RV Floor Plans Explained
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If you’ve visited an RV dealer or even started shopping for an RV online, you know that the options are seemingly endless. On top of hundreds of RV brands on the market, each RV also has dozens of floorplan options. It might seem like you would have better luck just throwing a dart on a board to pick one. But I am here to tell you that choosing the right floor plan does matter! And it’s a lot more important than most people realize.
I’ve been selling RVs for almost 4 years now and every day I help people choose the best floor plan for their needs. Choosing the right RV floor plan can make a huge difference in your experience. You need to consider how to best utilize the small amount of space in an RV in order to fit your unique needs.
Every floor plan has a distinct purpose or goal. Some are designed for optimizing sleeping, some are designed for entertaining, some are designed for multiple families to have privacy, and some are designed for extra kitchen or bathroom space.
The best way to get started on selecting an RV floor plan is by identifying your needs, but for first-time RVers, it can be hard to know where to start. So, let’s start with some of the basics!
How to Read an RV Floorplan
First, let’s decipher how to read an RV floor plan so you know what you’re looking at when searching online or in a brochure. I will use Grand Design’s floor plans as an example because they are easy to read and have a lot of variation.
Floor Plan Abbreviations:
The letters by each floor plan can be abbreviations with different meanings depending on the manufacturer, but here are the most common:
Bunk House Variations:
- BH: Bunk House
- QB: Quad Bunk
- MB: Mid Bunk
Usually, if it starts with an ‘R’ that means ‘Rear’:
- RL: Rear Living
- RK: Rear Kitchen
- RB: Rear Bath
- RD: Rear Den
- RE: Rear Entertainment
If it starts with an ‘F’ that usually means ‘front’:
- FL: Front Living
- FB: Front Bath (or Front Bunk)
If there is a ‘K’ that typically stands for ‘kitchen’:
- RK: Rear Kitchen
- MK: Mid Kitchen
- GK: Grand Kitchen
Some will take more experience of looking at floor plans to decipher, such as:
- WB: Wine/Wet Bar
The numbers in front of the letters by each floor plan can also be confusing, so I advise people to only focus on the first two numbers because they typically give you an approximate amount of ‘livable space’ inside of the RV. For example:
- 2250RK: 22 feet of livable space
- 2800BH: 28 feet of livable space
- 3000QB: 30 feet of livable space
- 375RES: 37 feet of livable space
Pro Tip: This is just a good rule of thumb but don’t rely on this for exact measurements because this rule goes out the window when you start seeing floor plans with names like the Rockwood “8332BS.”
Now that we have deciphered the way RV manufacturers and dealers describe their floor plans on paper and online, let’s talk about the reasons you might choose one type of layout over another.
How to Choose the Best RV Floor Plan for You
To help you begin your floor plan search, I will explain the 5 most important questions I ask my customers when helping them narrow down their options.
Pro Tip: When deciding on what features you want in your floor plan it’s going to be next to impossible to find something with 100% of what you want. If you can find a floor plan with 80% of what you’re looking for, then that’s probably the perfect RV for you!
It’s helpful to put the features/options you want into two separate categories: “Nice to have/preference” and “MUST HAVE/Deal Breaker.” For example, if you are bringing small children, bunk beds might be a “must have”, whereas an outdoor kitchen might be “nice to have.”
How Many People Will You be Sleeping?
Knowing the number of sleeping spaces you will need in an RV can usually cut your options in half, saving you a lot of time to concentrate on other important options.
- If you’re traveling alone or with a significant other then you only need one bed. A murphy bed would be a good feature to consider because it optimizes the living space during the day.
- If the 2nd person needs their own sleeping space then, depending on how tall they are, I recommend looking for a Tri-Fold Sofa or Booth Dinette-which typically converts into a bed.
Tri Fold Sofa:
- The age and size of the 3rd and 4th person will help determine if you need to consider bunk beds or not. Since most RV couches fold out into some sort of bed, you probably don’t need bunk beds unless you prefer that option for your guests.
- If you plan to have 4 people or more with you the majority of the time, then a “BunkHouse” floorplan might be ideal.
- If you are limited on how much weight you can tow, a floor plan with two bunk beds in the living area and a couch & booth dinette that both turn into beds will be your lightest option. Example:
- If you are not as limited by weight, then a longer bunkhouse floorplan with a separate ‘bunk room’ will give guests their own private room:
Have questions about accessories? Check out my guide on the best accessories to get with your RV.
How Much Weight Can Your Tow Vehicle Haul?
Knowing how much your tow vehicle can tow will help drastically narrow down your options, as well as ensure you are safe during your travels. Lance Campers does a great job at explaining tow capacity here. At the end of the day, the best way to know your vehicle’s towing capacity is by calling the manufacture of your tow vehicle and asking them to look it up using your Vin number.
The weight of an RV is typically broken down into these categories:
- 3,500 lb and under
- 3,500 lb to 5,500 lb
- 5,500 lb to 8,500 lb
- 8,500 lb to 11,000 lb
- 11,000 lb to 14,000 lb
- 14,000 lb and up
Things that add weight to an RV can be:
- Amount of slide-outs
- Axles/Number of tires
- Materials/build quality
- Height and length
How Many Nights Will You Spend in the RV at a Time?
The amount of time you plan to spend in an RV before returning home will help determine which features & options you will want to look for. Here is a list of the most popular features & options I’ve noticed my clients look for depending on how long they will be using their RV.
|More Closet Space||✔||✔|
|Large Storage Space||✔||✔|
|Larger Propane Tanks||✔||✔|
How Many Bathrooms Do You Need?
Some larger RVs have floor plans that have more than one bathroom. Most just have an additional shower outside, whereas some have a second half bath or second full bathroom (includes shower/tub). There are plenty of options if you want more than 1 full bathroom, or if you want the bathroom in the front or back of the RV, etc.
Pro Tip: Consider the height of the tallest person that will be frequenting the RV. Make sure the shower has enough headroom for that person to stand comfortably.
What Will You be Using Your RV for the Most?
Sleeping? Look for floor plans that emphasize:
- Bigger beds
- More Beds
- Tri-Fold Sofa
- U Shaped Dinette
Cooking? Look for floor plans that emphasize:
- Fridge Size
- Kitchen counter space
- Sink type
- Outdoor Kitchen
Entertainment? Look for floor plans that emphasize:
- Living room seating areas
- Indoor/outdoor TV
- Beverage Fridge
Why Choosing the Right Floor Plan is Important
Floor plans might seem like an unimportant afterthought when purchasing an RV, but let me tell you how important the floor plan is.
Most people trade in their RV earlier than planned because the floor plan they chose ended up not working as planned. The most common things I hear are:
- The chairs in the living room don’t directly face the tv.
- When someone is sitting in a recliner, other guests can’t easily walk around them.
- The windows don’t allow enough light in during the day.
- There isn’t enough hanging space for clothes.
- The sink/refrigerator/stove/counter space in the kitchen isn’t enough for the amount of food being prepared and cooked.
- There isn’t easy access to the bathroom from the master bedroom at night.
If you don’t think about these things beforehand, you could end up with buyers remorse and losing money by trading it in early, or worse, not enjoying your travels to their fullest.
Pro Tip: Find the RV with the floor plan you want and go in it with the exact number of people you plan on traveling with to see how it feels. Do you need more windows? More open space? More seating? A different bathroom or bedroom placement? Express your needs to your RV sales representative and they can show you what fits your preferences.
Things That Don’t Matter As Much As You Might Think
You might be surprised to find out that bedroom space and decor color are not as important when selecting an RV floor plan. Here’s why:
Bedrooms are mainly used for sleeping and getting dressed/undressed. Most activities are done in the living area or outside, so as long as you can move around in your bedroom without stepping on someone else, it should be big enough. Some people worry about bedroom size but then realize they don’t spend as much of their time in them as they thought.
If you get creative, there are ways to change decor colors or add your own decorations to brighten up the interior or an RV and make it feel more personalized. If you don’t like the couch color, look for an RV couch cover online! If the cabinets seem too dark, search on Pinterest or Facebook owners groups for how they’ve customized their cabinetry. Don’t like the kitchen backsplash? Add your own!
Tips for When You Feel Overwhelmed
Sometimes all of the options and choices can be overwhelming, so take it one step at a time. Don’t rush yourself with this decision but try not to overthink it either. If you’re not the only decision-maker and you can’t seem to agree with each other on what features are important, ask yourselves this: “What is the ONE thing that I MUST HAVE?” If you know you’ll be miserable without an outdoor kitchen and the other person would dread camping without a big TV, then make those two things a priority and agree to compromise on the rest.
When buying an RV, take some time to really consider what floor plan might work best for you. Your RV salesperson should be able to help you go through the questions outlined in this article and see which floor plans are best suited based on your wants and needs. Although it can be overwhelming, the surplus of options means there is definitely an RV out there for you! Don’t let the number of choices overwhelm you, and remember, buying an RV should be a fun and exciting experience, not a stressful one!
GoRollick Buying Experience
When you’re ready to find your perfect RV, be sure to check us out at gorollick.com.You can:
- See nationwide inventory, specs, and incentive information
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More on Amber Shae
I am Amber Shae – a creative girl from Texas with a passion to help and inspire people to seek adventure, quality time with loved ones, and lifelong connections and memories by Living Life NOW.
You can count on me to be enthusiastic, honest, and knowledgeable. I help a diverse network of people realize and achieve their dreams to explore, travel, and experience the present moment by living their lives to the fullest.
I accomplish this by working hard, offering transparent communications with integrity, and leading others to discover their unique ‘Living Life NOW’ journey.