You Don’t Need to Look at Ugly RV Furniture Anymore
Is your RV looking a bit worn out? For some people, this would be the cue to start shopping for a new rig. However, if you really love your little home-on-wheels, or even if you simply don’t have the funds to invest in a new RV, you might be looking for other solutions. Our favorite solution? Replacing the RV furniture.
A Nine-Step Plan to Upgrade Tired RV Furniture
Let’s face it, most RV furniture isn’t exactly beautiful to begin with, and aged RV furniture is just that much worse. Fortunately, it’s totally possible to replace that tired old furniture with something new that suits your style and makes you comfortable in your trailer or motorhome.
1. Give yourself time
First, it’s important that you give yourself time to shop for the perfect RV furniture. You don’t want to pull all the furniture out of your rig the week before your big trip, as finding pieces that fit well can take a while. Instead, start this project long before camping season begins, so you can shop at a leisurely pace and ensure you really love what you end up with.
2. Consider re-covering
Before you pull everything out of your rig and start new, take a look at each item. Is there anything worth keeping if you re-cover it? In many cases, reupholstering a chair or sofa is much cheaper than replacing it, especially if you need RV-specific furniture in that space.
3. Measure everything and then measure again
It’s no secret that RVs are tight spaces. For this reason, it’s important to measure your space a few times, ensuring you get the right measurements before you invest in that expensive couch or table. Make sure you consider how the furniture will fit in the space, how you will use it in that space, and whether it will be logical and comfortable to use that piece in that space on a day-to-day basis.
4. Think about rearranging
While you’re switching out the furniture and have the space nice and empty, you might also want to do some rearranging. Most RV furniture is bolted down to the floor and walls, making it nearly impossible to rearrange the original furniture. But when you’re putting new pieces in, you’ll have the freedom to place them wherever you like. Having an empty space to work with makes this as easy as it’ll ever be.
5. Know what you’re looking for
It’s much easier to shop for furniture when you have a clear idea what you’re looking for. The answer to this will be different for different people, but we have a few suggestions that might help you figure out what works for you.
Option 1. Look for assemble-yourself options
Because RVs are such tight spaces, and because the doors are so tiny, many people like to purchase assemble-yourself furniture from places like IKEA. This is much easier to get into the space and can be built right where you want it, removing the need for finding awkward angles in order to fit things through tiny doors.
Option 2. Design your own
Because many RVs require unique pieces, there are some RVers who choose to build their own furniture that fits perfectly into the space they have. This is great because it allows you to create multi-functional pieces that perfectly suit your RVing style. However, it will require some tools and know-how.
Option 3. Go with RV-specific furniture
Another option is to look for RV-specific furniture from companies such as FlexSteel or Coach Supply Direct. If you’re looking for an odd shaped or sized piece and don’t want to build your own, this might be your only option. It’s also the best option if you are wanting to use seatbelts with the piece of furniture you are replacing—such as in a motorhome—as these couches and chairs are made for that purpose.
Option 4. Buy used
Finally, if you’re on a tight budget, you might consider buying used. Thrift stores often have used furniture available that can be modified to fit into your RV decor style. Sometimes it’s even possible to find used RV furniture. This can be found at RV scrapyards or on RV sales pages on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
6. See it in person
It’s always a good idea to see any expensive things you purchase in person before buying. Furniture is no exception. If at all possible, head to the store or warehouse yourself and see what you’re buying before you buy it. This ensures you know the quality of the piece before buying and also gives you a chance to match colors and double-check measurements.
7. Check out reviews
Another way to make sure you’re getting what you want is to check out reviews online. This is an especially good way to weed out the low-quality items out there so you end up with something that will be comfortable and durable for years to come.
8. Sell the old pieces
As mentioned before, it’s sometimes possible to find used RV furniture for sale online. This means there is a market for these items, and might mean that you can sell your RV furniture and get back a little of whatever you spend on your new furniture items.
9. Make other RV furniture upgrades simultaneously
Our last tip is to make other RV upgrades at the same time. Why? Because it’s easiest to paint and replace flooring with no furniture in the way. It only makes sense to do these two projects while the RV is empty and you have the opportunity. Besides, you’re sure to adore your tiny home once the walls, floors, and furniture all reflect your personal style.
Have your own tips to share with those who are replacing their RV furniture? Share it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or with the community on iRV2 Forums.
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.
I replaced mine in my 40′ 2005 Newmar Dutch Star with a residential sofa with 2 power recliners. You may think it’s heavy but suprisingly not. The backs were removable so it came right in the front door. And we reused the mounts, just had to relocate them a couple inches forward. Easy peasy. To be honest we also balanced it out by removing the recliner and desk on the curb side and put in a TV lift with a 55″ TV and an electric fireplace. We removed the built in dinette and went with a simple table and foldable chairs. Wished I could post a picture. We live full time and have had no issues with either after 15k miles. And we are still under weight. On a side note we also replaced all of the florescent lights with LEDs.Happy camping.
judith loebel says
For the older style **J fold** couch/bed we found a simple solution for short term upholstery failure. For our ’93 Foretravel we used a simple $35 futon cover from AMAZON, in a stretch velvety plush fabric. This worked really well, you can place a MemoryFoam bed topper under it (or over it, cover with a fitted sheet for sleeping). This made a yuge difference in looks, in our pale cabin, as we used a slate blue, and performance, since the cushion was OK, but the upholstery fabric was shattered. Since we use this as a bed a lot we needed something that worked open and closed, a piece of pool noodle helps hold the cover in the crease when open but it really works well even with out that. We also used a recliner cover in same fabric (same company) for what turned out to be a $1500 leather recliner (came with the RV) when the leather started to split. So for about $70 we changed the look, used covers that can go in the washer or be swapped for different colors etc, and saved a few thousand in repairs.
Just stay away from bonded leather which is man made and contains a percentage of leather content- just little bits of leather in the backing. This type of covering quite often only lasts three to four years before it starts to crack and peel.
10. DON’T sell your old rv funiture. If you’re lucky enough to sell your rig after you’ve “made it yours” the new owners might want to have it back the way it was.
11. Realize that customization’s come at double cost- That’s when you buy it, have it installed, and finally taking the hit for a modified rv. Factories sell these things in the most popular floor plans and features- not because they are appealing to 1 out of 20 buyers. As usual-
We replaced the sleeper sofa with a recliner loveseat. Best upgrade ever
Sandra Tilbury says
The recliners in our 5th wheel were cheaply constructed and my tall 250 lb husband managed to obliterate them in one season. I found some 2nd hand Stressless style leather recliners that pivot and they are far better built. Love them, cost a measley $250 for the pair.
Michael Reid says
I saw this article
Flexsteel Announces Exit from RV Furniture Business
Not clear if Flexsteel is still in RV business?
I’m trying to sell the 60” Jack sofa I removed. You mention Craigslist, but Craigslist is only RVs, not RV furniture. Any other ideas on how to recoup some costs?
Mark, sell it under furniture with RV Jack Knife in the title. And try Facebook marketplace. People will find it, been searching for items myself. Just bought a cloth LazyBoy rv sleeper loveseat off ebay. None of that crappy fake RV leather the industry has been using for years.
Jeff LaCosse says
We had the two small recliners that came in our new RV, but they were to short as I am talk. A local furniture store, running a sale, had a double reclining love seat that fit perfect, a little tight through the door, but worked. Sold the two recliners for what we paid for the loveseat. The loveseat works fantastic
I have a high top van, that will eventually be a camper. Custom everything, walls, floor, from wood, probably pallets. Along part of one wall, most likely by the side door, will be a permanent cooking area, with a wood stove on one end, possibly a water distillery, work space, and storage below. In front of it I’m thinking cooking Island, with an extended top for eating along the other side. Held to the cooking area w yen driving with bungee cords. One chair will be permanent, concealing a DIY composting toilet, possibly pallet wood. The bed will lift when parked, and not driving or sleeping. This will free up the bed would take up when down. Box at each end of the bed (on the floor) to support the bed when down, and used for storage. The furniture, chairs, etc., will be hand made, all foldable, and stored when not in use. If I don’t like a chair, I will sell it, and make another. Pallet wood and/or plywood will be used in almost items. I have the knowledge and skill to do this, but it ain’t rocket science, about anyone can learn. I won’t buy a factory unit, because everything inside is designed by someone who thinks he knows what a buyer want. Well, it is not what “I” want, so I’ll do it my way, and change anything I feel like changing, that is “if” I want to change anything. Shower, no prob, tub to stand in, shower curtain, 5 gallon container of water hung over. Sink, a bowl, to wash what little I need to, paper plates, cups, plastic dinnerware. AC – fans, if I could sleep in Nam with 120 degree temps with only a fan, I can sleep in a camper. Wash clothes, a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a top, fill with clothes, soap, water, hook to bumper and drive to next stop. When I finish, I will have what I want, not what someone else thinks I want, and will pay less.
Michael Clark says
Gone are the days when an RV was simply a mode of transportation. Even when traveling in an RV, you may now enjoy modern conveniences. One option is to invest in an RV recliner for the ultimate in relaxation and sitting comfort when reading, napping, or watching TV.
Dennis Mitchell says
Bought a 2018 Newmar. Third rv. Why would anybody want a sofabed anywhere? They are neither sofa or bed. We moved house furniture in. Way more comfortable.