Picture of Redecorating Your Rental RV
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!
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Step 1: Starting from Scratch

Picture of 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)

Step 2: Cover your Floor

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Start by covering the floor. Use several layers of flooring - padded on bottom, fluffy on top. Use several layers so that if accidents occur, just remove a layer rather than further covering up the mess. Use duct tape on your fabrics, but only use minimal painter's tape to the RV walls or floors - the fake wood paneling can easily tear off even if careful. If you have pull-outs, leave those sections' floors untaped and available to be rolled up or pushed back until arriving in your permanent location in Black Rock City, or wherever your final destination may be.

Step 3: Floor Details

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Make sure to leave openings where needed. Scraps can be reused. Safer (and comfy) to have more carpeting than less.  You'll find a comfortable floor leads to more people being able to hang out in your RV.  After several years, you'll amass plenty of used pieces for your rental RV (make sure to wash all your carpet pieces after each burn).
DavidF471 hour ago

Hi Commander,

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?

Much appreciation.


DavidF473 days ago

Hi! Love it... what is the black carpet-like surface you are using?

DavidF473 days ago
Robn3 years ago
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.
kthomas214 years ago
I love your ideas! I hope to make it back to the playa in 2012 in a well decorated (and protected) rv!
twighahn4 years ago
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
twighahn4 years ago
makes me think of a gypsy wagon from the olden days
mchiodin5 years ago
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.
Commander Gaijin (author)  mchiodin5 years ago
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!
Commander Gaijin (author)  craftydabbler5 years ago
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.