It’s RV season again, and the road is calling. There are places to go, things to see, and a global pandemic to avoid.
You won’t be alone; more than nine million families in the United States report owning an RV and using it regularly. This number has increased significantly in the last year, with more people choosing RVs to take vacations and maintain social distance.
With all of these shiny new RVs on the road, is yours feeling a bit shabby?
When you’re on the road, do you live out of suitcases because you don’t have enough storage? If so, it may be time for an upgrade.
Updating your cabinets doesn’t have to cost your firstborn, and you aren’t limited to pre-made options. Read on for some options that may work for you.
Before you upgrade your RV cabinets
Before you consider what you want your new cabinets to look like or where to purchase them, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- Which cabinets need replacing?
- What’s the budget?
- What’s the timeframe for replacement?
- Standard cabinets or custom options?
- Professionally installed or do it yourself?
- Any accessibility concerns?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start your search in earnest.
Where to purchase your new RV cabinets
The good ol’ internet
You may already know this, but shopping is the main benefit of the internet. You can find everything from Nic Cage pillowcases to haunted objects. It’s a weird and wonderful place, so it’s an excellent place to start when looking for new RV cabinets.
The internet is vast and can be confusing. Start with a Google search using the make and model of your RV and the keywords “replacement cabinets”. This search will return the most popular sites that fit those keywords and gives you a starting point.
If you decide on used cabinets, a site like eBay can help you find the cabinets you need without breaking the bank. The main drawback of eBay is the shipping costs; they may be prohibitive, making the used cabinets almost the same price as new.
You’ll also find RV dealerships that operate as salvage sites, and many of them, like Visone RV in Kentucky, are willing to ship cabinet doors and hardware.
As with any online purchase, buyer beware! If you’re dealing with a company you’ve never heard of, try Google it for reviews. Or maybe check their ratings on Better Business Bureau.
Before making a purchase, check the website’s return and refund policies. Is there a warranty or money-back guarantee? What is the company willing to do for you if the parts arrive damaged?
The FAQ section of most web stores will have this information, but it never hurts to reach out to the retailer directly and ask any questions you have.
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are the best options if you’d prefer to meet the seller in person and see the items you intend to purchase before shelling out the cash. You’ll find both new and used options from these sites, but it will take more time to find what you want. If you’re in a hurry, a local RV supply store is a better option.
Your local RV dealer or supply store
Cities of every size, all over the United States, now have RV dealerships. Many of these dealerships also have service centers where it’s possible to get your oil changed and have interior work done.
The folks at these stores can help you find the best cabinets for your RV and, if they’re also involved in salvage, they may be able to save you some money on new (to you) cabinets.
If you’d prefer to forego professional installation and take on the project yourself, it’s possible to purchase just the parts and be on your way. Just know that if you’re not a woodworker or don’t have much experience with projects like this, it can be time-consuming.
A home improvement or hardware store
You may be able to walk into your local Ace Hardware or Home Depot store and find RV cabinets. They’ll have a good selection of colors and styles, but a vital thing to consider is the materials.
Do you want to keep your RV as light as possible or install solid oak cabinetry?
You’ll also need the measurements for the cabinets you’re planning to replace, as the size may limit your options.
These stores allow you to purchase the materials to install cabinets, but keep in mind that they won’t install them in your RV. Once again, you can attempt to install them yourself, or you can hire a professional to handle the task for you.
Before we look at aftermarket options for your RV cabinets, what does aftermarket even mean? A term most often used when referring to cars, it nonetheless applies to RVs as well.
Aftermarket means that the manufacturer didn’t make the parts or that they’re not standard for your RV.
This category includes both ready to assemble (RTA) cabinets and custom options.
Companies like Coach Supply Direct offer custom furniture and cabinetry built in their factory and shipped to you for installation.
The shipping methods for these cabinets vary but can add unexpected costs to your renovation if you’re far from the production facility.
An example of a company offering RTA options is Barker Modern. While they don’t produce cabinets specifically for RVs, they do offer laminate cabinets in a wide variety of finishes and sizes.
Being laminate, they’re lightweight but still sturdy, and they’re shipped to you disassembled, much like a piece of Ikea furniture.
Barker builds these cabinets in Oregon, so we can hope they have better instructions than the ones included with Ikea furniture.
Going all-in with custom-made RV cabinets
Does the thought of designing your cabinets and having them custom built appeal to you? Are you imagining many leather-bound books and an RV that smells of rich mahogany?
Having custom cabinets built for your RV won’t be cheap, but you can tailor every aspect of the build to your needs.
The type of materials, color schemes, hardware, number of shelves, the only limits are your imagination and your budget.
Suppose you’re interested in shopping locally, only dealing with ethically sourced or sustainable materials, or just want to have more control over the design. In that case, this will be the best option for you.
The people best suited to making your RV cabinets will depend on your location. If you have friends or family who’ve been through the challenging experience of home renovations, they may be able to recommend a local handyperson or woodworker.
Conversely they may also be able to warn you away from companies they’ve had negative experiences with.
Local contractors may be able to help you or at least point you to someone who can. As is so often the case, Google will be a valuable tool in your search for the best person to bring your cabinet dreams to life.
Your RV was a major financial investment, and much like your home, occasional updates can keep it looking and feeling fresh. Adding new, more functional cabinets can keep your small space organized, making your trips more enjoyable.
Your family can spend more time enjoying the adventure and making memories than digging through poorly designed cabinets looking for your belongings.
Whether you choose to buy online, through a local retailer, or have your RV cabinets custom made, make sure that your RV is ready to hit the road this summer.