Have you ever been inspired by those HGTV renovation shows? The before and after pictures take your breath away. Needless to say, we decided to do our own “RV Renovation: Before and After” series.
It wasn’t staging or anything, but we decided to gut our RV and add our personal touch to the design. It wasn’t easy, but we love the result!
Let’s take a look at what we did. Maybe it will inspire you to change your RV!
Is it possible to remodel a motorhome?
The famous phrase “If you can dream it, you can achieve it” also applies to RVs. If you can imagine a more livable, comfortable and personalized space, what’s stopping you from making those changes?
RV conversions can be big projects or small changes. You can gut an entire mobile home and start over, or just add removable wallpaper to an accent wall. You can rip out all the cabinets and put in new ones, or simply replace an old refrigerator with a more modern one.
The manufacturer’s warranty is the most important thing to consider before making any changes to your RV. Often, any change will void the warranty on that part of the RV.
For example, let’s say you remove the dinette in a slide and install bunk beds to accommodate your family’s travel needs. In this case, the manufacturer may not repair the slide if something happens within the warranty period.
Are motorhome conversions expensive?
The changes you make will affect the overall cost of an RV renovation. A complete remodel is much more expensive than if you just replace the furniture. Remodeling the bathroom will likely be more expensive than remodeling the bedroom.
Remodeling prices also vary based on their quality. If you use high-quality materials like quartz countertops or heated tile, you’ll spend more money than someone who just wants to paint cabinets and replace light fixtures. Your remodel can cost a few hundred or thousands of dollars.
Why completely remodel a mobile home?
People who camp frequently or travel full-time want their RV to feel like a home. The standard furniture is usually not very comfortable. The handles on the cabinets are usually dull. Generally, everything inside is brown.
If you spend a lot of time in your RV, you want it to reflect your style and personality.
There are also people who have their RV remodeled because they don’t like the floor plan. Maybe they’ve had an RV for years and their needs have changed since the kids got older.
Instead of buying a new RV, which can be stressful and expensive, people are remodeling their older vehicle to fit their changing needs.
Others save money up front by buying a cheaper model to upgrade later. They like having a blank slate from the start to customize the space to their liking.
The most important parts of our motorhome conversion: before and after
When we decided to complete our RV conversion, we knew we were in for an exciting and stressful adventure. Below we describe the major changes we made to our motorhome.
The first step in renovating a mobile home is deciding how much you want to tear down. Don’t imagine dismantling day as you see it on renovation shows. You don’t tear down walls or smash things. Most likely, you’ll be reusing things, so you need to approach demolition carefully.
We took out all the drawers and cabinet doors and labeled them so we know where they belong after painting. This is important if you are going to paint the cabinets. Always label them!
The bathroom was a different story. We ended up ripping everything out there – the shower, the toilet, the carpet and the counter – and that was a lot of fun!
But before you tear apart your RV, decide what you want to keep and what you want to throw away. You could use different colored tape or sticky notes to remind you what goes and what stays.
Our slide wall had severe water damage. So we had to repair it by rebuilding it from scratch. That took a lot of research, but overall it wasn’t a difficult repair. If you are not confident in doing this type of repair, you should call in a professional.
You definitely don’t want to ignore water damage or cause further problems with your slide.
Read more: See what we have renovated in our camper bedroom!
The hardest part of painting is the preparation. We sanded the walls, cleaned them with TSP and then washed them with clean water.
The walls of an RV are not like sheetrock in a house, so the prep work is absolutely necessary to make sure the final product is to your liking. Next, we applied the primer and then sanded and cleaned again.
Finally, we were ready for the first coat of paint. After this dried, we sanded and cleaned again before applying the second coat. Since we applied the primer with rollers, it took us forever! So we bought a sprayer for the paint job.
This is highly recommended because it makes painting much faster and gives you a smoother finish. We used Dove White and Standard Black from Benjamin Moore.
The next part of our RV remodel was the accent walls. We knew we didn’t want a lot of decor in the RV, so we thought accent walls would give it a homey feel.
Above the bed, we added a geometric wall. In the dining area, we added a faux wall panel. The accent walls turned out really well, and we were glad we chose this option.
We opted for a butcher block for all four countertops in the kitchen, dining area, bathroom and entryway. This created a cohesive, uniform look throughout the RV. We stained them all the same color, “Natural” from Minwax.
Since we have limited countertop space, we were able to make two countertops from one block. All we had to do was buy four blocks at Home Depot and cut them into shape.
Don’t forget: Want to buy a motorhome on a budget? Learn how to find a free motorhome here!
The most difficult part of the RV renovation was the bathroom. At around $1,600, it was also the most expensive part. When renovating a bathroom, you have to make sure that nothing leaks.
We opted for a ceramic tile for the shower pan and faux marble tile for the walls. We opted for a Delta shower faucet.
For the bathroom flooring, we installed waterproof LVP flooring from SmartCore. Then we installed a standard RV toilet from Thetford. Since we’ve always liked the look of country-style sinks and fixtures in bathrooms, we chose this style to replace the outdated vanity.
You can read more about our bathroom remodel in our article, “Dated to Dazzling: Renovating Our RV Bathroom.” It was so much work, it deserves its own article! But this renovation was the most rewarding of all the changes we made to our RV.
Are we happy with our camper conversion?
We love having a space that is 100% ours. It’s also great to know how it was built because we can fix anything now. Paint scratched? We have the right paint. Something feels crooked? Then we’ll try a different brand of glue.
Don’t like the result? We have the skills to redo it. One of the benefits of remodeling your RV yourself is knowing the hard work that goes into it. We are proud of the result!
Would we remodel another RV?
Ultimately, we would do another remodel. But it would take some convincing. It was a big challenge for us and a steep learning curve.
Now that we have that knowledge, another renovation wouldn’t be as complicated, but it’s still hard work. It’s also hard to budget when you don’t know all that a renovation will entail.
Make your motorhome your own with a motorhome renovation
All the sweat, tears and hard work will pay off when your RV renovation is complete. When you look around, you’ll see the fruits of your labor. Perhaps the improved appliances will make camping much more enjoyable.
Maybe the new furniture creates an inviting space to entertain guests. A remodeled bunk room might provide more play space for your kids.
So the next time you’re thinking about whether or not to do an RV renovation, take a look at your budget and decide what changes you want to make. Then get started and transform the space into something you can be proud to call your own!
Have you ever renovated a mobile home before? We would love to hear about it!