As remote work options continue to rise in number and appeal, many people are looking for ways to reconnect with family and enjoy a lifestyle on the road. Tiny homes on wheels are becoming a popular choice with frequent travelers and minimalists alike due to their versatility and ability to simply pick up and go at will.
A specific type of tiny home on wheels comes from the conversion of a retired school bus. These adorable renovations are known as “skoolies,” a beloved nickname for a whimsical, yet practical, concept. Skoolies are often available at a lower upfront cost than a traditional recreational vehicle and are typically built to be much sturdier in order to carry precious cargo (children), every single day. Since most buses are retired by 100,000 miles, they are ideal for families to purchase at a low cost and complete some DIY handiwork for a perfectly sized family home. As a bonus, it also serves as a year-round vacation home, saving thousands in trip fees and lodging.
Considering a skoolie but unsure where to start? The options for personalization and customization offer endless opportunities to make your tiny home fit your personality and style. As you begin envisioning how you might design your skoolie, here are several ideas to help inspire you.
Stunning Outback Skoolie
Complete with an extra-large luxury rain shower head streaming from under a wide skylight, this bus conversion is a must-see. A beautiful kitchen with extra prep space connects the living and breakfast area to the bedroom and bathroom without feeling closed off or isolated. Every element of the home was carefully planned by the DIY-expert owners, and you can view their full video tour on Tiny House Talk.
Sunrise Rooftop Deck
This modern-vibe skoolie includes a peaceful rooftop deck for enjoying a meal, entertaining friends, or catching a little sunrise yoga. Creator @basicallynomads set out on a journey to customize their DIY skoolie to align with their aesthetic and equip the space for two. The inside is just as marvelous as the outside with warm earthy tones against natural wood grain and paired with a crisp white for a modern look.
Dreamy Boho Chic
The warmth of home is alluring in the images of this gorgeous skoolie. The varied brown and earthy tones come together for a peaceful nod to the natural elements of living on the land. The best part about this home? It’s built to comfortably fit a family of four without a tight squeeze. The oversized windows that bring in copious amounts of natural light are another highlight, offering panoramic views from most rooms in the traveling home.
In this mini school bus conversion by @fernthebus, simplicity is center stage. Every element connects back to a calming feeling and the comforts of a deep breath. The wood materials and white color palette complement the ample natural light flowing into the space to create a soft, peaceful touch. From front to back, each room seamlessly transitions into the next for a modified open-air concept. This also aids the heating source during cold nights and chilly months in regulating the temperature of the home, so it’s perfectly cozy all year round.
Life on the Wild Side
Once used to travel the country for a year and a half, the One Wild Ride Bus is now stationary in Austin, Texas, proving that skoolies are perfect for both rooted and on-the-road destinations. Its burnt orange accents pair beautifully with the touch of bold, lively green plants and modern white cabinetry. A long hallway connects every room in the home to allow for plenty of space to move around comfortably.
Open Spaces Galore
One big benefit to converting a school bus is the significant boost in space from a conventional tiny home. A typical tiny home is about 100-200 square feet in size while a skoolie may be closer to 300 square feet. As you can see in this boho beauty, the extra space definitely makes a difference when you are planning the layout for your renovated home on wheels!
Luxury Kitchen and Eating Bar
An increased amount of interior space comes with plenty of options on how to utilize it. One way to get the most out of your space is to maximize your kitchen and eating areas with a large L-shaped countertop, as seen in this home. Long top shelves running the length of the skoolie are a great way to minimize clutter and add storage. And a large cabinet structure can be incorporated into your design aesthetic with a bold color choice that pairs nicely with the countertops.
Get Started on Your DIY Dreams
From bold and bright color palettes to smooth natural wood paneling, there are many ways to spruce up your skoolie and design the home of your dreams. What once served as a method for transporting children can now be repurposed into something perfectly suited for your stationary and vacation paradise.
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.