New RVs notoriously ship with uncomfortable, cheap furniture from the factory. I know the RV manufacturers are often trying to balance being lightweight and cost effective, but you might be surprised to learn that traditional retail sofas can often be similar weights and it’s actually comfortable to sit on.
And even when you order a new RV from a dealer, you generally don’t have the option of leaving out furniture or swapping with something else. You get what you get, and you’re not supposed to throw a fit!
The first day after we received our new 5th wheel from our dealer, we dismantled and removed the “fancy” sofa recliner our sales person had tried to convince us was one of the best features of our new rig. It looked nice, but the seat cushion was so shallow and slippery (faux leather) that we would just slip right out when sitting down.
We weighed the old couch and found that a new residential leather couch would actually be a little lighter weight. Probably because the RV recliner had heavy motors inside. So we weren’t concerned about choosing a new sofa. And we ended up selling the old RV sofa for $500 so it helped pay for a good amount of our replacement sofa.
We have another article with examples of RV renovators who used leather couches to replace their dated RV sofas.
Leather can look great in a small RV space, but some people prefer other sofa materials. So in this article, we’ve focused on fabric options that look good and hold up well to the daily abuse they’ll receive in your camper.
Fabric is softer than leather and doesn’t get hot and sticky in that summer heat glaring through your windows. Fabric sofas can also generally take more abuse from rambunctious kids or pets.
While leather is often easier to clean than a fabric sofa, you can get fabric materials and stain guards that withstand those pesky stains from kids and pets.
The gallery below shows several examples of how RV renovators swapped their old, dingy RV couch or dinette for a beautiful sofa that instantly improves the aesthetic of the space. RVs come with traditionally dark interior colors, from the brown cabinets to dark brown or black couches. A lighter colored couch can instantly brighten up the space and actually looks inviting to sit down or lounge and watch TV.
You can further soften the look by adding a throw blanket or some fun accent pillows.
Another advantage you often get by replacing RV specific sofas with a residential sofa is that you might actually gain a little storage space under the couch. Many traditional sofas sit on legs a few inches off the ground. We actually stored our extra bench cushion and a portable piano keyboard under our couch. It was perfect for keeping something out of view but easy access when we needed to get our stuff.
Perhaps you don’t have sufficient space to fit a full residential sofa or sectional. Or perhaps you already have a sofa and just want to add another comfortable seat in your space. Either way, a nice residential style chair can fit the bill. You still want to pay attention to weight, but the good news is you can find plenty of lighter weight, stylish chairs at most furniture stores.
RVers are known to be clever in how they create multi-purpose spaces. When you have to work within the restrictions of 400 sq ft or so, sometimes you have to get creative in how you use that space.
A daybed is a great option to add seating during the day and an extra sleeping option at night. You can find many inexpensive daybed options at stores like Ikea or you could even build your own platform with storage under the bed. We like these examples in the gallery below for their ingenuity and looks.