Travel Trailer Renovation for Full Time Living Before And After

See how we turned our tiny home on wheels from a brown box into a cheerful and colorful space. We replaced a few things to make it more eco-friendly, fixed a rotten floor and added bamboo flooring, a new kitchen countertop, a work desk and composting toilet. We replaced the dinette table, covered the sofa and dinette cushions with new fabric and painted the whole interior. We hope you enjoy our before and after tour!

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Remodeling Travel Trailer Interior For Full Time RV Living

When we bought our used travel trailer, the 2003 model was basically a brown box with a sofa and cushions that were sprinkled with American flags and Eagles. Not exactly our style! Since we were going to live in it full time, we wanted to make it into something homey, colorful and cheerful. During our cosmetic renovation  and remodel, we replaced a few things to make it more eco-friendly, but also changed some things to simply make it more pleasing to the eye.

Since we work remotely from our trailer and on location, we needed a solution to have 2 work spaces as well. The original trailer had a cabinet and a captain chair installed on the left side of the entrance, but the previous owner had already removed the chair, which was great for us, as it provided for the perfect place to add a work desk.

We replaced the dinette table with a simple built that has a slot to store laptops and hard drives so it can be used as a work desk and dining table while not having to shuffle around too much. We also replaced the fake-wood kitchen countertop with an inexpensive and simple butcher-block type wood and replaced the double sink with a small bar sink to get more countertop space.

As for the original sofa and cushions, the Eagles and flags are just not our style, so we covered the sofa with a simple fabric and added some color with pillows that we already had. And with only a few alterations we turned our old looking brown box into a modern colorful home.

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Installing Bamboo Flooring In Our Travel Trailer

When we bought our used travel trailer we decided to add bamboo flooring to cover the unattractive beige laminate floor that came with the 2003 original built. When we researched flooring options that were suitable for a travel trailer or RV, our criteria were 1. eco-friendliness, 2. light-weight, 3. water and scratch resistance, 4. low cost.

Although we loved the idea of using reclaimed wood, there were three main problems that came with it: 1. Finding reclaimed wood is hard to find if you live in New York City and don’t have a car to drive around and search for it, 2. wood is quite heavy and would have added a lot of weight to our trailer, 3. it can be more costly than some other options.

We learned, that Linoleum flooring would be a great eco-friendly option as the material is made of natural solidified linseed oil, pine resins, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most often on a burlap or canvas backing. Linoleum flooring comes in different colors, is water resistant, lasts for up to 40 years and is low-maintenance.

Vinyl flooring is commonly mistaken as being the same as Linoleum flooring but the truth is far from it. Vinyl is a synthetic product made of mostly petroleum, a non-renewable resource. It is inexpensive, water resistant, wear resistant and easy to peel-and-stick to the floor, but we decided against it as it is not an eco-friendly option.

Cork flooring is another natural and eco-friendly option as cork is being harvested from tree bark of Cork Oak Trees, and the bark is growing back after stripping it. Cork flooring is great because it has a warm look, somewhat soft surface, helps to insulate the floor, it is waterproof, mold and mildew resistant. The eco-friendliness of the manufacturing however can differ greatly as well as the cost.

Recycled tiles are another eco-friendly option for a house, but not for a moving RV that is going through earth-quake like vibrations every time it moves.

Bamboo flooring has grown in popularity lately and for us it was the best solution for our travel trailer renovation project. Bamboo is a fast growing plant and much more sustainable than wood. We recommend to buy bamboo from a provider that is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. FSC is a global organization devoted to responsible management of the world’s forests. Another point to consider is purchasing a better quality eco-bamboo that is made with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) components.

We decided on bamboo because it is low-maintenance, water resistant, easy to install, somewhat light weight and affordable all while having the warm look of a hardwood floor.  We have been happy with our decision on the floor and it has held up well so far.

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Travel Trailer Interior Renovation Painting

When we bought our 2003 Coachman Spirit of America travel trailer, a 25ft long and 7ft wide cube on wheels, we were super excited to paint the interior and make it our own. For the last 50 years, the RV industry used pretty much only 3 colors for interior design: light brown, medium brown and dark brown. No way we could live with that look! We wanted to live in a cheerful and colorful environment. After gazing through some magazines and interior design blogs, we decided to paint the walls white and the cabinets in a light blueish-gray. Since the original hinges and handles were ornamented bronze we decided to donate them and bought sleek, modern and silver-colored ones instead. Then after the painting was done we added some cheer with colorful cushion fabric and re-use the colorful pillows we already had in our apartment.

During the renovation and for the paint-job we used eco-friendly products whenever possible: biodegradable soap, sponges and garbage bags for pre- and post cleanup, odorless and low VOC primer and zero VOC paint for walls and cabinets, eco-drop cloth to protect the floor from dripping paint and we used mineral oil to clean brushes.

Although this was our first time painting an RV and it is a pretty difficult and labor-intensive job to paint the shiny flat fake-wood paneling surface of RV cabinets, we are so happy with the outcome. We decided not to sand down the cabinets before priming because we simply did not have the time for it. As a result, the primer did have some difficulty adhering to the surface during the first layer. As an end result, there were a few uneven spots in the paint overall – not perfect by any means, but we nevertheless are happy on how the paint job turned out.

Here’s a list of the Environmentally-Conscious Products we used:

Trimaco 02101 9′ X 12′ Eco Drop™ Paper Drop Cloth

Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge, Made from 100% Plant-Based Fibers, 2-Sponges

13 Gallon Tall Kitchen Bags – 3 PACKS (36 Count)

Afm Safecoat Safe Seal, White 32 Oz. Can 1/Case

Simple Green 13005CT Industrial Cleaner and Degreaser, Concentrated, 1 Gal Bottle

Grn Mnrl Spirits Carb Gl

KILZ Odorless Interior Oil-Base Primer/Sealer/Stainblocker, White, 1-gallon

5-gal. Ultra Pure White Zero VOC Flat Interior Paint

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