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Ugly RV Makeover: How to Change Outdated RV Lighting

When it comes to updating and upgrading your RV, lighting is an easy change to make that can have a big effect in more ways than one. Upgrading old, outdated lights and fixtures can freshen up an older RV, conserve energy, add ambiance, or simply reflect your personal taste.Check out these tips for updating your RV interior lights below! You can also check out our article addressing the 5 Reasons to Convert Your RV Lights to LEDs Today, or find your own personal style with our guide, RV Lighting Interior Design Collections .
Learn how to:
  • Keep Your Bulb Voltage Consistent
  • Select the Right Bulb Color and Brightness
  • Try These Tips for Painless Installation
RV Light Fixture

Keep Your Bulb Voltage Consistent

The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting new RV lighting is this: make sure your new bulb matches the voltage of your existing system. This will typically be 12v DC power (low voltage lighting) in an RV, though some RVs run on 120v systems. Essentially, if your RV runs on 12v power, use a 12v bulb. If your RV runs on 120v power, use a 120v bulb. That said, are you ready for the "trick" for upgrading RV lighting that many people don't realize?You can use almost any fixture you want, as long as you can screw in the bulb type you need. This means that if you have a 12v system but want to use a 120v fixture, your 12v bulb will need a base that fits the 120v fixture (adapters are also often available for bulb bases). To wire your 120v fixture, connect your fixture's lead wires (not the ground—you won't use this) to the appropriate 12v wires.Make sure when it comes time to replace your bulb or sell your RV that you remember this is a 12v bulb. Don't screw in a 120v bulb by mistake. It's a good idea to mark the fixture with an indicator noting that it uses a 12v bulb.Of course, if you'd rather not go through this hassle, you can also simply purchase a 12v fixture made for RVs. We we carry a wide selection of RV lighting, including designer collections in a variety of styles. We'll say it again: do not use a 120v bulb in your 12v system, and do not use a 12v bulb in your 120v system! The results can potentially be dangerous. Always use a bulb that matches your system, regardless of what type of surrounding fixture you use.
RV Lighting Fixtures

Select the Right Bulb Color and Brightness

Lighting can be as much for ambience as functionality. Make sure to set the right mood with the best color and brightness for your RV!Lighting is categorized based on a continuum called the color temperature scale, represented by degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale of 1,000 to 10,000. The lower the number, the warmer the light. A higher Kelvin number equates to a cooler, whiter light.You'll also want a bulb with the right number of lumens. Each bulb is rated with a number of lumens (the higher the lumen number, the brighter the bulb). Keep in mind that you can have two bulbs rated for the same number of lumens, but if they are different color temperatures, the one with the higher Kelvin number may appear brighter than the other.The right color temperature depends on personal preference and room style. For a cozy, inviting atmosphere, such as for a bedroom or living room, you'll probably want to stick with warmer light (around 2000K to 3000K). For a more activity-focused space, you may want a brighter, cooler tone for when you're measuring out teaspoons in the kitchen or applying makeup in the bathroom.
RV Light Temperature
3200K color "soft white" temperature

Try These Tips for Painless Installation

There are a few things to keep in mind when replacing your lights and/or fixtures that will ease the entire process.
  • Check the dimensions of your replacement fixtures before purchasing them, particularly if you're using fixtures designed for use in a typical home. Many fixtures designed for home use can be quite large. Since RVs are considerably more compact, you'll want to make sure your new light fixture will fit comfortably.
  • Make sure the power is off before beginning your installation.
  • To remove the light's cover, you'll most likely have to slide, snap, or twist it off (the method differs by model).
  • If your bulb is stuck in the socket, you can use a pair of needle nose pliers to carefully twist the base of the bulb (not the bulb itself) from its socket.
  • Make sure the light doesn't come into contact with surfaces such as walls, curtains, etc. This can present a safety hazard (particularly for non-LED bulbs), not to mention leave an ugly singe mark on your RV's surfaces.
RV Light Fixture
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Related ProductsWritten by: Amber S.Updated on: 4/1/19


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