Camper van bunk bed ideas

Camper van bunk bed ideas DEFAULT

Want to create a unique van build but don’t know where to begin? First and foremost your van is where you sleep, so it makes sense to start with the bed! These campervan bed designs show creative and practical ideas for your van build.

Whether you’re looking for a permanent fixture, or something with more flexible storage we’ve got you covered with inspiration from the simple and practical to the unique.

While looking through these builds by other vanlifers, be sure to keep in mind the layout and surface area of your van build.

But don’t be too worried about making the perfect layout; If you find your needs change you can change your layout too!

There are two main types of bed designs: the platform bed, and the convertible bed. In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of each and discuss how to choose the best bed for your camper.

The Platform Bed

diy platform camper van bed design

Platform Beds

The platform bed is probably one of the most standard bed designs around, and the design we chose for our van build.

Platform beds have one dedicated bed space that stays in a fixed position. We like this type of bed because it’s always ready to go – no assembly required!

Fixed position beds leave lots of room for storage underneath; this area is known as the garage. You can fit bikes, clothes, water, camping refrigerators, or other adventure equipment.

The downside to fixed beds is that they don’t leave a lot of room for seating.

  • The bed is already assembled every night
  • Large storage area underneath

Keep overhead space in mind.

When we first started out van build, storage was our main concern, so we built the bed high to fit bicycles underneath.

Over time we’ve learned headspace was a greater concern for us and we ended up lowering the bed at least 9 inches.

We were able to purchase pre-made slats from Ikea for some extra spring cushion below our mattress. We also chose to bought a 5″ memory foam mattress (queen size) to place on top.

Nomad Vanz vehicle with flares installed.

Adding Flares

Most vans will only fit a queen or full-sized mattress running length-wise which means you lose a lot of space within the vehicle.

Dodge ProMaster vans are the exception to this because they are wide enough to fit a mattress in any direction without cutting it down.

Flares are fiberglass panels that can widen the useable space in your van. They can be added to a Sprinter, ProMaster, Transit and Nissan NV.

With flares, you can install your mattress width-wise and gain a few feet of useable space. They are not cheap and require professional installation.

Another downside is that you won’t be able to insulate well where the flares are installed.

Standard Mattress Sizes

Mattress TypeDimensions (inches)Dimensions (centimeters)
King76 x 80194 x 204
Cal King72 x 84183 x 214
Queen60 x 80153 x 204
Full XL53 x 80135 x 204
Full53 x 75135 x 191
Twin XL38 x 8097 x 204
Twin38 x 7597 x 191

RV mattresses have unique sizes including short-queen and RV bunk. You can also purchase toppers that are sized to fit accordingly.

Convertible Beds

Convertible beds fold up when they’re not being used to leave room for dinettes, sofas, or large pieces of adventure equipment.

These types of beds are convenient if you need a comfortable workspace, or if you want to host more than two people in your van.

The downside to convertible beds is that they take some assembly time.

These types of beds are also inconvenient if you’re sleeping schedule is not on par with your partner.

  • Leaves room for a workspace
  • Great for entertaining

The Table Bed

telescoping table top and bed design ideas in a diy camper van conversion buildtelescoping table base design for a table and bed in a diy camper van conversion build

We’ve seen this design a lot, and it’s certainly a good way to get the most out of what little space there is in a van.

This type of bed design allows for the dual purpose of both a bench cushion and a sleeping spot. @saraandalexjames use this design in their 2008 Dodge Sprinter.

It allows them ample room to work on the road as well as stay comfortable at night.

Wanna make this? Read our post on which mattress to get and how to cut it!

The Flip Bench Bed Design

flip bed design for camper van conversion design

This is the first time we’ve come across this design. @jakeheard and @dannyogrds built a bench that flips open into this cool single bed design.

All it needs are some cushions and it’s good to go! This bench would make a great space saver for someone who also needs an area to sit straight up on the road.

Slide Platform Bed

diy platform bed design that swings out in a campervan conversion build
diy platform bed design in a camper conversion for living in a van

One of the more unique designs we’ve seen is this slide out platform bed by @surftripping. During travel, the bed can be pushed flush against the back wall.

Once you find a cool place to park, the whole platform can be slid out so you can hang out in the sunlight and sleep under the stars.

Bunk Bed

Van interior bed design that fits three people

@fitetravels is a family of three that needs space for everyone to sleep as they adventure in their Ford Transit.

They’ve come up with an interesting way to fit all three beds in a van without it feeling too overcrowded.

The bunk bed system hangs from the ceiling and has a little ladder to climb up at night.

Murphy Bed

custom murphy bed design in a diy campervan conversion buildcustom built murphy bed design in a camper van conversion for van life

If you are into construction, this murphy bed by @rydawell might be perfect for you! This is one of the cleanest and most organized builds we’ve come across.

It leaves an insane amount of space to fit bikes, surf boards or anything else you could ever want to travel with!

Drawbridge-Style Bed

drawbridge style convertible bed in a campervan conversion

Beds with a drawbridge style mattress close to one side similar to a murphy bed but the mattress folds like an accordion instead of staying flat.

These types of beds take up less room than the murphy style, but they are more inconvenient to assemble.

Couch Bed

custom diy camper van conversion bed designcamper van conversion bed design that folds from a table to a bed

The couch bed is a common solution for van lifers. There are a number of different ways a couch bed can be built. @dont_know_road used benches that fold down to hold cushions in place whether you feel like sitting up or laying down.

We also love the bedsheets!

Slider Bed

building a slider bed design into a custom diy campervan conversion build

Another common technique is the slider bed. This one by @heytess_ shows how you can push in the slats, and lift up the back to create seating.

Slider beds make for a good multi-purpose solution when it comes to building out a van.

Custom Shaped Bed

Not everyone needs a perfect square bed, sometimes a different shape will give you the biggest bang for your buck. @a_hiace_called_home built an L-shaped bed to serve as both a permanent fixture, and a sleeping spot for two people.

Custom Shapes: Learn how to cut a memory foam mattress in this post

Bed Bench Seats

One of our favorite van builders Nomad Vanz designs these custom seats that can fold down into a bed.

With this seating design, you can comfortably fit four people sleeping inside the camper at once!

Drop Down Bed Systems

If you scour YouTube there are a number of people who have designed custom drop-down bed systems.

These are a hybrid design between a platform bed and a convertible one. This design by Brian Rogers uses lift supports to raise and lower the bed from the ceiling.

Skip The Bed

If construction is not your thing, don’t be discouraged! Simply throwing a mattress or ground pad on the floor along with a sleeping bag will work nicely.

Not all vans need to be fully constructed, and using less wood will save on weight helping gas mileage in the long run.

Hammock

With a minimal living situation, one option is to string a hammock across the inside of the vehicle. This is a perfectly reasonable solution if you enjoy the sleeping style of a hammock at night.

What Are Some Good Mattress Choices For Camper Conversion?

Choose a mattress based on your available space and comfort level. We like the gel-infused memory foam because they are slim, breathable, and easy to cut. Listed below are a few popular size options.

Folding Mattresses for Camping

You can also purchase mattresses that already have pre-folds included. These are good for creating bench seats or drawbridge-style beds.

Continue Reading:

Eternal Flame In NY

Kate Moore

Kate is the lead content creator for ParkedInParadise.com and has spent over two years living in a camper van conversion. She has traveled through 48 US states and writes about van life, camping and RV living.

Sours: https://www.parkedinparadise.com/campervan-bed-design/

10 Campervan Bed Ideas to Kickstart Your Conversion

Building out your own campervan means you’ll have to make big decisions. One of those being your campervan bed design.

There are so many types of beds for a campervan it can be overwhelming. There are panel beds, convertible beds, slider beds, flip-out benches, platform van beds and drop-down table beds.

In this post, we’ll give you a bunch of campervan bed ideas so you can decide which design is just right for your layout.

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Tips to get you started with your van bed conversion

Start your van interior layout plan with the bed

Your campervan bed is the item that will take up the most space, so it will give you an idea of how much living space you have left once it’s in place. 

Make sure you can fully lie down

Be sure you can stretch out completely in the space you mean to use as a campervan bed for taking measurements. Test it (make sure to use a pillow) to make sure there’s enough space and don’t forget to account for insulation and sound-proofing, which can take up to a couple of inches off the walls.

Back of a campervan open to see campervan bed design

Take headspace into account

Will you be OK sliding or crawling into your van bed? Do you want to be able to sit up and read or are you OK lying down all the time?

Permanent or non-permanent?

Think about how you’ll be using your van and how often. Is it realistic to go for a non-permanent design, a bed that you need to make every night

How handy are you?

If you’re doing your own DIY conversion, bear in mind that some campervan bed ideas are more complicated to build than others. Look at the building plans before committing to a specific design.

Find van lifers who have used the bed design you like and ask them what they like and dislike about it and if they’d do anything differently if they were to build it again.

Ask around for common professional conversions issues.

Will you be using a campervan conversion company? Try to get in touch with some of their clients to take a look at their van and ask them about any problems with their conversion. Was the money worth it? This will help you get some campervan bed ideas for your own rig.

10 campervan bed ideas to kickstart your van conversion

Now that you have an idea of where the bed should go and whether it needs to be permanent or non-permanent, it’s time to look at the best campervan bed ideas out there.

1) Permanent elevated platform van bed

Bright blue campervan bed design with garage underneath

This elevated bed platform on a RAM ProMaster by Wayfarer Vans offers plenty of storage space and a slider table.

Pros:

  • Permanent
  • Storage under the bed
  • You can sleep or relax with back doors open
  • Extend bedroom into awning/tent

Cons:

  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Have to climb over other person

A permanent elevated campervan bed one of the most common van bed designs – it’s essentially a wooden frame that sits at the back of the interior at varying heights. You can build the bed quite high up, so that the back of the van acts like a garage to store ample gear.

Or you can place it low down to enjoy more headroom and use the storage underneath for drawers and a sliding table. The Moab elevator bed goes up and down to various heights depending on what you need.

This bed design is great for wide campervans like Dodge Promasters where you can sleep across the van.

Narrower vans require a longer platform to provide full lying space, which means they take up more room. However, Flarespace flares add width to your van with a fiberglass bumpout so you can sleep sideways.

If you want to buy a premade platform bed, check out these companies:

2) Drop-down table campervan bed idea

A table set with plates and cups that drops down into a campervan bed

The table on this Pro Master City Bench Seat Cargo van by Contravans folds down to create a bed.

Pros:

  • Saves space by merging dinette with a bed
  • Quick and easy to set up

Cons:

  • Have to make bed every night
  • Gap between cushions can be uncomfortable
  • Can’t have both a bed and dinette at the same time

Another classic van bed design is the dinette drop-down table bed. It’s practical and space-efficient.

The table is either mounted to a wall or on an adjustable leg and pedestal.

The shape and size match that of the free space near the couch, so you can drop it down to create a bed. The couch cushions drop down to create a sleeping platform.

Best Bedding for a Van Bed
Slumber Cloud Bedding

Slumber Cloud offers innovative bedding that helps regulate your body temperature while you sleep. As your skin temperature increases, the material absorbs the heat and releases it when your skin temperature drops. Great for warm summer nights in a campervan!

Slumber Cloud Bedding

3) Couch slider bed for your campervan bed design

This campervan bed is made of sliding slats that make a couch and a bed.

This stunning slider bed is made by The Ply Guys.

Pros:

  • Saves space by merging couch with a bed
  • Quick and easy to set up

Cons:

  • Have to make bed every night

The couch slider bed (or pull-out bed) is essentially a couch extension. How do you achieve this design?

You extend a couch by installing sliding slats. You can mount the couch at the rear of the van or against a side wall, depending on your van’s dimensions.

This campervan bed idea is perfect if you value living space more than having a permanent bed set up. The sliding slats make it super easy and quick to make up your bed at night.

Remember to install a lock for the slats, so they don’t slide around while you’re driving.

4) Joint bench twin campervan beds

Two benches on either side can be folded down to make a campervan folding bed.
  • the twin beds folded down to make a larger campervan bed

This Sportsmobile T45DYO features twin beds that can be joined.

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Quick and easy to set up

Cons:

  • Can’t store gear underneath

Do you use your campervan in a variety of situations? Then the joint bench twin beds is an excellent campervan bed design that adapts to different adventures, because you can use them as two single beds or turn them into a big double bed.

This particular van bed design is made up of two benches, mounted one on each side wall. When it’s time to sleep for the night, you simply slide these beds together to make one larger bed.

In other designs, you’d use a wooden panel to fill in the space between the twin beds, or a lifting table.

5) Flip-out bench campervan folding bed

Pros:

  • Space efficient
  • Quick and easy to set up

Cons:

  • Have to make the bed every night
  • You may have to store the extra cushion
  • Not much storage space

If you need maximum space efficiency, you may want to go for a flip-out bench. This campervan folding bed is a wooden bench with a wooden platform featuring a backrest mounted and hinged to one side. The platform flips out and the backrest serves as legs.

When the bench is closed, you can use it as a couch and when it’s time to go to sleep, you flip it open to create a decent size bed.

💡 Need help DIYing your campervan? Check out the Sprinter RV Conversion Sourcebook, which can be applied to any van build. You’ll find 378-pages of diagrams, photos and how-tos to build your best van!

6) Bunk beds as a campervan bed idea

This campervan has four bunk beds allowing multiple people to sleep in one van!

Pros:

  • Space efficient
  • Can be permanent
  • Good for families

Cons:

  • Less storage space
  • Not as cozy for a couple

Are you traveling with a friend or with kids? Then bunk beds are a great way to fit more than one bed in a campervan.

You can either have a single bunk bed on top of a platform bed, or you can have two single bunk beds on top of each other. The second design can work both on a side wall and at the rear of the vehicle.

No need to store a ladder either: just build a permanent wooden one that sits vertically on one side of the bunk bed.

This is one of those campervan bed ideas you may not have considered!

7) Murphy bed campervan bed

This conversion van's bed idea was the Murphy bed.

Pros:

  • Space efficient
  • Can be permanent
  • You can store large gear with the bed up

Cons:

  • Lose space for lockers and shelves

The ultimate way to save space on a campervan conversion is the murphy bed. The bed platform rests on a side wall and folds down when it’s in use.

If you allow for enough space between the platform and the side wall, you can leave the mattress, covers and pillows sandwiched between them. You could even use the murphy design for two bunk beds.

Beware: to make this design work for a double bed, you need a fairly big campervan.

8. Sleep sideways with Flarespace flares

Flarespace bumpouts to sleep sideways in a campervan

Flarespace flares add fiberglass bumpouts to the sides of your van, allowing you to sleep sideways in vans like the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster, Ford E-Series and the Nissan NV.

This shores up a lot more room inside your van for living space – you’ll have more room for your kitchen and daytime seating areas. 

You can either install the flares yourself or hire a professional installer to put them in. You can even contact a local body shop to cut the holes, install the flares and paint match the flares to your vehicle.

Once the flares are installed, you can add one of Flarespace’s bed systems – either the Bed System 2.0 or the Super Flyweight Anti-Gravity Bed Panel System. You can also just build and install your own bed.

Click here to check out the Flarespace flares

9. Buy a premade van bed

Panel bed for a campervan

Another campervan bed idea is to buy a bed from a company and then either install it yourself or hire out the install.

There are several companies out there that sell stand-alone beds. Here are some to check out:

10) Travois Seat Beds for Campervans

We were recently at the Adventure Van Expo in Hood River, Oregon when we saw these really cool Travois seat folding beds for larger campervans.

These are great as you can travel with more people – like kids – and just lie the seat down flat to create a bed at night.

These European-made seats are highway approved and crash tested to both North American and European standards. A great way to add extra seating and a bed to your van!

Don’t have a huge budget for a van? Check out our 8 favorite affordable campervans

The best mattresses for a van bed

Once you’ve picked the best campervan bed design for your vehicle, you can start looking at the best campervan mattresses. First you need to carefully measure the bed space and, if applicable, the flip-out or slider. Then you need to decide what kind of mattress to use.

For a permanent campervan bed, we recommend a memory foam mattress for comfort. Choose whatever size is closest to your bed platform measurements and then cut the foam to make it fit the exact shape of your van. You can easily do this yourself at home.

For a slider or flip-out bed, try to fit a ready-made folding mattress that can function as a sofa or bed.

For a drop-down table bed, we’d recommend buying memory foam pieces and cut them to your dinette’s shape. Once they’re fitted, you’ll need to upholster them with some nice fabric.

Here’s our top recommendations for permanent van bed mattresses:

ZINUS 8 Inch Memory Foam Mattress

Many van lifers love the Zinus brand of memory foam mattresses for their campervan bed design. You can pick from a variety of thicknesses on Amazon. Zinus mattresses are easy to cut to size with an electric turkey carving knife.

ZINUS 8 Inch Memory Foam Mattress
Best for Non-Permanent Van Beds
Folding Mattress

This 6" tri-fold memory foam mattress is good if you have a non-permanent campervan bed. It easily folds up and goes into "couch position" to use in your van during the day. We love that this mattress is convertible and easy to set up in your campervan.

Folding Mattress
Best Natural Latex Mattress
Pure Green Organic Latex Mattress

We love this super comfy mattress and think it’d make an excellent choice for the best campervan mattress. The Pure Green is filled with 100% organic latex foam, and the quilted cover is made from organic cotton and certified organic New Zealand wool. These are more expensive than memory-foam mattresses.

Pure Green Organic Latex Mattress
10-inch Futon Mattress

The Trupedic Futon mattress is 8” thick, and provides medium firmness, so a wide range of vans lifers will find it comfortable. The middle layer of this campervan mattress is composed of foam, wrapped in cotton layers, and the cover is lace-tufted fabric that gives it a sofa-like appearance that we think is really cool. Plus, it can fold into a sitting area for day time hanging out.

10-inch Futon Mattress
Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

Using a 3" camping pad is a really easy way to set up a campervan mattress. Great for a single person or if you're two using a really small van. During the day, you can roll up and store camping pads to make more room in your van for daytime hanging.

Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

Need help building out your campervan?

woman standing in the door of a campervan

My friends Kate and Ben over at TwoWanderingSoles.com have an in-depth course called Van Conversion Academy, on how to build a van from scratch. They’ve built TWO campervans on their own and know what they’re talking about when it comes to a van conversion.

Van Conversion Academy has videos, written instructions, tools lists, blueprints and more. Plus, there’s a private Facebook group where you can ask any question you like. 

Just think of the course as friends giving you instructions and walking you through every step of a van build. I’ve found this course really helpful myself and highly recommend it.

Click here to learn more about Van Conversion Academy and start building!

Conclusion on the best campervan bed ideas

Ready to pull the trigger and get that campervan bed built? There are lots of cool designs and creative ways to install a bed on a van. We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of conversion van bed ideas!

Whatever layout you choose, make sure it’s one that suits you and your needs, as well as the size of your vehicle. 

Other posts you might like:

Build A Van

Sours: https://www.thewaywardhome.com/campervan-bed-ideas/
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Are you designing your campervan bed and need some inspiration? Well, come and rest your head here. We’re sharing all the bed layouts possible in a van and considerations such as price, space, and comfort. Get your campervan bed ideas here!

Campervan Bed

Imagine waking up in the middle of the forest. You open your van door to glimpse the mountains in the distance. The early morning air is crisp and you can see your breath, but it doesn’t bother you.

You simply snuggle up on your bed with a cozy blanket and a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and take in this moment.

This is the ultimate #vanlife dream, is it not?!

Now, hop back into that fantasy and think about the bed you’re laying in… What does it look like? Is it comfortable? Which direction are you facing? Does it also transform into a couch? Or is it always in bed mode?

These may sound like insignificant questions, but I promise you figuring out your campervan bed design is a very important step of your build.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through different types of campervan bed designs as well as the pros and cons to each so you can decide what type of bed is best for your layout. We’ll also share some tips for building out your campervan bed as well as ideas for inspiration!

The sooner you make this decision, the sooner you’ll be snuggled up in your super cozy campervan bed with a mug of tea (or a glass of wine!). So let’s jump right in!

#Vanlife+Jumpstart+Toolkit+_+Two+Wandering+Soles

Types of Campervan Beds

Campervan Bed

Essentially all campervan beds will fit into one of two categories:

Fixed Beds vs. Convertible Beds

  • Fixed Bed: Always in “bed mode”

  • Convertible (or non-fixed) Bed: Switches from daytime seating to a bed

Choosing between these two will make a huge (and I mean HUGE!) impact on your overall campervan layout. It is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make throughout the build process and it will definitely shape your overall design.

Bed design is a polarizing topic. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on which type of bed is best, and truthfully, it’s a pretty personal decision.

Both fixed and convertible beds have pros and cons. We had a fixed bed in our first campervan build and now we have a convertible bed. We’re going to share exactly what we loved (and hated!) about each design so you know what to expect.

In this article, we’ll walk you through all the things to consider when choosing a bed design for your campervan. And pay close attention because the layout you think you want right now might not actually be the most practical for you. We changed our minds throughout our build process, so we want to help you make this (kind of difficult!) decision.

First, let’s start with the pros and cons of each bed design…

Fixed Bed

Campervan Bed

This design will always be in “bed mode”.

Pros of a fixed bed

  • You won’t have to break down your bed each morning or put it together at night.

  • The overall design and build can be simpler than a convertible bed.

  • You will have a large storage space under your bed that can be accessed from the rear of the van. Lots of people call this a “garage” space! It’s perfect if you are planning to travel with lots of gear (bikes, skis/snowboards, climbing gear, etc.)

Related: Check out our campervan storage article next to find creative storage solutions for your van build.

Cons of a fixed bed

  • It takes up more space in your design, so you’ll need to also allocate space to sit when you’re not in bed. This is especially important to consider if you plan to work from the road.

  • This design may be tricky to implement in smaller vehicles.

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Convertible Bed

Campervan Bed

A non-fixed, or convertible, bed will need to be set up at night and taken down in the morning. You can choose from different layouts, like benches or a futon style couch-to-bed design.

Pros of a convertible bed

  • You’ll have a large space for sitting, hanging out, eating and working when your bed is not made.

  • This design works well in smaller vehicles.

Cons of a convertible bed

  • You won’t have as much storage space underneath the bed. (This shouldn’t be a big problem if you’re not planning to bring a lot of gear.)

  • You will have to break down your bed each morning and make it up each night.

  • Building a non-fixed bed is slightly more complex.

Types of convertible beds

With a fixed bed, there’s not a ton to think about when it comes to the design. However, with a convertible bed, there are different options to choose from:

  • 2 Benches: The table drops down and the seat and back cushions of the benches slide next to each other to form the bed.

  • U-Bench (pictured above): Similar to the 2 Bench design, but there is a seat in the back between the two benches. When making the bed, the U-seat cushion is stored away, table drops down, and the bench cushions form the bed.

  • Rock & Roll Bed: Like a futon couch that converts into a flat bed.

  • Murphy Bed: Hidden away against a wall, this bed is stored vertically during the day and hinges down for night mode.

Which is better: Fixed bed or Convertible bed?

Campervan Bed

In short: Both types of beds are good for different reasons. Choosing the best design for you depends on the size of your vehicle and your priorities (more sitting space vs. more storage space).

Before finalizing your design, we’d recommend imagining a day in your van. Picture what each part of your day will look like:

  • Where will you eat?

  • Where will you work?

  • Where will you relax?

  • How will you make your bed?

  • What will you do if it’s a rainy day?

Walk yourself through the day and see how it feels. That should give you either the confidence to go ahead with your design, or the motivation to make some changes.

Psst! Check out these campervan conversion ideas to get inspiration for your dream van build.

Our honest thoughts

We’ve had both a fixed bed and a convertible bed, and we liked each for different reasons.

The fixed bed is more simple & creates more storage, but we love the extra space that our convertible bed has given us when it is not in “bed mode”.

Before we bought our van for our second build, we really, really wanted to have a fixed bed again. 

However, as we started putting our design onto paper, we realized that with a fixed bed, there would be barely enough space for each of us to sit inside the van. Being that we work on our computers (as full-time travel bloggers), this was worrisome.

Plus, the thought of one of us needing to sit on the bed during dinner felt sort of strange. And what would we do during a big rainstorm if we both couldn’t sit?

While we were a bit apprehensive about doing a convertible bed, we’ve found it works really well with our smaller vehicle and only takes 3 minutes to set up and break down (yes, we timed it!). Plus, it’s way comfier than we imagined it would be. We have slept in longer than we’d like to on more than one occasion!

That said, we did love the simplicity of our fixed bed in our first build, so if you have a larger vehicle, it can work really well.

Building a fixed bed on a small budget? Let us help! We have a step-by-step tutorial to walk you through exactly how to build a cheap campervan bed.

Still confused?

Fixed bed is for you if…

  • You have a larger van model

  • You have a lot of outdoor gear you’ll be storing inside your van

  • You don’t need a ton of space for sitting inside your van

Non-fixed bed is for you if…

  • You won’t mind making the bed each day

  • You don’t have a ton of large equipment you’ll need to store

  • You will be working inside your van or will want extra space to hang out inside the van

Related: Check out this article next for ideas to help you plan your ideal campervan kitchen.

Campervan Bed Orientation

Campervan Bed

Now that you’ve decided between a fixed and a non-fixed bed, there’s another big thing to consider… 

Which direction will you sleep?

  • Will you sleep lengthwise, with your head at the rear and your feet facing the front of the vehicle?

  • Or will you sleep widthwise, with your head at one wall and your feet at the other wall?

Some factors to consider are:

  • Your height: Anyone over 6’0” tall will not be able to fully stretch out widthwise in a vehicle.

  • The width of your vehicle: Get those measurements! And don’t forget to account for a few inches on either side for the insulation and wall. Dodge Promasters are the widest cargo vans on the market, at 75.6” wide (without insulation and walls).

  • How do you prefer to sleep? Are you someone who prefers to sleep on your side, slightly curled, or do you need to spread yourself out? Everyone is different when it comes to sleep, and you’re really the only one who can decide what’s best for you.

In our experience, we’ve slept widthwise in both of our vehicles because they have both been on the smaller side. Sleeping lengthwise would have meant we had far less room for the rest of our layout.

For reference, Katie is 5’4” and can completely stretch out. Ben is 6’1” and must either sleep a bit diagonally on the mattress or curl up a little on his side (which is his preferred way of sleeping!).

In all honesty, this layout has worked really well for us, and Ben repeatedly assures me he sleeps like a baby in the van. However, some people may not sleep comfortably unless totally stretched out, so this is completely a personal preference.

If you’re tall and you want to sleep widthwise, there is a company called Flarespace that makes “bump out” section panels. These flares give you a few extra inches and allow you to sleep widthwise. It would be especially helpful in a Sprinter van since they are so narrow. The only downfall is they are a little expensive, but could be worth it if you have the budget.

How to choose a Campervan Mattress

This was our first campervan bed, and we used a regular (spring) mattress that a friend was getting rid of, which barely fit inside our van. We used sheets and blankets we already had, and found pillows at a thrift store. It was a very inexpensive way to make a DIY campervan bed!

Picking out your campervan mattress is a pretty big decision. It’s what you’ll be sleeping on each night, and you’ll want to choose something that is going to be comfortable and will last a long time.

The type of mattress you choose as well as the size are going to be determined by:

  • your bed layout (fixed vs. convertible bed)

  • the size of your vehicle

  • your budget

Important note: We’d recommend you decide your bed design and orientation BEFORE choosing your mattress. The reason for this is your bed design and orientation can drastically change what size mattress you need.

Psst! Want to save yourself the headaches and hours of research we went through and get straight to building the campervan of your dreams?? Click below to learn more about Van Conversion Academy.

Van Conversion Academy | Two Wandering Soles

Campervan mattress examples

Being that we’ve had both a fixed and non-fixed bed, we’ll share what type of mattress we chose for each.

Fixed Bed

In our first van build, we used a full-sized mattress that a friend was getting rid of. The price (free!) was perfect for our tiny budget, so we made it work with our design (something similar to this mattress). The mattress had to really be squeezed in there (it was scrunched up on the edges and was a pain to change the fitted sheets).

Convertible Bed

For our second build, we knew we needed a foam mattress (without springs), so we had to purchase one.

We bought a 6-inch mattress with a memory foam layer at the top, and it was pretty affordable! (More on the specifics below.)

If you’re looking for more campervan bed options, check out the bottom of this article for more ideas.

Get bed measurements

Now that you know what type of bed you’d like as well as the orientation, the best step is to get measurements.

  • Fixed bed: If you are doing a fixed bed, this will be simple: length by width.

  • Non-fixed bed: However, if you are doing a convertible bed, you’ll need to get measurements of your cushions in “bed mode” (length by width) as well as each individual cushion.

Think about mattress height

Be sure to consider the height of your ideal mattress. While many mattresses made for traditional bed frames come in a standard 12-inch height, that may not be ideal for your campervan, especially if you’re going to do a convertible bed.

Why? Your benches are going to serve as storage, and trust me when I say you will want them as tall as possible to maximize the space inside. If you plan to sit on the benches to eat or work, you’ll want your feet to touch the ground (you don’t want your feet just dangling there!). The higher the mattress, the shorter your bench will need to be.

We purchased a 6-inch mattress which we turned into cushions, and it is perfectly comfortable to sleep and sit on.

Will you need to cut the mattress?

If you’ve decided on a fixed bed design, you may not need to cut your mattress at all. In that case, you may be able to get away with a spring mattress or even a futon mattress.

If you’re planning to create a non-fixed bed that converts from a couch to bed mode, you’ll need to cut each cushion to size with an electric knife. Think about how many cuts you’ll need to make and be sure you are selecting a mattress with the correct dimensions.

Can you use a mattress you already have?

Maybe.

It depends on what type and size of mattress you have laying around as well as what bed layout you’ve chosen.

Our personal recommendation

If you are planning to cut your mattress into cushions (like we did), we would personally recommend a foam mattress that is around 6 inches in height.

This is the mattress we chose, and we’re very happy with it. It has a top layer of gel-infused memory foam, and is very comfortable (so comfy in fact, we sometimes have a hard time getting out of bed!).

The price has increased since the time we purchased it, but it is still relatively affordable. It was easy to work with (aka cut into pieces, which we gave to our upholsterer). But if you want to shop around to find the right campervan mattress for yourself, you could start here:

More Campervan Mattress options

How to turn your mattress into a convertible bed

Same spot…
…different set up.

Depending on the exact design you choose for your campervan bed, the steps may vary a bit. We’re sharing how we made our convertible campervan bed, and we hope it’s helpful as you start to design your own.

1. Measure and cut the mattress into pieces

We cut the mattress into 5 pieces:

  • 2 seat cushions

  • 2 back cushions

  • 1 square section that creates a “U-shape” with our benches (we do not use this piece when we sleep at night)

We had a small amount of leftover foam that our upholsterer kindly turned into a tiny “neck pillow” for us.

Insider Tip: We used an electric knife (like the kind you carve a turkey with!) to cut our foam and it worked really well. The woman who did our upholstery let us borrow hers, so if you’re working with an upholsterer, it couldn’t hurt to ask!

2. Upholster

Pick an upholstery fabric. We purchased some online from Joann Fabrics (using coupons! They always have coupons) and were very happy with it.

We found a local woman who does upholstery through a Facebook group in our town. She did an excellent job and made our cushions much more professional (with cording and zippered pockets) than I ever could have. She charged $300 for the entire project.

If you are good at sewing, you can try to do it yourself to save a bit of money.

3. Couch Mode to Bed Mode

You will likely need a table (or piece of wood) that fits right between your benches to create a platform. Scoot your bench cushions to the center and your back cushions to the edges. Put a fitted sheet over it all, and you’re ready for bed!

Insider Tip: We’d recommend rotating how your arrange the cushions every once in a while so you don’t start to wear them down by sleeping on them in the same exact position each night.

How much does a campervan bed cost?

Convertible Campervan Bed Example

As with most projects in a campervan build, the cost to make a bed will depend on your setup. A fixed bed will almost always cost less than a convertible bed simply because there are fewer parts and considerations.

For instance, in our budget campervan build a few years ago (van called “Vinny”), assembling our bed platform costs just $35! Check out our instructions on how to build that fixed bed platform. We were fortunate enough to get our mattress for free from a friend and our bedding was from our apartment.

In our new higher-end build (van called “Pearl”), the convertible bed cost significantly more because we accounted for the more lumber to create our U-bench, table, table arm, foam mattress, upholstering, and nicer bedding. We break everything down in our campervan cost article.

Campervan Bed Accessories

Campervan Bed

A good night’s sleep is priceless. And honestly, it’s worth a spending a bit of cash if you’ll wake up well-rested. We’re sharing a few of our favorite items as well as some of our “secret weapons” for winding down at night and falling asleep more peacefully,

Cozy blanket

A cozy blanket can take your campervan bed from meh to marvelous. We have one that’s pretty unremarkable except for the fact that it is so.damn.soft. I love snuggling up with it at night. And in the morning. And sometimes in the afternoon. Depending on your needs, you might want to consider a “fancier” blanket:

  • Weighted blanket: For a little extra comfort and warmth, a weighted blanket can help reduce anxiety too.

  • Heated blanket: If you’re traveling in the colder months of the year, you’ll want to be sure to have a plan for staying warm at night. A heated blanket can be a good option, but be sure to get a blanket that’s meant for a vehicle (aka it has a 12V plug) so it doesn’t suck up a ton of energy.

High-quality pillow

Sometimes a good night’s sleep comes down to what you’re resting your head on. Spending a bit more money for a high-quality pillow can make a huge difference in making your campervan bed feel more like “home” and less like you’re sleeping in a vehicle.

Pillows are pretty personal, and you likely know what you prefer — plush and supportive or very soft and flat. If you’re a bit unsure, try browsing your options and comparing reviews.

  • Silk pillowcase: Turn your campervan bed into a spa-like oasis with a silk pillowcase. They’re said to prevent hair breakage and wrinkles, but we think they’re just plain comfortable.

  • Cute throw pillows: While not necessary, cute throw pillows will make your space feel 100 times more cozy and homey. I promise. And the good news is you can find them for cheap at thrift stores or places like TJMaxx or Target. Plus, they’re pretty easy to make if you have a sewing machine and a bit of patience.

Curtains and/or Window Coverings

This one is huge, so pay attention. You will definitely want some way to fully cover your windows at night for a few reasons:

  • a) Privacy: it can feel like you’re in a fishbowl if you don’t have a way to cover your windows

  • b) Keeping out light: Whether you’re in a campground or stealth camping on a residential street, you’ll likely want to block out lights before going to bed. Even a full moon can make it difficult to get some shut eye unless you have good window coverings.

  • c) Insulation: If you choose an insulated window covering, it will help regulate the temperature inside your van, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Score!

We’d recommend getting or making insulated window coverings, as they will block out the most light and help you regulate the temperature inside your van.

Our friends at Moohah Creatives have some of the coolest designs we’ve seen for window coverings, and they are magnetic so they’re easy to put up and take down. Best of all, the fabrics they use are ethically-sourced. And purchasing from them supports a small family business (complete with two adorable girls who are a big part of the company!).

DISCOUNT! If you purchase through Moohah, we even have an exclusive discount code just for you. Use the discount code WANDERINGSOLES at checkout to get 10% off your total purchase.

However, if you’re on a budget and don’t see yourself getting top-notch coverings, we’ve got a tutorial that walks you through how to make super simple DIY curtains. I used sheets bought at a thrift store, so the entire project was super cheap!

Eye mask & ear plugs

I don’t like sleeping with these unless I have to. But there have been a handful of times I’ve been seriously happy to have them stashed in our van — especially while urban camping.

DIY Lavender Spray

One whiff of lavender and I automatically become more calm. Anyone else? At night, I’ve gotten into a habit of spritzing my sheets and pillow with a little mix I make of water and a few drops of lavender essential oil. It just makes nighttime feel more… peaceful. And after doing this for a while, my mind knows that when I smell lavender, it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.

Just find a small spray bottle (I like to reuse ones that I’d otherwise throw away), and fill it with water. Add 10 drops of lavender oil (or whichever essential oil you prefer). And now you’re ready to spritz!

Melatonin

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may want to consider trying this all-natural sleep aid. My mind tends to race at night, but taking one of these when I’m having trouble winding down really seems to help. They’re drug-free and non-addictive, so it’s worth giving it a try.

Calm Sleep Stories

We’re huge fans of the Calm app for its guided meditations, but recently, we discovered the app’s “sleep stories”, and we’re hooked! Essentially, someone with a very nice voice — think Matthew McConaughey or Idris Elba — reads you a bedtime story. There are tons to choose from and it’s truly blissful, especially on nights when you’re having a hard time falling asleep.

Insider Tip: Our personal favorite is the “Nordland Train” story!

Campervan Shop | Two Wandering Soles

Campervan Bed Ideas

While we’ve simplified this into fixed bed vs. convertible, there are a few different types of layouts you can choose from.

We’re sharing some really cool campervan bed ideas to give you a little inspiration as you brainstorm your van layout We’re even sharing a few design ideas for those who have kiddos!

Convertible Dinette Bed

In “bed mode”…
…and in “couch mode”! Same space, but 2 very different set ups!

This popular bed design has been used for decades in small spaces such as boats and motor homes so it makes perfect sense to use it in a campervan as well. By adjusting the height of the table and pushing the cushions together, it creates a sleeping space for two where there once was a seating area around a table. 

Who’s it for: People who need table space for working, want to have space for hosting guests, or prefer to sit around a table instead of sitting on their bed during the day.

Why we like it: This type of bed is an efficient use of space as there is ample storage beneath the benches and you can fit multiple people around the table. Plus, the dual use of space means you’ll have extra room elsewhere in your van for other features or storage needs.

Pull-out Bed

Campervan Bed image by @rebeccamorony

One of the least complicated non-fixed bed option is the pull-out style — kind of like a futon. It is very easy to create (there are tons of tutorials for this type of bed on YouTube) and don’t require any special materials.

Just like a pull-out couch, when it’s in “day” mode, it looks just like bench seating in your van, and when you convert it to “night” mode by pulling out the bed structure and adjusting the cushions, you have a bed for two. 

Who’s it for: People who want designated seating space during the day and don’t mind doing the quick conversion every morning and night. 

Why we like it: By fixing a pull-down table to the opposite wall, you have an easy DIY dining/working area with comfortable seating during the day, and you still have plenty of under-bed storage on one side. 

The Bed Lift

Campervan Bed Lift image by @tothemountainsnback
Campervan Bed Lift image by @tothemountainsnback

Probably one of the most high-tech campervan beds we’ve ever seen! This standard full-sized mattress sits on a platform that can be lifted and lowered at the flip of a switch by a mechanical lift (just check out the video from the Instagram post above!).

This allows you to have a seating area and a fixed bed, with no daily converting. However, there are some limitations and a lift like this costs a lot of money. 

Who’s it for: People who want designated seating space during the day and don’t want the added work of converting the bed every morning and night. Oh, and they have a big budget to work with!

Why we like it: This is a fun high-tech addition to your van build for someone who doesn’t have concerns about budget and is up for the challenge of installing it. Having your bed on a lift makes it feel like you have a separate bedroom and living room, even though they are technically all in the same square footage.   

The Murphy Bed

Campervan Beds: Murphy bed | Image source: rydawell.com
Campervan Beds: Murphy bed | Image source: rydawell.com

This is a unique way to have a fixed bed in your campervan, but also give yourself plenty of floor space during the day. By attaching your mattress to a platform that folds down from the wall, you can have your bed disappear when it’s not needed giving yourself tons of extra floor space in your van.  

Who’s it for: People who prefer a clean and simplistic design free of clutter, don’t want to make their bed every day, but also don’t want their fixed bed taking up space when it’s not in use.

Why we like it: You can use a conventional, unmodified mattress for this bed design and you won’t need to convert your bed into another piece of furniture every day.    

The Lofted Bed With Garage

Campervan Bed image by @voyage_on
Same bed, just from the back...image by @voyage_on

This is a pretty common way to have a fixed bed in your campervan and give yourself lots of storage for larger items in the back “garage” as people like to call it. The fixed bed is lofted on a platform at the rear which reduces the headroom above but gives you a much larger storage space below. 

Who’s it for: People who have a lot of gear to haul and store, especially larger items such as bikes or surfboards. 

Why we like it: You can choose the size mattress you prefer based on what fits in your van. And the added “garage” space is a huge plus! 

Bunk Beds

Campervan beds | Bunkbed by @fitetravels
Campervan beds | Bunkbed by @fitetravels

This is a great way to add extra sleeping space to your campervan. Especially if you have a pint-sized vanlifer with you on your travels. The platform is attached to one wall of the van and hung from the ceiling on the other end to free up the space below where a larger double bed can fit. 

Who’s it for: Families with small child(ren) traveling together in their van. 

Why we like it: This fixed bunk bed allows a tiny human to have their own sleeping space apart from their parents in the van. We also love how the decorative wooden barrier gives an added layer of security so little ones don’t accidentally roll off the bed. 

Murphy Bunk Beds

Campervan Beds | Dumbo Double Murphy Bed by Roberto Gil
Campervan Beds | Dumbo Double Murphy Bed by Roberto Gil

Similar to your typical murphy bed, this is a great way to add two sleeping spaces to your campervan while taking back the floor space when they are not in use. While we haven’t seen this example put to use in a campervan yet (comment below if you know someone who’s tried it!) we think it would be an interesting idea to test out. 

Who’s it for: Families living the vanlife with multiple children.

Why we like it: This fixed bunk bed allows for more sleeping space in your van that can easily be tucked away when not in use. 

Triple bunk beds

Campervan Bed image by @vanlifemagazine

The more the merrier, right? Anyone up for stacking four bunks high!? Just gotta make sure you have seats for all those kiddos.

Who’s it for: Families living the vanlife with multiple children.

Why we like it: This triple bunk bed allows for more sleeping space in your van for the tiniest vanlifers.


Are you thinking about living the campervan life?

We have TONS of resources on converting your own campervan and living the #vanlife. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Van Life for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.

Interested in engaging with others about all things #vanlife? Join our Vanlife Facebook community!

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Campervan Bed Ideas | Two Wandering Soles
Campervan Bed Ideas | Two Wandering Soles

We want to hear from you!

Got any more questions about campervan beds? Comment below and we’ll do our best to find you the answers you’re looking for!

Sours: https://www.twowanderingsoles.com/blog/campervan-bed-ideas
5 AWESOME VAN BEDS 🛏 For Comfy Van Conversions - How to Build a Camper Bedroom 🚐

10 Campervan Bed Ideas and Styles to Inspire Your Next Build

If you’ve never travelled in a van before, then it can be challenging to know how to use the small area most effectively. Especially when it comes to working out what type of bed to choose. Therefore, getting the right campervan bed is essential to enjoying life on the road; nothing is fun if you haven’t managed to get a good night’s sleep.

Campervan bed ideas, what to pick

Choosing to explore the custom vans out there or completing your own camper conversion is a great way to get the bed set up you want and to personalise the space to work for you. To give you some inspiration, today we’re going to be looking at different bed builds to show you what options are out there.

1. Static Bed

Campervan bed - static bed and garage at back

A static bed at the back of your van is probably the most classic campervan bed, especially for those who choose to convert their own Sprinter style van.

This style of bed is so popular as it means you do not have to construct your bed every day, its there waiting for you when you’re ready to fall into it. Another brilliant reason to have a static bed at the back is the ‘garage’ storage area it creates below, great for storing outdoor gear.

The main downside to having a static bed is that it often means you miss out on a large seating area. This isn’t great, especially if you want to be able to host other people in your van, or if you plan on spending a lot of time inside your van. Having said that isn’t a bed just a giant seat anyway?!  

2. Pull Out Campervan Bed

If you do want more room to move around in the day and a place to sit, then a pull out campervan bed that converts from a seat into bed may be the way to go for you. A pull out bed can be a great option as you have more space to chill out comfortably in the day time, without feeling like you have been in bed all day.

Pull out beds are generally quick to construct as they are made to slide out from the seat position easily. On top of this, the mattress is formed from the two sofa cushions, so you do not need to store mattress pads elsewhere, you will, however, need to store your bedding and extra pillows somewhere during the day- under the seat perhaps? 

3. Stackable Bed

For adventurous, outdoorsy people, having the freedom to store large items when in transit, such as a bike or even a motorbike is important. A stackable campervan bed is an excellent bed option that allows you to do so.

This type of bed is a double bed that dismantles into sections to be stored out of the way during the day. As well as giving you more space to store gear, a stackable bed gives you the space to move easily around your camper in the daytime, and an open plan, airy feel. On the downside, you would have to assemble your bed every night, which can be a hassle, especially if you’re tired after a day on the trail. 

4. Table To Bed

If you work from home in your camper or enjoy having sit down meals, then having a table in your van is going to be a priority. A table and seats surrounding it can take up a large amount of space, so combining it with the bed is a great way to give the area a double use.

By using the tabletop as part of the base for the bed, you are minimising the number of extra things your need to store to be able to construct your bed, saving space for other van life essentials. You are also eliminating the need to find somewhere to store your table when in bed mode. This type of bed is large and comfortable, and you still have plenty of storage under the bench seats. 

5. Murphy Campervan Bed

Floor space might be important to you in your home on wheels, and if this is the case, then a murphy campervan bed is an excellent option to consider. A murphy bed is a bed that folds down from the wall, traditionally seen in small apartments. If done well, the murphy bed can be a stylish choice, with everything hidden out of sight during the day.

A major bonus of this style of bed is that there is no need to construct your bed every day; it just flips down. You can also have a full mattress, meaning that there will be no annoying gaps between cushions to slide down when your sleeping.

If you don’t want so much floor space, you could build a bench seat for the bed to rest on when it is flip down, giving you the best of both worlds. 

6. Rock’n’Roll Campervan Bed

A rock’n’roll bed was a more traditional campervan bed style, initially seen in the classic VW bus. The Rock’n’roll bed allows you to have a seat that quickly and easily turns into a double bed.

This style of bed is great if you’re travelling in a compact camper van and need your bed to pull out lengthways. It’s also brilliant if you need some extra seat-belted seats in your van as you can buy units that can be used safely and legally as passenger seats. While rock’n’roll beds are practical, they are often not the most comfortable bed and can mean that you lose out on vital storage space.  

7. Kid’s Pods

Campervan bed - kids pods

If you’re looking to hit the road with your family in tow, it can be a real headache working out how to give everyone there own bed and private space. When travelling with young children this may not be so much of an issue, but as the kids get older, everyone is likely to enjoy the trip more if they have a ‘room’ to call there own. One great solution for this is pod beds.

These pods are a great piece of design, practical and aesthetically pleasing, and make squeezing space for four to sleep in a van look easy. While these pods are brilliant, they do not look like a job any DIY-er could do so you will either need to be a skilled builder or commission someone else to complete the work for you. 

8. Over Cab Campervan Bed

Campervan bed - over cab bed

Some larger vans or old school motorhomes have space over the driver’s cab. If you own a van like this, then this is a great area to build your campervan bed. By doing so, you have a static bed that you do not need to assemble every day that is entirely out of the way of the main living area. This gives you more space to play with, in your main build, for gear storage, seating or whatever takes your fancy.

A downside to this style of bed is that you may not have a huge amount of headroom, depending on the style of your van.  

9. Bunk Beds

Kids bunk bed over adults bed

Squeezing more than two people into a small camper can be a struggle, but with some intelligent design, it can be done and done well. Bunk beds are a great way to add an extra campervan bed into your build and an excellent solution to sleeping the little ones. They’re compact and can be a fun and exciting way to get children into camping.

By placing the bunk bed above the main bed, no extra floor space is taken up in your camper that can be used for other living areas. When constructing a bunk bed, make sure that it is securely attached to the van and can hold the weight of a person! 

10. Electronic Campervan Bed

van life ideas - raised bed

For me, this is The Ultimate campervan bed solution, an electronic bed that disappears into the ceiling at the press of a button. Having an electric bed is like having a static bed and a seating area at the same time, your bed is always made and ready to go but can be put out of sight when you want to chill in the day.

While this is a fantastic bed solution, the system is expensive compared to other bed setups and can be heavy, so it will take up a lot of your camper’s weight allowance. On top of this, you do lose the ‘garage’ storage space that a static bed gives you, but you can still have plenty of storage under the bench seats that are below the bed.  

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right campervan bed for you is an individual process and depends on many factors such as budget, needs and amount of people travelling.

Getting your set up right is so important as the bed takes up a large amount of space inside a van, no matter what design you go for.

If you don’t like what you choose, there is no hiding from it, and it isn’t a quick job to change. Hopefully, these ten different options have given you some inspiration and some ideas on your perfect campervan bed. For more content from the Van Clan Team, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

More Content From The Van Clan Team!

Sours: https://vanclan.co/campervan-bed/

Bunk bed van ideas camper

Welcome to our ultimate guide to the best campervan bed ideas! Whether you want are looking for the most basic convertible bed or want to have a more permanent and dedicated bed, this expert blog post will help you find the best bed to suit your needs.

If you want to create the ultimate DIY camper van, then you’ll have to decide which style of bed to put in your van build.

However, finding the right bed for your van lifestyle can be complicated, especially if you don’t know where to begin.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when figuring out how to build a bed in a van is whether to have a platform bed or a convertible bed.

Then of course you’ll need to choose the best campervan mattress, which we’ve luckily outlined in our latest expert guide!

Fixed Platform BedConvertible Bed
* Permanent
* No daily setup/breakdown
* Can build storage beneath the bed
* Take up less space
* Can serve as a bench when not in use
* Must be setup/broked down daily

A fixed platform bed is a permanent solution for your camper van. It has a dedicated space within your van, which takes the hassle out of setting it up each night.

Although they may seem like they take up a lot of space in your van, platform beds actually provide ample storage. If you position your bed higher up in your van, then you’ll have plenty of bed space underneath.

Or, you can opt for a lower bed with more headspace, which can be outfitted with shelves to store clothes or items.

The biggest downside to a platform bed is the lack of additional seating space. Unless you have an RV or large van, you probably won’t have any room for a couchette or dining space if you go with a fixed campervan bed frame.

Platform Bed ProsPlatform Bed Cons
* No hassle in setting up each night
* Can build storage space underneath
* Easy to build yourself
* Take up space
* Fixed/permanent

If you’re looking for something with more flexible style options, then a convertible bed might be a better choice for your DIY camper.

These camper beds can be folded up when they’re not in use, which makes your campervan interior space more flexible.

This allows you to create a unique van that can fit a couch, desk, or even a dining table inside. However, you’ll have to assemble your bed each night, which can be cumbersome.

Convertible Bed ProsConvertible Bed Cons
* Take up less space
* Serve as a bench/couch when not a bed
* Must be setup/broken down each day
* More challenging to build yourself

If you’re looking for creative and practical ideas for your van or DIY camper, then we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll discuss different van conversion bed ideas for your unique van build.

Campervan Bed Ideas for Your Van Conversion

Are you looking for bed designs for your next camper conversion, or want to change things up in your current setup?

We’ve chosen a few different campervan bed ideas to help with inspiration, from the simple to the practical to the unique.

Note that most of these examples are convertible beds as these are the most common beds in vans.

Flip Bench Beds

Hit two birds with one stone by outfitting your campervan conversion with a flip bench bed. During the day, it can be used as a regular bench or couch.

But when it’s time to go to bed, the bench seat flips down and becomes a lay flatbed.All you have to do is put a comfy mattress or cushion on top, and you’re all set for a good night’s sleep.

While this is a decent convertible option for a van with little to no interior space, it does require you to make your bed each day. But it’s a practical style if you want a campervan bed and a seating area in your living space.

Table Beds

A duel bed and table system is one of the most innovative campervan bed ideas we’ve seen.

This conversion set up can be used as a twin-bench and table dinette area during the day and as a lay-flat double bed at night.

While you’ll still have to set it up each time, assembly is relatively easy compared to other conversion van beds.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to have space in your van to store the table part when it’s not being used. This can be tricky if your conversion interior camper van is small.

Drop-Down Beds

If you’re looking for a permanent fixture or something that doesn’t take up too much space, then consider building in a drop-down Murphy bed in your interior camper van conversion.

It can be stored upright during the day, opening up your floor plan and giving you extra storage space.

If you’re building a Murphy bed in your campervan by hand, you should leave enough room between the platform and the wall to fit the mattress and sheets.

If you don’t, then you’ll have to make your bed each night, which can be a huge pain.

Outdoor Drawbridge Camper Beds

We’ve also seen some cool outdoor drop-down bed ideas for campervans, which is great if you want to live the camper life and sleep under the stars.

If the back of your van can open up, then you can have the bed fold out like a drawbridge for the ultimate outdoor experience.

And when it’s time to drive off, the campervan folding bed can be stored against the wall, giving you more interior space.

Because it’s one of the more unique styles of van life beds, an outdoor drawbridge bed makes a fun, creative project for your camper van conversion DIY.

Rock and Roll Beds

Installing a rock and roll bed in your campervan is a practical way to make use of the space you already. While you’re on the road, they can be used as normal passenger seats.

And at night, just pull the handle or lever and the seats will fold down to become a campervan bed. Even if you already have a platform bed in your campervan, you can always install a rock and roll style bed to accommodate any extra guests.

If you’re not looking for a big construction project for your next van build, then you can buy a premade rock and roll bed.

However, more construction-savvy people in the van life community might choose to build their own rock and roll campervan bed that is customized to their van.

Bunk Beds

Ideal for families or anyone traveling with more than two people, a bunk bed is a space-efficient way to create more sleeping space in your campervan.

When they aren’t in use, the bunks can be flipped and stored flush against the wall of your van to make room for more people or space. However, we’ve also seen permanently installed bunk beds on the wall or ceiling in some campervan bed designs too.

It’s not a big space saver compared to other camper beds, but it makes the most sense for van life families.

Couch Beds

If you’re already building a couch in your conversion DIY van, then why not add a sliding extension so it can also be used as a bed?

You can use slats that pull out to convert your daytime couch to a lay-flat bed. This is one of the most common van conversion bed ideas for people living the van life.

If that bed design seems too complicated to build, then you can also go with the traditional hideaway bed or DIY sleeper sofa.

These are your typical futon-style couches that fold out to become a simple and practical bed.

Hammock Beds

Who says you need a full mattress to get a good night’s sleep? Stringing up a hammock in your van is a low-cost campervan bed option for those on a budget.

Best of all, there’s very little construction that’s required. All you have to do is install the bolts and plates to your campervan, and viola!

Keep in mind that hammock beds are best if you’re a solo traveler. It’s not the most comfortable or practical bed design for couples!

Slider Beds

A slider bed is a cool alternative solution to the permanent platform-style van bed. A slider bed is made with interconnecting slats that pull out to form a full-size bed.

When the slat bed is not in use, it can be used as a bench or table, which is practical for your van living space.

On the downside, it’s one of the most difficult van bed styles to build by hand. If it’s your first time building a bed for a van conversion, then you might opt for something a little easier.

The Best Mattresses For Your Camper Van Conversion

Linenspa 10 Inch Memory Foam

Zinus 6 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam

DynastyMattress 10 Inch CoolBreeze

Live and Sleep Medium Plush Memory Foam

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About the Author - Alesha and Jarryd - Van Life Theory

Hi! We're Alesha and Jarryd, the founders of Van Life Theory! We're currently travelling around Australia in our 2008 Mercedes Sprinter campervan and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow along on our Instagram and YouTube!

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