How to Paint the Inside of Your RV

painting a wall

So you own an RV but aren’t thrilled with the inteiror decor and have decided that you’d like to paint your RV’s interior to make it feel more like home.

Congrats! Choosing to repaint is one of the best ways to make your RV feel homey and nice. However, it’s not a job that should be taken lightly.

With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you successfully repaint your RV.

Prep Work Is Key

painting prep
Image from Camping World

Planning is important. Getting the right supplies is important. Choosing the right colors is important. But the prep work of getting your RV ready to be painted is by far the most important. Here’s what you need to do.

Remove Cabinet Doors and Hardware

If you plan to repaint your cabinets or drawers, then you need to remove the drawers and cabinet doors and the hardware (the handles and hinges).

This will allow you to really repaint the entire cabinet and not miss any spots. It will also help you to do a professional job and get paint evenly spread over the surfaces. It’s also a heck of a lot easier. Trust me, I’ve painted several differet sets of cabinets in my life and it’s always easier with the doors and hardware off. 

If you’re not repainting the cabinets, great. Just make sure to tape them off and cover them so you don’t accidentally get paint or primer on them.

Also, you may need to remove wallpaper borders or decorative wall decals before you start. This will keep your RV looking great once finished.

Cover What You Don’t Want to Paint

painters tape
Image from Gander

Covering what you don’t want to get paint on is extremely important. I actually can’t think of a more important step.

Get out some old sheets or go to the hardwares store for several rolls of painters tape and a couple of plastic tarps. You will spill paint at some point and that means you’ll need to protect the floor, couch, and anyting else you don’t want to get paint on.

Taping off things can be a pain in the butt, but it’s a lifesaver. Don’t skimp on painters tape and make sure to really tape every little spot off you don’t want to paint.

Clean Everything Prior to Painting

Cleaning your RV once you have everything taped off is very important. For many surfaces, I would suggest using a acetone cleaner. However, if you think this is too harsh, or hate the smell, any pre-paint cleaner will do.

If all you have is multi-purpose cleaners, they will work, but you’re better off with mineral spirits or some other kind of TSP or TSP substitute. Avoid anything that makes a lot of suds. You want a residue-free cleaner.

No matter what cleaning supply you use, make sure to wear eye protection and think about wearing a mask of some kind to keep from inhaling the cleaner.

The Actual Painting Process

painting a wall
Image from Pexels

When it comes to actually painting your RV’s interior, you have two options. You can rent of buy a paint sprayer, or you can use a roller and paint brushes. Many people swear by the paint sprayer, but then you need to buy protective clothing and a mask.

Sprayers are tough to use in small spaces like an RV. They do an excellent job, but I prefer a roller and a paintbrush. It can take longer, but it’s still my first choice. If you choose to go the sprayer route, you really need to make sure you have everything covered. Overspray is no joke and it’s super easy to get paint or primer on something you don’t want to.

Prime First

Priming is a must. It makes the paint go on easier and will help cover everything in your RV well. Get a low-VOC primer that’s designed to be used over wallpaper.

Your RV’s walls likely have some kind of wallpaper or wall laminate on them. You need to use a primer that’s designed for this type of surface. It is not recommended to try to strip the wallpaper or wall covering of the RV.

Note that sometimes it might take more than one coat of primer to fully cover everything. Once everything is primed, you’re ready to paint.

Paint Second

With primer on everything you want to paint, you’re ready to move forward to the actual painting stage once the primer is dry.

Get a high-quality paint. I know it can be tempting to get cheap paint, but you don’t really need that much of it, and the high-quality paint will last longer.

One last note on paint. Take your time. The moment you start to rush, you’ll mess up or generally not do a good job. Make a point to paint the RV’s interior in steps and take frequent brakes. It’ll take longer than you expect, and taking your time will ensure it looks good when finished.

Do you have any questions or concerns? If so, leave a comment below. Also, do you want to renovate your RV? Check out Gander’s selection of RV interior products.

How to paint the inside of your RV


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