Inviting and inspiring are perhaps the last words that come to mind when you think of an RV bathroom. Most could easily be mistaken for an airplane bathroom, and while functional they’re not exactly the highlight of your rig. But with just a few rolls of wallpaper, a handful of inexpensive tools, and a couple of hours of your time, you can have a magazine-worthy bathroom.
What You’ll Need to Wallpaper Your RV Bathroom:
- Soft sponge
- Small bucket with clean water
- Wallpaper smoothing tool
- Sharp box cutter or razor knife
- Painter’s tape or an extra set of hands
- Measuring tape and scissors
Step-by-Step Tutorial for Wallpapering Your RV Bathroom
1. Pick Your Walls and Measure
Decide what walls you want to wallpaper. Most RV walls are safe to wallpaper, but avoid highly textured walls, aluminum walls (commonly found in Airstreams), shower walls, or walls made of fiberglass or acrylic, without testing beforehand.
Unfortunately, wallpapering may not be an option for wet baths that have a combined shower and toilet area. A few sink water splashes here and there won’t hurt, but your wallpaper won’t hold up against daily showers and humidity.
Next, measure the wall space to determine how much wallpaper to order. Buffer in a few extra inches on the top, bottom, and sides to be sure you purchase enough material.
2. Choose RV Wallpaper
This tutorial features Spoonflower’s Orchid Garden Amora Prepasted Removable Smooth wallpaper designed by Holli Zollinger. Spoonflower (and most wallpaper manufacturers) offer two types of RV-friendly wallpapers: Prepasted Removable Smooth or Peel and Stick Removable Woven. For this project, we’re using the Prepasted Removable Smooth paper because, in my opinion, it’s slightly easier to maneuver in tricky, tight, hard-to-reach corners and crevices.
There are many brands out there that offer hundreds of designs, and you can typically order samples before you commit. Spoonflower test swatches come in 2-feet by 1-foot sheets and are available starting at $6. If you can’t decide between the different types of paper, you can mix and match test swatch material and designs. But keep in mind, because papers are made to order, shipping times aren’t always immediate. Other brands and websites you may want to research include All Modern, York Wallcoverings, Wayfair, and Etsy.
Once you’ve decided on paper material and design, use a measuring tape to calculate how much product to order. For reference, two 2-by-12-feet rolls covered two walls in our 27-foot Airstream Globetrotter bathroom.
3. Prep Your Walls
Once your RV wallpaper rolls arrive, make sure your walls are ready to paper by removing any hardware, including switchplates. Next, sand and patch any holes, especially areas that could potentially tear your paper. And finally, make sure your walls are smooth, clean, and dry.
4. Prep Your Materials and Workspace
To help make installation a breeze, prep your materials and workspace. Unroll and lay out your RV wallpaper on the floor before wetting (just make sure to vacuum beforehand). Also, have all your tools handy and ready to go.
5. Install the RV Wallpaper
Refer to your specific RV wallpaper manufacturer’s installation directions, as every wallpaper brand is different.
Grab your roll of painter’s tape, or better yet a friend or partner to help you hang the RV wallpaper. Hold up your rolls to get an idea of what they will look like before cutting and hanging.
If it’s necessary to cut your paper in advance, leave a couple of inches on the top and bottom (to be trimmed after it’s hung up and dried). Many brands have a half-inch overlap to ensure proper pattern lineup and repetition.
Next, wet the back of your paper and fold the edges in on themselves to meet in the middle (this is also known as “booking”) and allow your paper to cure for a few minutes before hanging.
Unfold the top portion of your paper and start to hang from the ceiling down, while leaving a buffer of an inch or so at the top. Start in the trickiest corner, work your way down, and then move right to left or left to right with the next roll. Use your wallpaper smoothing tool to gently pull down and out to smooth out the paper. Keep a damp, but not soaked, sponge nearby to help wet any areas that are drying too quickly. Peel and stick wallpaper is also removable and repositionable with no wetting, curing, or folding necessary, but it doesn’t slide easily into awkward corners like prepasted material.
Now that your paper is hung, wait until it’s fully dry (at least 3 hours) before taking your razor blade to trim all the edges. To finish up, reapply all your switch plates, towel racks, and hooks.
Pro Tips for Installing RV Wallpaper
- Don’t be afraid to go bold with your print. It’s a common misconception that a bold print will make a small space feel smaller, but really it helps the space “pop,” especially if you’re only using it on a few walls. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can even design your own print.
- Order multiple samples so you know what type of design and material (prepasted or peel and stick) will work best on your RV walls.
- Order some extra paper just to be safe. This way you have a backup option if your RV wallpaper accidentally tears.
- Start with the trickiest section and corner first, move from top to bottom, and then left to right or right to left to ensure a seamless repeat of the pattern.
- Measure twice, cut once, and read your RV wallpaper manufacturer’s directions a few times over before starting the process.
- To spot clean your RV wallpaper, simply wipe it down with a damp soft cloth or sponge, but avoid using harsh cleaners.
Other RV Bathroom Upgrade Ideas
Now that you’ve spruced up your walls, ditch the factory hardware for something a little more sleek and functional. You can easily change out or add towel racks and hooks for a quick upgrade—just be sure to measure the length as most standard towel racks won’t fit in smaller RV bathrooms. And most importantly, use short screws, so you don’t accidentally screw through your thin RV walls. Command hooks are a lightweight, inexpensive, damage-free way to add more hooks as well. Other small touches, like hand soap, can go a long way in a small space.
Most RV walls are safe to wallpaper, but avoid wallpapering highly textured walls, aluminum walls, and shower walls without testing beforehand. You can always order samples and test a small area to be sure it works on your rig’s walls
Many RVers prefer prepasted wallpaper over peel and stick because it’s easier to maneuver and slide into tight, awkward-shaped corners and crevices. However, peel and stick paper has a cult following because it’s self-adhesive, easy to remove, and repositionable. Keep in mind, it’s not recommended for textured walls or walls with paint that’s able to be cleaned or “scrubbed.”
To remove prepasted wallpaper, gently peel it off the wall, starting in one corner. If any areas give you trouble, use a damp sponge. Peel and stick wallpaper can be peeled away from the wall by starting in a corner, like a sticker.
If you’ve never wallpapered before, it can feel a bit daunting. But RV wallpaper has come a long way over the years and many companies have created products that are fairly easy to install with hundreds of prints to choose from.
Disclaimer: Togo RV is part of a joint venture, partially owned by Thor Industries, Inc., of which Airstream is a subsidiary.
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