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Coffee brown, burnt umber, buff, cocoa brown, call it what you want, but we call RVs in any shade of brown outdated and lacking in life.

While some retailers call their RV models “classically styled” with uninspired beige and brown interiors, this is now being called out by modern buyers who want a little color in their road-tripping life.

The reason RV interiors are often found in brown shades is that:

  • RV retailers are slow in evolving their designs
  • Brown color schemes go well with wood details
  • The colors hide dirt from outside
  • They are inspired by nature

Both inquiring minds and future RV buyers want to know; why do most RVs follow the same design principles. We will break down this mystery below and also throw in some advice if you want to freshen up your existing road warrior or are looking to buy a new one.

We took it upon ourselves to investigate this mystery by going down the wormholes of RV chat rooms, interviewing ancient and new-wave RV designers, and checking in with DIY masters who will help us fix this mess.



The Reason RV Interiors Are Usually Brown

What Are RV Interiors Trying To Hide With Brown Interiors

There are several complex reasons that RV interiors come in every shade of brown with no glimmer of color to be found. Amongst them:

  • Research shows that 66% of RV buyers are 55 years old or above. It could be that their eyesight is less than perfect, and manufacturers don’t feel the need to do better.
  • Manufacturers use a neutral palette to match the other wood detailing and great outdoors.
  • RV interior designers still have their fabric swatches from 1970 and don’t want to replace them.
  • Older conservative buyers prefer the aesthetic
  • They hide the dirt.

The latter explanation, a disguise for muddy footprints, dirty hands, and the dust and dirt from the road, is the most likely reason for the classic drab brown interiors we are so accustomed to seeing in RV catalogs.

Why is RV Design So Boring

Besides the drab brown color schemes that most RV designs struggle to evolve away from, you can’t overlook the classic swooshes,  sweep, and stripe designs that adorn the exterior of these classic behemoth adventure mobiles.

No one can quite explain all the functionality of the 80s-inspired swoosh that is one of the iconic designs found on RVs. However, there is one unfounded theory that the exterior details of the RVs were put in place to prevent birds from accidentally colliding with oversized vehicles.

Another theory is that RVs are classically behemoth, and while they are an investment that is usually connected to a large amount of disposable income, they don’t exactly give you that Corvette energy that shouts wealth. Early designers thought that adding a sweeping swoosh or undulating stripe gave the blocky, slow-moving RVs a more streamlined and dynamic feel. One that evokes adventure and…speed!

With the exception of the classic Airstream, if you think about it, a Winnebago without a 70s-looking swoosh on the side would look, well, naked.

While the designs did try to move into a more modern look in the 2000s, sweeping waves are making a comeback for nostalgic buyers.

RV Design Inspiration

If you are looking to refurbish or custom order an RV, there are several places to look for design inspiration.

Reupholster RV Cushions

For reupholstery ideas for tired RV cushions, you can use several different types of fabric that are purpose-built or repurposed with a little imagination, including:

  • Blackout curtains
  • Canvas drop cloths
  • Decorators upholstery fabric
  • Outdoor fabric

For extended life, consider spraying with Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield, which will lessen wear and tear and reduce staining.

Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

Traveling with a kitchen is the ultimate convenience. When you are on the road, life revolves around snacking, cleaning, and meals, all of which utilize the central kitchen area. Updating this area can breathe new life into your RV.

To give your RV kitchen a makeover, consider:

Renew Your Bathroom

We know, the goal is to spend as little time in that miniature jail bathroom, devoid of fresh air and room to get comfortable, but hear us out. With a few updates, you might just start enjoying your time in there.

To make your RV bathroom feel more like home, you can try:

Refurbishing Ideas For A Modern RV Interior

If you already have a beloved RV that just needs a trip to the spa (i.e., interior refurbishing) and just needs a little inspiration, there are a few classic themes worth looking at.

Mountain Adventure

To get a “the mountains are calling” feel to your RV, you’ll need to really be all in on wood facades, green, blue, beige, and brown hues. The vibe here is: Cabin On Wheels. Think cozy additions like flannel blankets, a framed photograph of a roaring fire, and a sheepskin rug for warm feet on the cold nights.

Coastal Dreaming

Maybe you aren’t the high-altitude type and want to stick close to the shores with an RV whose interior aesthetic matches your destination. This might look like sandy beige, turquoise, and maybe a touch of gold for luxury. Think light linen curtains that will blow in the breeze, custom beachy pillows, and seagull wall accents. Throw some woven baskets with a few coconuts in on the fold-out table, and it’s a tropical paradise on wheels.

Bohemian World Traveler

This aesthetic is for those who have seen the world and want to carry pieces of it on the road. It will show your guests all the Moroccan markets, the Bali beaches, and South of France vineyards you’ve visited. The decor will be a slice of the world with woven rugs, macrame wall hangings, and treasured hooks, knobs, and cutlery you’ve picked up from your travels. Throw some twinkle lights on the ceiling for a magical feel to tie it all together.

What Companies Offer Bright and Modern RV Interiors

If you aren’t ready to go the DIY route in refurbishing your RV yourself, or you want to start fresh with a modern, “not brown” interior for your RV, several companies are ready to serve you.

Taxa Outdoors

Taxa Outdoors provide ultra-modern RVs from their streamlined exteriors to the fresh, bright interiors. Their units are carbon footprint friendly, fuel-efficient and RIVA certified.

Winnebago Revel

The Winnebago company has moved into the modern era providing a fresh take on an old classic with their Revel van camper. This vehicle falls more into the adventure van category but gives plenty of the same amenities in a more compact package. Its interiors are sleek and bright, with one model sporting a lime and white interior scheme.

Winnebago Horizon

The Winnebago Horizon is another example of an RV that is leaving #swooshlife in the rearview mirror. It is a Class A motorhome built on a solid commercial chassis and is essentially a modern home on wheels. The interiors are sculpted and contemporary, offering a stylish mobile living environment.