4 Tips For Creating Instant Indoor RV Coziness
We’ve had a few days of rain here in San Diego recently which means we end up doing alot of indoor stuff. You know what I mean -> hot chocolate, warm meals, watching endless reams of movies (Redbox deals of course! At $1.20 per movie they simply can’t be beat!). I don’t mind these types of days as long as they don’t last too long, which is why wintering here in the SW is sooooo nice. But all this did get me thinking about indoor tips and making your inside RV experience warm and cozy. In Danish we actually have a specific term for this called hygge -> the art of making your environment fluffy-sock-comfy-warm-inviting even on long, dark winter nights (we’re experts, don’t you know). Over the past few years we’ve infused hygge to the RV and picked up a couple of ideas which I thought might be kinda fun to share with others.
1/Add Mood Lighting
I’m a very light-sensitive person (in my cubicle days I always felt like the office florescents were sucking the living soul out of me), so I’m always looking for ways to make the lighting warm and cozy. Here’s my tips:
- Get LEDs in the right color & brightness – I spent alot of time finding exactly the right color and light when we converted our overhead G4’s and reading lights to LEDs. We’ve been incredibly happy with the results with the added bonus that these super-saving lights use ~1/10 of the power of our old halogens.
- Use Candles – Being Danish I love real candles and we have several spots with candles and tea-lights around the RV. In a closed containers the tea-lights are safe and cozy, and will burn out on their own when done. I buy tea-light candles in bulk at IKEA, sometimes with scent too.
- OR, Try LED Candles – If you’re worried about using real candles in your RV check out some of the new flameless LED candles which are on the market. They’re battery-operated (perfect for boondocking) and the more advanced versions even have timers for the perfect mood-time. You can often find outstanding deals on these babies on eBay or in discount home furnishing stores.
2/ Decorate Your Space
Alot of RV’s have the same kind of “dullish” feel to them (what is it about RV decorators that makes them think everyone wants everything in a shade of brown?), so adding little accents of color and splash can make a huge difference to indoor feel. Here’s some ideas:
- Rugs, Pillows & Covers – In our rig the first change we did was get rid of our brown carpet and replace it with a burgundy red in the living room and a sky blue in the bedroom. I accented those colors with gold & red pillows on the couches and finished off the color-splash with teal Sure-Fit washable cloth covers on our (very brown) dinette chairs. Even if you don’t change our your carpet, throw rugs can be an bright, easy and cheap addition to your floor. Walmart, Target and IKEA are get spots to buy these at a reasonable price.
- Pictures & Decor – As everyone who’s ever rented a house knows, adding personal touches to decor and pictures can make your space feel more like home. We’ve put several pics up around the rig (using the 3M Command Strips), added several decor pieces (using QuakeHold Museum Putty), and hung some bigger pieces (with 3M Wire Hooks). None of these things have budged in 2 years of travel.
- Green Living Plants – I feel plants give a vibrant feel to just about any space. We have several pots around the house including a small one in the kitchen and a larger plant in the bedroom. Quakehold will keep these in place while travelling.
3/ Use Real China & Glass
This is a kinda personal thing, but I feel having real china and glass in the RV adds alot to the sense of home I have here. If you package these properly they’ll travel over any terrain, and using these tips we’ve not had a single break (due to travel) in 2 years:
- Glasses – We use a wine-box lined with foam to create a custom wine, champagne & cognac glass holder. Fits any type of glass!
- Plates – For our plates we’ve lined the cupboards with a non-slip liner (the best stuff I’ve found is the thick IKEA shelf liner) and put non-slip plate separators between each item. They sell pre-packaged & cut versions at Camping World, or you can buy a whole roll of the stuff at Walmart for much cheaper and just cut it yourself.
4/ Add Some Scents
Of the 5 senses, I think smell is one of the most inviting and there’s some super-easy ways to add that dimension into your RV
- Incense – We have several simple incense burners that we use from time to time. Lots of places sell relaxing & attractive incense sticks or cones.
- Flowers – Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh flowers in the RV? We don’t buy them often, but when we do I use my handy-dandy collapsable WonderVase to show them off. Love that thing!
- Scent Spots – There are all kinds of scented cones, crystals and plug-ins you can buy out there, but my absolute favorite is the Febreeze Set and Refresh -> it uses no power, gives decent longer-term scent and you can place it anywhere. We always have one open in the bathroom.
And that’s the whole enchillada for our little family here in the rain. Time to snuggle-up and watch a movie, methinks. Got any good tips of your own?
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Steve & Gari says
Nice space you all have created. Thanks to the link to your LED reference material; you had posted that before I arrived here 🙂 When I read the title to item #2, I saw the picture of Paul sitting at the table and (mis)read, Decorate your Spouse; now there’s an idea! I had to re-read the title 😉 Here’s one thing you didn’t mention this time, but you have before, park so great scenery is out your window. We hope the weather clears up for you all real soon so you can get back out there and enjoy the great out of doors.
Decorate your spouse…haha…I LOVE it! And yes, scenery can make ALL the difference, even on a gray day.
Dan and Pat says
Pat and I totally agree with you on real dinnerware/glassware. We have carried wineglasses, set of four, for nearly two years without a break. That compares very well to the numerous ones I managed to break at home when not on the road. We did find the answer for dinnerware. We found many patterns of Corelle Ware and although they no longer are promoted as “breakproof” as they did when brought to the market some 40 years ago, they are labeled break “resistant”. I have dropped them from a height of 5′ without damage and think you will find them pretty close to breakproof with the feel of glass plate. Open cupboards carefully as these will create a much larger bump on the forehead than paper!
Dan and Pat
I’ve looked at the Corian dishware a few times, but have ended up keeping the old china. I think that if/when our dishes eventually get too old we’ll probably go back and re-look at the Corelle Ware. They’re getting better and better (with nicer patterns). Thanks for the tip!
Juan & Nancy de Arrigunaga says
I love the tips that you suggest for making your trailer more like home. I have not had any luck with carrying glassware on our rig so I have personally opted for melamine ware. Slightly more durable than Corian with tons of beautiful patterns and options for prices and motifs. I will say that we recently ran into some campers who treated us to Bloody Marys in beautiful glasses and fried shrimp served on a sterling silver platter. Yes, I was impressed but really… how practical is this? I’m more like a bull in a china shop so that just doesn’t work for me. Thanks for the hints!
Paint Your Landscape says
Did I say how much I enjoy your blog? You have given me some great ideas to personalize our rig. We have only been in it since August but I need to step it up a little and add a few touches. I find that I get restless when I have to stay inside too long and I think you have just given me the ideas I need to change that. Thanks!
So happy you like it 🙂
Looking forward to meeting you guys once you get settled into San Elijo.
Ann Cabezas says
Great information!!! Thanks a million.
Paul Weaver says
Sounds like time for a date nite….. 🙂
Yup….candles and wine a-coming!
Here’s an idea I read recently on another Blog – although it would probably go better under ‘battery conservation’ rather than ‘decorating’….
Use solar patio lights – no battery power needed. Put them back outside during the day to recharge.
It was a major DUH ! and smacking my head kinda moment when I read that. Now why didn’t I think of that !!!
You could even place them under a table or behind something to create ‘mood’ lighting.
What a great tip! I’ve seen those solar patio lights before, but didn’t think about putting them on the rig. Thanks for sharing!
I sure enjoyed and appreciated your links and information about replacing the G4 bulbs with LED. I will be following suit on my camper soon and your blog today has given me the confidence to do it. Thanks!
The LEDs have gotten ALOT better over the past few years. Just take your time and buy one at a time so you can check the light/color before you commit to changing out the whole rig. It’s a big investment, but the power savings are simply wonderful and with a little research you can end up getting exactly the kind of inside feel you like.
Linda Sand says
I’m into soft. My lap rug right now. Velvet pillows in the past which I may do again. Velvet wears much better than I expected it to do and I tie-bleached the pillow covers; velvet almost always bleaches to gold. There’s nothing like snuggling down into a soft nest on a cool evening with a book or movie.
Plus, we have two small pictures our mothers painted and a clock we inherited from Dave’s Dad that we hung using 3M Command strips to help make the place ours.
BTW, I like our brown decor. So easy to add whatever color accent I’m wanting at the moment. We used to have dark blue; now we have mostly sage green. Almost feels like being out in the woods even when we are indoors.
Lovely tip on the velvet! We have quite a few velvet-like covers (from Costco) that we use to snuggle in the rig when it’s chilly outside. I do love the feel of a soft blanket!
I so LOVE your blogs! I can’t believe how much time I spend, sometimes on a daily basis, taking out stuff & packing it away every time we move. I have some of the elmers glue putty for some small things around the rig but never even thought about using some stronger stuff for candles & such. Do you use it for appliances on the kitchen counter while you roll,also? The only issue I can see would be that it’s a bit harder to clean the kitchen & bathroom counters on a regular basis if you have to constantly “unstick” everything. How do you deal with this?
I use the museum putty everywhere! Simply love that stuff. It’s under our potted plants, decor, bathroom fixtures, candles, kitchen stuff etc. It does make cleaning a tad more work, but it’s not too bad. The items where I use the stuff come off really easy with a twist and then I just push and wiggle them down again when I’m done cleaning.
I love our computer frame. It makes me feel like our family and friends are right here with us. I always take a ton of pictures of them and add them each time to the slideshow. Cute idea for a blog. Hope the weather is better now.
Digital picture frames are a great idea!! We don’t have one yet, but it’s on our wish-list.
I love these suggestions! Thanks for taking the time to write this post.
Glad you like em!
We just got our very first motorhome! Such great ideas here. I had already ordered Luminara candles to place around, cover for the couch since we will be traveling with one German Shorthair Pointer and two Shelties! Did change out the bedspread for a quilt we’ve had that I just love and had matching valances that I reworked to fit. Not sure about using real glassware yet but it sounds beautiful. Other suggestions!
Geeky Explorers (@GeekyExplorers) says
Agreed, Agreed, Agreed. Candles check. Splashes of color, check (orange & burgundy for us!) Real glasses, check. Oil paintings, check. We’ve skipped the green plants since our cats have always liked to snack on them however. I needed the RV to feel as much like home as possible & all these things help for sure. Great post (as always…).
Sounds like you guys have got the rig nice and cozy! Nina
Mountain Girl says
Our cats also like munching on real plants, so I looked long and hard for some realistic plastic plants. It makes such a difference to have touches of green around the RV, and even if the cats do chew a little on the plants, they can’t do much damage or make themselves sick because they won’t eat the plastic. Also, I’ve added a small lamp on the dinette, and it amps up the ambiance, along with the artwork I’ve added. We stay 7 months (sunbirds) at a time in the mountains from spring to fall, so making the RV cozy is really important.
Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
Did you know that you can paint the walls in your RV? We couldn’t stand the hideous wallpaper, so it plus the wood trim around the slideouts, and even the window treatments got painted. We also remade the front window curtain to match the interior paint, plus we replaced the dining table with a real table that was repainted to match our theme. The seats that were with the original MoHo table are bench seats with storage, so we replaced one of our couches with those and made them our cat area. The litter box and a sleeping area (which we call the Cat Cave) fit nicely in there. To top it off, we made a custom cushion that is big enough for a person to sleep on if they want. We purchased chairs from Pier 1 to go with our repainted table. And the last thing we did (that I can think of) is replace the hideous mirror doors of the bedroom closet with a curtain. You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to make the bed now that we’re not bending over and bumping into those ugly doors. Of course we use half the closet for a cat nest (they need multiple places to sleep), but who needs a giant wardrobe anyway?! We’ll be starting a blog soon to highlight all the changes we made to make our MoHo more Home than Motor!
Oh fabulous! I would most definitely love to see pics of all those changes. Do let me know when you post the blog.
Hopefully I will get the blog going in the next couple days. I am enjoying myself too much near Mt. Shasta right now to want to work much!
Well, I have a start on the blog: http://2011paperstreet.wordpress.com
There’s a lot of work to get these things going! I had no idea. Kudos to you for doing it!
Very nice-looking blog! I’ll be sure to sign up and follow you.
Absolutely on all 4 tips…we do all of them, live plants, candles, lighting, decor, pillows, etc. even an artificial plant and stones in the shower.
We use lots of sticky stuff and leave most everything in place, even off road boondocking 95% of the time.
Yup, the quake-hold (sticky putty) is good stuff. Most of our decor stays in-place when we move.
We were in Tombstone in February of this year, 2013. I got a laugh out of seeing the Doc Holiday Actor’s picture. I too thought he was the best of the bunch. Unfortunately we were snowed on a couple of days but then the Sun came out again. I love the South West. Nice Blog.
Cheryl Smith says
We enjoy using wood bowls, plates, serving platter. Need to clean as soon as you are done eating, not let soak, but definitely travel well. Stainless wine goblets for me! Just upgraded from our Class C toyhauler to a Winnebago Tour with a trailer for the Goldwing. Feel like we moved into the penthouse suite!!
What neat ideas! And very homey too. Cheers for sharing!
I love your decorating tips. I do have another type of question regarding crystal glassware. We have cupboards with hanging wine glasses. They tend to ‘chime’ and rub together when the bus is in motion. Any tips for covering them (astetically) to keep them from making noise? We have strips of non skid woven between them, which looks really ‘lovely’ through the glass doors 🙂
Else ireland says
I can not wait to meet you two, in Bandon. My hubby Kim, and myself will be hosting in Bandon for aug. and sept. Our 5th year full timing, and loving it. As I am a full blood Norwegian, I feel I have so much in commen with you, specially decorating. Colors, candles, good glass of wine. How sweet it is. Enjoy! Else.
How very exciting! Looking forward to meeting you too. We’ll have a whole month together here.
Love all these ideas, I love the smell of candels, just took a class in using essential oils, you can get all diffrent kinds of deffusers, then add the oils to your inviroment, lavendar at night , peppermint daytime, there are other oils that help prevent flu and colds, clove , tea tree or a blend called shield, these are much better for you and contain no harsh chemicals.
Essential oils are a fabulous idea! We can’t use them (sadly) because of our cats, but for those who are feline-free they add wonderful aromas to your home. Thanks for sharing the tip!
Bill Leathers says
Denise in Jan of 2012 mentioned the solar patio lights… we had found a string of solar-powered rope lights that can easily hang from the awning or be stretched behind the outdoor sitting area.
Thanks for the great site!
Nice idea! We also nabbed ourselves some outdoor solar lights recently, but these are the stick-in-the-ground type. $25 from Walmart and we love them! Outdoor coziness is nice too.
Jim Hummel says
Somewhere in my cyber travels, I ran across someone who had found some solar cubes that could be dropped where ever you wish without the difficulty that might come from rocky or compacted soil as they had no stake. They were rechargeable with auto on/off feature.
They would scatter them about their campsite for mood and security lighting. I imagine they probably could be sourced via Amazon.
You have a fantastic blog with tons of excellent insight that I’ve been roaming though for days. Thanks so much for sharing!
Yup, I know all about them. In face I wrote about those very cubes in our “boondocking glamping” post:
We do love ’em!
I could not agree more on all counts! I have said the same thing about our RV upholstery… So boring! Although our class C is brand new, I started making changes right away. Nothing permanent, but I chose dark red as my “pop of color”… kitchen rug, Keurig coffee maker, kitchen towels, placemats, small blender, etc. I also made some small scale toss pillows out of arm covers from furniture I have in our home with different patterns including dark red and gold. I love soft lighting and candlelight as well. The flickering, timer LED candles work great for us. They are also lightly scented. I keep one in the bathroom which works great as a nightlight too. The others I place strategically as soon as we park. I do all the interior setup while my husband hooks us up. We do occasionally use paper plates, but for dinner, the table is set with red placemats and a lovely red patterned Corelle. I hated the cheesy faux brick patterned wallpaper in the kitchen so we looked into SmartTiles. In about three hours, for a little over $100, I hung the SmartTiles myself. They are vinyl, but look SO much like glass tiles that you would never know they aren’t! It is imperative to me that the camper, both inside and out, is homey and comfortable. Personalizing our hotel room on wheels has been as much fun as using it and I suspect it will be a work in progress for quite some time! I’ve got tons of ideas, but I’m keeping them to myself so my husband doesn’t think I’ve totally lost my mind!
Very, very nice set of tips. The idea for the smart tile is fabulous and I imagine gives the kitchen a really nice, personal touch.
Since I wrote this post we’ve gotten even more into LED candles. I especially like the Inglow series of LEDs. We bought THESE ONES in both red and honey-colored. I also bought THESE larger LED Candles for some more dramatic light. All are very natural-looking and we have them set to automatically turn-on at night.
Oh Rosanne, thank you so much for giving the SmartTiles tip. I have been wracking my brain and spending hours going through Home Depot and Lowes etc. looking for something for our 99 Monaco Diplomat. I passed these by in the store thinking they were heavy tiles.
I went to the SmartTile web site and realized these would be a cinch to install, they would look great and go over that hideous vinyl easily.
Nina, your blog has brought me so many hints, tips and ideas, I can’t thank you enough. Hope we get to meet up with you and Paul on the road sometime, I owe you a glass of wine (or 2)!
So glad Rosanne’s tip worked out for you (I love it when my blog readers help each other) and also super happy you enjoy my blog too. Good luck w/ the remod!
Enjoyed article. I don’t have a lot of
Counter space but can add pretty colorful rugs, pillows and some
Pictures!! I like photos of my kids
And grand kids to put up also. Thanks
Hi Nina! Thanks for such helpful tips and ideas! We’re buying our first toy hauler next week and I’m so excited! Starting my list of necessities and a list of what not to bring. Just bought a nice elk pillow pattern to make a few throw pillows. Maybe make a small travel quilt for a homey touch. Love the led candle idea and the stuff that holds things in place. Never knew it existed! Sounds like silly putty for adults.
I have a question for anyone that has a toy hauler. When traveling with an atv and pulling it into the trailer does anyone put some type of covering or tarp on the floor to protect it? Seems like rocks or pebbles and dirt stuck in tires would tear up the flooring without protection. Any ideas on this? I’d appreciated any advice I can muster up.
I’ll certainly follow your blog Nina and again, thanks for the good tips!
Diane Pulsipher says
This is the first RV website that actually seems to have some class. I love the ideas. We have a Montana 5th wheel and am just getting started. I had my husband drill out eight circles in some thick foam and my crystal wineglasses travel great! I also have my regular glasses in cut out wood holders. We are converting the small storage unit inside the front door (which was used for hanging caps, jackets, etc. to a multiple canned storage unit, which will free up several of the upper cabinets. Still have lots to do, but immediately replaced the couch and chairs with something a little more expensive and classy. Who chooses the fabrics for RV’s. Mostly, they are awful!! Anyway, thanks for all the good info!
Decorating with pictures is a great idea and I would like to suggest a excellent way to make sure they are mounted safely and securely. While you suggest using 3M Command products, there actually is another 3M product that is ideal for this application.
It is pretty standard that RV/Camper manufacturers use a vinyl wall covering. Vinyl contains plasticizers that breaks down adhesives over time. 3M has a commercial product called Scotchmate which uses a special acrylic adhesive designed to resist this effect. The Command products actually carry a caution they may not work well on vinyl as they do not use the acrylic adhesive. The Scotchmate product is widely used in moving vehicles and is effective at a temperature range of 30 below to 150 above.
We started a business selling kits that include a selection of attractive wood picture frames custom manufactured in the U.S., the Scotchmate mounting material, alcohol wipes to prepare the surfaces, and easy to follow instructions. We also sell the mounting material separately. You can find them at RVCozy.com, thanks and happy camping!
I typically don’t allow self-promotion comments, but your info is interesting & could be useful to others so I’ve gone ahead and approved it. Thanks for the tip.
Hi, I have been looking for tips for storage, decorating our Monaco Cayman 2011. I am so glad you decided to show what you have done as I am doing now to clean up the RV, repair and decorate from the older colors. I thought to put our dogs crate under the table as we travel. She is crate trained, 19 pound Westie. We measured and now I will make her a crate cover like her bigger one here at home. I think that will assure her that her crate is like her one here. I was contemplating doing chair slipcovers so glad to see yours are covered. I just machine embroidered initials on a pair of Euro Shams for the bedroom to match the throw. I am doing browns and blues there. I just bought a lamp at Ross and the magnetic ribbon flower on sale at Hobby Lobby to put on it, now it matches the new colors for about 20.00…..and it looks like a 50.00 or more lamp. Keep the ideas up….I love looking at what you have done as I think you have a similar RV as I do. I just had someone replace 3 broken tiles that the previous owners broke…repaired the ice maker/cleaned the fridge up, wiring replaced on the gas range top….cleaned the Microwave out and washed everything up. Little by little it is getting there and I love the fact just cleaning and a little repairing and replacing, as well as my own touches are making a huge difference. Thanks for your site….not many are out there for large class A RV’s.
I read a lot of travel blogs (I am not an RV owner), but always enjoy seeing how people decorate their road homes. When I read this post and saw your Danish description of “hygge”, I was immediately transported back to the 1980’s when I was in high school. A Danish exchange student friend came over to my house, and proclaimed to my mother and I that our Pennsylvania farmhouse with cozy fireplace was “hygge” (I never knew how it was spelled till I saw your written version). I remember her saying it something like “huyglie”, but it must be the same word! 🙂
It brought my memories of my youth,my old house, my dear mother, and my dear Danish friend Charlotte. How time flies by….!
What a wonderful story!! Yes, there’s no doubt that your Danish friend was talking about Hygge. It’s such a quintessential Danish thing. Thanks for sharing your memories!
love reading your blog! Great ideas! Thank you
Rick Smith says
I just built a camper from an old palomino pop up camper. The big one. From the floor up. Useing old parts and plumbing etc. from it. It is now a 24 ft. standard hard side unit. I need to decorate it now and want to go with a vintage look. I am loving your ideas on here. Enjoy all the conversations.
I absolutely love the fact that your dog’s coloring lines up perfectly with the carpet and flooring. It looks like he fades into the flooring.
Your bathroom looks better than the one in my house!
We are about to venture into being full-timers. We are renting out our home and moving our fifth wheel to an RV resort. I’m going to have lots of questions. Hope this venue is still up and running.
We’re still traveling and posting on a regular basis. Feel free to look around on the blog, read some of our tips and leave comments (for questions).