As we are now less than a month away from relocating to the 5th wheel camper my mind is almost consumed with how the “vibe” will be indoors. Our tiny house is (and obviously so) very customized and has our fingerprint all over it. The woodwork, the kitchen layout, the windows treatments, the flooring, etc. were all chosen by us because they made us feel at home. Not so in the 5th wheel though. This is due in part to the fact that we don’t own it. We are, after all, borrowing it from my very generous folks. That doesn’t mean however that we can’t make some changes that will result in a much more homey space.
If you’ve ever spent any time inside an RV of almost any sort then you know what I am talking about when I say panel seam strips, non-sensical geometric mirrors, wood veneer crown molding, hideous upholstery, aging formica, etc. The list is endless. But have you seen RVs like the most recent one owned and lived in by the Janssen family? It is beautiful and exudes personality. They didn’t get there overnight though. Modifying and renovating an RV can be tough work. Just ask my good friend Tara Wagner. Her family renovated a Winnebago motorhome in a major way.
So while we can’t really paint the walls or add solar power or rip out cabinetry and such there are quite a few things we can do to bring a bit more of the Tiny r(E)volution to a 28′-foot 5th wheel camper.
Replace the standard (and often boring) sofa-bed. Consider that done. In fact, because my dad didn’t like the couch either it wasn’t hard to convince him to pull it out. But instead of replacing it with the IKEA futon they are eyeing they are leaving the space (which happens to be the main slide out) empty for our stay so that our daughter can have a nice play area dedicated to her and her discovery.
Add curtains or window treatments. The 5th wheel came with aluminum mini blinds of all things. Lucky for us they come down with just the removal of a few screws. Once down we can replace with some easy sew curtain made out of fabrics that are of natural materials (we love tobaccos sheets and coffee bean bags).
Pick a theme for your RV. Now we don’t intend to theme the camper as we aren’t really theme people. However, if done right, a theme RV decorating scheme can be very attractive. A subtle touch here and there works much better than cramming every inch of the RV with nautical items or kitschy 50s diner items.
Get rid of clutter in your RV. This goes without saying. We cannot live with clutter and that includes toys, kitchen items, my computer stuff, etc. Just like preparing to live in a tiny house those desiring to live in an RV need to have a balance of throwing away, giving away, selling, and repurposing. This step not only allows for more room to breathe, it allows the space to feel more alive and balanced.
Replace your RV mattress with a better one. This was already done for us as my folks took out the springy Queen size mattress original to the rig with a Sealy Posturepedic King size. A good night’s sleep is essential and we are so thankful for this already being done!
Set up an awning outside your RV or a complete RV room. We are still debating this as we definitely want the space but aren’t sure we can afford a nice one. The benefit is that with these outdoor rooms you are expanding your living space infinitely. With an added folding table and chairs and perhaps even a fan (or heater depending where you are) you can find mingling with the neighbors a whole lot more enjoyable.
Use family photos to decorate and keep relationships fresh in your mind. We are planning to achieve this with an inexpensive digital frame. While away from our family here in North Carolina this will allow us to keep our daughters grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins just a photo away.
Add some plants and/or flowers. This is a fairly easy one and will (if nothing else) add color and life. It will also allow more fresh oxygen into the air and just lift the mood of the space. We are especially looking forward to more tropical plants since we will be in the sunshine state for what would have been a dreary winter.
Are we missing anything? Do you have any tips for our temporary space? Let us know!