Can you Have a Zen RV?

Last updated on October 30th, 2017 at 12:56 pm. Originally published on October 22nd, 2017

Think about your favorite places in the world. Not ones you want to go to, but places you’ve actually been.

Your list might start with far-flung destinations that captured your imagination on a vacation you took there; perhaps standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris or gazing at the majestic rock faces of Yosemite National Park in California.

But if you sit for long enough thinking hard about the spaces that brought you the most comfort and joy, you may find they’re a whole lot closer to home. Places like your yoga mat or your bedroom, for instance; a constant source of rest and relaxation you can always return to no matter how crazy your day.

How to Design Your Own RV

Human beings are creatures of habit, and having these “safe spaces” to return to and collect ourselves is an important part of maintaining health and balance. That’s equally true, if not more so, when you’re on the road. Since everything else is always changing, you need a few constants you know you can return to.

And if you want to make those quiet moments to yourself even more rejuvenating, you’ll need to pay attention to your interior design strategy.

So, how can you make your private space even more comforting?

Contemporary and modern RV design is done with comfort and convenience in mind, but it isn’t necessarily the best RV interior design for keeping you calm and tranquil. In this post, we’re going to talk about zen style and design principles, as well as how to apply them to your motorhome.

Characteristics of Zen Interior Design

First things first: What is zen style?

Well, to talk about modern zen design concept, we first need to address the principles of zen philosophy.

According to its Wikipedia page, the word “zen” actually has Chinese roots meaning something along the lines of “meditation” or “meditative state.”

“Zen emphasizes rigorous self-control, meditation-practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others,” the description continues.

In other words, it’s all about chilling out, winding down, and finding your inner peace… without relying on extrinsic things to make you happy.

So, how does that translate to interior design?

Zen Inspired Interior Design

Zen interior design is all about minimalism, about creating open space to allow you to free your mind and avoiding the physical clutter that mirrors the state of a confused and overactive mind.

In a house, that’s pretty achievable. You’ve probably seen photos of gorgeous living rooms all done in monochromatic white, without any notebooks or wallets or keys or whatever visible on its table surfaces. The zen design concept is about putting everything in its place so there’s space to be present. Buying and owning fewer material objects helps make this goal much more possible.

In an RV, of course, this endeavor is a little bit more difficult. You’re already dealing with such a small amount of living and storage space, so trying to create openness and avoid clutter might seem downright impossible.

But making your RV space sustainable and calming for you and your family doesn’t have to be impossible. In fact, it might come down to something as simple as finding the right storage solutions.

Not sure what we mean? Here are some ideas.

RV Interior Design Layout

Depending on the design of your RV floor plan, you only have a couple of hundred square feet to work with at most.

That means that the number one most important thing if you want to maintain a tranquil, zen atmosphere in your RV is to avoid overpacking. (That goes for you, too, full-timers!)

Although there are plenty of ways to maximize your storage space, which we’ll get to in a minute, simply avoiding having so much to store in the first place is the most guaranteed way to keep the airy openness that zen design requires. (Plus, it’s a lot more in keeping with the underlying zen principles!)

Of course, you do have to bring some things along for your journey. For that reason, we recommend getting creative with how you store and stow things.

For instance, drawer and closet organizers can make it easier to find a perfect spot for everything. Even the most minimalistic-looking living room in the world isn’t really zen if you know each drawer is crammed full with a hodge podge of junk!

(Psst — check out this pot and pan organizer, which would even be good for the house, let alone the RV! I, for one, can never seem to find a stable way to stack them.)

Simple solutions like these can really help open up your RV’s floor plan. Once you get all the countertops and other surfaces clean and empty, you can consider adding little zen decorative touches like a simple flower vase or a rock garden. But again, don’t get carried away! Less is more when it comes to the zen concept.

If you really want to step up your game, you could even consider designing your own RV floor plan from scratch. The service is offered by high-end RV dealers (though you’ll certainly have to pay dearly for it), or you could convert an old bus or trailer into your one-of-a-kind dream RV home. Here are a few of our favorite vintage bus conversions to help get you inspired

If you want to DIY design an RV in a zen way, it’s important to remember not to overcrowd the space. Put in only what’s absolutely necessary, but ensure you have ample space to get little things out of your field of daily vision. It’s also helpful to go with earthy tones when it comes to things like carpet and furniture colors.

You can find RV floor plan design software online — a popular option is Sketchup. But don’t underestimate the power of good old graph paper and a ruler.

In the end, though, zen is more about your state of mind and less about the stuff around you. Just take a deep breath in and exhale the stress away…

… after all, this is camping, not bootcamp.

This post may contain affiliate links.


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