Is it Worth it to Remodel an RV? Deciding Factors and Tips

rv remodel

Deciding whether to remodel an RV can be a complex decision, as there are various factors to consider. Personally, I have weighed the pros and cons of undertaking such a project, and it’s essential to examine the cost, personalization benefits, and potential impact on resale value.

In my experience, remodeling an RV can provide a more personalized and modern look, which can have a significant impact on the enjoyment of my trips. Additionally, I found that remodeling an older camper can result in cost savings if I do the work myself, taking into account my basic construction and repair skills. However, I am aware that some modifications may reduce the resale value if they appear unprofessional or downgrade the RV’s functionality.

Overall, the decision to remodel an RV relies heavily on personal preferences and the desired outcome. For me, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the potential benefits and drawbacks before embarking on the renovation journey.

Reasons to Remodel an RV

Personalized Living Space

One of the main reasons I decided to remodel my RV was to create a personalized living space tailored to my preferences. When traveling or living in an RV, it’s essential to feel comfortable and at home. Through renovating, I was able to customize the interior design, layout, and overall atmosphere to better suit my lifestyle and needs.

Increasing Resale Value

When I thought about the future and potentially selling my RV, I realized that remodeling could help increase its resale value. By making strategic updates and improvements in areas that matter most to potential buyers, such as installing energy-efficient appliances and modernizing the interior design, renovating the RV can enhance its resale value. However, it’s essential to choose renovations that are appealing to a broad range of potential buyers.

Updating Outdated Features

When I first purchased my RV, I noticed that many aspects of its design were outdated and lacked modern amenities. By remodeling, I was able to upgrade the features to current standards, making the space more functional and visually appealing. This not only improved my living experience but also added value to the RV.

Repairing Water Damage

During the inspection of my RV, I discovered some water damage that needed to be addressed. Renovating provided an opportunity to repair these issues and prevent further damage. Identifying water damage early and fixing the problem is crucial to ensure the longevity and safety of the RV.

In conclusion, remodeling my RV was a fulfilling and valuable investment for several reasons. By creating a personalized living space, increasing resale value, updating outdated features, and repairing water damage, I was able to enjoy a more comfortable and efficient home on wheels.

Costs of RV Renovation

RV Renovation Costs Breakdown

Renovating an RV can be a cost-effective way to obtain a “new” RV on a budget. I bought my 40 ft bunkhouse fifth wheel for just $6,500 and spent another $6,000 renovating it, for a total cost of under $13,000. However, RV renovation costs can vary greatly depending on the type of RV, the extent of the renovations, and the materials used. Labor costs for hiring professionals can range from $65 to $129 per hour. To break down the costs of a renovation project, here are some common expenses:

  • Flooring: Replacing old carpet or linoleum with new laminate, tile, or hardwood can cost between $1,000 and $5,000.
  • Cabinets: Refacing, painting, or replacing cabinets can vary from $500 to $5,000.
  • Appliances: Updating appliances like refrigerators, stoves, and microwaves can run from $300 to $3,000+.
  • Furniture: New sofas, beds, and other furniture costs can range between $500 and $10,000.
  • Exterior: Painting, awnings, or other exterior updates can range between $500 and $5,000.

Budgeting Tips

To stay within budget during an RV renovation, I suggest:

  1. Prioritize your renovations: Determine which upgrades are essential for functionality, safety, or comfort, and focus on those first.
  2. Shop around: Compare prices for materials, labor, and appliances before making a decision.
  3. DIY where possible: Save on labor costs by performing some or all of the renovation work yourself.
  4. Keep an eye on sales: Look for materials or appliances on sale to save money.
  5. Set a budget and track expenses: Keep records of your spending to ensure you stay within budget.

Cost-Effective Upgrades

Some cost-effective upgrades for RV renovations include:

  • Paint: A fresh coat of paint can transform the look of your RV’s interior and exterior, giving it a more modern and updated appearance.
  • Window treatments: Updating curtains or blinds can be an affordable way to add color and style to your RV.
  • Hardware: Replacing outdated knobs, handles, and other hardware can give your RV a more polished finish without breaking the bank.
  • LED lighting: Installing energy-efficient LED lights can save you money on power consumption while adding brightness to your space.

In conclusion, remodeling an RV can be a cost-effective way to obtain a “new” RV, but it’s important to carefully plan and budget for the project3. With the right approach, you can have a customized, comfortable space that suits your needs on the road.

Common Renovating Mistakes to Avoid

When I decided to remodel my RV, I encountered several common mistakes that could have been avoided. Here, I share these mistakes with you, as well as some tips on how to prevent them from happening.

Electrical Issues

One issue I came across was dealing with the RV’s electrical system. It’s easy to overlook the complexities of electrical work, which can lead to dangerous outcomes if not handled correctly. I learned that it’s crucial to:

  • Assess the existing wiring and electrical components before starting any work.
  • Hire a certified electrician if I’m uncertain about my abilities to handle electrical work.
  • Make sure to follow the RV’s electrical guidelines and codes to avoid potential hazards.

Ignoring Tire Conditions

Another mistake I made was neglecting to take the tire conditions into account. As I focused on the interior renovation, I didn’t realize that tire maintenance is just as important. I discovered the hard way that worn tires can lead to accidents or breakdowns. To avoid this, I now:

  • Regularly inspect my RV tires for wear, cracks, and proper inflation.
  • Rotate the tires periodically to ensure even wear.
  • Replace tires when they reach the end of their useful life.

Overestimating Skills

Lastly, I have to admit that I overestimated my skills in certain areas of the remodel. I believed I could handle every aspect of the renovation without professional help. But, the complexity of some tasks quickly humbled me. To prevent this, I:

  • Identify my strengths and weaknesses before starting any renovation project.
  • Seek help from professionals or experienced friends when faced with a task that’s beyond my skill level.
  • Remember that hiring professionals can save time and money in the long run, ensuring a safe and successful remodel.

By sharing my experience, I hope it helps you avoid these common renovating mistakes, leading to a successful and enjoyable RV remodel. Remember to pay close attention to your electrical system, maintain your tires, and know your limits when it comes to your renovation skills.

DIY vs Professional RV Remodeling

rv bedroom remodel

Advantages of DIY Renovations

As a seasoned DIY enthusiast, I find that renovating an RV myself comes with a number of advantages.

  • Cost savings: One of the primary reasons I prefer DIY renovations is cost savings. By doing it ourselves, we can save a significant amount of money on labor costs. For example, upgrading RV flooring can range from around $200 to $600 using materials like linoleum or even high-end vinyl options.
  • Personalization: Another advantage I’ve found with DIY renovations is the ability to truly personalize my RV. Remodeling it myself allows me to select materials, colors, and designs that suit my taste and create a unique living space.
  • Control on timeline: Since I am in control, I can work on renovations according to my own schedule, ensuring that the project is done as quickly or slowly as I desire.
  • Satisfaction: Lastly, completing a DIY RV renovation provides me with a sense of accomplishment. There is a lot of pride that comes from transforming an outdated space into something beautiful and functional.

When to Hire Professionals

Although I am a big fan of DIY renovations, I understand that there are certain situations when it is best to hire professionals for remodeling an RV.

  • Lack of experience: I believe it’s important to recognize our own limitations. If I find myself lacking the necessary knowledge, skills, or tools to complete a specific renovation, it’s crucial to enlist professional help. This ensures the work is done correctly and safely.
  • Major structural changes: If the renovation involves altering the RV’s structure or making changes that may affect its stability or safety, I highly recommend hiring professionals who are experienced in dealing with such matters.
  • Electrical or plumbing work: As someone with limited expertise in electrical and plumbing systems, I think it’s best to leave these tasks to licensed professionals. This not only guarantees a safer and more efficient outcome but also ensures that the work complies with local building codes and regulations.
  • Time constraints: If I find myself pressed for time and incapable of dedicating the hours necessary to complete the RV renovation, hiring a professional makes a lot of sense.

In conclusion, both DIY and professional RV remodeling have advantages and drawbacks, and deciding which path to take depends on our individual circumstances, budget, skills, and interests. By carefully evaluating these factors, we can make the best decision to achieve an enjoyable and functional RV living space.

Design and Decor Tips

Choosing Paint and Wallpaper

When I want to modernize the interior of my RV, one of the first things I consider is the paint and wallpaper. Repainting the walls can create an entirely new look and feel for my living space. I prefer using light colors to make the space appear larger and brighter. While removing outdated wallpaper borders, I’ve found that spraying them with Goof Off helps to soak it off easily before peeling.

Upgrading Flooring

Changing the flooring in my RV has been a significant upgrade that impacts the appearance and comfort of my space. I have explored various options such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, or tile to match my taste and needs.

Modernizing Lighting

To create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in my RV, I’ve found that upgrading the lighting can make a massive difference. Replacing old fixtures with LED lights not only saves energy but also provides a modern look. I’ve experimented with various types of lighting such as task, ambient, and accent lighting to create a well-lit and comfortable environment.

Selecting Window Coverings

One aspect of RV interior design that I cannot ignore is window coverings. They not only provide privacy but also contribute to the overall decor. I have researched various options such as curtains, blinds, and shades to find the perfect fit for my RV’s style and color scheme. By carefully choosing the right window coverings, I have enhanced the aesthetic appeal of my living space while maintaining functionality.

RV Living with Family and Kids

Creating a Functional Office Space

In my experience, having a functional office space while living in an RV with family and kids is paramount. When I remodeled my RV, I made sure to set aside a dedicated workspace. I opted for a small desk, a comfortable chair, and plenty of storage options like shelves and drawers. This allowed me to separate my work life from family time and create a sense of routine.

Kid-Friendly Sleeping Areas

It’s essential to provide comfortable and safe sleeping areas for kids in an RV. In my remodel, I paid close attention to the layout and ensured that each child had space to call their own. I focused on:

  • Bunk beds: These are great space savers and offer a perfect sleeping solution for multiple children.
  • Storage solutions: Utilizing under-bed storage, narrow wardrobes, and creative shelving helps to keep their belongings organized.
  • Personalization: Encouraging my kids to decorate their sleeping areas with favorite colors, posters, and bedding helped them feel connected to their space.

Incorporating a Crib and Play Zone

When living in an RV with a baby or toddler, accommodating a crib and play zone becomes important. In my remodeling process, I found convertible cribs to be an effective solution. These cribs can adapt as my child grows, providing a safe sleeping area and eventually converting into a toddler bed.

Creating a play zone in the RV was also crucial to keep the little ones entertained and engaged. By dedicating a corner or transforming a storage area, I managed to set up a play area with toys, books, and some soft flooring for safety. This not only keeps my children busy but also encourages them to learn and explore while embracing the RV lifestyle.

Customizing a Used RV vs Purchasing New

Class C Motorhome ( Rear ) - Campsite. Class C Recreational Vehicle.

Benefits of Renovating a Used RV

In my experience, renovating a used RV has several benefits over purchasing a new one. One of the primary advantages is the cost savings. By purchasing a used RV, I can save a significant amount of money compared to buying a new one off the lot. Used RVs are generally cheaper, allowing me to allocate the saved funds toward customizations and upgrades.

Additionally, renovating allows me to create an RV tailored to my specific needs and preferences. I can choose the layout, materials, and design to make the space more comfortable and functional for my lifestyle. Moreover, since used RVs already have a few miles on them, any minor issues or factory defects are likely addressed by the previous owner, ensuring a more reliable investment.

Comparing Resale Value

When considering resale value, it’s essential to keep in mind that RVs depreciate relatively quickly. According to DailyCarBlog, used RV prices are reasonably stable, with no dramatic downturn in value for at least a year. In contrast, the depreciation rate of new RVs is much higher, meaning that a used RV might hold its value better over time.

When I renovated my used RV, I invested in high-quality materials and made functional improvements, which enhanced its resale value. However, it’s crucial not to over-customize to the point of limiting your potential buyer pool.

Evaluating Purchase Price

When I was evaluating the purchase price of a used RV, I had to consider factors such as the condition, age, and mileage of the RV. It’s also essential to research the current market value of similar models to ensure I’m paying a fair price. To do so, I used resources like NADA and the Kelley Blue Book for used RVs.

When comparing the purchase price of a used RV with a new one, I found that used models were generally more affordable. Furthermore, the lower insurance rates and potential savings on loan interest made purchasing a used RV a more cost-effective option for me.

In conclusion, customizing a used RV has its advantages, such as cost savings, personalized design, and potentially better resale value. However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the purchase price, consider possible renovations, and ensure the RV is in good condition before making a decision.

Specialty RV Renovations

Vintage Trailer Remodeling

I’ve always admired vintage trailers for their classic charm and unique character. To give my RV a taste of that nostalgic aesthetic, I researched ways to remodel a vintage trailer to keep its authentic appeal but also update it for modern use. One popular approach is to maintain the original layout while adding modern amenities and conveniences. This way, I can seamlessly blend the old with the new, preserving the integrity of my vintage RV.

A key aspect of vintage trailer remodeling is choosing materials that complement the original design. For example, I might use retro-style linoleum or original metal hardware for an authentic feel. Overhauling a vintage trailer can be challenging, but the end results are absolutely rewarding. Remember, preserving the vintage charm while incorporating modern functionality creates a truly special and timeless RV.

Creating Unique RV Interiors

Every RV owner has a different vision of what their ideal interior looks like, and that’s where unique RV renovations come in. I wanted my RV to reflect my personal style, so I began with some inspiration from online platforms and expert designers. Transforming an RV’s interiors includes everything from picking out the perfect color scheme to designing custom furniture and cabinetry that maximizes space.

Some trends I’ve noticed when creating unique RV interiors include:

  • Open-concept layouts that promote a spacious feel
  • Multifunctional furniture that can have more than one purpose
  • Bold color choices or use of patterns to create a lively, personalized space

Each of these trends can be tailored to my preferences and adapted to fit the unique specifications of my RV.

Customizing Travel Trailers with Instagram in Mind

Many people today document their travel experiences on social media platforms like Instagram, embracing eye-catching aesthetics with every post. Customizing my travel trailer with Instagram-worthy design elements can help me create a photogenic, captivating space that stands out from the crowd.

By focusing on trendy decor themes, luxurious textures, and well-curated color palettes, I can make sure my RV remodel is not only pleasing to the eye but also Insta-worthy. Key elements to consider include:

  • Focal points: A statement wall or unique piece of furniture
  • Lighting: Natural and stylish artificial light sources that enhance the space
  • Cohesive color scheme: Harmonizing colors throughout the RV

By incorporating these design elements, my RV will certainly be ready for its closeup on Instagram, creating a visually appealing space that I can enjoy and share with others as I travel.

Final Considerations

Insurance Implications of RV Remodels

When considering an RV remodel, it’s essential to keep in mind the possible effects on my insurance coverage. Changes such as upgrading windows or adding a fireplace may lead to increased premiums or even difficulty finding appropriate coverage. Before undertaking any significant renovations, I should consult with my insurance provider to ensure I’m aware of any policy adjustments that may be required.

Evaluating Potential Profits

As I plan my RV renovation project, it’s crucial to weigh the potential profits against the costs involved. While a remodel may improve the overall aesthetics, functionality, and value of my RV, it’s also essential to consider the potential return on investment (ROI). For instance, if I spend thousands of dollars upgrading the windows or replacing the dinette system with a more modern design, will these improvements result in a higher resale value or increased rental income? To make an informed decision, I should research similar trailer remodel projects and their profit outcomes.

Accessing Necessary Tools and Hardware

Another important consideration when planning an RV renovation is the accessibility of essential tools and hardware. Projects such as painting the interior may require specialized equipment, like a paint sprayer. Furthermore, customizing my RV may necessitate unique hardware, which could be challenging to find or may be more costly than anticipated. Before diving in, it’s a good idea for me to research which tools and materials I’ll need and determine whether I can access or rent them affordably. This foresight will help ensure a smoother renovation process and prevent unexpected delays or expenses.


In my personal experience, remodeling an RV can be worth the investment, as it not only offers an opportunity to personalize the decor to my liking but also gives the RV a modern face-lift. This can enhance the ambiance and make it feel more welcoming when I spend time in it.

However, the decision to remodel also depends on the costs involved. Throughout my research, I discovered that the expenses could range from just a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on factors like the type of RV and the materials used. Therefore, I had to plan my remodeling budget carefully to ensure that it was both financially feasible and achieved the desired outcome.

Another important aspect to consider was the potential impact on the RV’s resale value. I learned that renovations could actually reduce the resale value if they affected the functionality or were seen as a downgrade instead of an upgrade. This information helped me ensure that my remodeling choices did not negatively affect future resale prospects.

In the end, I concluded that if I could strike the right balance between cost, personalization, and resale value, remodeling an RV could be well worth the effort. It allowed me to optimize the space in my RV, making it more comfortable and convenient according to my needs. After assessing all the factors, I confidently proceeded with my RV renovation project, improving both the aesthetics and practicality of my home on wheels.



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