5 Ways to Put the 'Home' in Motorhome
5 Ways to Put the 'Home' in Motorhome
Tips for making your new or used Winnebago feel homier!
By: Jessie & Ashley Segura
Hi! We're Jessie and Ashley Segura, a newlywed couple on a journey to see National Parks in the United States and Canada in our 34-ft Winnebago Brave. In April, we got married in San Diego and three weeks later we hopped into our Winnebago and headed east to visit our first National Park together.
We purchased our 2004 Brave at the beginning of the year and started remodeling it the day we drove it into our driveway. We had owned a trailer once before, but never a motorhome. This was going to be a brand-new adventure for us, so we really wanted to customize the coach and give it that extra warm and cozy feel.
Don't get me wrong, the coach was in perfect condition when we drove it off the lot, but it is fifteen years old and we thought it could use a little updating - especially if we were going to drive it all around the United States and Canada.
These five changes and additions from our renovation list helped transform our coach and are something just about anyone can do. Whether you have remodeling experience or not (which we had zero experience), these are great ways to add warmth into your new or old Winnebago.
1. Paint! Splash Some Color on Those Walls
The very first thing on our renovation list was to re-paint the entire interior. Before we changed the furniture or added anything new, we wanted to update the base.
Not only did we choose to paint the walls and remove all of the wallpaper in our Winnebago Brave, but we sanded and painted all of the cabinets, too. It was a lot of work initially between the sanding, taping, and spraying. But it was so worth it, in the long run, to really update the interior and make it feel like our own home.
We've never been homeowners and aren't the kind of renters who take on the task of painting the entire inside of a rented house the moment they get the keys. It's always sounded like too much of a hassle and we usually only stay in a place for a year or two anyway.
To finally be able to choose the color of our own walls was a big deal. I had dreamt of warm grey walls with even warmer white trim for years - a big thanks to Joanna Gaines, of course.
Lots of taping, sanding, priming, and painting later, we made that dream a reality and added our favorite colors to every wall, baseboard, cabinet, and drawer.
We ended up not painting the entire interior grey and white and instead switched the paint color based on the area. Adding different colors to different areas can help separate a space and make each area feel like its own. The bedroom we painted an off-white, the living room that grey I insisted on, and the kitchen a forest green color.
In a motorhome, spaces tend to blend into each other simply because it's a long rectangle and you can only have so many different layouts. By repainting every inch of the motorhome, we were able to break up each space and make it feel like a real house does as you walk from one area to the next.
2. Add 3-5 Must-Have Items from Your House
Adding a few pieces from our big house helped make our house on wheels feel even more like ours. Sure, our names were on the pink slip. But to truly make it feel like our own, we needed to add a few pieces that meant something to us.
These are a few of the items we added to our coach to help give it that warm and fuzzy "just ours" feeling.
- Throw pillows from our old couch. The couch that came with our Brave was 15 years old, and although the recliner was the coolest and most comfortable, it was time for an upgrade. So, we purchased a tiny couch from Living Spaces and filled it with tons of throw pillows from our house. We're on our RV couch a lot, especially after a long day of exploring, so having lots of pillows that we already loved to lay our heads on was a must.
- The pressure cooker. What in the world would we do without our pressure cooker? Our pressure cooker is one of those all-in-one genius machines that acts as a part-time rice maker, super-fast spaghetti squash cooker, slow cooker for all of our meats and soups, and you can even bake a cake in it! Having kitchen equipment like that in a motorhome makes cooking a 5-star dinner while out exploring a National Park all day totally doable. Hello, Pinterest recipes! (Read more go-to pressure cooker recipes from a fellow GoLifer).
- Our favorite cuddling blanket. Whenever we clean up our living room, we always fluff the couch pillows and fold our favorite blanket, laying it across the top of the couch. It was my Nana's favorite blanket and when she passed away, I was gifted it. Now it feels like not only do we have a piece of home, but a piece of family traveling with us in our motorhome.
- Our favorite wall decor. There really isn't a ton of wall space in a motorhome and the little bit of wall space we had in our "living room" was taken over by a wall mirror. Mirrors help make a small face feel big, but we're more interested in making our space feel cozy rather than increasing its size - so the mirror had to go. In place of the wall mirror, we added our rectangle wall picture frame and "J <3 A" pieces that were originally in our house. The frame holds a collection of our most favorite photos with family and friends. It was the piece of decor that we saw immediately every time we walked into our house. And now in our motorhome, it has the same job. And that "J <3 A" piece of decor is a nice little reminder whenever the motorhome feels too cramped.
3. Have All of the WiFi Things
Even in the middle of the forest in Yellowstone, being able to watch a Netflix show at the end of a long hiking day feels like we're at home.
Yes, yes, I know. We shouldn't be glued to the screen and instead we should be outside exploring. But, has anyone ever talked about the exhaustion of constant adventuring?
Jessie and I are the types to see all 20 things in a day that people usually take 4-5 days to see. So, when we finally make it back to our motorhome at the end of a long exploring day, we want to just put our feet up and relax.
When the sun goes down and we've done some stargazing around the fire, there's nothing sweeter than cozying up on the couch (with our favorite throw pillows) and watching a new show together.
We also take our work on the road with us, so having a good WiFi connection is not only great for post-stargazing, but mandatory for Monday-Friday traveling.
There are hundreds of blog posts out there with lots of RV WiFi tips, but we found what worked best for us is:
- OTR Mobile: They offer a $60 unlimited plan that streams from AT&T signals, so anywhere you can get AT&T reception you can get internet.
- Verizon Jetpack Hotspot: We added a Verizon hotspot for the times the AT&T signal doesn't come through well on our OTR plan. Plus, we use Verizon for our cell phones, so it made sense to add this WiFi backup.
- Campground WiFi / Reception: We always try to choose a campground that has WiFi or at the very least has a cell signal, which we find out from Campendium. As long as we have a good cell signal (three bars and up) we can connect to WiFi using our AT&T or Verizon options.
- Local Coffee Shops: Occasionally, the tall pine trees block any and all hope for a good WiFi signal, so we're forced to drive into town and find a cute little coffee shop (or McDonalds) that offers WiFi. This isn't always the worst-case scenario, though. It forces you to go explore a town like a local and enjoy that campfire a bit later than you may have knowing that new Netflix episode is waiting for you.
4. Hook Yourself Up with a Good Entertainment System
One of our favorite week-day routines is to sit down after dinner and watch a show or a movie together. It's our downtime from the chaos of the day and allows us to just sit back and relax together. Kind of like what a normal family does at home on a weeknight, but we do it in our motorhome instead.
Our Winnebago Brave is 15 years old though, so it didn't come equipped with flat-screen TVs and an excellent sound system when we purchased it from the dealer.
Adding a flat-screen TV to the living room and another one in our bedroom allows us to still have that week-night routine feel while enjoying downtime, even when we're in the middle of nowhere.
If you don't already have flat-screen TVs installed and are thinking of adding them to your motorhome, make sure to add straps to the TVs and get a real sturdy bracket to brace the TV to the wall.
After all, that home on wheels is going to move whether you take it out for a week once a year or take it out every other week. Invest in a good bracketing system for your TVs to protect both your TV and your motorhome.
You also need to have a good strapping system, so it doesn't launch off your walls the moment you take the first turn out of the driveway.
5. Make Your Kitchen Functional
No matter where in the world you are, and we've been a lot of places, the saying really is true, "The kitchen is where everyone gathers".
Making our kitchen functional, welcoming, and feeling like a real house kitchen was extremely important to us during the renovation process.
To help meet the functional part, we decided to have just four of everything to condense our kitchen items. Four plates, bowls, wine glasses, beer pints, and coffee cups (Yes, four wine glasses and beer pints are functional and practical and totally necessary).
Making an RV kitchen functional also means maybe leaving the waffle maker that we've used twice in the past five years and instead bringing the pressure cooker that can act as both a rice maker, slow cooker, and steamer all in one.
Another way to make our kitchen functional, and feel even homier, was to add a cute little backsplash behind our stove. Jessie and I cook a lot. Like, just about every meal. So, we needed a backsplash that was going to be both durable and had personality. We ended up choosing this Spanish-style backsplash from Amazon. After our honeymoon in Cancun, we were both craving Spanish touches for our motorhome. This was the perfect mix of functional, stylish, and with an old-home, Spanish flair. Plus, we already had the Corona glass utensil holder, so it all just came together.
There are tons and tons of ways to make your motorhome feel like a home, and most of them you'll need to decide for yourself. No two homes are alike. So, think about what matters most to you and your family and that will help transform your Winnebago into more than just a coach.