Updated: Oct 13
For many of us, buying an RV means decorating an RV. We feel the urge to personalize our home on wheels. Most RVs come from the factory with minimal decoration. After all, it’s hard to suit all tastes. Or we buy a used RV and heartily dislike the previous owners choices.
In 2020, we bought a 2007 Newmar Dutch Star. Its decor hadn’t changed since 2007. In fact, the decor looked more like it came from 1980. It had to go.
We had many yards of fabric that we purchased for the 5th wheel but never used. So we pulled it all out, measured everything, and decided it would work just as well in Maxine, our Dutch Star.
Here are some photos and installation notes on the before and after condition of the rig. And all of our changes kept the next owner in mind. Everything is made to be easily removed if it's not to their taste.
In the living room/kitchen area we removed all the mirrored glass in the cabinet doors and replaced them with photos, taken during our travels. These photos were backed by luan (a thin wood) and fit snuggly back into the door frames. We used spray adhesive to attach the photos to the wood. These photos, which we printed on our copier, can easily be exchanged for new ones because the glue doesn’t have a super heavy hold. We also had a company cut us some smokey gray plexiglass to go in the door frames in case a new owner would prefer to go photo-less.
In the cabinet with a larger mirror, I sent in a photo to an online company that sent me back my photo printed on heavy canvas, cropped to fit the opening perfectly.
We also changed the shape of the curtain valances, recovered them, and added side curtains. We removed the large mirror on the wall next to the refrigerator and installed a foam covered bulletin board. The bulletin board is attached with hook and loop tape, so it can be easily removed.
We then did some electrical work. John replaced all the lighting with LED bulbs and tubes. We get a pure white light, and we were able to bump up the wattage in the reading lights, which works great at night when we are on our computers or reading a book. Because we like to boondock, these LEDs are a great addition. They have just a minimal draw on the batteries. We also brought in an electrician and rewired many of the outlets, connecting them to the invertor. The result? While boondocking, we can watch the TV or use the microwave without turning on the generator.
Finally, John and I replaced the grubby carpeting that ran the length of the room and came out past the dinette area. The carpet was hard to keep clean and was a tacky gold. We replaced the carpet with waterproof vinyl flooring planks, and secured the edge with a 6 inch by 12 foot piece of oak that John cut into two pieces—turning a 1x6 into two 1/2 by 6. He then shaved it at an angle so there is only a slight lip on the front edge. The back edge sits over the last piece of vinyl flooring, with screws securing everything to the subfloor underneath. We ran the slides in several times as we were installing this final piece, just to make sure we weren’t restricting the slides or having screws drilled into mechanisms that wouldn’t appreciate the intrusion. I filled the screw holes with stained wood putty, stained the wood to complement both the existing tile and new vinyl floor, then covered it with three coats of polyurathane. It’s durable and easy to clean.
In the bathroom area, we removed the wallpaper borders, then painted the walls—in both the toilet area as well as the second sink area next to the shower. To paint these walls we had to do a bit of prep work. After the borders were removed, we lightly sanded the walls down with 150 grit sandpaper. We then wiped the walls down to remove any dust present, then painted with a primer/paint combo. In the bathroom area, we used semi-gloss paint and gave it two coats. It’s been very durable. We also replaced the faucets (not shown).
We made some changes in the bedroom to suit our needs. For instance, there was a large boxy TV in the room that fit in an enclosed area. We removed the doors, removed the TV, and installed a printer in its place. We left all the wiring, so if a future buyer wants to return to a television in this spot, they can.
We then swapped out the mattress for a new standard queen size mattress—one that was comfortable. It fits quite nicely, and doesn’t prevent the slides from coming in. I made a quilt for the bed, then added matching curtains and valances for the windows. Because we needed privacy, I left the blinds, but spray glued fabric to the blind material. They roll up nicely. The fabric can also be removed with no damage to the blinds.
We replaced the pleated shades on the bedroom door, as well as those on the sidelight. In a coordinated gray fabric, I quilted curtain panels that fit flatly against the glass. Because of their layers, the curtains block out all the light from the other rooms and provide more privacy.
The bedroom was also painted blue/gray, this time with a satin finish.
We removed the mirrored/padded headboard that came with the rig and replaced it with one we made. I embroidered a bear and a wolf on white fabric trimmed with gray, then stapled it to a large piece of plywood that I padded with batting. The fabric was wrapped around the board and batting and stapled to the back. Four screws were used to secure it to the wall, then I covered the screws with round patches of matching fabric. You have to look closely to see the patch. And you can change out the fabric by simply removing four screws.
The bedroom was completely carpeted, so we pulled up the carpet and laid the same waterproof vinyl siding as we used in the living room. John framed in the step up area around the closet that also led to the engine cover. He then laid the vinyl in the same direction as the planking in the living room. John kept the engine door accessible by gluing down vinyl planking near the opening to secure them in place. The engine cover also had vinyl strips glued to it, then transition strips were used on the edges to cover the cracks between the cover board and the rest of the step up area. Just a few screws need to be removed to get to the engine.
We now have the inside of our RV more colorful. Before, everything was monochromatic. We are not monochromatic people.
What are your decorating plans?