You want to renovate your RV, but you don’t know where to start, right? Customizing and fixing up an RV offers nearly endless options, which may seem intimidating at first. The end result will be well-worth it, but without preparation, the remodel process can be full of missteps and unforeseen expenses. Before you start picking out paint samples, get a plan in place with RV Trader’s eight renovation tips for beginners.
1. Know Your Budget
Start your remodel journey by planning your finances. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on this process. While it’s always efficient to use a professional contractor, doing the renovations yourself keeps you in control of your money since you decide which supplies to use and you won’t have to pay yourself for labor costs. Don’t forget to leave room in your budget for any unexpected costs along the way. And if you don’t have your entire budget up front, don’t worry. The long renovation process will likely give you time to continue saving for each expenditure along the way.
2. Assess the Condition of Your RV
Before you start planning your dream redesign, make a quick assessment of your camper. If you’re purchasing an RV specifically to renovate, check the condition of the appliances, windows, tires, water systems, and electrical. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for engine problems, water damage, and frame damage. If you find an issue with your camper after you buy it, get it fixed before starting your renovation.
3. Decide What You Can DIY
Renovations can range anywhere from a complete gut job to simpler aesthetic touch ups, requiring different resources and skill levels. If you decide to go the DIY route and not use a professional, it’s best to do a renovation that allows you to work with your RV’s existing structural, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems. You know how much you can take on. If a project becomes too much, reach out for help.
4. Have a Realistic Timeline
Remodeling your camper will likely take longer than you expect. Knowing and preparing for this in advance can help you avoid future frustrations. Replacing light fixtures can take a few hours, but painting, building shelves and tables, and installing new appliances can be much more time consuming. If you live in your RV full-time, make a plan for where you’ll stay during parts of your renovation. Remember, you can’t tackle all of your ideas at the same time, so keep in mind how long each project will take before you start a new one.
5. Figure Out Where to Shop
Shopping doesn’t have to break the bank, especially when you plan ahead. Define your decorating style, whether it’s modern, rustic, or industrial, and shop retailers that have the widest selection. Shopping at just a few intentionally selected stores, instead of running around to a bunch, will save time that can be spent on designing and renovating. Accessories and fixtures specifically for RVs can cost more than they do for homes, so shop around and price compare to get the quality and style you want at a lower price. Popular household furnishing stores also have lightweight furniture that’s perfect for RVs.
6. Make a List of What You’ll Need
As you plan your projects, make a list of the tools, fabrics, paints, and furnishings you’ll need for your remodel and the quantity you’ll need. Power tools like drill sets can add to your budget, so rent or borrow them when possible. Buy extra renovation essentials like painter’s tape, paper or plastic covers, and sanding paper. These can go quicker than you think so it’s always best to have more on hand.
7. Measure Everything
Measuring your RV is a critical step in determining the full scope of your project. Use a measuring tape and go room to room to get the dimensions of your camper. Measure once then do it again to make sure all the sizing is correct before you buy anything. Make a note of where switches and outlets are located to avoid blocking them with any new furniture. Don’t forget to also measure the height and width of your RV door to ensure that you can fit your purchases through the opening.
8. Connect with Other RV Renovators
Online forums and Facebook groups are a great way to connect with other people who have renovated their campers. Share your remodeling projects, ask for advice, and get ideas from other RV renovators. Follow DIYers on social media for even more designs and tips. What you see from someone else could spark inspiration for your project.
Conclusion: Now that you have an idea of how to start, get ready to design and remodel your rig. Putting a plan in place early on can make your RV renovation process easier and help keep you on budget. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way across the country in your chic, updated camper. For similar advice, review the RV Renovations resource page, which offers a series of detailed articles, checklists, and videos.