How to Build RV Cabinets – From SCRATCH

The Use of RV Cabinets in a Travel Trailer

You may be wondering how to build RV cabinets because they are of great use in a travel trailer. However, traveling requires that you carry along lots of stuff. To prevent your things from falling off and getting destroyed, you will need cabinets. 

This is where RV cabinets come in handy. They will make your RV have a homely feel and also save on space. In addition, they also enhance the beauty of the RV interior.

Cabinets Installation in RV

How to Build RV Cabinets 

Knowing how to build RV wall cabinets will give you the confidence to start many DIY camper cabinets projects. Your RV cabinets must meet certain conditions to work well. Some of the considerations when making them are the space inside. Place the cabinets in an area where they don’t interfere with locations like the living space. 

To build RV cabinets, you don’t necessarily need help from any professional. You can construct them by yourself, and you will like each process because you will be building the cabinets the way you want them. Here are steps that will enable you to have your RV custom cabinets:

Step One: Measure and plan all details about the cabinets

The first step when constructing your travel trailer cabinets is to measure everything correctly. Next, measure the available space to decide how much you will need for the RV cabinets. After determining the size, select the sections you will have depending on the dimensions you got. 

Remember that a single unit for a cabinet is not a good idea; it will be hectic to mount. Don’t forget to maintain the correct weight that is efficient for the vehicle.

After getting the measurements, get your tools and start building the RV cabinets. You will need a hammer, level, 5/8-inch plywood, hinges, doors, and a building square. You can also include wood glue, paints, screws, nails, and cabinet face.

Step Two: Make the Cabinet Frames

Start by first building the cabinet frame using the 5/8-inch Plywood, which is the best when making frames. Next, connect the side panels as well as a divider to the bottom panel. Using screws or nails and wood glue would be the best to secure them. 

The building square will come in handy when checking whether the cabinets are even. Add wood glue to ensure the connections are complete.

After that, add two pieces of 1x 2-inch wood to strengthen the cabinet frame. One of these wood parts will mount flush with the top, while the other will flush with the bottom.

Step Three: Install the Cabinets to the RV Wall

Attach the frames to the RV walls. Here, you will need a mounting bracket and a level. Then, choose the face wood for your cabinet and connect the sides using finishing nails. After that, install the hinges and the camper cabinet doors. 

Finally, cut the door opening from the front side of the cabinet. Before you install the hinges, you should know the measurements of the doors. 

Also, check whether the door is at the proper height and also working correctly. You are free to add knobs after checking. To make the installation easier, use a drill. Also, to make the cabinets look better:

  • Add safety latches to keep the cabinet doors closed when traveling on bumpy roads.
  • Install more brackets for mounting so that you can store heavy items without worrying about them falling off.
  • Ensure the spaces inside the camping trailer cabinets are used efficiently. Make sure the items are also adequately organized.

Which Materials Can RV Cabinets be Made From?

There are different materials that you can use to make DIY Camper cabinets. Let us look at some of the most common materials and the advantages of using them:


Most camper kitchen cabinets are made using wood. It is common because it is so easy to work with it apart from being affordable and firm. Also, installing wood panels requires just a small number of tools.

If you prefer lightweight RV cabinets, go for softwood. For wooden cabinets, plywood is preferred. It is not only light in weight but also soft. Authentic wood, on the other hand, is durable but heavy, expensive, and it warps. 

Plywood is soft, durable, and lightweight. It also comes in large flat sheets. Another advantage of plywood is that it resists warping and moisture. Consider the moisture issue if you are going to place the cabinets in a humid vicinity.

Go for original plywood and not the likes of (MDF) medium-density fiberboards, (OSB) oriented strand boards, and particle boards. The other disadvantages of plywood include the emission of gas from the glue and the absorption of water.


You can consider using aluminum as well. Unlike wood, it is more expensive. The cost should not be an issue if you can afford it. The extruded aluminum channel is light in weight and also lasts for a long time. For the gaps between aluminum rails, use fiber, wood, aluminum, or plastic panels.

Organizing Your Newly Built Campervan Cabinets

Now you have your campervan cabinets, how do you organize them? It is never a good sight when you have items lying around while traveling. Continue reading about some organization tips you can use:

Use the space of the cabinet doors

You can utilize your RV cabinet doors by hanging organizers or baskets on them. You will get enough storage area and also flexibility. Either put them on the front of the cabinet or inside. In some cases, you can put them on the bathroom door or empty walls.

Use the top of the cabinet

Sometimes, the top part of the cabinet can be left unused because concentration is put on the bottom part. Utilize this space by installing a hanging rack from the ceiling of the cabinet. Carefully select the items you want to put in this space. Don’t put different things that may be difficult to remove. 

Add slide-out features for hard-to-reach places

It may be challenging to reach some items when you are maximizing your storage. A solution for this is getting a slider below the bottom panel of the cabinet. By doing this, you will find it easy to reach items when you need them.

Install a tension rod to keep things in place

You may not always have a smooth journey, and bumpy roads are common. Therefore, to protect your fragile items, add a tension rod inside your RV cabinet.

Store items vertically

When you store flat-shaped items like plates, pans, and baking sheets horizontally, getting them may be difficult. If your cabinet is tall enough, arrange your flat items vertically.

The Different Types of Camping Trailer Cabinets

There are two types of campervan cabinets:

Skinned and Framed cabinets

These are lightweight RV wall cabinets made from lighter materials like aluminum, solid wood, or steel. The frames of these units have been built in a way that they can provide maximum strength. 

Integral Cabinets

Integral cabinets have no framework. Instead, construct them by connecting their sides to the bottom, top and back. The sides of the unit consist of the box. The materials are heavy, making them strong. You need to note that integral cabinets are stronger than the frame and skin. However, the weight depends on the material used to make them.

Types of Overhead RV Cabinets

The overhead cabinets are those that utilize the space on the ceiling of the RV. Here are some of them:

Standard Teak RV Overhead Cabinet

It is almost similar to most of the current designs. However, the shape of this design blends well with the modern style interior, and the color goes well with the rustic theme. The other advantage of this cabinet is that the door hinges are on the top. This means that the door will stay closed throughout the journey.

RV Overhead Cabinet With Sliding Doors

Sliding doors are more durable compared to doors with hinges. The sliding doors also allow for customization. For instance, the material of the door can be adjusted for other purposes. On the other hand, the clear glass panels can make the inside visible.

Modern RV Overhead Cabinet

This overhead cabinet is made from materials such as aluminum which makes it durable and robust and leaves a modern impression. An advantage of this type of overhead cabinet is that the hinges are located on the front of the doors. This makes it easier to repair when broken.

Double-Deck RV Overhead Cabinet

It has a two-level design that allows you to store many items. However, this design can only happen when the ceiling of your RV is high enough. Knocking your head on the cabinet will be the order of the day for you if the roof is not high enough.

Vintage RV Overhead Cabinet

Do you love old school? Then a vintage RV overhead cabinet is perfect for you. However, good things are never easy to get, and the same applies to vintage RV overhead cabinets: you will need to fit glass panels on the doors.

A Selection of Camper Cabinets for your Perusal

Here are some of our favorite RV kitchen cabinets:

RV kitchen Cabinet With Expandable Counter Space

This design offers enough storage together with countertop space. In addition, it boasts a slide-out function which makes it easier to hide extra counter space when not using it. One thing to note is that you need to consider the size of the extra counter space so that it doesn’t become a nuisance.

Simple RV Kitchen Cabinet

This kitchen cabinet gives a minimalistic vibe. The color also blends well with the sink and the countertop. Some of these kitchen cabinets come in varying finishes on some parts of the kitchen bringing out a contrasting element.

Vibrant RV Kitchen Cabinet

It is a slide-out kitchen cabinet that doesn’t leave any space underutilized. It looks perfect, but it is handleless. This may end up being disastrous, so be careful when opening it.

Corner RV Kitchen Cabinet

This is positioned at the corners of the RV kitchen. An advantage of it being at the corners is that it allows for more space: The kitchen can take both sides of the wall meaning more cabinets and more counter space.

Trendy RV Kitchen Cabinet

The trendy RV kitchen cabinet has a combination of different colors making the kitchen look beautiful. Instead of putting the microwave below the counter space, place it below the overhead. This maximizes space without making the room look narrow.

RV kitchen cabinet

The Different Types of RV Bathroom Cabinets

The bathroom is another area in the RV that needs storage. This will depend on the number of people you bring when traveling. Here are a number of our favorite RV bathroom cabinets:

Rustic RV Bathroom Cabinet

The conventional bathroom cabinet blends well with rustic-styled RV interiors. In addition, the shelves are tall, enabling you to fit in dry clothes and towels. Since the cabinet is in the bathroom, it needs to be built using water-resistant wood to last long.

Minimalistic RV Bathroom Cabinet

This type looks modest. The advantage is that it blends well with any current RV designs. For instance, most quartz countertop designs combine effortlessly with this kind of bathroom cabinet. 

Luxurious RV Bathroom Cabinet

A luxurious RV bathroom cabinet has a sleek finish that makes it look classy. There is also a modern vibe that is created by the tall cabinet and the RV drawer. The two ways are simple and elegant, giving the RV a luxurious touch.

Concise RV Bathroom Cabinet

If you are a person that always looks at the functionality and not looks, then this design is perfect for you. With this design, you will have lots of storage cabinets in a small bathroom. However, the uncovered cabinets are not suitable if you happen to travel along bumpy roads. 

Vintage RV Bathroom Cabinet

With this design, the wood texture makes it easier to blend with a vintage-style environment. It is a perfect design for people who love a retro feel. Unfortunately, the storage area may not be sufficient for storing many items.

Bathroom Cabinet

RV Medicine Cabinets

Just like in any means of transport, having a medical kit on hand is vital. You never know what may happen along the way. So having a piece of equipment with bandages, medicines, and other first-aid items is essential, especially in emergency cases. 

Therefore, you need an area in your RV to store your medicine. Let us look at some RV medicine cabinets:

Fancy RV Medicine Cabinets

This design is fancy in the sense that it also acts as a mirror. It is both gorgeous and used for various purposes. It has paneled glass shelving that makes the cabinet look more aesthetically pleasing.

Submarine Window-Style Medicine Cabinet

This is a unique design for a medicine cabinet. It is made from stainless steel, making it more substantial compared to other materials. In addition, the submarine window style brings an incomparable feature to your RV.

Retro-style Medicine Cabinet

The retro-style medicine cabinet has a straightforward design. This is what is needed for a medicine cabinet. The mirrors in it also add more value to it. In addition, the cabinet will always add a nostalgic vibe to the RV.

Electric RV Medicine Cabinet

The electric RV medicine cabinet goes well with most room designs. Another good thing about it is tall shelves that allow you to store sizable first aid items. It has a thin bezel design that brings a modern look.

Contemporary RV Medicine Cabinet

This medicine cabinet is indeed contemporary! Apart from using it as a storage area, it also has a unique mirror feature. The mirror is on the door of the cabinet with a vanity light planted inside. It makes the medicine cabinet look sophisticated and luxurious at the same time.

How to Build RV Cabinets- Our Useful Tips and Tricks

If you have a recreational vehicle or plan to have one, take note of the storage solutions you’d have to implement, and avoid making any mistakes by following these tips:

  • Do you have any carpentry experience? If yes, then you are good to construct your RV cabinets. If you don’t, please don’t do any construction. Campers are expensive vehicles, and you wouldn’t want to destroy them when building an RV cabinet. 

You’d be better off buying cabinets if you don’t have any experience. Alternatively, you can call a carpenter to assist you with the building.

  • Avoid any construction mistakes by using levels and squares. Make use of them in all the steps of the constructive process.
  • Before you select a design for your cabinets, consider what items you will store in there. First, consider the appropriate sizes so that you get accurate measurements for the cabinets. Don’t think of increasing the cabinet sizes after making them because you may end up destroying things in your campervan.
  • Ensure that your camping trailer cabinets have safety latches on the doors. These will ensure the doors are closed during traveling. You won’t have to worry about your items falling off, especially on lousy road terrains.
  • If you plan to store heavy items in your custom RV cabinets, have additional brackets for installation.

Last Words

From the above tips, you will enjoy building your RV cabinets. However, the directions are only beneficial if you know the specific requirements for your storage areas. Apart from the plywood designs mentioned in this article, you may find others on the market. 

You will be able to choose the texture and colors according to the interior theme of your RV. As much as you will need little time to do the construction, you will notice that the cabinets are suitable in quality and also easy to use in the vehicle.

The construction process of an RV is also simple, but the actual work is exemplary. It is hence essential to measure and plan all the aspects of the cabinet before you start building. Also, your cabinets should not be too heavy so that you maintain the stability of your vehicle. 

By now, you understand that you can create or renovate your RV cabinetry from the tips and techniques in this article. 

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