Our Thrifty Jungle RV Bathroom Makeover

by Erica

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Today I want to talk about our our cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover! We finished this project a few weeks ago, but we’ve been working so hard and have been so busy, that I haven’t had time to write about it yet. (Going into this, I never expected blogging to be such a time consuming hobby… but alas, I stand corrected!)

 

Let me start out by explaining what I mean by “wet bath.” If you’re not familiar with campers (or even if you are!) you may have never come across something like this before. Basically, a wet bath is a tiny bathroom in which the entire room functions as a shower stall, but also contains a toilet and sink. I often refer to it as our “shoilet.” 

 

The Benefits of a Wet Bath

 

What I love about our shoilet is that we have one at all! While we were in the preliminary planning phases and considering vans, buses and other rolling homes…  having a bathroom was one of my non-negotiables. The reason for this is twofold (and sort of embarrassing). First, I drink tons of water and have a tiny bladder, so without a bathroom we’d be stopping constantly. Second, is that I’m pretty much incapable of popping a squat and doing my business outside. (Fun fact: I tried while tailgating at a country concert when I was younger and ended up with pee on my jeans. You don’t just get over that kind of embarrassment!) It’s a skill that I hope to acquire someday soon, but until then – I’ll be very grateful for our RV wet bath.

 

The shower aspect of the shoilet is definitely an added bonus, but we most likely won’t use it too often. We plan to dry camp without hookups most of the time – so using the shower frequently would require us to fill up and dump more often. We’re planning on picking up a solar shower for boondocking, and will most likely also join Planet Fitness or somewhere similar to utilize their facilities as well!

 

Original RV Wet Bath

 

Now that everyone understands the idea of the RV wet bath, it’s time to show you what we started out with. Spoiler alert: it was really horrifying. When we picked Yoda up, the wet bath had a rug covering the drain and two separate shower curtains stapled and draped over the walls. This was actually one of the first indications that our RV was not as pristine as the previous owners tried to pass it off to be.

 

Before we did our cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover. The back wall is heavily water damaged and the floor pan is cracked

Our RV wet bath before the remodel. Notice the water damage on on the back plywood wall. (It’s such a small room that it’s difficult to get in a photograph.)

 

Once we removed the shower curtains from the walls, we could see that there was an obvious issue with the functionality of our new shoilet. It came out of the factory with wallpaper (which I assume was waterproof at one time), but due to water damage, the previous owner replaced one wall with plywood. The floor pan was also cracked in a couple of places, which is bad news for trying to prevent additional water damage.

 

Another shot of our RV wet bath before the makeover. Prior to cleaning it up, the previous owner had a shower curtain stapled over that back wall (to hide the water damage) and then another shower curtain hanging to shield the other walls.

Another shot of our RV wet bath before the makeover. Prior to cleaning it up, the previous owner had a shower curtain stapled over that back wall (to hide the water damage) and then another shower curtain hanging to shield the other walls.

 

Honestly, we were stumpped on what to do for a long time. I’d seen people mention a plethora of options, but each one had major drawbacks. In addition, Tim and I had very different ideas of what we thought would be an acceptable fix for this solution. (This has been a recurring theme throughout every single renovation project so far.. so much that I could write an entire post about this topic alone. Someday soon..!) I wanted to cover the walls with some sort of waterproof paneling, and Tim wanted to cover the walls with shower curtains. Of course, Tim won this round (and I threw a hissy fit)… but I’m happy he did because we knocked out the entire project in 1 day for under $75. Here’s how we did it!

 

Side Note: This remodel is most likely a temporary fix to our bathroom issue. Since there was significant water damage and the floor pan is cracked.. at some point we will need to *really fix* our bathroom. We are way behind schedule on our remodel (by 5 weeks so far), so spendng as little time as possible on the bathroom was a compromise we were willing to make. None the less… I still think our bathroom came out cool. And I know our situation isn’t uncommon – so to the people out there trying to get their bathroom done in a pinch… this is for you!!! 

 

How to Do a Cheap and Easy RV Wet Bath Makeover

 

First, we picked up some spray paint to cover the toilet, sink and shower hose. I was lobbying for a clean white, but Tim insisted on gold. We used Rustoleum American Accents 2x Ultra Cover because it works on plastic with no primer. Instead of removing the toilet and sink to spray, we just covered the foor pan, knobs and other hardware in newspaper and went to town with the paint directly inside the bathroom. It took a couple of coats to get everything covered and even, but once it was dry it looked great! After spraying everything with gold, we added a clear coat of rustoleum to (hopefully!) combat any color transfer. The last thing we want is to have gold butts all summer… but we’ll see how that pans out!

 

These are the main materials I used for the cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover , aside from the vinyl trim (which is completely optional, but definitely worth the time if you're a perfectionist like me!) 2 shower curtains, 2 cans of gold, 1 of clear Rust-oleum and a heavy duty staple gun.

These are the main materials I used for the cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover , aside from the vinyl trim (which is completely optional, but definitely worth the time if you’re a perfectionist like me!) 2 shower curtains, 2 cans of gold, 1 of clear Rust-oleum and a heavy duty staple gun.

 

After spray painting the toilet, sink and shower hose in our RV wet bath… we started on the walls using 2 printed plastic shower curtains. Since we used gold on the appliances, I picked out white curtains with palm leaves because I thought the green would match well. What I didn’t expect, was how well the overall print would blend when overlapping edges. That being said, if you try this… pick shower curtains with all-over pattern, it will save you a lot of OCD moments while trying to get it perfect.

 

When hanging the curtains, I started in the top corner of the largest wall and worked my way down with a heavy duty staple gun, trying to keep the curtain as straight and close to the corner as possible. Once I was done with that one edge, I continued along the top of the wall, and the opposite corner – making sure to pull tight and avoid wrinkles wherever possible.

cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover: Stapling detail in one of the top corners.

Stapling detail in one of the top corners. The area where it’s wrinkled at the top is an area we ended up covering in trim.

 

TIP: When you’re doing this, or stretching any fabric over a non-flat/square area… be prepared t remove a lot of misplaced staples to get a smooth finish. My strategy here was to use less staples when initially placing the material, and then when everything is situated how I wanted it.. I added more to keep it secure over time. If you have a lesser quality staple gun, this is also a great tool because you’ll do less damage to the shower curtain when ripping out misplaced staples. 

 

Since our camper doesn’t have straight walls or perfect 90° angles (because that would be too easy), once I got to the corner, I used a razor to cut a long seam down the shower curtain (I left a little extra material on so I could overlap the next piece without gapping). Once the curtain was cut, I used the excess to cover the back wall. Again, I started at the top one corner and worked down, trying to line everything up square and to pull tight and evenly as I could to avoid pulling staples and readjusting later. After the second wall was done, I repeated the same process on the other half of the bathroom.

cheap and easy rv wet bath makeover: how the walls looked after stapling up shower curtains.

This is how it looked after the first two walls were completed. Notice that you can’t even really tell where the seam is in the corner? That’s because of the palm leave print – it’s basically camoflauged.

 

When I made it to the door, and the sink – I basically stapled around/over them and then made razor cuts in the curtain wherever necessary. This was the hardest part, and didn’t come out 100% perfect… but oh well! Yoda is far from a perfect RV... so it matches the theme.

 

Cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover: One area that I made a mess of around the sink. Since the plastic isn't very thick, be careful pulling staples. I used a flathead screw driver, which worked but sometimes ended up with small tears in the plastic. Later, we covered this area with trim.

One area that I made a mess of around the sink. Since the plastic isn’t very thick, be careful pulling staples. I used a flathead screw driver, which worked but sometimes ended up with small tears in the plastic. Later, we covered this area with trim.

 

Once everything was stapled down smoothly and all the walls were covered… I added staples around the bottom of the walls in as many places as possible since this is the area where water will most likely come in. After that, I used scissors to remove all of the excess shower curtain pieces aroung the entire RV wet bath. The scissors worked better than a razor for this part because they were able to glide through the material more smoothly. (Think scissors vs. wrapping paper and that feeling when the scissors start to slide…)

 

cheap and easy rv wet bath makeover: Back half of the rv wet bath after stapling up all of the shower curtains. Again, notice the lack of noticeable seams.

Back half of the rv wet bath after stapling up all of the shower curtains. Again, notice the lack of noticeable seams.

 

The last part of this cheap and easy RV wet bath remodel was to add trim around all of the corners, top, and bottom of the walls. We used thin white vinyl trim from Home Depot: flat for the top/bottom of the walls and inside corner trim for the corners. At only $2.41 per long piece, it was really inexpensive to trim everything, including around the door and around the sink to cover up small errors. Tim measured and cut the trim with a table saw, and then used the smallest screws we could find to fasten the trim to the walls.

 

TIP: When using screws to do any RV work, be very careful! During this RV renovation, we found out just how thin our walls and shell are. Using long screws could end up puncturing the outer shell, or even wiring inside the walls – so PLEASE proceed with caution if you don’t want to kick yourself later.

 

Cheap and Easy RV Wetbath Makeover Reveal (Drumroll Please!!!)

 

Since I live for the before/after side by side: here it is!

 

Before (Yuck!)

BEFORE cheap & easy RV wet bath makeover!

BEFORE cheap & easy RV wet bath makeover!

BEFORE cheap & easy RV wet bath makeover!

BEFORE cheap & easy RV wet bath makeover!

 

After! (Hell Yea!)

After our cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover. I like to call this our jungle room! I love how it came out! Palm leave walls and gold appliances!

After our cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover. I like to call this our jungle room! I love how it came out!

Back half of our thrify jungle bathroom. I can't stop myself from singing "I've got a golden shitter" (think Willy Wonka.. I've got a golden ticket). Very happy with our cheap & easy RV wet bath makeover!

Back half of our thrify jungle bathroom. I can’t stop myself from singing “I’ve got a golden shitter” (think Willy Wonka.. I’ve got a golden ticket). Very happy with our cheap & easy RV wet bath makeover!

 

As you can see, it’s a completely different bathroom. And we did the entire thing in an afternoon, for so cheap.

 

While this is not the most techincal approach to an RV wet bath makeover… we’re really happy with how it came out. We needed a temporary fix in a pinch.. and this was definitely a better outcome than initially expected. I totally have to eat my words on this one, because I was a complete nay-sayer.

 

What do you think of our new RV bathroom?  Would you try this cheap and easy RV wet bath makeover yourself? Let me know! Drop a comment, shoot me and email, send me an owl – whatever! I LOVE to hear from you guys!

 

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2 comments

Diana August 16, 2019 - 3:11 pm

How has it held up with use?

Reply
Erica September 5, 2019 - 6:01 pm

Everything held up great except the spray paint on the lid of the toilet (since I would sit on it and do my makeup) – it peeled off pretty quickly! We should have used more primer and possibly a top coat

Reply

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