Outdoorsy had the chance to speak with LazyDays Vice President and General Manager of Retail Accessories Linda Stephens about a big makeover project she recently undertook. She told us about how her RV remodel research about new glamping trends (glamping is a move towards glamorous camping, and refers to people wanting to bring the comforts of indoors, outdoors) on Pinterest and on blogs, and how they influenced the makeover she and her colleague Kim took on. She said, “As part of my job, I spend a lot of time uncovering new and future trends in RV design. While working on the launch of our latest store in January of 2016, I saw firsthand that many RV owners want to “glamp” and accessorize their RVs. I researched some of the latest trends online, and saw that this is a real movement that is happening across the RV market.”
“Even though I work at a big RV retail and rental company, I wanted to have the chance to do an RV makeover for myself. I ended up having so much fun glamping up this 2012 fifth wheel that I worked on it evenings and weekends,” says Linda Stephens, the woman behind the Lazydays retail operation RV Accessories & More. Stephens, a mover and shaker who learns by doing, wasn’t satisfied with talking about makeovers she hadn’t tried herself. She and her colleague Kim Rolon decided to try an RV remodel for themselves, sharing their learnings with their customers along the way.
Here’s a visual tour of some of the changes they made, along with a list of her biggest takeaways.
1. Paint and furniture switch-outs make a bigger difference than you think.
They changed out the furniture, floors, light fixtures, wallpaper, and used stick tile to create a massive visual change in the fifth wheel she renovated. Look at the floor change in this bathroom. It is pretty dramatic.
2. Yes, it’s possible to paint RV walls.
This was probably one of Linda’s biggest surprise learnings. “If people can paint their house walls, why can’t they paint their RV walls?” She adds, “Prepping is crucial. You have to use the right primer and the right paint, but it’s definitely doable. Most people just don’t realize that. We prepped and painted the cabinets, walls, the table, chairs, too, just like you would at home.”
3. The most common obstacle for most people is lack of trust.
When Linda talks to customers, she says that one of the biggest challenges she has is getting RV owners to trust themselves to experiment. You might not get it all perfectly right to begin with, but you will start to feel more comfortable playing around and finding what you like best.
4. If you buy a preowned unit, switching out paint and furniture can make the RV feel like your own.
It is possible to make even a preowned RV feel like your own. Just like moving into a preowned house, all it takes is your own imagination and a little elbow grease.
5. Pinterest, Instagram, and closed Facebook groups provided amazing inspiration.
Linda says, “I had 79 pictures posted to my Pinterest board when I began. Kim and I started gathering those pictures before we even began our own project. We loved the before and afters. We also found Facebook groups that helped a lot. A favorite group covered was vintage Airstreams. People want a full experience when they’re camping and they want to make it their own space. All it takes is a few searches on Facebook, and you’ll find closed groups with 30 or 40 K people and lots of wonderful ideas.”
6. Avoiding structural changes is what allows you to do-it-yourself.
If you’re changing out toilets, cabinets, or redoing wiring, you’re going to need to hire an expert. But when it comes to light fixtures, you just need to make sure the voltage and size is consistent. You can do a whole lot more by yourself than you think. And it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, either.
7. It can be really fun to make the RV space your own.
In part because no one thinks it’s possible, making the RV space your own can be incredibly fun and exciting. RV furniture manufacturers do a great job of allowing you to personalize the details there, but this is taking your own imagination to a new level. Want a beach-themed bedroom with framed ocean photos and painted shells? It’s all yours.
8. Use stick tile. Stick tile is easier to use than you might imagine. You just remove the wallpaper, scrape the wall, and you’re ready to stick on the tile.You can even change it out every season if you choose.
9. An RV remodel can make your RV even more rentable.
“It was incredibly exciting to feel the project come together. This was a 4 year old coach from 2012. We rent out this coach today. Whenever a renter enters the space, they say,’This is absolutely beautiful. You gotta see this!’ to neighbors and friends. It’s so satisfying.”
10. It’s addicting to share your accomplishments with others.
The unveiling moment is a big moment of truth. It’s the basis of entire networks like Food Network, HGTV, and DIY Network. Imagine if you were the creator of that moment of success. Linda said, “The amount of pride you get out of doing the before and after — and the interest from others along the way — is incredible.”