun Ways to Lighten and Brighten Your RV Interior

RV manufacturers are finally listening to their customers when choosing color palettes in their new models of motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers. It seems they are paying attention to trends of lighter and brighter interiors for their cabinets, flooring and furnishings. However, if you already have an RV with no plans of trading it anytime soon, we’d like to show you some fun ways to lighten and brighten your RV interior with a little creativity and fun!

Lighten and Brighten RV Interior
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RV DECOR: 12 Fun Ways to Lighten and Brighten Your RV Interior

Lighten Up Window Treatments

How you decorate your windows is a main key to lighten and brighten your RV interior. Windows tend to be a focal point in your RV as they let in the light you’re yearning for. So, you need to get this right because window light is everything to small spaces.

If you have those ugly cornice board window valances, all is not lost. The reason why RV manufacturers install them is to hide the shade mechanism. And the sides cornice box feature hide the strings from shades as well as block light from the sides of the shades when pulled closed.

In our fifth wheel, instead of ditching them, we embraced them! And, the same in our motorhome. We simply took them down and recovered them instead.

Check out our video tutorial on how to recover cornice boards for your RV, motorhome or camper!

Also, in our Winnebago View motorhome, we did remove the cornice board over the dinette window so we could install a unique window valance treatment instead. We installed a lightweight double curtain rod; one rod for a custom-designed valance and the back rod for light-gray sheer to soften the view yet provide a bit of translucent privacy.

Since I didn’t have a sewing machine, I hemmed the seams with heat bond tape using an iron. I then, hung the curtains using curtain rings.

Increase Interior Lighting

Another way to lighten and brighten your RV is through lighting. Lighting is everything! Whether it’s natural light through your windows and skylights or overhead lighting and accent lighting from a small table lamp or wall sconces.

In older motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers, RV manufacturers installed fluorescent lights, puck lights or light bars or halogen puck lights. Fluorescent lights will give off a blue tint and will make you literally see stars. In other words, they can can be a little hard on the eyes. And those halogen lights burn hot and are not very energy efficient. So, replacing your RV interior lights with 12 volt LED lights would be a great way to improve your RV lighting.

If your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer camper has a table or large flat surface such as a dinette table with a nearby electric outlet, consider getting a small decorative table lamp. And, to consider switching out the lamp shade for a white or light color to expose as much light as you can.

Personally, I chose this cute small stainless table lamp to add enough accent light for evening dinners or ambiance. It’s just the right size for our small dinette table and because of it’s wide base, I don’t have to pack it away during transit. This little light is perfect to lighten and brighten our RV.

Stainless Table Lamp

Decorate with Functional Pillows

Pillows and pillow covers are an easy and fun way to lighten and brighten your RV or camper! And, the fun thing about decorating the interior of your motorhome is personalizing it to your liking.

So, small throw pillows in lighter colors with accent colors and designs can mean all the world to your visual happiness. If you’re like me, you enjoy changing the pillow designs to dissuade boredom and add fun accents. This is why I buy pillow covers instead of new pillows. I can store the other set(s) of throw pillow covers in our storage basket up in the loft while displaying others.

Check out these cool light color pillow covers:

Change the Bedding and Linens

One of best and easiest ways to lighten and brighten your RV interior is simply by changing your bedding ensemble. You can give your bedroom a whole new look with a new quilt, blanket, pillow cases and shams.

Personally, I love quilts rather than bulky comforters because they can be easily stored for change of seasons. Also, they are reversible so when one side gets soiled or stained, you can easily flip it over for a different look until you can get it into the laundry. And of course, they are far easier to launder than stuffing a king-size puff-a-lump comforter into the washer and dryer.

I do have a suggestion if you have pets or kids though. Choose patterns over solid colors as they hid small stains easier.

Here are a few beautiful light color reversible quilt bedding sets than can lighten and brighten your RV bedroom:

Laundry Tip: If you get a stain or soil mark on your bedding, use these stain remover wipes! They are magical! We always keep a pack or two in our motorhome, glove box of our Jeep, our emergency go bag and our daily sightseeing bag. If you have a large stain, we pre-treat with simply squirting and working in regular blue Dawn dishwashing liquid a couple hours prior to laundering. And if it’s a pet potty stain, we’ve found this pet stain and odor remover spray works amazing!

Blankets and Throws

Lightening your room with textiles is the easiest and most economical way to lighten your RV interior. A simple throw blanket draped over the back of the sofa or chair is a good start. Or, don’t have a lot of money for a new bedding ensemble? An inexpensive white or light colored throw blanket neatly spread on top of a bed will do the trick. Now personally, I prefer to implement a stand-out color and/or pattern blanket or throw as an accent.

Wall Art and Attractive Visible Storage

When we recently decorated the interior of our Winnebago View, I was on the hunt for the perfect wall art. This included the frames and mats as well. And then, finding interesting wall art and cool visually attractive wall features came into play.

We also found small and simplistic flat-backed wall sconce vases that I’ve attached with velcro strips made for walls. I then, hot-glued a block of florist foam inside the vase and then inserted a small faux cactus or succulent floral pick.

I’ve seen others decorate their RV with wire wall baskets, trays and light wood tone plaques. You can temporarily affix them to the vertical wall or other surfaces with Command Velcro, adhesive strips, or adhesive hooks.

A couple tips when selecting your wall art:

    • Make sure wall art or objects are lightweight and unbreakable
    • Refrain from hanging heavier wall art from overhead locations
    • Replace photo frame glass with unbreakable and lighter plexiglass
    • Prepare your wall surface prior to hanging wall art, baskets, etc.
    • If hanging anything with nails, screws or drywall anchors, insure there is no cables, wire or plumbing is behind that wall location.
    • When removing or replacing any adhesive strips from walls, always follow adhesive product manufacturer instructions. Try the product first in inconspicuous locations (like a closet) first.

I did want to mention that Command Strips manufacturer 3M states on their website FAQ page, “Most wallpapers are too delicate and can tear when adhesives are applied.” So buyer and user beware. The manufacturer will not be held liable for damage to your usage surfaces. And being totally honest here, we’ve used Command Hooks that actually pulled the wallpaper away from the wall. We think it was because the items we hung on the hooks were too heavy, not for the hooks themselves, but due to the weight pulling the paper from the wall surface.

So, use your own discretion on what you hang and where. Just know that damage could occur if you aren’t mindful of what you’re hanging, movement of your RV and the wall surface itself.

Placemats, Table Runners or Table Cloths

Another easy update to lighten and brighten yourRV  interior is by applying textile or fabric tabletop toppers to your tables, desks or other lateral surfaces. A simple set of easy-to-clean white placemats or table runner can mean the difference between having a stark-looking table or a ‘let’s sit and talk over coffee’ invitation. They add class with a little color!

That said, personally, I’m not a fan of cloth because they soil and stain easily. Why would I want to add to the laundry basket each time food gets dropped onto them? So, I prefer vinyl placemats that can be wiped off with a damp cloth and sanitized. And, since placemats are fairly inexpensive, I tend to change my placemats out often for pops of color; especially when I decorate for holidays.

Change the Wall Color

A more permanent way to lighten and brighten your RV interior is by painting the walls and ceilings. And, after a few years of road-wear, you can simply change your wall color for a whole new fresh and updated look. So, don’t be afraid of picking up that paint brush to give your RV interior a bright new welcoming look.

In our Landmark fifth wheel, we first prepped and primed all interior walls and ceilings. Once primer dried, we then painted our fifth wheel ceilings a high quality, easy-to-clean, white satin finish; including the dark wood-tone mouldings. Then, we chose bright and fun wall colors (think Margaritaville! Light Turquoise and Lime Green).

However, when it came time for us to trade it in for our motorhome, we didn’t fret. Since our walls had already been properly primed, all we had to do is flood coat it with white satin wall paint. The reason we chose a satin finish is it still allows light to bounce but without the glare and sheen. Satin finish also allows for easy cleaning of scuffs and dirt.

We applied the same painting protocol to our Winnebago View Class C motorhome remodel.

Put Up Wallpaper

You can instantly change the look and customize your RV interior walls with simple peel-n-stick wall coverings. Since RV’s don’t have a lot of wall real estate, so this can be a super easy and inexpensive way to lighten and brighten your RV interior. And now, wallpaper is as economical as painting walls.

Here’s a great selection of beautiful white wall coverings:

Again, it’s how important to properly prep and prime your wall surfaces so paint and wallpaper adhesive adheres correctly. You can click on the image below to read more:

Install a Backsplash

One of the most common ways to lighten up your RV interior is changing or installing a new backsplash!

Now, do understand that not every backsplash is going to work in a fifth wheel or travel trailer as they have more flex. So, thinking you’re going to be installing  ceramic or breakable tile that requires grout may not be the wisest decision. I’m not saying it can’t be done but you’ll be better apt to go for lighter backsplash options.

But, if you’d rather have a different tile, you can choose an easy-to-install peel-and-stick 12″x 12″ Self Adhesive Removable Kitchen or Bathroom backsplash tile. They require no glue, no grout and leave no mess. They are perfect for a DIY project. You can get them in a popular is the subway tile, gray mosaic horizontal tile or if you want to get bold, check out this cool black and white Moroccan tile design. Whichever you choose will give your kitchen or bath a clean and crisp update.

And it bears repeating, make certain you prepare the wall surface thoroughly or your tiles will not adhere properly.

In our fifth wheel, we chose a decorative thermoplastic panel design made for ceilings, walls, and backsplashes that we found in Home Depot. They can be easily installed just as they come in the metal finishes or you can paint them as we did to add more personalization with a splash of color. We used a tile design in our kitchen and a wavy pattern for an amazingly interesting wall treatment in our bathroom. As you can see, there are multiple ways you can use those panels.

Cabinet Color and Finish

I would say 80% of RVs that are manufactured even today have dark wood tones throughout the motorhome or camper. It’s the number uno issue RV owners and prospective RVers complain about.

Dark cabinetry darkens RV interiors making them feel cave-like, claustrophobic and dated. The reason why RV manufacturers use darker cabinetry is it lowers the price point because because the staining process is faster and cheaper than paint. But also, dark cabinets hide those dark shadows and cracks caused by irregular seams whereas, lighter colored cabinets will require caulking and sealing those seams to look professional and clean.

But, if you do it right, those can be changed as well. Being really honest though, this would be an absolute last change as it is incredibly tedious and time consuming. And, if you don’t do it correctly, you’ll not only be disappointed in the result but you will damage your cabinetry. So, in my opinion, if you’re a sloppy painter or don’t know what you’re doing, leave cabinet painting to the professionals.

Take a good look at what Modern Mountain Life did with their cabinets and the lessons they learned in the process.

BLOGGER’S INTERIOR DESIGN TIP: To avoid chromatic aberration, please purchase enough rolls at one time to ensure they are from the same batch.

Replace Furniture

If you’ve done any or all of the above and you’re RV is still dark, consider changing out or replacing your furniture to lighten and brighten your RV interior. Perhaps paint your wood-frame dining chairs or small accent tables (we’ve done this!).

But if it’s that dark brown faux leather couch that seems to be anchoring your room down, you can do some research in finding a replacement sofa. Sofas and chairs today come in pieces so you’ll be able to get them inside the door. Just be aware, the lighter the color, the more it’s going to show dirt and wear. And, dark faux leather (or pleather) furniture allows you to cover up any marring with a leather and vinyl repair kit.

Also, if you have kids and pets, look into either a good quality faux leather or easy-to-clean fabric such as microfiber.

If you can’t afford a new sofa right now, consider getting a sofa pet cover to hide those rubbings and claw marks or removable and washable sofa cover until you can replace your sofa. And yes, don’t forget, simply adding cute pillows and colorful throw can add a bit of bounce and pop in color to detract from the dark furniture.

And, speaking of furniture, if you work on the road, you may want to replace that sofa or loveseat and install a desk instead to give you a great workspace.

Here’s some cute ideas and though some may not be the color you want, you can always alter or paint them!

So, are you ready to lighten and brighten your RV interior? As you can see, there are several ways you can change it up or update your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer camper. You can even apply some of these to van life interior decorating DIY projects. Soon, your RV interior will be beautiful because you made it your own.

Lighten and Brighten RV Interior-2
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If you enjoyed this blog and would like to learn more about how you can improve and update your RV interior, check out these!

RV Design & Decor: PLANNING

RV Design & Decor: PREPARATION & PAINTING

RV Design & Decor: FLOORING

RV Design & Decor: DECORATIVE WALLS & BACKSPLASH

Our 5th Wheel RV Interior Makeover

Our Bathroom Interior Makeover

 

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