It’s not like you can really do that much in a tiny RV bathroom to make it feel a little more modern and comfortable, so do something fun! Add something unexpected… a splash of color, a unique wallpaper, or maybe even a rain shower head!
Replacing that flimsy shower surround has probably crossed your mind, but perhaps you’re hesitant to rip it out and be faced with 3 bare walls that need some sort of tile.
Your RV shower can be a mini spa retreat, especially if you have full hook-ups at an RV park. You might be limited by a small hot water heater, so it’s worth making those few brief moments in the shower count.
I don’t know about you, but after I take a shower in a campground shower or other public shower, I don’t exactly feel clean. It doesn’t matter if I brought my own soap and shampoo; if my physical surroundings feel dirty and dingy, I don’t feel clean no matter how much I scrub.
There’s something about tile in a shower that just feels more like a modern, comfortable shower.
Aesthetics aside, there’s also a huge benefit to replacing that shower surround that doesn’t quite touch the ceiling. For some reason, RV manufacturers continue sticking cheap, plastic surrounds in a bathroom where you’re bound to have water splashing and moisture buildup. Generally the plastic material is simply pushed against the wall with a little glue and a few nails. You’re basically asking for moisture problems, mold and wood rot with the lack of quality waterproofing!
So not only do tiled showers in an RV look and feel great, they actually have an added benefit that you can tile right up to the ceiling to prevent moisture from getting trapped.
Hexagonal tiles, also known as hex tiles for short, are an elegant way to upgrade your RV. These interesting shapes were popular in the early 1900s but have made a resurgence in interior design lately. You can design a backsplash or shower wall to be a beautiful, continuous honeycomb design or you can break up the design with an intermittent splash of color.
A small RV bathroom can benefit from using large hexagon tiles. Smaller tiles with darker grout can create a type of grid-like appearance which can make you feel a little trapped or claustrophobic. But larger tiles trick your eye into thinking the space is bigger than it is. That’s why most of the renovations you see below have used slightly larger tiles to help make the space feel like you have a bit more elbow room.
Now I know you’re wondering about excessive weight when adding floor-to-ceiling tile on a couple walls in a remodeled bathroom. And it’s true… you do need to be aware of any weight you add to your rig when remodeling. But that’s where professional RV renovators have a few tricks. Many of the tiled surfaces you see in this article are actually not real stone or porcelain tiles.
For example, many of the remodels in the gallery below used a product like DumaWall from Lowes. We used this product in our own shower remodel and loved it. The wall tiles are large so they cover a lot of surface area, which makes it a lot quicker to complete a shower wall. The polished tiles look like a fancy marble tile, but they’re actually a very lightweight vinyl product that interlock together with a simple tongue and groove type of snapping feature. You can apply them directly to the wall with adhesives like liquid nails. And for extra waterproofing, you can apply a bead of caulk to each tile as you connect them like giant LEGO pieces on the wall.
Before we installed the DumaWall tiles in our shower we decided to make sure the walls were protected from any potential water leaks or moisture buildup so we applied a couple coats of RedGard waterproofing to the walls. It dries quick so it was a quick job, but just be sure to have some windows or ceiling vents open because the smell is pretty strong! We knew we would be traveling the country so it was likely our rig would bounce around and possibly develop some small cracks or openings where water could seep through the tiles. So it was nice knowing the RedGard membrane would add some strength to the walls and provide a moisture barrier.
The final product looks great and it’s super easy to clean. Check out these gorgeous bathroom renovations and how elegant the large tiles make the space feel.
Classic Subway Tile
It’s a classic because it just works. It’s simple, beautiful, and timeless. Subway tile is a low-cost upgrade to just about any RV bathroom or kitchen. The get their name from the old-school tiles in the public transportation subways of New York in the early 1900s and they haven’t gone out of style since then.
Traditional subway tiles are 3 inches by 6 inches and form a white brick look when staggered in an interlocking pattern. But there are many modern renditions of the classic subway that range in sizes and colors. You can even use a tried and true design trick by turning the pattern vertically to make the space feel a little bit taller.
Renovators can also customize their tiles with their choice of grout color. Thin white grout used with white subway tiles will make tile lines virtually disappear, giving the wall a clean, classic look. Meanwhile, darker grout will make your tile more of a focal point on your bathroom wall.
There are countless options of subway wall tile designs ranging from expensive, glossy glass tiles to inexpensive but durable peel and stick options. We are big fans of Nomad Tiles for any RV tile options. They are lightweight, inexpensive and can flex with the walls of your RV as you move around town.
Perhaps you want to introduce a bit more personality to your RV bathroom or maybe you’re just not a fan of the classic lines formed with the tile patterns listed above. Either way, there are many more options to make your tiny RV bathroom feel more like a spa retreat on wheels.
Dark tiles are often unexpected and if you pair the design with gold or copper fittings, you can really make the space pop. Riverbed rock is common in a spa environment so why not introduce some rock patterns in your space? Check out some of these unique RV showers in the gallery below. There’s plenty of inspiration available; the final design just depends on how much you want to spend and your level of DIY experience if you want to keep the final costs down.