RVs are pretty much built with cookie cutter molds – all come out looking much the same. With the exception of those custom builders, they are like subdivision houses. You may have a choice of a couple of floor plans and a couple of colors, but not much else. In fact, manufacturers discourage changes.

When George and I were trying to find an RV sized between his 33′ New Horizon 5th wheel and my Lance camper, we finally zeroed in on the Safari Trek. However, it would need modifications to work for us. Safari charged $750 as a re-engineering fee, and that was not including any parts or labor. That was just to interrupt the assembly line. Needless to say, we decided against that and kept the New Horizon.

With an existing rig there are many ways RVers make it a home.

  • Add or change furniture – typically remove couch and dinette and replace with recliners, real table
  • Convert an area to an office or work area
  • Take out or recover valances with own material. Put up new window treatments
  • Add throw rugs, pillows, bed coverings
  • Put up personal photos or paintings
  • Replace knobs on cabinets and drawers
  • Change faucets
  • Repaint the exterior with different colors or design or add a rear mural
  • Replace carpet with vinyl or wooden floors
  • Exchange the mattress for a more comfortable one
  • Make rig more handicapped-accessible

Some go to more extreme measures like painting or modifying the walls. One RVer even gave the walls a stucco effect.

RV door modified for lift

RV door modified for lift

In our original RV, a ’98 Pace Arrow, we removed both couch and dinette and built in an office area plus put in a more comfortable recliner. We also added photos. New Horizon is one company where you do design your own rig. George did a wonderful job with layout and with other touches. We have some of his photos hanging too plus his fly fishing rod, some fun hats and a new bedspread. He also took up the carpet in the kitchen area and put in a wood flooring. So much nicer!

Love seat recliner

Love seat recliner

You do need to be conscious of weight. One bookshelf, loaded with fly-tying books that George put in, caused the tires on that side to blow. That side was 300 pounds overweight. The bookshelf had to go.

What have you done to your rig to make it more individualized and your home?  How has it worked for you? You can also vote at our poll, “Have you remodeled/redecorated your RV?

Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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  303. Joe, you have really made your RV a unique home. It sounds lovely.

    Lisa, I was not aware that memory foam picks up body heat or that poly-fil would keep you cool. Thanks for the tip!


  304. Lisa C

    Ditto on the comment about the memory foam topper…we went with a variation on that idea. Because I find that memory foam gets too warm as it picks up body heat, we bought a mattress topper with a layer of poly-fil on top of the memory foam. It wasn’t cheap, but it made a wonderful difference!!! It is a little long for an RV mattress, but it just curves down over the foot of the bed. We both sleep great and we added very little weight to the RV.

  305. Joe Forrester

    We too remodeled our RV, a 01 Prowler 5th wheel. Funny, the things you mention above, is exactly what we did. We removed the Sleeper sofa first, RV made to sleep 6, we are only two, so we replaced it with 2 nice soft Recliners. Then we removed the Dinette/sleeper and had some Amish build us a new Oak free-standing Table and chairs, then removed all the window treatments and put in our own Drapes and Curtains. Then we found a matching Oak childs desk that turned out to be perfect to make a small office. We modified the TV Cable system and added a DirecTV Satellite system. Now we are looking to replace the ‘Queen’ sized mattress with a new Real Queen size mattress with large Pillow Top padding. Oh, we also replaced our overhead 115 Volt lights with fancy chandeliers and installed dimmers. And on we go. We are thrilled and it is now perfect for TWO people.

  306. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    We have an air mattress, but the memory foam or pillow top cover can do the job. Thanks for suggesting it.

    Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

  307. Liz Watt

    That terrible, but very light, mattress that came with your RV (the one you’re sure has only tissue paper over brutal springs!) can actually be made unbelievably, comfortable with a $100 (or so) Memory Foam mattress cover. It’ll be so comfy, you’ll love to climb in and you’ll sleep like a baby! Much more affordable than changing it out and you’ll keep your weight down.

  308. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    John, we did something simila to make a desk in the Pace Arrow, though we used metal cabinets. It worked great. La-Z-Boy recliners work well. On some models, the back comes off so you can get them through the RV door.

    Thanks for your comment.


  309. We took out the couch, bought two wooden fine cabilets at Wal Mart and had a top made for it. This is our desk. When we move the slide, we remove the drawers to lighten the load and then reload them.
    When our recliners gave out we went to lazy boys, which are much lighter than the ones which came with the Avion.