Buying or Fixing Up an RV
Top 12 Features to Consider when Purchasing or Renovating an RV
RVs are a personal thing. Some people like the versatility of a lightweight trailer while others wouldn’t be caught dead in anything less than a forty-five foot bus conversion. In any case, there are a few features and characteristics that are nice to have in any RV. Some are usually only feasible in larger motorhomes or fifth wheels while others are viable in any RV. Keep these in mind when you’re purchasing an RV or planning your next remodeling project.
Easy to Maintain Floors
Regardless of the type of flooring you prefer – the key is maintainability. If the floors in your RV are hard to keep clean and difficult to maintain, you’ve got the wrong flooring. For ease of maintenance, look into vinyl tile, linoleum, or plastic-laminate wood. For a good compromise, consider carpeting in the living room area and tile (or linoleum) in the kitchen and bathroom areas. In heavy traffic areas, use a carpet or vinyl runner for extra protection.
A Re-Configurable Dining Area
Removing a fixed dinette and replacing it with a free-standing set of table and chairs is one of the most commonly performed remodeling projects. Unfortunately, some manufacturers make this task a great deal harder than it should be. Nevertheless, it’s still worth the effort for those that want the flexibility and the breathing room that this particular arrangement offers.
An Island Style Bed
An ‘island style bed’ is not an exotic bed that’s designed by indigenous islanders for ritualistic purposes. Instead, it’s merely a bed that can be accessed from three sides. Beds that have two sides against a wall can be a real challenge when changing the sheets. Furthermore, when two people are sleeping in the bed, the person against the wall not only has less breathing room – they also have to find some way to get up without climbing over their partner.
A Flip-up Kitchen Counter Extension
RV kitchen are frequently short on useful workspace. A large flip-up countertop extension can provide badly needed surface area whenever you need it. You can make your own using plywood and hardware from your RV dealer. Alternatively, IKEA (www.IKEA-usa.com) sells a wood drop leaf table (called the NORBO) that can easily be adapted to serve as a countertop extension. It cost around $30 (plus shipping).
An Adjustable Television Set
Most RVs come with televisions that are mounted inside a cabinet. As a result, people have to twist their bodies, turn sideways, or move their chairs to get a good view (assuming their chair even moves). It makes a lot more sense to have a television that can be configured for the viewer. A good alternative is a flat-screen television attached to a flexible TV mount that can be extended, rotated, and tilted in all directions. You can find them in good appliance stores or on the Internet.
When it comes to closets and wardrobes, most RV manufacturers throw in a closet, install a closet rod, and call it good. That works great if everything you own can be hung on a coat hanger. However, with some adjustable shelving and a few bins, wardrobes and closets can be easily configured to meet the storage needs of everything and everyone.
A Dedicated Workspace
Most RV manufacturers haven’t yet addressed the fact that RVers need a dedicated place to work. A few RVs have token desks but they frequently don’t offer enough surface area for serious use. Moreover, many of these desks are located in the bedroom rendering them useless for those that work after hours. Genuine work areas should have enough surface area for a laptop computer as well as a printer. They should also have enough space for a real office chair with wheels.
Separate Vanity and Toilet
When a bathroom vanity is in the same room as the toilet, both fixtures are tied up when either one is being used. When they’re separate, one person can brush their teeth while the other uses the toilet. This may sound trivial but in a one-bathroom ‘house’, issues like this can make a big difference.
Well-designed Food Pantries
The best RV kitchens have pull-out food pantries that are specifically designed for canned goods, spices, and other commonly stored items. Look for adjustable, display-style shelves that are removable for easy cleaning.
An Accessible Bathroom
Some RVs have ‘private’ bathrooms that are located in the rear of the bedroom. The concept is similar to the master bedroom that is often found in houses. However, in a real house, there is usually more than one bathroom. In an RV, this design means that everyone has to parade through your bedroom to use the toilet. Not always a good idea.
Privacy is no less important simply because you’re staying in an RV. Accordingly, bathroom and bedroom doors should be solid and capable of being locked. Likewise, in toy haulers, there should be a solid door separating the living quarters from the ‘garage’ to keep fumes out of the living quarters.
Lots of Windows
RVs are largely about experiencing the great outdoors. Windows help to bring the outside in. They also make an RV seem brighter, bigger, and more cheerful. Many RVers routinely install extra windows in their RV. Ask your dealer for a list of companies that sell RV windows.
This article was provided by Desert Winds Press, publishers of The RV Makeover Bible.