Not surprisingly, trends in interior design and décor are reflected in the preferences of today’s RV buyers. According to Ariann Kasper, interior styling supervisor for Winnebago Industries Inc. in Forest City, Iowa, it’s all about simplicity, but that doesn’t mean “plain.”
“Right now, the sparklier the better,” Kasper says. Even faux leathers have a metallic or pearlescent look. “Anything that’s a little different and will catch your eye with the light reflecting on it,” she adds.
The higher end customers in particular want a custom look, “something that somebody else doesn’t have,” she says. “They’re very smart buyers, more informed than ever before about what’s available.” That means that they expect more, too. “Because they have at their fingertips all that information [available on television or the Internet],” she says. “Years back they may not even have asked such questions.”
The customers looking for a more economical motorhome are likely to focus on durability “They use it a lot more, so they’re worried about function and longevity,” she says. “They may use it every weekend with their kids.”
All customers, however, are looking for sensible materials that are easy to maintain and clean. Simpler lines are also the standard—not as complicated and making smarter use of space, she says. Winnebago often looks at marine design for inspiration in this regard, “taking advantage of every inch of that floor space,” she says, particularly with the more open floor plans that customers now prefer.
Multi-functional design is also important. “We used to do pleated shades, now we do vinyl shades or fabric shades and they’re a lot easier to keep clean,” she says. They now use two shades in one (but on separate rollers) in almost all their RVs “The vinyl shade is a blackout, and the solar shade you can look right through, but it provides sun protection.”
In upholstery, faux leathers are popular because of the “cleanability and hand.” Neutral tones are preferred, with accent pieces in a contrasting color “to make it ‘pop,’” she says. All fabrics are fire retardant (FR), which is a requirement, except in trailer units. Fabrics that are inherently FR are more attractive to them because of the consistent color, softer hand and price point.