We’ve been RVing for several years now. I have to smile when I think back to our first RVing experience. I was in love the first time I saw the soon-to-be-our RV in the dealer’s showroom. And I was in love with all the space. Floor space big enough to accommodate a rousing game of Twister or perhaps side-by-side yoga mats. Countertops that seemed to go on forever. I was definitely in love! Then, after living inside the RV for a few weeks, my thoughts changed. It might well have been a movie, “Honey, I shrunk the RV!” I definitely needed some tips for making the RV feel spacious again.
I could not believe the change I was seeing with my own eyes. In only a matter of days, the floor space was almost completely overtaken. From one end of the rig to the other, all I could see were shoes, books, sofa pillows, jackets, and various highway maps. There was a basket of clean, folded clothes, too, along with a TV tray that held my laptop computer. Papers and note scraps had fallen and littered the floor. I was beginning to understand where all of our space went.
Then I looked at the countertops. Scattered across the beautiful solid surfaces lay evidence of our past few days of camping: two plastic containers (clean, but not stashed away), a flashlight, the campground map, a BBQ cookbook, my embroidery project, recently purchased laundry soap, our travel log, and a sad looking plant, desperately crying out for water. Yipes!
No wonder the RV looked smaller! Clutter overwhelmed the space. If this sometimes happens to you, too, perhaps some tips for making your RV look spacious will help you like they’ve helped us.
Making your RV feel more spacious: Rule one
Everything needs a “home.” If an item can’t be stored in an out-of-sight place, reconsider that item altogether. Looking back, I now understand that when we first began RVing, we packed too much stuff. Way. Too. Much. By eliminating duplicates, like our collection of highway maps, I was able to stash away only what we truly needed for any one particular trip. By freeing ourselves of nonessential items, like the neglected plant along with other unnecessary things, we immediately freed up both visual and actual space.
Discount stores, dollar stores, and department stores all offer a variety of storage solutions. Before you leave your RV to shop, take complete and accurate measurements of your shelves, drawers, and available open spaces. Have a clear idea of what items you intend to keep inside the boxes, bags, and other containers you’ll purchase. Save the receipts. If a storage solution isn’t working for you, return the container and try something else. Or consider removing the item(s) from your RV.
One in, one out. When we first started RVing, I heard this rule and, I’ll admit, I arrogantly scoffed. I felt confident that I could make room somewhere, somehow. Now, with a few years’ experience, I know this rule to hold true, no matter how large an RV we own. Here’s an example of this rule: If I buy a new pair of shoes, I take a pair of shoes out of the RV. (My husband kindly reminds me that it needs to be one pair of my shoes, not his.)
Lighten up! Many newer RVs feature lighter and brighter interiors than those from the past. Some folks with older rigs choose to paint their RV cabinets a light color, replace dark window coverings with lightweight and light-colored fabrics, and decorate the interior using light and bright accents (e.g., sofa pillows, floor rugs, bed linens).
While lighter colors can give the illusion of more space, brighter lighting will also help. Consider replacing your RV’s interior lights with LED bulbs. Or add a lamp to your rig’s interior to bring light to dark corners and underlit spaces.
When possible, keep window shades up, open the RV doors, and keep ceiling vents clear to allow more natural light to enter your rig.
For walls, less is better. I bought several wall plaques for our first RV. I also decorated the walls in that RV with my favorite framed photos of family and friends. In our current RV, the only thing on our walls are hooks for jackets. It took me a while to realize that wall clutter is real. Even though photos and cute sayings take up little actual physical space, they do consume visual space. With so little room in our RV, we decided to use our interior walls in practical rather than decorative ways.
Another way to free up room inside your rig is to do more living outside. A comfortable lounger paired with a fold-away table can contain your current book and a beverage! For work, I have this table and love writing outside, with the beautiful and expansive outdoors as a backdrop.
More tips and tricks to make your RV more spacious
- Reflective elements. Incorporating a shiny backsplash, mirrored trays, and other reflective items in your RV can help the light “move” from one space to another, making the interior appear larger.
- Cover dark furniture. A light-colored tablecloth or sofa cover can help brighten the dark RV furniture and make your interior space appear larger without a costly renovation or furniture replacement.
- Layer lighting. Incorporate multiple light sources at different heights, such as overhead lighting, floor lamps, and table lamps. This will create layers of light which add depth to the space, making the room feel larger and more inviting.
- Paint colors. If you choose to paint parts or most of your RV’s interior, remember that white or off-white shades are most effective in making a space appear larger. If you prefer some color, opt for soft pastels or light earth tones for maximum effect.
- Keep it consistent. Unify your space by maintaining a consistent visual flow throughout. Opt for similar flooring materials, colors, or patterns to connect different areas seamlessly.
- Dual-use furniture. When replacing or purchasing RV furniture, choose pieces that can serve multiple uses, like an ottoman that can hold blankets or games, or a floor lamp that has a magazine rack or table built into it.
Everyone RVs in their own unique way. I concede that not all of my tips may work for you. I’m sharing these tips and tricks because they’ve worked for me in making my RV feel more spacious. They’ve helped to make our RV feel spacious once again. Do you have additional tips to share? Please do so in the comments below.