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.

Hexagon Tiles

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.

Large Tiles

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.

Spa Retreat

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.

We want to see your renovation!

We love featuring the best designs and innovative renovations. Tiny homes of all shapes and sizes… 5th wheels, motorhomes, popups, skoolies… we want to see it!

Comments

  • Jenny
    Reply

    Can I use the Hexagon tile in the floor shower as well in my travel trailer?

    • Love That RV
      Reply

      Yes. You can use pretty much any tile you want in a trailer shower. You just have to check the weight limitations of your rig and the structural support in that area. Some RV walls don’t have studs so they might not be strong enough to support tile on the wall. And be sure you take proper precautions in waterproofing any surfaces where you will install the tile. Mildew and moisture are an RV’s worst friend!

  • Nick Logan
    Reply

    Using tile in bathrooms is a bad idea. During long drives tiles will loosen up and fall off the wall. Unless you are not planning on traveling a lot I wouldn’t recommend.

  • Jen
    Reply

    Hi, which grout are you using? What’s the best one to avoid cracks? Thanks 😊

  • Tori
    Reply

    Flex grout is amazing for this. Our family has tile in our rv’s and moisture blocking steps were taken. Just be smart about it. I used interlocking planks on my floor and sealed them. Tile for backsplash in kitchen, and bathroom tiled. My bathroom was completely gutted, custom vessel sink & cabinet, then tiled. Weight distribution actually lighter than factory.

  • Haylie
    Reply

    What should I use to trim around where shower surround meets the wall? I removed the glass doors

  • Brittani
    Reply

    When you pulled out your shower insert, are there plywood walls behind it or did you have to insert something there?

    • Alan
      Reply

      I’d like to know that answer too.

      • Michele Faulkner
        Reply

        I would also like to know.

    • Love That RV
      Reply

      The existing shower liner needs something to attach to so most likely there is some sort of solid material behind the liner.

      Each RV build is different depending on the manufacturer, age of the RV, and location of the shower. Is it located in the nose of the RV with curved walls? Is it in the rear corner with 2 solid walls? Is it in the middle of the RV with 2 floating walls on each side?

      Most newer RVs are built with aluminum studs on the exterior walls. Older RVs might be wood studs. But either way, even if the wall behind the liner is damaged or doesn’t exist, you can attach thin plywood or other materials to the solid exterior walls to use for your shower backing.

      You can gently push on a shower insert to get an idea of how solid the wall is behind the insert. A shower insert is often one of the last things installed in the bathroom at the RV factory. It was likely cheaper and more efficient to just build the walls complete with whatever surface material they would finish the entire wall with (often thin lauan plywood) rather than leaving the spot for the shower empty with no backing. So the walls in the adjoining room are probably the same material behind your shower insert in your bathroom.

      You might be surprised at how easily most shower inserts can be removed. They are usually thin plastic attached to the walls with a little adhesive or just a few plastic rivets. If your insert is located in a way you can peel off a corner, you can probably shine a line behind to see what you have to work with.

  • M griffith
    Reply

    All these ideas can be used in a boat ( the RV’s ocean cousin)
    as well! I’d be be interested in new an innovative ideas to update the existing fiberglass or molded shower pans though. Seems the vinyl tiles may not be a good idea on the shower floor. Any ideas for the shower pan would be appreciated! I know I can epoxy paint it and I’ve heard of folks gluing down river pebbles and flex grouting.

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