RVers love to decorate their campers but are often unsure how to pull off a seaside theme without it looking tacky.
If you love the coastal vibe and want to enjoy that feeling inside your RV no matter where you roam, I’ve put together some great ideas to customize your RV beach theme decor.
When you follow the correct decorating process, you can achieve a professional look on a DIY budget.
From the top to the bottom, inside and out, check out these great ways to bring the seaside theme into your RV in a modern and functional way!
Best RV Seaside Decorating Ideas
The best way to avoid an RV full of hodge-podge decor is to plan your beach-themed makeover in stages so the final look is cohesive.
Follow along with the steps and ideas below to streamline your seaside RV redecorating project.
Taking the time to plot out your wants and needs will ultimately save you stress and money, along with delivering a final result that will put a smile on your face every time you enter your recreational vehicle.
Choose a Specific Beach or Seaside Theme
When you think about your dream seaside getaway, what do you picture?
The setting you see in your mind can be vastly different for other people who are answering the same question, which means there is no “one-size-fits-all” beach theme design to follow.
The first step to ensure you’re happy with the results of your RV redecoration is to pinpoint which coastal design you want to achieve.
Not all beaches are sand; they can be pebbles or even marshy. Not all water is turquoise blue, it can be a deeper true blue or more emerald, and not all beachside trees are palms.
Here are some top seaside decorating sub-themes you can use within an RV seaside design plan:
- Caribbean island
- California coastal
- New England shore
- Pacific Northwest coast
- Old Florida
- Carolina Outer Banks
As you can see, there’s many ways to interpret the seaside idea and translate it into the perfect RV design plan.
The little details can mean whales instead of dolphins or dark brown colors instead of whites and creams. Navy and white stripes can be just as sea-worthy as a collection of pastels.
The main goal of this first step is to focus on which seaside location you’re trying to emulate, so please don’t rush this step.
I suggest you dig out old travel photos or create an online pinboard of the seaside locations you connect with the most.
Once you have the inspiration you love, it will be much easier to tailor the rest of your decorating plan around this theme.
Choose Your Beachy Color Palette
Take a good look at the overall color scheme from your seaside inspiration pictures and pull the ones that appeal to you most.
You want to select five to six shades and create a color palette to work from when choosing your new RV decorations and flooring, wall, and cabinet makeovers.
I suggest you select three or four softer or lighter tones and two or three more intense shades to form the basis of your seaside color palette.
The lighter tones can work as primary background colors, while richer accents will give the RV interior depth and interest.
You can also choose to flip the equation and use deep shades for the walls, floors, and furniture and use light tones to have all the decorative pieces stand out.
A lighter backdrop will make your RV feel more open, airy, and cheerful, while a darker background will create a feeling of coziness and relaxation.
As a general rule, find a nice tan or cream shade that reminds you of sand or stone, a blue reminiscent of the water and sky, and greys or browns for driftwood or trees.
For pops of color, think of the shades of sunset, flowers, or even bright beach umbrellas so the overall design doesn’t look too one-dimensional.
TIP: Gather your color ideas and head to Walmart or a home improvement store and pick up paint swatches that match as close as possible to your inspirations.
You can cut out and tape together the shades you love and carry them around to ensure you’re buying other supplies and decor in the correct color tones.
Remember that having too many shades inside a small space will feel chaotic, so pare down your color choices to five or six.
Rethink Wall and Ceiling Finishes
For a complete RV redecoration, you’ll most likely want to makeover your walls and ceiling in some way to tie your seaside theme together.
Paint is the easiest and least expensive option for a wall finish, and most RV ceilings are white or cream, which will suit a beachy theme.
Repainting an RV interior isn’t hard and will instantly update and increase the appeal of your camper when you cover over the mundane factory wallboard.
Another option is wallpaper, especially the newer peel and stick versions, so they are easy to remove. I suggest taking a peek at the wide array of nautical-theme selections at Walls By Me.
Wallpaper gives you more pattern options that can fit your theme, like tropical foliage, faux shiplap, sea creatures, compasses, ships, or coral reefs.
The benefit of wallpapering inside an RV is that the wall space is limited, so you won’t need to spend a fortune to recover them. The con is that many tight areas around windows or between furniture can make aligning wallpaper patterns challenging.
GRASSCLOTH or TEXTURED WALLCOVERING
Grasscloth goes on like wallpaper but is heavily textured and will need a glue-based adhesive to keep it in place. In addition, using this type of wall cover is more permanent and could easily be damaged by scratching pets or small children, so it’s not for everyone.
The final look is very high-end and gives off all the tropical vibes if you’re going with a warm-weather location seaside theme.
Grasscloth can be expensive, and I found an excellent alternative for my RV by using reed or bamboo roller blinds I carefully cut to fit. I had to use some clear tape on the backside to hold the cut slats together until I could adhere the blinds to the walls with adhesive, but other than that, it was straightforward.
I love that the blind sections are broad, so I could remove the thin trim strips between RV wallboard panels and lay the material flat while still hiding the gaps.
Now my camper has none of those tell-tale trim pieces every few feet that screams, “I’m an RV!” and instead looks much more seamless and homey.
I also added light-colored bamboo slat blinds to my ceilings, with a four-inch-wide board every five feet. The look is very beach-hut tropical and was the final step in getting rid of the choppy appearance of my ceiling.
I must mention that my RV has three light fixtures, the A/C, and two vents on the ceiling I had to go around. I took off the speakers and roof antenna crank as I wasn’t going to use them.
If your RV has many ceiling-mount features, leaving it alone or using paint to transform the look may be much more practical.
Covering camper walls with thin beadboard paneling or adding horizontal slats that resemble shiplap is another way to anchor the space for your beach-style decorating scheme.
Wood looks and feels rich and authentic, which will elevate your RV interior instantly. The best part about installing wood is that you can easily repaint it later if you choose to revamp your RV decor.
Wood also allows you to eliminate all those annoying trim lines between RV wall panels, so the interior has a cleaner look.
Luckily, you can add wood walls to your RV with thin versions of paneling, slats, or boards that are lightweight and easy to install.
Often, a suitable adhesive and a few staples are all you’ll need to hold it in place. You can even find real wood slats with a peel and stick application.
Cabinet and Furniture Makeover
Beach-themed decor focuses on crisp white cabinetry and furniture or by using driftwood tones of greys and tans.
Unfortunately, most RV furniture and cabinetry have a stained finish on the wood, mainly in an oak or cherry shade that doesn’t fit into the seaside color scheme.
If you want a cohesive seaside look, you’ll want to refinish your cabinets or furniture pieces in one of your lighter tones to have them blend in or go with a bold shade to make certain areas a focal point.
I love the look of an RV kitchen island or bank of cabinets in a rich shade of blue, grey, or green that draws your eye to the main living area and adds interest to the space.
Using a whitewash finish over a solid paint job is another beautiful way to add texture and give cabinetry a laidback, lived-in, beachy style.
The best way to repaint RV cabinets is to follow these quick steps:
1. Wipe down all wood surfaces with TSP to remove grease and dirt
2. Lightly sand the surface to improve paint adherence
3. Use a gripping primer such as Benjamin Moore/INSL-X Stix Water Primer
4. Apply two coats of high-quality, alkyd enamel paint
There are new paints that can adhere to slick surfaces with no need for sanding or priming like the All-in-One Refinishing by Beyond Paint. These cost more but save time, so the choice is up to you.
Removal of doors and hardware is also up to you. I left my cabinets intact and worked carefully around hinges with a small brush, but this may be too tedious for most folks.
Best RV Seaside Flooring Ideas
Newer RVs tend to have laminate or vinyl flooring that emulates wood and often works wonderfully with a seaside decorating theme.
If your RV has carpet or a pattern that clashes with your design aesthetic, I suggest you alter the appearance with peel and stick vinyl wood-look flooring. The material is simple to cut and install, so you can DIY the project and avoid paying for professional installation.
With a good cleaning of the original floor, you can often lay the new floor directly over the old, saving time and hassle.
Removing RV carpet and its hundreds of staples is not fun, but it will enable you to lay down a solid wood or even tile flooring directly upon the plywood subfloor.
Best RV Window Treatments for a Seaside Theme
To tie together all your seaside decorating elements, you’ll want to revamp your RV window coverings for a lighter, more breezy feel.
Most RVs with coastal theming opt for sheer curtains that are solid or have a neat pattern such as shells and seahorses. For privacy, they leave the day/night shades in place or switch to a roller shade.
There are also tons of beach or nautical pattern decorator fabrics you can sew into curtains or use to recover RV valances.
Switching out dated-looking valances for a rod with curtains is a great way to bring in more of your colors, add dimension to the RV interior, and send out a more relaxing vibe.
Curate a Collection of Seaside Decor
When going with any RV decorating style, you must carefully choose accent pieces like pictures, towels, and decor.
Theming a recreational vehicle interior can range from subtle to in-your-face campy designs, but you want to keep it tasteful.
Another important aspect is to ensure many of your new decor items serve a function, so they aren’t just wasting precious RV space.
Filling every inch of a camper with seahorses and bright coral patterns will overtax the senses and feel overwhelming in a short amount of time. You want your RV decor to feel relaxing and fun, not stressful!
Curate your accent elements by finding one or two focal points for each living space in your RV, so your eye has a soft landing spot that evokes fond memories or a peaceful thought.
Hanging fish netting from the ceiling or wall covered in shells and colorful fish is certainly beachy but can also look juvenile.
Reinvent the look by draping fish netting over a window as a valance or over the headboard if your RV has a bed and string it with some fairy lights. Use sisal twine or rope to hold it secure, or add some monkey’s fist knots you can make yourself.
A beautiful bowl or clear lidded jar on a side or coffee table is a great place to display your beachcombing finds that creates an authentic design element.
A mirror trimmed in beach glass (found or bought) is unique and fits the theme. Another good idea is a gallery wall of a tropical plant or vintage ship prints or your favorite seaside family vacation photos.
Don’t forget the little details. Pick up kitchen or bath towels in a color that matches one of your swatches, and hang them from boat cleats instead of standard hooks.
Bring the Seaside Vibe to the RV Exterior
The best part of RVing is hanging out on your outdoor patio space and a great reason to continue your seaside decorating outdoors.
Lastly, think about having a custom vinyl decal made for your RV exterior to showcase your personality and love of the beach or coastal areas. There are many places you can order a decal online that will allow you to customize the design.
My favorites are a compass design that incorporates the family name, or a fun palm tree, waves, and sun pattern, but the options are endless and you can even submit your own design.
Decals are easy to apply and last a long time in all types of weather but aren’t permanent, so they won’t impact your camper’s value if you decide to sell in the future.
The best RV seaside decorating themes are custom-tailored to your tastes, which will give you a truly unique camper and a relaxing haven whenever you want to get away from it all.
I remade my RV into a traveling tiki beach bar nearly a decade ago, and I still love the design today. As I travel, I add small touches to remember all my camping adventures, making my RV really feel like home.
If you’re tired of your boring RV interior, please don’t hesitate to revamp it to make it much more enjoyable. When you use the tips and planning guide above, you’ll soon have the seaside escape of your dreams!
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Coastal Beach Decor DIY (Video)
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide