After twelve years of attending the Burning Man festival, a temporary community of 50,000 people and thousands of rental Recreational Vehicles, we've discovered a few ways to turn your rented motel room into a space for personal expression.  Without damaging your rental!  Nothing spells "Sad" like a standard issue RV home when settling in for the night, or day.  It doesn't take long to create, and your plentiful guests will greatly appreciate a comfortable, colorful oasis in the desert.

Ok, I lied... "s a d" spells "Sad".  So don't be sad: take a few easy hours to make your home a home!

Step 1: Starting from Scratch

Front and Back views inside a typical rental RV.
Note how clean they start out (like a sterile motel room).

  Duct tape
  Painter's tape
  Rolls of old carpets, padding, and bathroom rugs
  Various fabrics (both strong and delicate for placing in different locations)
  Safety pins (best to have 100's of pins in various sizes)
  Extendable shower rods
  Metallic bubble plastic wrap (aka Reflectix)
  Lighting toys (LED strings are better and safer than incandescent christmas lights)

I love your ideas! I hope to make it back to the playa in 2012 in a well decorated (and protected) rv!
<p>I hope you made it home in one!</p>
I just read your burning man blog and had to comment. While waiting during Exodus, my daughter and I had the same idea that you had sometime back. We thought of contact paper too as a way to cover up all the offensive logos. We thought about being somewhat more vigilant though, and with black ski masks and (no crow-bars) simply attach the (removable) templates to the vehicles. Mreaaking it even more of a popular game, hopefully, we would go on BMIR with our voices altered and threaten and boogie-scare the offenders into coming up with their own alterations. Should be tons of fun. And it gave us something positive to do during Exodus.
<p>The most interesting ideas always happen on the drive out of town!</p>
<p>Hi Commander,</p><p>I am trying to replicate your excellent work. I am trying to identify the black padding you have on the floor... is it regular carpet padding or something else?</p><p>Much appreciation.</p><p>David</p>
It was automotive black padding, however it's about the same as regular carpet padding and would totally do the trick. And like someone mentioned, perhaps let it sit outside for a few days or a week to outgas before installing it inside? (Though outgassing can be a long process, we had the padding in a garage for a few years before realizing its RV value, so no idea on how long it takes.) Have a great burn, David!
<p>Hi GC,</p><p>Thanks so much! It looks like you have several layers of various materials... great job!</p><p>Notice the Gaijin part of your Playa Name... spend some time in Japan?</p><p>David</p>
<p>Lots of layers! Sometimes they get lumpy, like we left the cat underneath. We do re-sort the layers occasionally if they slide around. But to have lots of layers means if someone party-fouls, just pull up or cover over.</p><p>Return to tell us of your adventures? What works and what didn't? Stuff like &quot;we learned to be careful with tape on cheap woodgrain - a skilled painter with fine brushes and many colors can touch-up rips (we had one in clean-up), but better to watch what you stick.&quot; :-)</p><p>Japan, not yet, but in November, Yokohama and Tokyo for a week!</p>
<p>Ah ha! Now I know why I was a bit confused in following your steps... these photos are not all of the same RV... there two different RVs in your flooring sections...I finally noticed that because the color of the center console in the drivers compartment is different... I couldn't figure it out for a while...</p>
<p>Yes, the decorating has been growing over years, but some years the camera is forgotten until way after the work gets complete. There might be photos of more than two RVs, in fact ...though, in the RV industry, the floor plans are similar for endless eons.</p>
<p>Hi! Love it... what is the black carpet-like surface you are using?</p>
also might want to think about using materials that are greener like carpeting that has no formaldihide (sp?) and have an exhaust fan to keep the temp down and fumes out.motorvehicles put out alot of fumes just sitting from all the petroleum based produsts like plastic
makes me think of a gypsy wagon from the olden days
Thanks for the tips!!! I have been trying magnets to hold vibrant fabric in place and it does NOT work. I love the shower curtain rod and safety pin idea!!! Thanks so much, Mike C.
You are welcome!
What fun it must have been to put everything in place (not so fun when it comes time to take it down I bet) - looks great!
Thanks! ...and it takes 1/8th the time to tear down as put up, just a few hours. Cleaning the RV takes the same amount of time (or less, since everything's covered), as if we did nothing for decor. Stuff goes - ceiling to bins to laundry to bins to wait a year to start again.

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