Original Interior
RV Renovation

How new pillows led to our first RV renovation

Colour Swatch“Let’s get new pillows for the trailer,” seems like an innocent statement, but that’s the phrase that kicked off our first significant RV renovation project.

Like many RVs, the Tin Can Cottage boasts a dated decor featuring muddied shades of brown, paisley fabrics, ruffled curtains and floral wallpaper borders.

I know it’s a 2011 model, but let’s be honest, unless you’re spending tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of dollars on an RV, even the interior decor in a brand new trailer doesn’t likely reflect current trends. Who designs these things?!


Anyway, these cute buffalo plaid and sherpa pillows seemed like a cheap and cheerful way to achieve that cozy, slightly rustic/cabin-y feel we love. But, once we got them in the trailer, we started to wonder about reupholstering.

You see where this is going, don’t you?

Yep. It’s trailer renovation time! The plans are somewhat modest, not due to lack of desire on our part, but thanks to tight timelines.

We store our trailer outside, so we needed to wait for spring-like temperatures to start some of this work, and we have a hard deadline of May 1 to finish, as our first camp of the season is booked for that weekend. Here’s what’s happening over the next few weeks.


Perhaps it was fate that days after purchasing our new pillows, Colin just happened to connect with a custom upholsterer through his day job.

Hope from Re-Luv’d Custom Upholstery has some awesome pics on her Instagram, but it was her work in boats and trucks that prompted Colin to reach out for a quote for our RV renovation.

We drove the TCC up to Hope’s workshop in Norval, Ontario, and she helped us pick a great, durable fabric that will tone down the brown in our trailer, while still working with the existing floor and countertops. She’s also going to get rid of that weird scallop-y thing on the top of the couch to give it a cleaner, more modern look.

Paint and wallpaper

Since we’re going ahead with the reupholstery project, it only makes sense to paint now, while the couch isn’t in our way, right? See how one decision justifies another?!

One of our day jobs is owning and managing rental properties. We’ve done a lot of painting and renovating over the years and always turn to Benjamin Moore. Yes, there is cheaper paint out there, but in our opinion, Benjamin Moore is worth the extra cost as it covers extremely well, goes on smooth, and the low-VOC Aura paint is pretty much odourless.

Gray is on trend and we’ve been using Collingwood (OC-28) in a lot of our properties lately. However, we wanted something a bit lighter for the trailer, especially since the ceiling is only 8 feet high.

We went with Classic Gray (OC-23) for the walls in a satin finish because we need to be able to wash off dead mosquitos!

We also picked up some peel and stick wallpaper in a shiplap style to create a few interesting accent walls. We’ve since heard mixed reviews on this stuff from other RVers, so we’ll see how it goes.NuWallpaper Reclaimed Shiplap

While we didn’t want to paint all our cabinetry, we are doing the dinette in Barnwood (CSP-115). This darker gray complements the fabric for our couch and dinette cushions and will create a nice, cozy eating space. We went with a semi-gloss here as we like the sheen and extra durability.

Finally, there are all kinds of little bits and pieces that need paint. Switch plates, vent covers, plastic trim pieces--probably lots of other stuff we haven’t even found yet! Enter our good friends at Rustoleum Canada who have taken an interest in our project and generously supplied some spray paints we’ll use to tackle this job.

Kitchen backsplash

We’ve talked about using peel and stick tiles for years and I’m so excited we’re finally doing it! We picked a pure white subway tile to brighten our favourite part of the trailer--the kitchen! These tiles have great reviews online and look pretty easy to install. We’ll report back!

New cabinet pulls and hinges

Painted cabinets can really transform a space! So we thought long and hard before agreeing not to touch the cabinetry in our first RV renovation. We have two reasons:

  1. The light maple wood isn’t offensive to us and doesn’t darken the space.
  2. We simply don’t have time!

However, we will change the cabinet and drawer pulls and hinges, replacing the old oiled bronze hardware with new brushed nickel pieces. A small change like this can really have an impact!

New window treatments

Our original plan was to have the window valances recovered to match the sofa and dinette cushions. But as soon as we removed them we were amazed at how much our trailer space brightened!

So, the old valances are gone and new white blinds will come in.

That’s pretty much it! We’ll add a few new decor touches here and there, but those are the big plans for our first RV renovation. At least for the interior. We’ve got a few things planned to refresh the exterior of our trailer, but we won’t be tackling those until the weather is much warmer.

Follow us on Instagram as we share our progress. We’d love some encouragement to help keep us sane for the next few weeks!

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