Thursday, May 5

RV MAKEOVER: PAINTING AN RV AND POTTERY BARN LIGHTING HACK


5th wheel makeover

I'm back to share with you more about our RV renovations! In case you missed it, we bought an RV, and we started renovating it for a cross country trip that we are doing this summer! In case you're new here, here's a look at our rig all hitched up with our truck! Part of me wants to repaint the exterior of the 5th wheel but dear mercy, I do adore those little faded 90's painting style swooshes and mountains! They remind me of those old learn to paint shows. Did anyone ever watch those? There was a guy with crazy curly hair that always painted mountain landscapes I used to watch as a kid. Does anyone remember him?!?! (Edited to add... I totally googled and found him! His name was Bob Ross! Please tell me someone else watched him as a kid?!)

towing a 5th wheel
And now, the inside! So in my last update I showed you how we tore out the old carpet and put in the driftwood floors, ripped out a weird electrical box, and went on an ikea spree. Today I want to show you the next steps we took which were a little more fun. Okay so in the photo below you can see our walls situation as the RV was when we bought it. Those crazy valences and cornflower blue curtains and the faux sponge painting finish paint job (seriously who designs these things?!). I had read online that painting the walls was actually pretty simple so I decided to give it a try!
coachman chapparal
I had a really difficult time picking a color. I started in the cool grey family and tried light, dark, medium, EVERYTHING. I literally tried probably 25 colors and didn't like any of them. The big problem was that the wood in the RV looks white to the eye but it's not a true white. It's a greige. So when you put true grey next to it, it looks oddly dirty (because of the beige tones). When you put cool grey's next to it, it looks dingy yellow. When you put beige next to it everything looks oddly blue/green (as you can see in these photos). When you put white next to it everything looks oddly inverted (since usually you do lighter cabinets than walls when doing whites) and if you go dark the whole space shrinks. I eventually decided to try the color that is in my living room in the RV. It's a super soft stone color from Martha Stewart. Of course it looked PERFECT and of course you can't get it anymore and I didn't have enough left. So I went to Home Depot and the AMAZING man working in the paint department took the tiniest sample I had and color matched it to almost perfect! Cue the angel chorus! (For those curious, the original color is called Whetstone Gray and it's the most perfect almost-white-neutral-stone color in the history of the world, amen.)
rv interior paint
Next up was removing all the window madness. This required a teensy tiny screwdriver and approximately 100 hours. Just kidding. But I did need Nate to go buy me a tiny screwdriver and it did take me way longer than I anticipated.
removing rv window treatment
The best thing about painting an RV is that there isn't really all that much wall space! The worst thing about painting an RV is that the reason there isn't a lot of wall space is because there's things like windows and cabinets and odd shaped spaces that take a million years to tape off. I'm so dramatic, but seriously taping is my least favorite thing to do. That's a lie. My least favorite thing to do is spin burpees in 22 Minute Hard Corps. Taping off an RV before painting it is a close second though. I digress... I bought a paint and primer in one and painted everything by hand with the brush you see here (because I read online that rollers didn't cover as well). It did take me two coats but the second coat went on quick! I even used the old cornflower blue curtains as drop cloths. Because I'm resourceful. Ha!
painting rv 5th wheel interior
Pretty immediately you can see how painting transforms the interior. And seeing that progress makes you excited to keep going. It felt like we had deep cleaned the entire RV just by getting rid of those window treatments and bad paint job. Also... from a technical perspective, we really did widen the space by removing the valence boxes since they stuck out from the wall a good 6 inches. Seriously RV makers... why?
painting an rv white
Next up... lights! Our RV came with two fixtures over the main living/dining areas as you can see in the photo below. And they weren't completely unfortunate like some I've seen in other models. But they definitely were not our style and we didn't like that they didn't match. I ordered these oil rubbed bronze flushmount lights from Pottery Barn to take their place...
rv window treatments
...not realizing that we needed 12v fixtures. (Rookie mistake!) And 12v aren't really a thing unless you are buying them from an RV supplier or a boat supplier. And all the ones for RV's and boats look just like what we already had. I panicked a bit. But then I got some advice from people much more experienced than I am and they told me that we could hack the fixtures by putting 12v LED bulbs (we got these ones in "warm white") in them and drilling a tiny hold in the side for the on/off switch and then doing a quick wiring tweak where we took the hot wire and wired it into the switch and put the switch into the side of the bowl of the fixture. Nate took the lead on this with the help of my father in law and I'm so glad they were able to figure it out because I would have had no clue how to do it! My heroes!
5th wheel makeover
pottery barn rv lighting hack
5th wheel lighting makeover
rv lighting makeover
It's incredible what a few simple tweaks can do to change the look, and feel, of a space! We were feeling pretty pumped and even a bit overzealous about our timelines for this makeover when we noticed a small crack in our back wall. Come back for the next installment of our RV Makeover series where I tell you the the story of discovering past water damage, that turned into current water damage that turned into a window leak that forced us to push back our launch date by a week and a half. It's a good one, you don't want to miss it! ;)
how to fix water damaged wall in rv



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