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15 Best School Bus Conversion Ideas

By September 12th, 202116 Comments

Here is a list of the top 15 school bus conversion ideas to inspire you in your build or the alternative living lifestyle.

When we were designing our skoolie conversion, we went through so many different floor plans and layouts. We devoured school bus tours and were searching all over Pinterest and Instagram to see what we wanted out of our school bus conversion.

We figured we would help guide you to your style of bus with sharing some of our favorite short school bus conversions, mid-sized bus conversions, and full-size skoolie ideas.

Hopefully, these will help inspire your skoolie design!

Top School Bus Conversion Ideas

One Sided School Bus Conversion

One Sided School Bus Conversion
One Sided Bus Conversion
One Sided Skoolie Conversion

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@going_boundless did an amazing job on their skoolie conversion. We love the farmhouse sink and how one side of the bus is completely open. That makes this skoolie feel a lot more open.

These guys still have everything from a full size kitchen, a couch, a closet, even a washer / dryer combo underneath their bed. That would be very nice to do laundry in your skoolie. We think they did a great job maximizing their space.

The Guys Bus Conversion

Green and Wood School Bus Conversion
Green and Wood Skoolie Conversion
Green and Wood Bus Home

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This school bus house belongs to @navigationnowhere. I believe this was one of the first bus tours Chris & I watched together. We were so amazed and inspired by this video, that we were like sign us up to build our own skoolie!

He also is big in the skoolie community. He seems to go to every event there is and even speaks at a lot of them.

As I write this, I believe he is in the process of converting a short bus. Talk about dedication to skoolies!

Tiny School Bus Conversion

Mid Size Converted Bus
Mid Size Bus Home
Mid Size School Bus Home

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This school bus house is a very minimalistic bus build. @fernthebus has 6 windows and seems like they did a great job at maximizing every inch of their space. They kept everything raw wood and white paint to keep their space open and bright, which is great for a smaller space.

Can you believe they are out traveling with a baby? Most people with children get full size buses but these guys are doing just fine traveling with their baby with their tiny house bus!

Cozy School Bus House

Black and Wood Bus Tiny House
Black and Wood Tiny House Bus
Black and Wood School Bus Renovation

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This school bus tiny house kind of reminds us of our skoolie conversion with the butcher block countertops, dark cabinets, and gray couch cushions. We are definitely picking up on @smallandsimplebus‘s skoolie design vibes!

But we gotta say they did a really great job finishing their windows and we love the light and bright ceiling they hung! They also made their own table out of pallet wood, we love a good pallet project!

The Modern Bus Conversion

Cozy Bus Conversion
Cozy School Bus House
Cozy School Bus Tiny House

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We named this one ‘the modern bus conversion.’ We love how @basicallynomads framed out their kitchen area with that pretty backsplash. Their desk area is very nice too, having the two across from each other. Sometimes Chris & I’s stuff is impeding on the others persons side, which can be a little annoying.

They installed their cubic mini wood stove right next to their kitchen in the front of the bus. This is a good idea. In the beginning of the winter, we were huddled in bed all day, since we installed our cubic mini right by our bed. Then, we bought and installed our RV furnace right next to our desk area. This helped a lot with our coldness issue in the front of the bus. But anyway, it sure would be cozy to have a fire right next to your working space! Check out our best skoolie heat options.

Bright & Light Skoolie Bus Conversion

Light & Bright Converted Bus
Light & Bright School Bus Renovation
Light & Bright Bus Home

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We love how this kitchen is very open with no upper cabinets, so you can see the full school bus when you look down the center of the bus. Even with no upper kitchen cabinets, @slothhighfive still seems to have plenty of storage with their double-sided kitchen and underneath cabinets, as well as their storage bins right next to their kitchen. There’s storage everywhere in this skoolie conversion!

We also noticed they went with the DynaGlo, a propane heater, for their heat source. We were going to install the DynaGlo in our skoolie, but ultimately went with the Cubic Mini Wood Stove and an RV furnace for our heat sources. If you’re interested, you can find the DynaGlo here on Amazon.

Mid Century School Bus Conversion

Mid Century Modern Bus Tiny House
Mid Century Modern School Bus Conversion
Mid Century Modern Skoolie Conversion

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There’s something very satisfying about this skoolie design – the clean symmetrical lines, the soft, sanded plywood everywhere and the openness to the layout. We give it to these guys for the unique design in this school bus home, @gilliganphantom is unlike anything we have seen before. It gives you a clean fresh feel. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by this vibe every day?!

Shiplap School Bus Conversion

Shiplap Bus Conversion
Shiplap School Bus Tiny House
Shiplap School Bus Conversion

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We are naming this school bus conversion the ‘shiplap bus conversion’ because that is an impressive amount of shiplap in a skoolie.

@happyhomebodies‘s design is so open but I guess that’s almost what you need when you live with 3 big dogs in your school bus tiny house. Good thing they have a full size school bus and did a roof raise to give them as much space as possible!

We love how they made their front dash area cozy with a bunch of pillows and blankets, it makes the skoolie seem so welcoming!

Our School Bus Renovation

Skoolie Kitchen Design Idea
skoolie livin skoolie conversion
skoolie livin bus conversion

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Oh hey! That’s our skoolie! @skoolielivin

We built our skoolie with a center aisle in mind. We went through many different designs and layouts. We really wanted to do an ‘L’ or wrap around kitchen and couch, but ultimately a center aisle gave us the most utilized space – especially for a 9 window school bus.

Some of our favorites in our school bus house are our Dometic RV range off eBay, Kraus faucet off Amazon and our Express Water 11 Stage Reverse Osmosis drinking water filtration system off Amazon.

We live most of the time in Wisconsin and winters are harsh. Our Suburban RV Furnace is mounted in the front half of the bus, while our Cubic Mini Grizzly wood stove is in our bedroom area. We also have an Ecobee WiFi smart thermostat to control the temperature inside our skoolie. Winter in a school bus is no joke, nobody wants to be too cold! Recently, we added a diesel heater for a 4th heat source.

The Bright White School Bus Conversion

Bright White Skoolie Conversion
Bright White School Bus Tiny House
Bright White School Bus Conversion

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The @evergreen.bus takes the cake for being the shiplap school bus #2. Ahh if only Chris would have let me put more shiplap into our skoolie.. because this skoolie conversion is dreamy!

Now, these guys have a 40 ft full size school bus (14 windows), so they were able to pack in a great size kitchen, a 3×3 shower, a beautiful, massive desk area, and a washer / dryer combo! As well as the other goodies like closet space and a nice size couch.

If we would do it over again, this is the bus to emulate!

The Cabin Bus Conversion

Cozy Cabin Skoolie Conversion
Cozy Cabin School Bus Converson
Cozy Cabin School Bus Tiny House

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@onewildridebus school bus conversion has a cozy cabin vibe to it with all the wood accents and the pop of orange!

We love the little dinette they made for their space. It’s always nice to have a spot to sit down and eat a meal or to jump on your laptop and get some work done.

The Family of 5 School Bus Conversion

Family School Bus Conversion
Family School Bus Tiny House
Family Skoolie Conversion

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This school bus house’s five people! @thebusfamily, has bunk beds in the back for their children and they still have plenty of space for lounging around and a nice kitchen!

We can’t help but notice that sink! That is the biggest sink we think we have ever seen in a skoolie! But hey, when you are raising 3 children in a school bus, having that big of a sink I’m sure has some major benefits. Baths and doing allll those dishes. Major envy over here!

The Family of 4 School Bus Tiny House

Family of 4 Tiny House School Bus
Family of 4 School Bus Tiny House
Family of 4 School Bus Conversion

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This family of 4 homeschools their children while traveling in their school bus tiny house. Doesn’t that sound like the dream?! It seems like they spend a lot of time outside with their kids too!

Their school bus has bunk beds in the back and storage for their children. As far as the kitchen, we love that herringbone wall!

If you check out their instagram @deliberatelifebus, they have teal floors now. What a cool color choice!

The Short Bus Tiny House

Short School Bus Conversion
Short School Bus Tiny House
Short Bus | Skoolie Conversion

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@birdthebus did their short bus conversion right with the bed being able to be stored away versus being stationary! This gives these guys so much more room for activities! Haha but seriously, this is great to have for a short bus that has only 4 windows. We think they definitely maximized this space!

The Spanish School Bus Conversion

The Spanish Skoolie Conversion
The Spanish School Bus Conversion
The Spanish Bus Conversion

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Lastly, we end with this beautiful full-size Spanish school bus conversion. This conversion is on another level with this Spanish vibe. I mean, everything fits this vibe to a T from the kitchen cabinets to the stove to the wall opening up to the outside. @somedrifters is truly a one of kind school bus conversion!

There’s our list of the 15 best school bus conversions! Let us know what you guys think of these school bus conversions!

Which skoolie conversion did you like the most?

Comment below and let us know what you think!

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16 Comments

  • Natalie says:

    Hey guys! What a concept to living differently in a bus. I love the idea! I’m a MBA student and wondering if you could be available as my resource for my Capstone project. My project is to convert used buses to homes for homeless people and move them into an area where they can live and stay off the streets. If you can be available for questions that would be great. I am also in California.
    Thanks for reading this.

    • Chris says:

      Yes, definitely! We would love to help. We will reach out to you with an email to see how we can help out!

  • Randall Craig says:

    Do you have to have a CDL to drive the school bus ? Or what type of license do you need ? And how hard is it to insure the bus ?

    • Chris says:

      In most states (if not all) you do not need a CDL to drive a school bus for personal use, as a CDL is a commercial driving license. If the bus is being used for personal use only and not for any commercial reason, no commercial license is technically needed. You will need to check this with the state you are registering the school bus in just to be safe! When you are on the road, the rules of your “home” registration state would still apply.

      You really only need a regular driver’s license, especially if your bus is fully converted, registered, and insured as a motorhome/RV.

      For insurance, it isn’t too bad. We detailed out the two different insurance policies we have had (commercial vehicle for personal use and then regular motorhome insurance) in our skoolie insurance guide.

    • GWRider says:

      No CDL is required unless used commercially, hence the acronym CDL (Commercial Drivers License). Therefore, most states will allow you to drive a vehicle with a class C license if titled as an RV. However, several states (approx. 8) require a NON-CDL class B license and possibly other endorsements such as for air brakes. A class B in many states is for vehicles with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of 26001+ lbs. The GVWR is NOT the weight of the Bus but the max weight it was designed to carry. Texas and Kansas are a couple of examples of states that require a Class B regardless whether titled as an RV. I would verify with the state of your drivers license to ensure you are in compliance.

  • Tim Amyett says:

    The Spanish Bus was my choice of interior decor. I like the cabin vibe. I’ve built and designed cabins an this is the style of decor I’m using in the bus I’m converting.
    I like a wood stove, but space requires that I use a diesel heater (small and very efficient).My bus has a cost efficient window unit A/C, 2.8 amps (270 watts) draw under load. My solar system (1560 watts), is more than enough to power for all my electrical uses. Plus the solar panels shade the roof… a definite advantage in sunny weather.. It doesn’t matter how beautiful you decor is, if your hot and sweaty or cold and shivering.So A/C and heating is a priority. My bus can go all over the U.S.in any normal summer to winter weather and still be comfortable.
    My short bus (not van) was originally a 6 window bus. It’s 24’8″ bumper to bumper is just 4 foot longer than a standard P/U and makes is agile enough to drive virtually anywhere easily and has an 18,000 GVWR. It has a full wet shower with composting toilet. 32″x 54″. I must be able to shower daily and easily. My bus has a good bathroom, toilet and shower. It also has a full kitchen counter,double sink, microwave and refrigerator and normal counter top appliances. It has a very comfortable dinette/sofa.The interior height is 6’5″ so I can stand easily.( I’m 6’3″). The queen size bed converts into a recliner/ lounge sofa. giving complete walkthrough access to the rear pullout deck and both rear doors.
    My bus has repurposed R/V windows and a R/V door. Busses that keep the original side windows are nice for light and decor but not for heating and cooling or for privacy and security.

  • Amy O. says:

    My husband and I are trying to pay off a travel trailer that we bought for 32,000 dollars. It seems so impossible and we have been looking into selling it and maybe converting a school bus to travel the country. I wish we had thought about this option before we got the travel trailer. We like the Bright and light bus conversion. It offers modern and clean, organization, and very roomy feels to the bus. Very nice conversion here.

  • Beth says:

    Do you have any resources for purchasing Insurance for a converted bus ?

  • Kaitlin Wright says:

    Could you please tag whose buses are whose? I’d love to be able to check them out if they have an instagram or youtube channel I could watch on each of their builds. Thank you!

  • steven says:

    hi, where can i find more information about the Spanish school bus conversion?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Steven,

      If you click ‘Image Sources’ under their pictures, it will take you to their Instagram account.