DIY RV Renovation: Remodeling a Pre-Owned RV

Here at Guaranty RV, we’re big believers in taking the time to find the right RV. Your RVing lifestyle is unique and what you require might be different than what your neighbor wants. RVing needs also change over time, as we age, our kids grow up, we take new jobs, we travel more or less, etc. So what do you do if you have an RV that used to be perfect, but now is dated, needs repairs and is just not meeting the needs of your new lifestyle? Is it time to trade it in on a new RV? Maybe. RV manufacturers have made huge improvements in the RV industry in the last few years; we’re seeing top of the line RVs with new technology incorporated right into the design, and upgrades that make them extremely appealing. But for some RVers, a new RV isn’t the answer. Whether it’s because you really love that fifth wheel you’ve had for fifteen years, or because you don’t want the extra cost of making monthly payments on a new travel trailer or motorhome, a new RV purchase might not solve the problem at hand. In fact, remodeling the RV you have might be your best bet, or consider purchasing a pre-owned RV at a great price and then remodel it to meet your specific needs.

A well built RV is like that old Timex slogan: it takes a licking and keeps on ticking. When you’ve got a solid RV built by a trustworthy manufacturer, you can expect to get years of good service from it and therefore it could be worth hanging onto. Even if there’s some wear and tear from being towed on all kinds of roads in all kinds of weather, or if that cabinetry and upholstery that was popular back in 2000 now looks tired and dated, those things can be repaired, replaced and renovated at a fraction of the cost of buying a new RV. Remodeling is an economical way to get exactly what you want in terms of upgrades, amenities and aesthetics. It’s not difficult to add a dishwasher, garbage disposal, Bluetooth and Internet access, a workstation, etc. It’s even easier to give your cabinets a facelift, add drawer dividers, install closet and cabinet organizers, put down laminate flooring, and more. You’ll be shocked at how much of a difference a can of paint can make.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about where to begin, how to get ideas and how to figure out what’s most important to you so you spend your money wisely.

Talk to an RV Service Professional Before You Begin

At the Guaranty RV Service Center, we have more than 40 of the most experienced RV repair technicians in the RV industry, several of whom hold RVIA Master Certification (the highest certification a technician can get). Whether you come to us, or you live elsewhere where you have a favorite RV service professional, have an RV technician thoroughly go through the RV you’re considering remodelling. Find out if there are weak points you need to know about, what’s in great shape, what needs attention. We suggest doing this whether you already own an RV or if you’re considering purchasing a pre-owned RV to renovate. That way, you’ll go into your project with all the information you need to make the best decisions.

Consider What’s Most Important To You

As we said at the beginning, your RVing needs are unique. Maybe you need a CPAP machine and your RV isn’t well set up for it. Maybe you mostly travel as a couple, but sometimes you want to bring the grandkids, and that dinette bed is a pain to deal with. Maybe you’re a foodie, and your RV kitchen just doesn’t have the kind of pantry storage you need. Or maybe your RV is perfect, except for that dated upholstery, old carpet and dark cabinetry.

It’s important to spend some time thinking about what you like about your RV, what works well, what can remain as-is. You might need new kitchen appliances, but maybe the cabinets are in good shape and could just use a coat of paint and organizational dividers to give you a new look and more efficiency. Or vice versa: maybe your stove and refrigerator are still humming along perfectly, but you really need to build new cabinets. Would your RVing life be improved if you put in a new porcelain toilet or traded out the tub/shower combination for a better shower? Would your sturdy dinette be comfortable again if you just gave it new cushions? Is a new heat and AC system the place you should invest your money, or would you rather add entertainment and technology updates? Prioritize your needs so you can figure out what you don’t have to do or what can be done with minimal effort and money. Then you can focus on the more life-changing improvements that you really need.

Where to Begin: Get Ideas from Others Who’ve Done It Before

Popular RV remodels include painting, laying new flooring, reupholstering the furniture, changing curtains and valances, pulling out the dinette to put in a table and chairs, and trading out the old TV for a sweet flat screen with a stereo system. And best of all, tons of RVers before you have done major remodels and have documented the process, so there are loads of ideas out there to inspire you.

Check out online resources like Pinterest. Search for subjects such as RV Remodeling or RV Interior Remodel, and you’ll literally get thousands of ideas. Another good source to explore is Houzz. You might know Houzz as a great resource for home design and decorating, but do a search for RV Interior Home Design Photos and you’ll get one gorgeous photo after another to inspire you.

Also look to RVing bloggers who are documenting their RV remodels online. For example, at, you’ll get seriously inspired by blogs like “ Five Fifth Wheel Remodels You Don’t Want to Miss!” At you’ll find “ 27 Amazing RV Travel Trailer Remodels You Need to See.” And you can head over to The Noshery to see a “ Vintage Camper Turned Glamper” (they also have an excellent tutorial on painting the interior of an RV, complete with step-by-step photos). To see a remodel of a Class B motorhome on a Sprinter Chassis, be sure to take a look at Keeping You and Your RV on the Road. In the “The RV Remodel” blog, you can see what they did with their 2003 MB Cruiser.

Whatever RV is your ideal model, you can customize it to better match your needs and taste with DIY renovations and remodeling. Check out what other people have done and get inspired!

You Don’t Have to do Everything Yourself: Get Help Where You Need It

DIY doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do all the work yourself. Unless you’re comfortable with electricity and plumbing, for instance, you should definitely make an appointment with a good RV service center to have a professional help you. Prioritizing ahead of time where you need a professional vs. what you can do on your own will help you stay in budget and get the results you want. If you’re in our area, you can call the Guaranty RV Service Center to discuss your plans and needs; we’re glad to help you on your big RV remodeling adventure.

There are also outstanding companies who specialize in RV Interiors. Countryside Interiors, here in Junction City is a great example of a business dedicated to everything you need to update your RV, from cabinetry and flooring, to upholstery, fixtures, window coverings and furniture. Talk to your local RV service center to find out what options are close to you.

At Guaranty, we’re always glad to see high quality RVs getting a second chance at life on the road. We applaud RVers who remodel and renovate their travel trailers, fifth-wheels, campers and motorhomes. If you have questions or if you’re in the market for your perfect pre-owned RV to customize to your own needs, be sure and give us a call or stop by Guaranty RV.

Photo: J2Davis2005

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