How to make your RV a Tiny Home

Hello Campers!

In January of 2019, my husband and I dreamed up this wild idea to move out of our 1000 sqft apartment and into a 250 sqft travel trailer. We wanted to downsize our life to pay off debt, so we sold almost everything we owned to begin this tiny living adventure. In September, the two of us and our cats moved into our Keystone Passport… but not before some renovations happened!

I want to share with you 4 of our favorite areas that we created during our renovation!

The Fireplace

The fireplace is our pride and joy – it is by far our favorite feature and a real show stopper anytime someone comes to visit! The truth is this fireplace never would have existed if it had not been for the eyesore of a control panel that is attached to this wall. My goal was to cover up the control panel while still making it accessible. I believe that when we have challenges to design around it forces us to get even more creative than we ever would have otherwise. These hurdles are blessings in disguise. If it had not been for that control panel, we would have just placed a tv on a piece of furniture and called it “good enough”. But instead we came up with this design for a floor to ceiling tv fireplace combo that I’m still pinching myself over!

We needed a way to get to the controls, so we created a backless drawer that pulls out, allowing us to reach the back wall. Once we had the structure complete, it was time to install some tile. We ended up using 6 x 6″ printed PVC signs that mimicked tiles, but are super lightweight and will not crack while traveling. We used tile adhesive to install them and caulked between each one.

Then we painted, installed the tv, and stained & added the mantel. We even added a hidden sound bar that swings down when in use. We could not be more pleased with how it turned out!

The Corner Booth

Before we built our corner booth, the place was occupied by a standard dinette that comes in nearly every RV. We immediately knew that it would not be staying, but there was a lot of discussion about what would replace it. We finally decided on a booth with storage for pots and pans.

But that’s not all… we wanted to take advantage of every bit of potential in this tiny corner. It challenged us to get creative! We needed to figure out what our needs were and what worked best for us. In our case, this meant a spot for our cats’ litter box. Since we don’t really use our table much – because lets face it, we eat most of our meals on the couch – it was the perfect spot. As an added bonus we built a little “catio” (aka cat patio) right off the litter box. There was already a tiny exterior door thanks to a slide-out stovetop burner that we removed. It was the perfect place to attach a patio for them. It’s like it was meant to be!

Now the cats can have their own little space and feel some sense of adventure too!

The Daybed

The daybed was another fun project. Originally, there were two rocker/swivel chairs here with a little side table between them. It made the space feel really small and didn’t offer any storage. We removed all of it and started with a clean slate! Really wanting to brighten up the space, we painted everything white and traded out the lighting for some fun sconces!

We decided to build a structure across the entire length of the RV that gives us tons of storage to hold extra kitchen items and some of our random belongings. I repurposed the old cushions from the dinette and created new slip covers for them. Then I added pillows. Less is more, except when it comes to pillows! Now that we have a second seating area, in addition to the couch, it really helps to define the living room as its own separate space.

The Bathroom

Our little bathroom was quite intimidating for its size. We did nothing to it throughout our entire 4 month renovation. Every time I opened that bathroom door thinking, “What can I do to this space?”, I immediately shut it in defeat. I really thought, in order to improve this bathroom at all, I would have to completely gut it and start from scratch. We obviously did not want to put that kind of money into it, so nearing the end of the reno, I had two options: either leave it as is and tackle it in the future (which I knew would never come), or take on the challenge to do a budget makeover. Care to guess which one I chose?!

I started with what I already had laying around – leftover white paint for the walls and black paint for the cabinet. It’s amazing what a little paint can do! I also had a few sheets leftover of peel n’ stick subways tile from the kitchen! Then I found some really neat faux marble countertop film.

For the floor, I used extremely affordable 12 x 12″ peel n’ stick tiles. It only took one case. The best part about having a small space is that less square-footage equals smaller expenses!

I used a leftover gold knob for the drawer pull and changed the medicine cabinet out for a massive gold-framed mirror. Want to make a small space feel larger? Add an oversized mirror. It makes all the difference!

Above the toilet we repurposed a shelf we had from our old apartment and cut it into two smaller shelves for extra storage.

Although all these changes helped immensely, the game changer for us was the Extend-A-Shower Expanding Shower Rod. It expands to make the shower feels so much larger, and when the shower’s not in use, it folds back in, making the bathroom feel about as big as an RV bathroom possibly could. I never imagined a shower rod would be my favorite purchase for the bathroom, but let me tell you, it was worth every penny. This bathroom exceeded our wildest dreams!

The Takeaway

Renovating our RV was such a fun experience. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. We went into it not knowing how to do anything and agreed that we would just figure it out together along the way. It was a great opportunity to get creative and challenge ourselves. Together we created the perfect little home!

Danielle Johnson is an Instagram blogger at Journey to Minimum (@journeytominimum). She is passionate about tiny living and interior design. She currently lives in Taylors, South Carolina with her husband and two cats, Piper & Phin.