Decorating Ideas To Make Your RV And Camper Like Home

About the Author

Tom Davidock

Tom has been working in the outdoor recreation and environmental fields for over 25 years and writing about for the past 15. Whether it's camping, or RVing, Tom provides first-hand kneowldge of the information outdoor enthusiests need to enjoy adventures on the road. Tom has had his content featured in industry-leading news publications including RV Business, RV News, and RV.com. Tom is also the author of "Used RV: The Complete Guide for Buying a Used RV."

So you own an RV (Recreational Vehicle), and you want to do some decorating. If you’re an RV owner tired of the standard décor that came with your RV and want to start making it your own, then keep reading. There are endless decorating ideas for RVs that can turn your drab home on wheels into a more personal space. If you live in your RV full-time, you may have an even greater desire to enhance your small space. Below are some great ideas to bring new life to your RV interior, from simple accents like throw pillows, decorating your walls or even doing a complete overhaul with new furniture.

RV Interior Decorating Ideas

The living area in an RV may not have as much room as you have at home, but with a careful color scheme and the addition of throw pillows, throw blankets, and wall hangings, you can have a big impact on the feel of your RV. Wall decor, such as wall hangings and wall art, is the easiest way to personalize your space. Accentuate your windows with treatments that complement your theme, and consider installing light fixtures that cast a warm glow.

RV Decor for Your Wall

Wall hangings, wall art, and stick wallpaper can transform RV walls. Choosing bright colors and fun patterns can add a pop of color. However, you must consider that your RV moves and shakes when traveling, so you may not want to use regular picture hangers.

Hanging Photos on Your RV Wall

As you would at home, the key to hanging photos is to use a good supportive hanger. You want to avoid drilling into your walls as they differ from your home walls. Instead, I suggest using stick-on hangers, like command hooks.

Next, you want to choose light photos. That large antique picture frame made from solid wood that was passed down to you is probably not a good idea. Instead, look for lightweight picture frames, preferably one that uses acrylic instead of glass.

picture of products used to hang things on an RV wall

A better option may be to use canvas prints. They’re relatively inexpensive, look great, and are lightweight. As a bonus, if they fall off during travel, you won’t have a mess to clean up, and the picture will likely stay undamaged.

Using Stick-on-Wall Art on Your RV Walls

Stick-on wall art is a great idea for dressing up a bare wall. Countless options are available online to suit any style you’re going after. These are great for kids’ bedrooms, kitchens, or living areas. If you don’t like the options available or want a custom piece of art (such as your family’s name), you can order custom wall decals to add the look you want.

Updating the Seats, Sofa, and Loveseats in your RV

Throw pillows, blankets, and even new furniture can make the living room feel cozy. Experiment with different color themes to create harmony. As you would at home, pick a color theme and stick with it. You don’t need any special RV-specific pillows or blankets, so you can shop wherever you like.

sofa pillows request sent
Photo Credit: Celia Woods

I suggest heading to a store like Home Goods, Marshalls, TJ Max, or even the Dollar Store to find high-quality and low-priced options to spruce up your furniture.

You can also get slipcovers for your furniture.

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05/22/2024 07:16 pm GMT

Replacing RV Furniture

Speaking of furniture, if it’s outdated and you want to modernize it, you can replace most of it. Be forewarned that RV furniture can be expensive. Some RVers will choose to replace it with residential furniture. This is fine if the furniture is not attached to the RV. You may need to customize it if it is, which can get quite involved.

Also, if you choose to add a piece of residential furniture, such as a sofa or loveseat, you’ll need to measure carefully. You want to ensure it will fit in the existing space, through the RV door, and around tight corners. You will have less space to maneuver than you do at home.

You should also be aware of weight. A heavy sofa can significantly increase the weight of your RV. If you’re not getting RV-specific furniture, incorporate the item’s weight into your shopping criteria.

Lighting

Lighting upgrades are one of the most inexpensive DIY projects that can significantly impact the look and feel of your RV. While you may not want to update the built-in light fixtures, you can change the bulbs for many of them.

When upgrading the bulbs, I suggest looking at LED bulbs. LED bulbs will not only change the color but also reduce the amount of electricity you use. LED bulbs come in various tints or hues, emitting a different light spectrum. Consider upgrading to a warmer light bulb if your RV lighting feels like a hospital room. You may want to read our article on the best-LED light bulbs for RVs:

Image of LED light shining on RV

String lights

While tabletop or floor lamps can work for your RV, they pose several challenges when moving. Alternatively, you can easily add/hang string lights in your RV. This may not be for everyone, but they make great options to create a warmer feel and new look in parts of your RV. Sometimes referred to as fairy lights., string lights can sometimes add a magical touch to your RV décor.

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05/22/2024 07:31 pm GMT

RV Kitchen Decorating Ideas

The kitchen area in a travel trailer may be small, but with creative ways like utilizing storage space and smart interior design, it can become a great place to cook. RV kitchens can be easily updated with a little organization, added accessories, and even some DIY mods.

image
Photo Credit: Krazrvastions

RV Kitchen Organization

In almost every situation, an RV kitchen will be smaller than the one you have at home. As a result, it’s very easy for your kitchen and countertops to get cluttered with the stuff you use regularly, including appliances, spices, dishwashing supplies, etc. One of the best ways to transform an RV kitchen is to open it up, which is possible with some organizations.

Organized view of an interior of an RV

There are countless devices and storage solutions to help you better organize your RV kitchen area. For example, cabinet shelving lets you get items off the countertop and neatly store them away. You can also install things like an under-cabinet paper towel holder, spice organizer, wall hooks, or countertop shelving.

Another good tip is to bring less or focus on multi-use appliances. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is an air fryer. However, it can be bulky to move when using it. Combined with a coffee pot, toaster, blender, or other kitchen gadget, the available countertop space can disappear quickly.

White toaster oven cooking several meals at once

Some great do-it-all kitchen small appliances may free up some counter space. One good one is a multi-use toaster oven. Some will have features like air frying, toasting, dehydrating, etc. Here’s a great article on some of the best ones on sale today.

Another space-saving appliance is a percolator. I can’t go without my morning coffee when camping. While a traditional drip coffee maker is easy, it can be bulky. Either switch to a single-cup option or try a percolator and pour it over the coffee maker. Both can store easily and make a better cup of joe than a drip unit.

RV Kitchen Décor

Don’t be afraid to make your RV kitchen more personal. One way to do this is to change the wall space to your style. You can easily do this with stick wallpaper or stick tiles as a kitchen backsplash. These can give your RV a fresh look with little work. Remember to accessorize your kitchen sink with fun patterned towels!

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05/23/2024 05:16 pm GMT

If you’re going after an outdoorsy theme, endless designs are available on Amazon. However, you can focus on any style or color pattern you want. If you’re updating the walls, you’ll want to focus on stick-on options. A traditional tile wall will not hold up well in your RV during travels and will place a lot of stress and weight on your RV walls. Plus, stick-on options are much easier to install.

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05/22/2024 07:16 pm GMT

Finally, remember the floor. Most RVs will have uniform flooring throughout most of the rooms. The best way to break up the monotony is with small area rugs. In kitchens, a contrasting color kitchen mat or rug can set the space apart from other rooms in your RV. If you want to distinguish the kitchen from the living area, choose a bright color that stands out against the RV floor. As a bonus, you can also opt for a stress-relieving mat, which uses memory foam material to cushion you while standing and cooking.

Also, don’t forget about house plants. A small potted plant on your counter can make your kitchen area more inviting. An artificial one will work fine if you don’t want to worry about a real plant. Place it on the countertop or kitchen table like at home.

RV Bedroom Decorating Ideas

Decorating an RV bedroom poses unique challenges, given the limited space available, but it also offers an opportunity for creativity and customization. One popular method is to utilize multi-purpose furniture, like under-bed storage or ottomans that can open to store blankets, sheets, or out-of-season clothes. Wall-mounted folding desks or nightstands can free up precious floor space while still providing function. Overhead, consider installing shelving or magnetic strips, which are excellent for storing and displaying smaller items or personal keepsakes. When it comes to bedding, use lightweight quilts and decorative pillows in bold patterns or colors. This not only provides a splash of style but also minimizes the weight added to the RV.

Lighting is another vital aspect of RV bedroom decoration. Given the natural constraints of an RV, natural light might be limited. However, this can be easily offset with LED strip lights, which can be affixed to the undersides of cabinets or the ceiling. They’re energy-efficient and come in various tones to set the right mood. For window treatments, light-filtering roller blinds or curtains in fun patterns can provide privacy without compromising on style. Incorporating mirrors on one side of the bedroom can also make the space feel larger and more open. Lastly, don’t forget the power of wall art; even in small spaces, a well-chosen piece of art or a tapestry can become a focal point, transforming the RV bedroom from a mere sleeping space into a personalized retreat.

Painting Your RV Cabinets and Walls

If you are after a big change to your RV look and feel, paint is a sure-fire way to achieve it. While most RV and camper walls have wallpaper on them, making it challenging to paint, one area you can transform is your cabinets and trim. While not an easy task, as anyone who painted cabinets would attest, it can make your entire RV feel more like home. Most RV manufacturers will use a wood-style laminate for the cabinets. Some may have solid wood. Both can be painted with a little bit of patience.

You need to remember to sand the surface to rough it up a bit and use a good quality bonding primer before you put on your final coat. This will help the paint adhere to the surface and prevent chipping and peeling down the road. If you paint, removing all doors and cabinet hardware is the best option. Paint as much of them as you can outside to improve ventilation. When painting the cabinets, tape everything well since the RV ceiling and walls are less forgiving for paint mishaps. Paint on a sunny and dry day with the RV doors and windows open to avoid breathing in the fumes from the paint.

Painting RV Walls is not impossible, but it’s a time-consuming task. Most RV interior walls are made from laminate paneling with wallpaper over them. Some older RVs may have textured wallpaper, which will not be completely smooth when finished. Others will have wallpaper borders, which may be noticeable when you’re done painting. However, if you have your heart set on painting the walls, by all means, go for it. Some great tutorials online will walk you through every step of the process.

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One alternative is to add a wall covering. One of my favorites is shiplap. While you could always install an actual shiplap, adding a vinyl wall covering is a great way to get a similar look. The vinyl coverings available can give you almost any look you’re going after. The great thing about vinyl coverings is that they won’t add any weight to your RV and can be undone if you change your mind. These work great for an accent wall and create a fun pattern in parts of your RV. A small amount of work can greatly impact the interior aesthetic of your RV.

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05/22/2024 07:41 pm GMT

RV Window Treatments Upgrades

Adding Curtains to Windows

Upgrading RV windows by replacing valances and shades with traditional curtains is a favored choice among RV owners. This transformation, although simple, offers a range of decorative rods and fabrics for customization. For optimal space utilization, it’s essential to use brackets or hooks that hug the walls, like large cup hooks, to hold the rods. If the windows are close to the ceiling, you can also use ceiling-mounted hooks. This method ensures curtains remain flush against the wall, providing adequate light, privacy, and temperature control. You should choose non-bulky finials to avoid installation issues. A highlight of this approach is the option for no-sew curtains; clip-on hooks allow for easy mounting and removal of various fabrics. For a precise fit, iron-on hem tape can adjust curtain lengths without sewing. Moreover, curtains provide the flexibility to change styles, which is ideal for those who frequently redecorate.

Replacing pull-down shades

Factory-installed RV day-and-night shades are not made with quality in mind and can deteriorate quickly, especially if you have a 6-year-old like me. These pleated shades’ thin, papery material can make your RV appear aged. Upgrading to superior quality shades enhances the aesthetics of your RV windows, offers better light control, and aligns with your decor preferences. You can opt for full pleated blinds for desired privacy and light adjustment or even go shade-less for an unobstructed view, provided privacy isn’t compromised. While changing these shades is straightforward, it can get a little expensive if you have a lot of windows.

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05/22/2024 07:46 pm GMT

Recover the valances.

RV manufacturers love to use valances. They are usually designed to go with the decor of the stock RV but may look better when you start to makeover your RV. One option is to remove them entirely and go with a curtain. Remember, though, that there may be remnants of the hardware used to hang them when removed. Another option is to recover the valances. Most valances are made from wood and covered in fabric attached with staples. You can completely remove the fabric and all the staples or add the new fabric over them. If you take it down to the wood, you can also paint them or add vinyl coverings to get the look you’re after.

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RV Outside Decorating Ideas

Decorating the outside of your RV can be just as meaningful as decorating the interior when it comes to adding personal touches to your home away from home. The outside of an RV is like the front porch of a home. It’s the first thing you see when you drive up to your site and the last thing you see when you leave. It’s also the part of the RV that everyone else sees.

By setting up a welcoming outdoor living area, you’ll be able to display your personality for all to see and make a much more comfortable and relaxing atmosphere when sitting outside. For many RV owners, spending time out of the RV is the most important part of their camping trip. Why not make it special by adding a few creative touches?

Temporary Sites

If you camp for a few days or maybe a week or two at a time and then need to pack up and move, portability and ease of setup will be two of the top factors to consider when developing your outdoor decorating strategy. It’s helpful to have small collapsible accessories, camp furniture, and other items that can be easily placed on your site and will fit into your storage areas when packing up.

However, temporarily doesn’t need to be boring. Many ideas below can be adapted for short, long, or permanent stays. The most important part is creating a functional, relaxing space that makes you happy.

Seasonal Sites

If you camp as a seasonal, meaning you stay in the same campsite all season long, you have many options to deck out your outdoor living area. Since you don’t need to transport and store everything when you’re done camping, you can opt for large and more comfortable outdoor living furniture and accessories similar to what you may have in your backyard at home.

You can add things that temporary campers can’t, such as larger potted plants, wooden decking, outdoor storage, etc. I’ve seen some campsites rival the outdoor sitting areas of a 5-star resort. Your RV patio area is one of the most used spaces at your campsite.

Outdoor Rugs and Mats for your RV

Going to any camping store, you’ll see dozens of outdoor rugs for sale. They are typically made of the same plasticky-type woven material and are available in countless colors and patterns. They fold up easily, are durable, and are a good choice for most campers.

However, when designing the look and feel of your RV outdoor area, you can use any outdoor rug you want. Some other popular options include bamboo rugs, artificial turf, or anything else you may use in your outdoor space at home.

Also, you can choose a different pattern than most RV stores sell. Rugs are available in solid colors, complex patterns, or simple prints. Additionally, you don’t need to settle for just one rug. Could you consider adding a few smaller ones in the areas you use most frequently? A rug for your entrance, one for the grill area, and another for the seating area may be an excellent way to break up the campsite into a more personal space.

Don’t forget the welcome mat. You can find camping-specific ones, personalize them, or choose one that matches your decorating theme. It will keep your RV flooring clean and is the perfect way to welcome guests.

How big of an RV outdoor rug or mat do you need?

 The size of your RV can be a good indicator of the rug size you’ll need. While there is no standard, your entrance rug should easily cover the area immediately around your entrance door(s). While it does provide aesthetics to your outdoor living space, it also serves an essential function for keeping dirt and mess from getting into your RV.

At a minimum, I suggest a 5′ x 8′ rectangular rug for your entrance. If you have a large motorhome, you can easily add a much larger rug, like a 9′ x 18′ option. Also, while more expensive, you can find rugs in various shapes, like squares or ovals. A standard rug size with ample coverage is 6′ x 9′, which can work well for almost any RV.

Shelters and Tents

In addition to the functionality of a tent or outdoor shelter (protection from rain and sun), it also adds a great way to add the ambiance of your campsite’s outdoor living area. Unless you’re at a permanent site, choosing a shelter that’s easy to set up is best. There are many options to choose from but aim for one that is large enough for your needs, durable, and has options to tie it into the ground in the event of a storm.

Tents and shelters also provide an opportunity for some additional personalization. Consider adding string lights around the perimeter of your tent, furnishing the inside with an outdoor rug, or setting up some tables and chairs for a unique hang-out spot.

Some RVers will also choose to add an awning room, which provides a more useable shelter, taking advantage of your RV’s rollout awning to create a separate room. We have a great article on awning rooms that you may want to check out here:

RV awning screen room attached to a travel trailer 
RV awning type graphic
dirty RV awning being cleaned by a sponge

Seating and Furniture

I assume you want to avoid standing or sitting on the ground while enjoying your campsite’s outdoor space. Finding comfortable chairs is necessary for relaxing in your outdoor oasis. Most campers will want to choose a foldable camping chair.

While residential collapsible chairs typically fold down in half, a camping chair will fold into itself to create a more compact option for storage. If you have multiple chairs, when folded, they can easily be stored under camper storage compartments, in the truck of your car or SUV, or even inside the RV.

Image of the best camping chairs

Choosing a good camping chair will make your time outside more comfortable. Since there are so many choices, we put together a great guide on finding the perfect camping chair. Check it out here.

Another great option for your outdoor space is a hammock. A hanging hammock is great if you’re lucky enough to have some trees around your campsite. If not, you can purchase a collapsible hammock stand to set up anywhere.

picture of 3 different camping hammocks

Also, don’t forget the tables. Incorporating a good portable table or two can allow you to organize your campsite just as you want. If you are entertaining, a well-positioned table with a decorative table covering can make a gathering more special and convenient. 

Just like chairs, camping tables will typically fold down smaller than the ones you use at home. However, a small plastic folding table is relatively lightweight and easy to transport in your RV. If you have one at home, consider bringing it along. Also, remember a decorative tablecloth for the picnic table. There are some great designs available online.

RV Outdoor Lighting

While most RVSs have outdoor porch lights or awning lights, they’re not always ideal for creating the mood you’re after. Adding inexpensive lighting is easy and perfect for creating a welcoming campsite.

One of my favorites is string lights. They can easily be attached to your awning or tent or stung across an open space to provide light where you want it. Opt for LED lights when purchasing them since they’ll last much longer and use very little electricity.

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05/22/2024 08:01 pm GMT

Also, mix up the colors of your lights. Some LED lights will allow you to change the color from white or yellow to red, blue, green, or anything in-between. This is a great way to add personal touches to your outdoor area. Consider adding white string lights near the table with drinks and snacks, a red light near the seating area, and maybe a blue or green light around your tent. Get creative; with the right lights, you can mix and match your colors as much as you like.

In addition to string light, you can add other lighting around the ground. This creates a nice offset to overhead lights and also serves the function of helping people move around the campsite. You can easily add solar-powered stake lights (just be sure to charge them), ground rubber-coated rope lights, or even some movable torches (oil or battery-powered).

Campfires

Sitting around a fire is one of the most beloved parts of a camping trip. One of my favorite parts of driving into a campground is the recognizable smell of campfire smoke. Creating a welcoming campfire area can be a great way to personalize your outdoor space.

When setting up your campsite, consider the campfire ring as a focal point if you plan to have a fire. Position all of your other outdoor accessories in proximity to this space. This may involve setting up the tent and tables nearby (but not too close) to the fire. Adding string lights from the RV entrance to the campfire area or some well-positioned ground lighting can draw people from the RV to the campfire.

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Another campfire option is to bring a portable fireplace, allowing you to place the fire ring wherever you want. These are becoming more popular and are available in traditional wood-burning models or propane options. One of my favorites is the Solo Stove, which burns wood efficiently and keeps the smoke from overwhelming everyone sitting around the fire. While it does take up some extra space, the convenience of it offsets this shortfall.

Outdoor RV Decorations

Another easy way to decorate your RV’s outdoor area is to put up some decorations. If it’s a holiday, use a theme. If it’s just a regular camping trip, you can still accessorize. Some popular options include outdoor decorative pillows for your chairs, flags, and signs.

If you walk around the campsite, you’ll see RVers advertising their love of camping with customized flags or signs with their family’s name and a personalized message. This is a great way to meet other campers since you’re letting them know who you are and creating a welcoming atmosphere at your site.

Decorations can easily be hung on awnings, tents, or the RV. Remember to remove them before you pull in your RV or drive away. Thrift and dollar stores are fantastic places to find materials for DIY projects that enhance your camper feel. Most stores will have seasonal selections allowing you to create whatever theme you choose.

Outdoor Storage

One of the best ways to create a welcoming site is to declutter. Consider picking up an outdoor plastic shed or deck box if you’re on a seasonal site. On a temporary site, bring some large Tupperware containers with you. In addition to storing items between trips, they can easily be slid underneath the camper and used for camping storage.

Neatly storing unused items will also help in the event of a sudden storm or windy conditions. If you have large items like bikes, pool or river floats, or grills, pick up a rain cover or put them under the camper when not in use. My favorite rain cover for bikes and outdoor accessories is Yard Stash. Unlike inexpensive options, it’s made of durable fabric material and will last for years.

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05/22/2024 08:06 pm GMT

Decorating your RV for Holidays

Chances are that you’ll be camping during some holidays, whether it’s the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Halloween, or maybe even Christmas, you can personalize your RV just as you would your home. It’s fun to decorate your RV’s indoor and outdoor spaces.

Many campgrounds will also have decorating contests, which are a fun way to participate in some camper comradery. One of my favorite times of the year is Christmas in July when a hot summer day is transformed into a festive event. You don’t need special RV Christmas decorations. Some RVers will bring their decorations from home and install them at the campsite, whether it’s a Christmas tree, Christmas lights, inflatable decorations, or garland around their campsite, allowing them to add a little holiday cheer to the camping or holiday season.

RV Decorating 2
RV Christmas Request sent
Photo Credit: Susan Haberman

Also, if you have the opportunity to camp over Halloween, many parks will have a trick-or-treat event. My local campground goes all out with sites offering haunted houses, spooky music, and enough candy to feed a small nation. It is one of my favorite camping weekends of the year.

RV Decorating Photos

Regardless of how you decorate your RV, one of the best ways to get ideas is from other ideas. Below are some of my favorite RV decorating photos that will hopefully inspire you.

Let’s Wrap it Up

Making an RV feel like home requires some creativity, but it’s a surefire way to add comfort to your travel days. Whether you are a motorhome, fifth wheel, travel trailer, or small teardrop camper, I hope the ideas mentioned above will help you create a living space that feels warm and welcoming.

Another great way to get inspired is by checking social media for the best RV decoration ideas and tips from other RVers. The options are endless from outdoor space enhancements like outdoor rugs to simple touches like pillow covers. Even minor adjustments like a new shower curtain or area rugs can go a long way in transforming your RV into a great place to camp, whether on the road or parked at your favorite RV campsite.

Happy decorating and happy trails!

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