Small House Big World


Fun With Acronyms: DIY RV LEDs

Anna Edgren • September 24, 2015

For the layperson: That’s Do It Yourself Recreational Vehicle Light Emitting Diodes. Sounds like a party am I right?? Well, it was much like a party, by the time we were done. And as is the case with most of our home renovations, by “we” I mean Kelly (thanks Kelly). 

Kelly and I decided that we wanted to replace many of the lights with LED bulbs. There are a number of reasons for this. 1) Some of the lights in the RV were broken. Not like the lightbulb went out, but that the light itself was not working at all. These needed to be replaced by something, so LEDs were our choice. LED lights draw way less electricity, they do not give off as much heat as standard lights, and they also last much longer and are more durable. Seems like a good combination to us! We bought 3 packs of 4 lights from Ikea. 

A complication: The lights in the RV are wired for DC power. The typical lamps and lights you will buy from the store are wired for AC power, and these LEDs were no exception. So Kelly had to take them apart and rewire them to hook up to our DC system. Apparently that was not too difficult. There were a couple of holes drilled in the wooden cabinets. There was some running of wire from one place to another. And tape was involved. Sorry for the extreme lack of technical detail here, but as far as I can tell it was like magic and it only took about an hour all said and done. This was one of those projects that miraculously went off without a hitch. 

2015-05-26 23.08.53

2015-05-26 23.08.36

Yes, it KIND OF looks like a ghetto movie theater in here…. we need new curtains.

Below is a picture of the bedroom immediately after we put in the LEDs. Note this picture was taken BEFORE we updated the bedroom, so it can serve as an “after” picture for the LEDs and a “before” picture for the bedroom renovations:

2015-05-26 23.09.41

And here as a bonus is the “after” of the bedroom.

Sprucing up the bedroom! #rvlife

We decided to remove the crumbling, dusty, disgusting headboard entirely and replace it with a floral design. I think it came out pretty well!  With the LEDs in there as well, it almost looks downright fancy. 

DIY LED lightsDIY RV lightsRV LED lightsRV light replacement

Anna Edgren • September 24, 2015

Previous Post

Next Post


  1. Rivke Lela Reid September 26, 2015 - 12:49 pm Reply

    Shoot. When you get back east, you can redesign and rewire my house. (It’s getting to be a really archaic headache to deal with all the different bulbs in the old sockets. Like the R30 LEDs that get stuck before they make electrical contact due to the heat sinks. I say rip it all out and put all your lighting on 12 V DC. Got a blackout? Run a jumper cable from the car. Or RV.

    • Kelly Reid September 26, 2015 - 12:53 pm Reply

      Why DO houses run on 120 only? I really see the virtue of having a mix of both.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *