11 Camper Van Bed Designs For Your Next Van Build
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 for van life, 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!
- Like what you see? Read our post on which mattress to get and how to cut it!
- Learn how to build a: DIY camper van
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
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.
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 Type||Dimensions (inches)||Dimensions (centimeters)|
|King||76 x 80||194 x 204|
|Cal King||72 x 84||183 x 214|
|Queen||60 x 80||153 x 204|
|Full XL||53 x 80||135 x 204|
|Full||53 x 75||135 x 191|
|Twin XL||38 x 80||97 x 204|
|Twin||38 x 75||97 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 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
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
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
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.
@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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Camper van bed alternatives
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.
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.
|Mattress Size||Mattress Type||Dimensions (in)||Height (in)|
|King||Modway Aveline Gel Infused Memory Foam||76 x 80||6"|
|Queen||Modway Aveline Gel Infused Memory Foam||60 x 80||6"|
|Full||Modway Aveline Gel Infused Memory Foam||53 x 75||6"|
|Twin||Modway Aveline Gel Infused Memory Foam||38 x 75||6"|
|Mattress Size||Mattress Type||Dimensions (in)||Height (in)|
|King||Linenspa Gel Memory Foam Mattress||76 x 80||5"|
|Queen||Linenspa Gel Memory Foam Mattress||60 x 80||5"|
|Full||Linenspa Gel Memory Foam Mattress||53 x 75||5"|
|Twin||Linenspa Gel Memory Foam Mattress||38 x 75||5"|
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.
- High-density foam
- Washable cover
- Twin - Queen
This Post Has 27 Comments
Take a look: http://www.gtrotter.net/n13
Hey nice bed design! I really love how you were able to fit a bunch of storage underneath. Have fun on your adventure!
Thank you for the information. Could you please tell me how to find the ribs in the sides of a van with upholstery?
mark them on the ceiling and floor . i hung a string with a washer it gave me a perfect line.
This helped a lot. I’m just finishing high school and me and my best friends want to do a road trip up the east coast of Victoria because we do surfing. Bought an empty van and are now going to do it up and make it look like our style. This arcticle was a great help and we will definitely use this in our van. Thx xoxo E ‘N’ E
I absolutely love this! We are going to build our van interior very soon, I think couch or slide bed will be the best option for us.
Thank you for this and have a lovely day,
Jasmin from https://thehiketribe.com/
Great article, thank you for posting it.
Just a small correction:
using less would will save on weight helping gas mileage in the long run
I think it should say wood 😉
Fixed! Thank you 🙂
You guys should check out VanDOits design. I have been staying in one and am for sure getting one.
I have been looking at VanDoIt and it seems great! But the price tag – ugh. It may be excellent construction but I don’t want to finance $92K. :/
Your simplicity of presentation is motivating for learning. Please keep it up for your teeming followers. Keep up the great work!
Is that possible to build bathroom including bed and kitchen in full size Cargo Van please advice.
Anything is possible – Hopefully someone answered you – If not here’s a suggestion – Think outside the box – For my “wetbath” I’m planning ONLY a shower curtain that has a special custom ceiling track (this allows no visual obstruction when curtain is tucked away), hanging a rechargeable hand shower as needed, with a small collapsible pet tub & small collapsible potty – My kitchen is a custom portable pod/cabinet with normal sized sink (not a salad bowl), rechargeable pump similar shower, single burner camp stove, compact Fridge & Freezer, 3 drawers – Its very doable – Check out bugout ladybug and her friend – both have Ford Transit Connects, scaling up either layout to fit your rig will be perfect or the same scale leaves you with room to spare!! – Enjoy the road
The one thing I don’t like is that you need to remove the sheets before doing the bed. Which means you need more storage, and also it’s not as simple as sliding the bed out, you need to take everything on and off the bed every time what time you need your bad. For Murphy bed you can often strap the sheets on and so it’s just a matter of taking the bed down.
You can solve the problem by sewing two flat sheets together with ties or Velcro the ends. (Big Version of a pillow case. ) sheets don’t go anywhere.
One side can be for sitting on other side for sleeping
Great post! I’m rebuilding my Dodge Van now and am putting in a platform bed and i am wondering where you found your short queen memory foam mattress – what brand is it? I thought I was going to be stuck using the former couch cushions… memory foam sounds much better!
My wife and I are 80 years old and have a 1999 Chrysler le Voyager, Reg No T96 ATP the smaller version and would like this converted to a 2 berth camper with cooker, sink, fridge, loo and shower if possible but not essential, we wood like an elevated roof fitted as we are both tall people and would like a fair amount of storage where possible. We like the idea of a Rock-n-Roll bed for ease of installing but would not like a cooker which slides out at the rear of the van as some do but one fitted inside on the side.
If the installation of this is of interest to you please return with your price for all the work I’ve mentioned together with where you’re situated and how long it will take you to build.
Mr Lionel Harwood, (Peacehaven near Brighton)
Hey Lionel, that sounds like a cool idea for your camper! We created this website to be used as inspiration for people who want to build their own vans. Unfortunately, we are not currently building vans as a business. I’d encourage you to try to find a van outfitter in your area. Best of luck!
See above and please notify me if you have received my emailed enquiry
Regards Mr Lionel Harwood
Check out covertyourvan.co.uk
They are based in Sheffield though. They still might be able to help.
in our 2018 promaster build , we opted for a antique full size mattress 48 x 75 . bought from Amazon .
Hi. Any thoughts on a mattress vs a futon matress? Thinking of doing the slider bed vertical. I bought a 1999 ford e150 hightop a month ago. Will be doing the floor soon. I choose indoor outdoor carpet due to cost. I have no wood work skills but am exited to dive in.
Hi, when pushed back in/assembled for day time/travel, does it rattle at all? Thinking mainly about service/washboard roads here, but also some highways can be a rougher surface as well. Thanks!
there’s one more size choice . on our promaster 2500 159 ” , we bought from amazon a antique full size mattress which id 75 X 48 which gave us a extra 6 inches for our bathroom on one side and hanging closet on the other side . still plenty of room .
Thank you for sharing this. We are now thinking about redesigning our RV a little, as one person has been added to our family and his needs should also be taken into account in our future journey. Now I have a bunch of different, dissimilar, and striking options. It remains to consult and choose the option that may be suitable for our family. But there are so many of these options and all of them are so beautiful that I think we need at least one more RV so that we don’t argue about the style and convenience of our RV. So the task is not an easy one. But I am grateful to you for this article and the abundance of options.
Is the first picture of the bed platform with the slats yours? I am wondering about the gray end caps on the slats. What are those called and where did you find them? They look like they may add some spring to the bed.
I’m wondering and thinking the same thing. Hope for more information.