30 before-and-after photos of the most stunning tiny-house renovations

Frank Olito
·9 min read
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This RV has undergone a complete renovation. Courtesy of April Gilleland
  • An old RV, school bus, or van can be completely renovated into a luxury tiny house.

  • Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh coat of paint to completely transform the vehicle.

  • Other tiny-house owners choose to completely gut the vehicles by redesigning a new, modern layout.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

For some, an old school bus, a rusted van, or an outdated RV can be a load of junk. In the tiny-house community, however, those vehicles can be remodeled into so much more.

All over the country, in fact, there are builders and designers flipping vehicles by giving them a coat of paint, modern furniture, and new layouts.

Take a peek at some of these before-and-after pictures of tiny-house renovations.

Before April Gilleland and Jason McMillan moved into their RV with their two daughters, they knew it needed a total makeover.

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Gilleland's RV before the remodel. Courtesy of April Gilleland

The original RV had dark, wood paneling throughout and dated furniture and appliances. The couple initially thought it would take just one week to renovate the entire RV, but instead, it took six weeks.

After the remodel, the space looks brighter and bigger.

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Gilleland's RV after the remodel. Courtesy of April Gilleland

"I made sure it wasn't a closed-off RV," Gilleland said. "I needed it to be big and open. We customized it to fit our needs."

The kitchen was also a dark space that needed a face-lift.

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Gilleland's kitchen before renovations. Courtesy of April Gilleland

The dark wood and extra cabinetry made the space feel smaller.

Read more: These 8 luxurious RVs each cost more than $200,000 — take a look inside

The after photos show how a coat of paint can change an entire space.

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Gilleland's kitchen after renovations. Courtesy of April Gilleland

Gilleland kept the original structure of the kitchen, except for the upper cabinets, and painted it all white to make it look warmer and inviting.

Sarah Lemp, a Michigan mother, started renovating RVs in 2014 and bought this Coachmen Cadet RV from the 1970s on Facebook Marketplace.

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Before she even begins renovating, Lemp said the first steps are to fix water problems and to remove damaged items.

After the renovation, the space feels more up to date despite it being a vintage trailer.

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She says some people are tempted to use trendy products, like cement countertops, but she thinks those are too heavy for the vehicle and instead uses light products in her remodels.

Lemp also said removing outdated cushions or curtains is just as important.

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The floral cushions and green curtains had to go.

Like Gilleland, Lemp also understands the power of paint.

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"I did attempt to use a paint sprayer," Lemp told Insider reporter Samantha Grindell. "And it went faster, but it was also so much messier. I actually just prefer to roll it."

Lemp also renovated this 1987 Taurus Camper in one week.

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With some help from her children, Lemp was able to turn this kitchen and RV renovation around quickly.

The new space has bohemian, summer vibes.

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The light cabinetry, striped pillows, and carefully placed plants make this feel more like a home.

Although the bedroom looked completely busted, Lemp knew it had potential.

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One side of the bedroom looked completely demolished and was not safe to use.

The bedroom after the renovation can now sleep four comfortably.

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The bedroom now has four comfortable beds that are complemented by a fresh coat of paint.

Trina Sholin also renovates RVs and turned this old vehicle into a luxury home.

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Sholin's RV before remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

This kitchen was pretty outdated, so Sholin had to give it a complete makeover.

The farmhouse-style kitchen now has a large, modern sink and wooden beams in the entryway.

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Sholin's RV after remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

Sholin said she had to get creative with storage during the remodel because she eliminated the upper cabinets.

The outdated furniture and carpet had to go as well.

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Sholin's RV before remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

During the renovation process, Sholin had to get rid of the recliner, the couch, and the filthy rug.

Now, the living room space has hardwood flooring.

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Sholin's RV after remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

With the old furniture out, Sholin filled the space with modern pieces and a cozy window seat.

In this RV, Sholin had to completely gut the kitchen too.

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Sholin's RV before remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

The awkward kitchen seemed to cut off the flow of the RV.

After the renovation, the kitchen is "unrecognizable," according to Sholin.

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Sholin's RV after remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

"I love the brick paneling, the open shelving, and the faux hood we built that is actually a cabinet," Sholin said. "Cabinet color is SW Pewter Green, and I'm obsessed."

The bathroom in this remodel needed work as well.

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Sholin's RV after remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

"If your shower has to be in your bedroom, at least make her pretty," Sholin said.

The new shower has subway tile and glass doors.

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Sholin's RV after remodel. Courtesy of Trina Sholin

It also has a "dreamy gold shower head."

Read more: A couple paid off $125,000 of debt in 2 years after moving into a 200-square-foot tiny house — here's how they did it

Christine Saldana and Kathy Mariscal purchased a school bus for $7,500 in 2020 to save money for their wedding and a family - but it was not in great condition.

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Their school us before renovation. Courtesy of Adelita

They started watching videos on TikTok of people renovating their camper vans and school buses.

"There were all these people doing it themselves, and we were like, 'We're two smart girls, we could figure this out,'" Mariscal told Insider's Monica Humphries. "Very quickly we realized that we did not know what we were doing."

After turning to friends and family for help on their renovation, Saldana and Mariscal turned their bus into a mid-century modern tiny home.

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After the renovation. Courtesy of Adelita

In all, the couple said the bus cost around $50,000, but they said it was all worth it in the end.

"We made every single penny, nickel, and dime count for this bus," Mariscal told Insider. "It almost seems surreal sometimes. We did this."

Marte Snorresdotter Rovik and Jed Harris decided to convert an old school bus in Australia after they realized they weren't happy in their jobs.

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Rovik's school bus before renovation. Courtesy of Marte Snorresdotter Rovik

In 2019, the Australian couple bought the school bus for $7,000.

"Rather than trying to make more money, we started looking at how we could need less money," Rovik told Insider. "If we built an off-grid home in a school bus, we wouldn't have a mortgage, rent, or power bill, and this would allow Jed to come home from work and be with us."

After 18 months of renovation and an extra $28,000, the couple created a haven for their family while traveling around the country.

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Rovik's school bus after renovation. Courtesy of Marte Snorresdotter Rovik

"The freedom is by far the best part," Rovik said. "Our much-beloved home is mortgage-free. We have no bills, all the time in the world, and the freedom to live wherever we want."

Likewise, Mike and Tawny McVay decided to renovate a school bus when they realized they weren't happy with their day-to-day lives.

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The McVays' school bus before renovations. Courtesy of Tawny McVay

In 2018, they bought a school bus for $5,000 and started renovating it with the help of their two teenagers.

After renovations, the school bus is now a family home that fits two adults, two teenagers, and a large dog.

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The McVays' school bus after renovations. Courtesy of Tawny McVay

"We know we won't live in a schoolie forever," Tawny told Insider. "At some point, we will probably sell it to another family who wants to live out their travel dreams. I don't know what the next chapter holds, but I think we will know when we see it."

Siblings Tom and Sanne Hofker practically grew up in this Volkswagen in the Netherlands, being shuttled to and from childhood activities.

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The Hofkers' van before renovation. Courtesy of Sanne Hofker

In 2020, their parents got a new car, so Tom and Sanne decided to renovate it into a camper van. For two months, they worked to transform the interior.

Read more: 20 photos of the most stunning camper van conversions of 2020

In the end, the camper became a bohemian paradise.

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The Hofkers' van after renovation. Courtesy of Tom Hofker

"I wanted everything in a warm color, so it didn't feel as cold," Sanne told Insider's Monica Humphries.

Meanwhile, her brother is already looking to expand.

"We immediately started thinking about another project once this was done," Tom said. "And if we're ever going to build another camper van, we're going to go bigger."

Deanna and James Dunn completely flipped this drab van into a cozy tiny house.

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Inside the Dunns' van before remodel. Courtesy of Deanna Dunn

They bought the Ram ProMaster van for $20,000 and started the renovation process in Deanna's parents' driveway in 2020. In the end, it cost them an additional $15,000 to remodel.

Now, the van is a home for full-time living.

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The Dunns' van after remodel. Courtesy of Deanna Dunn

"We loved being able to take design risks and seeing it all come together," Deanna told Insider. "We love interior design, and we love creating a cozy space."

Read more: 70 photos of beautiful tiny homes that will make you want to downsize

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