It might be the most controversial topic on our social media channels… are floating shelves in an RV a practical design choice? And we’re here to answer, YES! You can absolutely install floating shelves in an RV and they can look beautiful!

People seem to love them or hate them, but floating shelves can quickly update the aesthetic in a small space. They create an open and airy feeling in a space that is by design cramped and small.

Yes, you might lose a bit of storage and it might take a couple extra minutes to pack up anything stored on the shelves on a moving day, but floating shelves are both practical and beautiful.

The items you want accessible, such as mason jars full of herbs or noodles or your favorite coffee mug, are right there ready for you to grab without fumbling through drawers and cabinets.

If you think it might look messy, it actually forces you to make a conscious decision about what you want to store out in the open which in turn might force you to make decisions about downsizing.

It seems like downsizing is a constant battle for anyone that lives or travels in an RV so floating shelves can actually help you with those decisions.

But that doesn’t mean floating shelves are a smart choice for everyone. We answer more of the common questions about floating shelves below, but first let’s look at more than 30 of our favorite RV renovations that include floating shelves.

Do you like floating shelves in an RV? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the images in the gallery below to expand to see a larger view of each image.

Won’t everything fall down when you drive?

First of all, that question assumes that everyone who lives or travels in a trailer, motorhome or other type of RV moves from one location to another. There are many RVers who choose to live permanently in a single location. Others only move a few times a year and stay put for long periods of time. An RV can be an economical housing option even if it’s just a weekend or Summer escape home. Plus, as you’ll see on this website, many remodeled RVs are both beautiful and spacious enough for a couple or a small family to live in comfortably for extended periods of time.

But then there are many people who install floating shelves and they do move their RV more often than a few times a year. Most floating shelf installations you’ll see in the gallery below are pretty small, meaning you can’t really put a lot of objects on the shelves anyway. So it might seem like a hassle but it’s really not a time-consuming or challenging task to simply take down the objects from the shelves on a moving day and pack them neatly in a storage box. There are many other tasks on a typical “moving day” checklist, so storing the contents from a floating shelf is simply another item on that checklist.

And hey… if it does seem impractical or you just don’t want to add another thing to your moving day checklist, floating shelves might not be an option for you, and that’s ok! There are many more ways you can still update and remodel your RV to make it yours.

You lose a lot of storage!

Many times a renovator will install floating shelves in a space that used to be occupied by upper cabinets. So yes, it’s true that you might lose a bit of space. But after looking at hundreds of before and after shots of remodeled RVs with floating shelves, it’s somewhat surprising to find that the loss of space is less than you might assume. And in some situations, floating shelves actually increased the usable shelf space in the kitchen!

RV manufacturers notoriously construct furniture, walls, cabinets and pretty much everything else in their RVs with lightweight, inexpensive materials. In our own rig, we actually had to use baby locks and velcro straps to tie closed several of our cabinets because they would swing open on travel days and spill out the contents. The cabinet doors and locks were flimsy and thin so we didn’t store a lot of contents in those cabinets because we didn’t want to break the contents or the cabinets.

Many upper cabinets from the factory are barely 8–12 inches deep so it’s not like you can fit that much stuff into those cabinets anyway. Then there are the sneaky tricks of hiding wiring, stereo electronics or even HVAC vents inside cabinets. So not only are those cabinets small to begin with, they are actually unusable.

When renovators replace these small, cheap cabinets with floating shelves, they can actually gain a little more usable space and it creates an opportunity to show off their beautiful bowls and plates or other knick-knacks picked up in their travel adventures.

And again… if you don’t want to show off your stuff, maybe floating shelves aren’t for you! But don’t fret because there are many other ways to design a beautiful remodeled space where you can feel at home.

Love That RV - Inspiration Newsletter - credit
Love That RV - Inspiration Newsletter - credit

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  • Doreen

    How do you secure shelves to your RV? There aren’t studs I’m sure in these walls? Thanks in advance!

    • Love That RV

      @doreen you most likely have some sort of studs in your RV walls if they are exterior walls. Nowadays most RV manufacturers use aluminum framing because they’re strong and lightweight. But you might still find some wooden exterior frames, especially in older rigs. Interior walls might have studs or they might just be composite plywood. But chances are you’ll find studs if you’re replacing cabinets or a microwave from the spot where you want the floating shelves. Just be sure to use appropriate drill bits and screws for aluminum framing if you determine you have aluminum studs.

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