5 Tips to Help You Create a Home (or RV) You Love!
I love decorating our home, which at this time just so happens to be an RV. It’s a way to share our story, our style, and create a space that inspires us, but I’ve made countless decorating mistakes over the years that have cost us both time and money.
In fact, I’ve sent Eric back to the store to return items more than I’d like to admit. It’s embarrassing.
It wasn’t until I got focused on how I wanted our space to feel, became intentional on what I brought in, and let go of items I no longer cared about, that our RV began to reflect the vision I had in my head.
While I enjoy moving things around and making little tweaks here and there, most of my time is now spent enjoying our RV vs. decorating it, and boy does it feel good!
If you’re tired of wasting money on products that ultimately don’t work in your home, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way.
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5 Tips to Help You Create an RV You Love
Here are 5 tips to help you create a home you love, regardless of the square footage! I use the word home and RV interchangeably here, because our RV is our home.
If you’re looking for a more streamlined guide to decorating, I’d recommend checking out Cozy & Beautiful, an awesome handbook filled with actionable steps you can start taking today.
Keep in mind that creating a space you love doesn’t happen overnight so you don’t have to do everything today, this week, or even this month. Taking small, intentional steps is the best way to create a home you love, regardless of size, that gives you that happy feeling the moment you step inside.
While we still have updates to make in our tiny home, we love the changes we’ve made so far and are grateful to have a space we can travel in that reflects our own personality.
1. Inspiration – Pay Attention to the Details
The first step to creating a home you love is to gather inspiration to help define your style. While you can certainly tear out photos from magazines, I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to create boards on Pinterest or Houzz. I prefer to use Secret Boards for this, but you can keep yours public.
If you already have home decor inspiration boards, I’d recommend creating a new board called “My Style“, or something similar, and pinning your absolute faves to this new board. The reason is because it’s easy to pin or save “pretty images” without paying close attention to what you love about the space. If you’re not careful you’ll end up with a bunch of pretty photos that only confuse you when it comes to defining your style and what you actually LOVE.
With that said, you don’t need to love everything about the photo to save it to your new board, but pay attention to what draws you in, what details do you love? Is it the wall paint color, texture of the fabrics used, sofa design, wood tones, hardware, or light fixtures? Are there any specific architectural details that stand out? How does the space make you feel?
Add notes about the details you love, either in the image description box or in a notepad, and pretty soon you’ll notice patterns in the images you’ve chosen. There’s no need to stick solely to interior design photos either. If it inspires you and has something you would like to incorporate into your space, save it to your board.
2. Focus on the Feeling
How do you want to feel when you walk into your home? Do you want it to feel energetic, cozy, relaxing, warm, nostalgic, luxurious?
Avoid themes and instead focus on how that “theme” makes you feel. For example, if you love the beachy-cottage vibe, rather than sprinkle sea shells and fish decor all over your home, think about the feelings you get when you’re at the beach. Open, breezy, serene, relaxed, etc. Jot down the feelings you want to evoke.
If you love log cabins and mountain homes, try to think about how you feel when you vacation in one, or how you feel when you’re on a hike, or staring at a sunset overlooking the mountains.
This doesn’t mean you can’t add certain design elements that reflect that theme, just try to avoid going overboard.
Once you jot down the feelings you want your home to create, think about what colors are associated with those feelings.
3. Pick a Color Scheme (and stick to it!)
Creating a color scheme is one of the easiest ways to create a cohesive flow throughout your home. There are multiple color schemes to choose from including monochromatic, split-complimentary, and analogous. You can learn more about color schemes and the importance of undertones in the handbook, Cozy & Beautiful.
If you want to play around with color schemes I’d recommend checking out Adobe Color. You can even have a color scheme created based on a photo you upload, which is my favorite method. Another website you can do this on is Canva, and they also have a great post on color theory.
Or purchase an interior design color wheel, if you’d rather play around with it in person.
4. Clear the Clutter, actually Clear it ALL
Completely clearing the room you plan to update will not only provide you with a blank slate to work with, it will help clear the clutter in your mind too. With the room empty you’ll be able to envision it exactly how you want it. Oh the possibilities …
I’d recommend taking every single thing out of the space you’re working in and then only add what is absolutely necessary back into the space. Whatever items you have left that you don’t love or don’t serve a purpose, can be tossed out, sold, or donated.
Be honest with yourself here, and don’t hold onto something for the sake of “maybe using it someday”. Do you truly love it? Would you buy it again today? Could it serve a purpose somewhere else in your home? Can you re-imagine it into something that would work in another space? If not, get rid of it and enjoy the freedom that comes with letting go of something you no longer want and making space for something you love.
5. Be Intentional
Prior to moving into our tiny home on wheels, we were renting an 1800 square foot house. It wasn’t until we began the downsizing process that I realized how little I loved the items we collected over the years. Up until this point, my purchases had not been intentional, but instead were based on the fact we had the space to store things I liked, or thought I may find a use for someday.
Not gonna lie, reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was a massive help during this process. I don’t care if it sounds silly, but picking items up and paying attention to whether or not they brought joy or purpose into my life was a game changer. It didn’t take long to fill a donate box, and then another, and then another.
How the heck did I end up with so much crap I didn’t love? I’d say it was a combination of thrift shops, sales (I thought) I couldn’t pass up, binge HomeGoods shopping, and hoarding broken furniture or materials for potential projects I didn’t really have time for.
It was nice to finally have a clean slate in the RV where I could only bring in what I loved, what served a purpose, or in most instances, did both.
Okay, okay so I struggled with this one at first. I would walk into a store and not love anything so I’d walk out empty-handed. Not a bad thing, but it got to the point where I was holding out for perfect everything, and couldn’t pick out cooking utensils or a freakin’ cutting board because I was trying to balance love + purpose + price with not being too heavy or too big for our RV.
I knew we could use what we had until the right “fill in the blank” came along, and I think that’s a good plan, unless ya know, you need a trash can.
Yeah, I honestly took forever getting a trash can for under our RV kitchen sink because it needed to be a certain height and width and I didn’t know if I wanted one or two and blah, blah, blah until finally we just bought a basic trash can, because it’s a trash can, and I can get a “better” trash can later. Haha.
So yes, there are extremes. Try to be intentional without going too extreme or you may make your spouse crazy (sorry Eric!).
And again, you don’t need to update everything at once. Hold onto things that serve a purpose, paint or re-imagine them if you can, but otherwise let them serve their purpose until something you love comes along and is within budget.
I personally enjoy the challenge that comes along with repurposing what we have, or what we can create using salvaged items or reclaimed wood that can also help tell a story. No need to spend a ton of money to add love and character into your home.
In fact, a lot of the wood you see in our RV was either given to us from the wedding venue we were married at, or found on Eric’s family’s farm.
When you get intentional with your purchases you’ll stop wasting money on things you “like”, and as a result, your home will be filled with what you love.
It’s also important to forget about trends or what outsiders like or dislike, it’s your home and you’re the one that has to live in it, so focus on what makes YOU happy.
Ready to Spend Less Time Decorating and More Time Enjoying Your RV?
I hope the tips above will help save you time, money, and frustration, or at the very least point you in the right direction.
Looking for more in-depth information on how to create a home you love? Shannon from AKA Design wrote a super practical handbook for non-designers called Cozy & Beautiful that I think you’ll love! I previously purchased her Blogging + Brands eBook and found it to be really helpful, so when I found out she wrote an eBook on decorating I knew it would be an amazing resource for my readers!
I recently checked it out and have to say it’s a quick read that will keep you from making the same mistakes over and over. She even includes worksheets and actionable steps at the end of each chapter that are easy to implement. The best part is that it’s only $19 and you can download it instantly. Click here to learn more about Cozy & Beautiful!