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Amazing Fifth Wheel Remodel on a Shoestring Budget of $650

The profile of the traditional RV owner proves to be a moving target. More and more young people are tossing the traditional image of the “American Dream” aside. They are taking the house with the picket fence and trading it in for the simpler life in a RV. Without restriction of being stuck in any one place they are free from many of the perils of home ownership, including the cost. At times saving money means there may be some work involved. A great example is Josh and Carrie, an adventurous couple from Michigan who sacrificed the typical life full of “stuff” for a simpler life full of experiences that usually take a lifetime to capture.

Like many people, they were on a tight budget after downgrading from their 4 bedroom 2,500 square foot home to a 2006 Keystone Cougar 31′ 5th wheel travel trailer. They made the decision to live full time in the RV. Before they could really call it a home Josh and Carrie had an interior fifth wheel remodel to complete.


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They spent countless hours (Josh estimates 40 hours or more) on their fifth wheel remodel. They tore out flooring, window valences, a couch and other items that didn’t fit the vision of their future home on wheels. Carrie seemingly has a great eye for design as she was responsible for choosing the look for the finished interior. It was important to make it as comfortable as possible because Josh works from the RV and would require not only space to live but also to work.

Fifth Wheel Remodel Before and After Photos

Perhaps the most amazing part of this fifth wheel budget remodel story is the extremely tight budget they stuck to. The entire renovation tallied only $650 in materials which included vinyl flooring, paint, new couch, kitchen backsplash, and a few miscellaneous items.  The pictures and video certainly seem to show many more dollars in work. We suppose that is the benefit of being young. It gives you the ability to provide your own labor and elbow grease should your budget call for a fifth wheel remodel.

Fifth Wheel Remodel Video

This video is only 2:23 minutes long. It shows the removal of the interior and a much more thourough walkthrough of the before/after change.  If you like renovations, it is a fun one to watch.

We think Josh said it best “For us, a simpler life makes for a more enjoyable one.”  They are clearly a couple wise beyond their years. We know far too many folks who haven’t realized the benefits of simplicity late into their life! Many of us here at Do It Yourself RV included.

A huge thanks to Josh for sharing the fifth wheel remodel photos and story with us. We encourage you to follow Josh and Carrie on their adventure over at their personal blog.

12 thoughts on “Amazing Fifth Wheel Remodel on a Shoestring Budget of $650”

  1. I love the renovations!!! It has motivated me to renovate my 5th wheel. My hubby and I are selling our 2,600 sq. ft. house and downsizing to a 33 foot 5th wheel. The interior is nice for a trailer, but still too tacky for me. I am curious how you guys stuck to a strict budget? Do you guys have any advice for getting cheap supplies like laminate wood floor, paint, etc.? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. Hello Josh & Carrie
    We are 2 full timers living in our Elkridge Express 26 here in tHe UK and just wanted to say thank you for giving us the inspiration and kick we needed to make major changes to our trailer after 3 years! Because of your story i managed to persuade my husband Ged to agree to the changes so as i type he is priming the walls and woodwork, the valences are torn down, cheap blinds gone and the floor torn up. Its amazing and i’m now working on the furnishings and colour scheme!
    The very best of luck to you both and i’ll let you know how things progress…….
    Regards – Julie & Ged

  3. We looked for about 3-4 years to find the 5th wheel we wanted. Found it and with only one compromise….could have about 2-3 inches more between the bathroom sink and shower….that’s it. One day in the future we’ll change the carpet for flooring but good for now. We even have a king-size bed and walk-in cedar lined closet in our bedroom….still loving it after 4 years in it full time.

  4. I would suggest going to the RV company you bought yours from and asking them if it can be done. There are makes and models out there now that have doors in the slide but I don’t know what the ramifications would be to putting one in a slide.

  5. In all the years of looking at 5th wheels we didn’t find one that the sofa was bolted down. There may be some but never saw it. They are usually heavy enough they don’t move in travel.

  6. Great Job!!!

    What flooring type, color, brand did you use. We love it ❤️

    Also any advice? Would you use the same flooring again or something different?

  7. Love the renovation! I have a question in regards to the flooring. I noticed you replaced the flooring in the slide out area and there is some type of transition strip between the slide out area and the main floor. Was that transition strip already there (existing) underneath the carpet or did you have to install it? Any issues to with the slide out when retracting it back in over the main floor? Again, love your renovation and has inspired me to do the same…


  8. doese ony one know who can replace the window with a door in the slideout of a 5th wheel model3800 2013 san diego ca.

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