Family-Friendly RV Remodel (with pictures!), All for Under $500

Looking to be inspired by an affordable DIY renovation? Check out Ashlin's bunk camper and how she transformed it from a smoke-smelling camper to a family-friendly RV.

It’s Mother’s Day here in the U.S. and so it seemed like the right time to feature an amazing remodel completed by a mom of two little boys–with a little girl on the way.

Ashlin Tolbert says she “caught the reno bug” and decided to take on a full remodel of their used camper. When she and her husband bought it, it reeked of cigarette smoke–not what they wanted for their young family.

She takes us through an amazing DIY journey, staying below her budget of only $500. (Which, makes it even that more beautiful!)

Check it out!

Transformation Video

From a stinky, smoke-smelling used RV to a fresh and modern camper that is perfect for this growing family of four.


The first time we saw Ashlin’s kitchen we thought her backsplash wallpaper was the cutest pattern–but it turns out … it’s just painted! She said her color palette was so black and white that she wanted to do something that really added a pop of color.

Using orange acrylic paint and a foam brush, she free-painted a playful pattern. It’s such a cost-effective way to add interest and color to a kitchen.

See how Ashlin uses acrylic paint and a foam brush, available at Walmart or any arts and crafts store, to create a simple but eye-catching backsplash for her RV.


A little bit of paint can go a long way in giving a camper bathroom a much-needed face-lift.

Ashlin didn’t replace hardware, the sink, or faucet, but opted for white walls, black cabinets, contact paper on the countertops, and a fun shower curtain.


With two young boys and a little girl on the way, having a safe and clean place for her kids to sleep was so important during this travel trailer renovation.

Paint, new mattress covers and bedding, and new curtains gave both the master bedroom and bunkhouse a totally new look.

Living Room

When Ashlin went to price out a new couch that didn’t smell like smoke, it came in around $300.

Instead, she picked one up at a salvage yard for campers, and then just covered it. She says, “It was a lot newer and didn’t reek like cigarette smoke!”


The coolest part of the flooring was Ashlin said, “We received all our flooring FREE from a building materials Facebook page in our area.”

She goes on to say, “The lady that gave us the carpet had just enough to cover our carpet places. It’s pretty pieced together in the bedroom because we just had squares of carpet left.”

Really amazing what she was able to get with a little bit of digging. The floor turned out so nice.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I’m a full time stay at home mom while my husband is a mechanic.

We have two little boys and during this renovation, I have been pregnant with our first girl!

My husband and I met when I was working and I caught him looking at my butt. I guess you could say it was love at first sight for him. Within 3 months we were married and starting our family!

Did you buy an RV to renovate or did you already own it?

We bought a camper just to camp in.

We weren’t planning on renovations but I had been looking at ones needing to be renovated and I caught the renovation bug!

Why did you decide to renovate instead of buying it already completed?

Once we had our camper although it was completed it REEKED of cigarette smoke and being pregnant, and having the kiddos, it was not a smell I wanted to camp in!

Did you have a budget in mind before you started? Did you stay under it or go over it?

I did not want to go over $500 in my reno.

And so far, we have barely hit $300!

We had a local building supply page that I posted seeing if anyone Has any left over materials I needed and most of my materials came from there!

We still have some work to do but the most expensive thing for us is the new laminate flooring.

Do you travel with your RV or do you have it parked?

We love to camp!

Our camper will be all over this summer from Idaho to Montana to Utah and even Texas!

How long have you been RVing?

We’ve been campers all our lives but in this camper, we just started this summer of 2020 (Quarantine was a great time to remodel!)

Was it easier or more difficult than you thought?

It really depends on the project. Some things were super easy and other things were just a pain in the butt.

We were lucky to not have anything big such as water leaks or rot anywhere in our camper so our project has been pretty easy!

We love how Ashlin was able to create a safe, welcoming space for her entire family. She included her young children as a part of the process!

What was the most intimidating thing before you got started?

The most difficult thing for me was my pallet wall.

Campers are held together by basically nothing and that’s something I wish I would’ve known before deciding I wanted a pallet wall!

What was the hardest part of the whole renovation?

I wouldn’t say the hardest part but the most annoying thing for me was painting my cabinets.

I’m not a good painter and I hated having to take everything apart.

Having to take the cabinets off and paint them was one of the more tedious parts of the project, but paid off as a budget-friendly and cheap way to transform Ashlin’s RV.

Would you do anything differently if you started it again?

I’d take more time with it for sure. But there hasn’t been anything that I’d change in it! Maybe my backsplash in my kitchen but that’s an easy fix!

What is your favorite part?

I love my pallet wall although it was the hardest thing to do it really brought it all together and made it more unique and us!

Any favorite materials that’d you’d recommend to someone who wanted to do it too?

I’d recommend not going overboard in “high end” products. It’s a camper! I used some cheap sheets to recover my dinette cushions!

Thank you Ashlin for sharing your family-friendly RV! We are a family with two little ones too, and creating a safe place to call “home” when you’re on the road is so important!

When you hit the road this summer, your hard work will really pay off!

If you want to follow Ashlin’s journey, check her out on Instagram at @littlemarie273. She has some stories featuring her camper renovation and you can follow along on their camping journeys.



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