Surprisingly, I have never seen this important bit of RV remodel advice mentioned in any of the hundreds of articles I’ve read and videos I’ve watched on the topic. But after owning RVs for most of my life, and especially after remodeling two of them, I KNOW for a fact that it is essential. I also know from experience it can save you a lot of time and money. Not to mention aggravation.
Now obviously this advice does not apply to those doing a complete restoration and who are taking their RV down to the studs, so to speak.
But for those looking to make aesthetic changes, or to switch up systems like plumbing or electrical in your recently acquired RV, follow this RV remodel advice now, and I predict you’ll be thanking me later.
So what exactly is this essential bit of sage RV remodel wisdom?
Stop! Slow down! Use your RV BEFORE you remodel
I’m not telling you to never do an RV remodel or to put it off forever. But I am saying you should not do a remodel until you have taken several trips in the RV in different conditions.
Look, I get it. You are excited. You just got your new, or new to you, RV and you are chomping at the bit to make it your own.
OK. If you must, add some throw pillows and use some Command™ Strips to hang a picture or two. But stop there for the moment!
Do not embark on painting, removing or adding cabinets and/or furniture, changing appliances, upgrading (or downgrading) major systems like plumbing and electrical, or solar. Don’t be like the man in the photo below… yet!
Don’t start any other kinds of medium to large RV projects just yet either.
The importance of getting to know your RV before the RV remodel
It’s said that you never really know a person until you travel together. The same can be said for you and your new, or new to you, RV.
You will not truly know what you do and don’t need until you actually spend time together. And not just in your driveway. I’m talkng about on the road. Or in a campground. Or going to the kind of places you want to go and doing the kinds of things you like to do.
Once you get on the road, you and your RV are going to discover a lot about each other.
You WILL end up using your RV and the features in it in ways you never predicted.
You’ll also discover that some features you thought essential really don’t function the way you imagined using them.
You might realize you have more, or possibly less, space than you thought you would.
Maybe you would prefer a day bed instead of the dinette like you had in your RV remodel plans. But, then again, you might discover you actually need and miss that table.
Instead of ripping out the dinette and hoping for the best, why not practice first? Leave the dinette in bed mode during a trip or two and see if you like it. If you don’t like it, you’ll have saved yourself both money and headaches.
In the worst-case scenario, you might even discover that the RV you bought is not the right one for your needs at all. Maybe it’s too small. Or too large. Maybe you need more closets. Perhaps there is no counter space. Or office space.
It’s much easier to justify cutting your losses and getting an RV that’s better suited to you and your family’s needs if you have not already invested a bunch of extra time and money into remodeling the one you bought.
RV remodels can be fun and exciting. They can leave you with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. But for the best results, slow down and plan what your perfect RV remodel entails.
And you won’t know that until you’ve lived in your RV a bit first.
We have spent 3 years work camping and travelling the country in our Class C. We are getting older and travel more locally, and spend more time in/around the RV than out and about. We have always hated craning our necks to the see the TV (sofa on the side, TV at the front). Also hated, hate, hate that dinette! Our s-i-l had a brand new set of recliners from buying a new RV and wanting a sleeper sofa instead (no, they did not allow him to pay the difference — he had to pay for the entire new sofa AND ask them about the chairs he also paid for upon purchasing the RV!!) So the chairs are now in, and we are ready to install a desk/cabinet with slide out table.
QUESTION: How do I know the weight limits for each SLIDE? I suspect the table/desk could weight more than the chairs that came off the slide. Is there a resource for determining the weight of just that slide?
I made modifications to my Aliner, which is for sale. Folks don’t want my modification, they want pristine and new so they can butcher their Aliner.
You can take this as advice: A remodel should be done to retain the same flexibility of use as the original floor plan. I’ve seen so many remodels and furniture replacements that no one but the owners would ever want (maybe in some cases that’s ok but I’d guess that most people sell those, or try to at some future point). Manufacturers build rv’s to suit many purposes since the small space usually means to maximize capability.
Very well said, our daughter and son in law just bought a park model trailer set up in a RV resort in central FL. They got it at a bargain basement price, but… she didn’t like the kitchen lay out, nor the bedroom, nor the attached Florida room. He has since gutted the kitchen cabinets, lighting, pantry, refrigerator, bedroom closets etc. in the process of making it their own. On the other hand we also bought in the park, spent about $11,000 more and all we have to do is move in. They are spending their vacation “rebuilding” their winter vacation home. Of course they’re a generation younger so he’s still capable of working like that. At my age I do well to do minor maintenance.
Excellent advice. I look forward to reading more from you!