31 Camper Van Ideas For Van Life Inspiration (Build Your Dream Van!)

316 shares Whether you’re considering your first van conversion, or are looking to upgrade, we’ve gathered over 30 inspirational camper van ideas to help you…

Woman looks out over mountains from campervan window

Whether you’re considering your first van conversion, or are looking to upgrade, we’ve gathered over 30 inspirational camper van ideas to help you build your dream van.

From cozy wood burning stoves to elegant rooftop viewing decks, keep reading to find some of the best van to camper conversion ideas out there!

Camper Van Ideas For The Kitchen

Small And Simple Kitchen

Photo: instagram.com/dimitri40075/

Let’s face it, space can be pretty tight inside a camper van. It is possible to include a compact and efficient kitchen in your van, though.

We love how well this kitchen works.

There’s running water with tanks and a one-burner propane stove, as well as intelligent storage space to help minimize clutter. An especially nice touch is the custom-made cutting board, which fits over the sink to create extra space for food prep.

Beautiful High-End Kitchen

Camper van kitchen with white honeycomb backsplash, white cabinets, hardwood countertops and black fixtures.
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/vanciniconversions/

If you’re looking for camper van ideas that include a more high-end kitchen setup, you may want to go for a simple, elegant design like this one.

There’s a beautiful white tile backsplash and a super-cool extendable faucet, as well as a generous fridge and a two-burner stove. Best of all, those custom cabinets look so awesome, especially next to the luxurious wooden countertops.

Slide-Out Kitchen

Wooden kitchen cabinets with built in cooler, sink and single burner built to slide in and out of camper van.
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/ventured_campers/

One of the best ways to maximize space inside your camper van is to incorporate a slide-out kitchen. This works especially well if you’re going to be traveling mainly in warm weather.

This awesome side slide-out kitchen is one of the best camper van ideas we’ve seen.

It sits under the front bench seat, and slides out to reveal a sink and several compartments, one of which houses a top-loading fridge. This is such a cool and clever design!

Camper Van Oven

Woman cooks in campervan kitchen with small oven and two burner stove
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/wandering.woods/

During your search for camper van interior ideas, you might be tempted to take things to the next level by installing an oven in your kitchen setup.

Just imagine how cozy your van would be with the smells of fresh baked bread or cookies filling the air on a chilly night!

Betsy and Justin of the Wandering Woods installed a Camp Chef oven and range combo in their Sprinter, and although they had to take special precautions to make it safe for use inside a van, they use it for things like pizza, cobbler, and reheating leftovers.

Wood-Burning Stove Camper Van Idea

Wood stove in a camper van with dog looking into it
Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/mycustomvan/

If you plan on living in your van conversion full time, you’re going to need a way of staying warm during the winter months.

Most people solve this problem by installing a heater of some sort, but there are plenty of intrepid folks who won’t settle for anything less than the warming glow of a real fire.

There are plenty of small wood stoves out there, many of which will fit nicely into a camper van.

Wood-burning stoves aren’t the best option for stealth campers, due to the smoke they produce, but if you’re going to be out in the woods during winter, this could be a cost-effective way to stay warm!

If you’re interested in wood-burning stoves check this out —> The 5 Best Wood Burning Stoves for Small Spaces

Camper Van Fridge

Unless you plan on a super-basic conversion, you’ll most likely want a refrigerator for your van.

There are loads of options available, but one of the best ways to incorporate a fridge into your design is too use a top-loading 12 volt model. These refrigerators are super-efficient, and keep your food really cold, even when using energy-saving mode.

We love how Priya Mareedu has used storage space under a bench seat to fit her top-loading fridge. As you can see, there’s loads of room in there and the fridge is completely hidden away when not in use. Ingenious!

Camper Van Ideas For Storage

Outside Storage

Camper van with open back doors showing lofted bed with gear storage underneath and storage boxes mounted to sides of van
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/thedesertcruiser/

Anyone who has spent time living in a van will tell you that staying organized and keeping the interior space free of clutter is one of the biggest challenges of van dwelling.

No matter how much storage space you have in your van, you could always use more, which is why these awesome storage boxes are on our list of camper van ideas.

Featuring cleverly designed door mounts, these simple aluminum boxes by Aluminess are ideal for storing shoes, extra gear, and anything else that’s getting in the way. Best of all, you’ll still be able to use your van’s rear doors!

Clever Interior Storage Camper Van Idea

Campervan interior with extra drawers and hidden storage installed
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/bjoerns_advantures/

When you’re living in a small space, staying organized is vital. This means you’ll need to keep storage solutions in mind when you’re brainstorming for van to camper conversion ideas.

Depending on how big your van is, you should be able to create space for plenty of drawers and compartments, but remember that you’ll need to use good latches to stop drawers or cupboards from flying open while you’re driving.

Pockets and pouches are also effective and affordable storage solutions, and don’t forget to utilize the space at head height!

Gear Garage Camper Van Idea

Sliding gear storage compartment in back of van with bikes, boots helmets and more stored
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/the_lostvan/

If your van to camper conversion ideas include installing a permanent platform bed, chances are you’re also considering utilizing the space underneath.

Creating a gear garage for all your outdoor stuff can be an awesome way to keep things separate and it’ll mean you can keep things clean in your living space, too.

Check out this awesome gear garage, featuring a clever slide-out. There’s ample room for hiking boots, bikes, surf boards, and anything else you might need for your van life adventures!

Camper Van Ideas For Roof Seating

Outdoor Seat

Van with back doors open and slide out cushioned outdoor seating
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/sandy_thevan/

Although you’ll sacrifice some potential storage space, creating an outdoor couch seat like this one is one of the coolest camper van ideas we’ve seen.

The clever design allows the backrest to fold down, then the whole seat retracts like a drawer. On warm days when all you want to do is relax with a book, what could be better than chilling out on this fantastic couch seat?

Roof Deck Camper Van Idea

Woman sits on wooden campervan rooftop deck overlooking grassy fields
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/camperdreamin/

One of the most rewarding camper van ideas is definitely a roof deck. Just imagine being able to sleep out under the stars, safe in the knowledge that all the critters and creepy-crawlies are far below!

Although it’s no sleeper deck, this awesome seat by Camper Dreamin’ is ideal for enjoying a cold beverage at the end of the day. Check out the clever design that not only features a lifting backrest, but also manages to fit around the van’s skylight.

Camper Van Ideas For Beds

Permanent Bed

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/wayfarervans/

Choosing the right bed setup is one of there most important decisions you’ll make. After all, if you aren’t sleeping well, you likely won’t enjoy your van life.

Many people opt for a permanent bed, either elevated with space underneath for gear storage, or installed lower down for more headroom.

In a Dodge ProMaster, you’ll be able to sleep width-ways, but in a narrower van the bed will have to sit length-ways, which means you’ll lose valuable space. Either way, you won’t have to worry about setting up a bed each night!

Couch Bed

Many camper van interior ideas revolve around a couch bed. This is a really efficient way of using the space inside your van, and it means you’ll have seating areas during the day and a comfy bed at night.

There are many different ways to incorporate a couch bed into your van conversion, but we especially love this double couch arrangement.

The benches fold down to meet in the middle, creating a sturdy platform, while the colorful cushions turn into a comfy mattress!

Table Bed Camper Van Idea

The table bed is another clever way to maximize space inside your van. The design usually involves a table that can be lowered at night, allowing the surrounding bench seat cushions to be used as a mattress.

Although you’ll have to set up your bed every night and you might find the gaps in-between the cushions to be uncomfortable, this is one of those camper van ideas that allows you to have the best of both worlds: a dinette/work space and a place to sleep.

Stow-able Retracting Bed

Watch this video and you’ll agree that this is one of the coolest camper van interior ideas around.

When you’re caught between wanting a permanent bed and more interior space, this fantastic bed could be the ideal solution.

The bed is attached to four posts, and moves up and down electronically. After a good night’s sleep, all you need to do is send your bed skyward and voila! you have access to tons more living space.

Bunk Beds

Two children sit on bed in camper van conversion, above them is a secured hanging platform bed
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/thefites/

If your van life dreams involve more than one or two people, your camper van ideas will have to involve extra sleeping arrangements. The Fite family solved this problem by creating an amazing bunk bed for their two kids.

It’s safely suspended above the main bed, and there are cool railings to ensure that no-one tumbles out during the night.

We love the awesome ladder, and are sure the kids do, too. Another great feature is the addition of a couple of LED lights on the underside of the bunk. Now that’s smart design!

Camper Van Ideas For Bathrooms

Indoor Shower

Tile indoor shower camper van idea
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/the.activ/

It can be challenging to stay clean while living in a van, so many people decide to incorporate a shower into their camper van interior ideas.

Although purists might claim that a shower is unnecessary, we feel that everyone has different comfort levels.

Installing a shower in your camper van makes for a more complicated build-out, especially if you’re going to have hot water.

However, the results can be beautiful as with the wonderful little shower compartment in Chris and Megan’s Sprinter, pictured above.

Outdoor Shower

Camper van with lofted bed, storage below, and outdoor shower
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/faroutride/

There are lots of options for vans life showers, but one of the most popular is a simple outdoor setup.

Isabelle and Antoine of Faroutride decided to install a shower and water heater in the rear of their Sprinter, allowing them to rinse off after a hard day on the mountain bike trail.

They rigged up a clever curtain system, too, so they’re able to take showers if there are other people around.

Clever Hidden Shower Camper Van Idea

When it comes to camper van ideas that are space-saving and ingenious, Kirby Winson’s “secret shower” takes the cake.

The video shows how this system works. There’s a hidden compartment in the van floor that opens to reveal a shower curtain which extends upwards.

The shower itself is actually the extendable kitchen faucet. Although it looks like this has the potential to get messy, we just love how innovative this van life shower is!

Camper Van Toilet

Toilet that hides in cabinet compartment
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/kirbywinson/

Whether or not to include a toilet in your camper van is another subject that tends to divide the van life community.

Some feel a toilet is a luxury that can be done without, while others dread the idea of answering nature’s call in the deep dark woods.

Either way, there are loads of camper van toilet options available and if you plan on using one you’ll need somewhere to stow it.

Once again, Kirby Winson came up with an awesome solution, deciding to add a slide-out platform for his cassette-style toilet. This means it can be easily used, then stowed away out of sight.

Camper Van Ideas For Remote Work

Work Space

Suitcase mounted to wall with wooden board connected by chains inside that allow it to fold out as a desk
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/leah_in_transit/

For many van dwellers, it’s important to be able to work while on the road. There are plenty of camper van interior ideas that include tables and other work surfaces, but this work space solution is one of the best we’ve seen.

It’s essentially nothing more than a suitcase attached to the wall, but the inclusion of a bespoke surface for a laptop transforms this idea into a space-saving marvel!

Foldaway Table

Van with white wood paneling, bohemian bedspread on bed, bench seating between bed and kitchen and slide-away table off to the side
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/city2_vanlife/

This is an epic Sprinter conversion, and we absolutely love the bench seating in-between the kitchen and bed.

What really makes this area functional, though, is the neat foldaway table.

If you’re looking for camper van ideas that really work, you should definitely consider a table like this.

It’s incredibly practical, and can be swiveled to different positions. Not only that, but when not in use, it folds down to provide more space.

Camper Van Ideas To Make Van Life Work For You

Lighting

Lighting inside your camper van is super-important, especially if you don’t have many windows. There are lots of options when it comes to lighting, but using LED lights is the most efficient solution.

LED light strips can be relatively cheap and easy to install, and they won’t use much power. You can even use a dimmer switch to create a cozy and relaxing vibe inside your van!

Entertainment Center

Projector screen hanging from awning outside van with air mattress set up to watch movie
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/maario.19/

When people imagine van life, they often imagine constant adventure and excitement. While it is true that van life can bring wonderful experiences, sometimes you just want to take it easy and binge watch the latest Netflix series.

You might have room to mount a flatscreen TV inside your van, but another option is to create an outdoor movie zone.

All you’ll need is a small projector and a screen of some sort. We love this creative solution that uses the van awning to mount the white screen. It sure does look like a dreamy place to lie back and enjoy a movie!

Swivel Seats

One of the most popular van to camper conversion ideas is to add one or two swivel seats.

Unless you get lucky, your van won’t come with swivel seats, but you can find plenty of adapter options for Sprinters, ProMasters, and Ford Transit vans.

Once you have swivel seats installed, they’ll transform your living space, allowing you to use the cab seats as part of your living space.

Be careful when choosing an adapter, though, as some options can increase the seat height which can dramatically affect the driver’s comfort levels.

Plant Hangers Camper Van Idea

Campervan conversion interior with wood floor and ceiling, green cabinets and several hanging plants
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/julesandmarco/

If you plan on converting a van for full time living, you’ll want it to feel as cozy and homey as possible. Having plants in your living space can make a huge difference, and some folks even grow herbs inside their camper vans!

One thing you’ll need to be careful of is securing plants when you’re driving, which is where these nifty plant hangers come in.

The plant pots attach to a clever hanging board, meaning they’ll always be safe when you’re on the road.

Flexible Solar Panel

The prospect of installing a solar power set up can be pretty intimidating. Not only are you going to have to deal with batteries, cables, and delicate panels, you’re also going to have to install them on your roof.

There are other ways, though! Portable solar panels are affordable and easy to use, plus you don’t have to drill into your van’s roof to use them.

You can find a semi-flexible 120 W panel on Amazon, then you’ll just need a battery, charge controller, and the right cables and connections. In no time you’ll be powering up off-grid without a care in the world!

Sprinter vs. Transit: The Nitty Gritty


Let’s see how these two vans compare in four critical areas.

1. Maintenance Costs

woman standing at the door of her campervan
Photo Credit: Ricki (@rickiontheroad)

Let’s face it: every vehicle needs repairs, and taking care of issues is crucial when your vehicle is also your home!

Aside from budgeting for regular oil and tire changes, you’re well-advised to have extra savings when something unexpected happens.

A Ford Transit is not only more affordable upfront, but it’s also cheaper to maintain.

Replacement parts are affordable and widely available, which is a huge bonus.

You’ll also have extra peace of mind in a worst-case scenario since Ford dealers and mechanics are in almost every town.

Maintenance is one of the main reasons solo US female van lifer Ricki (@rickiontheroad) chose a Ford Transit to call home: “I went with a Transit because it’s less expensive and more places will service it. While Sprinters may need maintenance less often, the thought of needing maintenance in a remote town and no one willing to work on my vehicle was enough to get a Transit.”

Colby and Eric (@engineerswhovanlife) agree with Ricki: “The ease of maintenance and servability of an American-made camper van was crucial for us. Living on the road full time, we have heard horror stories of Sprinter owners having to pay for 200+ mile tows when they break down, or parts being really difficult to source. Fords are everywhere here, and we have never had an issue with towing or parts.”

Things are a little different when it comes to owning a Sprinter. Internet forums are full of horror stories about DEF sensor failure, black death, and the dreaded limp mode.

When a serious problem arises, a dealership is often the only place able to help, so you’ll have to find your way to the nearest big city.

Keith and Hannah (@keithandhannahh) are full-time van lifers who live in a Sprinter van, and they agree that the initial cost of the cargo van plus the more expensive maintenance costs are the only cons to choosing a Sprinter vs. a Transit.

“In our opinion, the only con is the price because a Sprinter costs slightly more (not always). You might spend more on parts to fix it, but we bought a new van and haven’t had any fixes because we keep up with all the maintenance. We’ve always had a good experience with Mercedes, trust in them as a brand, and love to see how much they’ve embraced the van life space,” said Keith and Hannah.

Add in the fact that repair costs can be substantial and you may have to wait weeks for parts to arrive, and it’s no wonder this is a sticking point for many people in the Ford Transit vs. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter debate.

2. AWD/4×4 Options

beautiful campervan showing the interior
Photo Credit: Keith and Hannah (@keithandhannahh)

For those traveling back roads, especially during winter, a 4×4 Sprinter is the most attractive option. The downside is you’ll have to purchase a 2022 model (or earlier) since Mercedes-Benz no longer makes 4×4 Sprinters as of 2023.

A 4×4 Sprinter has a much higher clearance than a standard 2WD model, and it can go just about anywhere, making it ideal for off-grid adventuring.

As of 2023, Mercedes-Benz makes AWD Sprinter vans with diesel engines. Although you’ll need to spend more upfront for a Sprinter van with AWD or a 2022 (or earlier) model with 4×4, it will hold its value if you ever want to sell it.

The AWD Transit and Transit Trail are becoming increasingly popular, though they’re only available with a gasoline engine.

Colby and Eric (@engineerswhovanlife) wrote an article on their blog about why they chose a Transit over a Sprinter (and ProMaster). They said they like how a Transit has “the shorter wheelbase of the Transit driving more like a car and the AWD drive train.”

Although it’s a big step up from the 2WD Transit, you’ll need to pay for a lifted suspension if you want more clearance on a standard Transit. As mentioned earlier, the Transit Trail at least has a significant lift of 3.5” compared to the standard Transit.

If you still want a 4×4 campervan and are leaning towards a Ford Transit, you can pay for an after-market 4×4 conversion.

Although you’ll pay around $13,000 for a Quigley’s conversion from Sportsmobile, the overall cost could be less than what you’d pay for a 4×4 Sprinter, leveling the playing field in the Sprinter vs. Transit game!

3. Suitability For Conversions

couple standing inside their campervan
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen (@katekeepswild)

As we’ve already seen, there’s much more interior standing space in a High Roof Transit and High Roof Transit Trail, which could be the clincher for taller friends.

Although there’s less space in a Transit, the square shape makes it easy to do a quick and affordable conversion.

Another big plus is the Transit’s interior width, which makes it possible to install a bed width-ways, freeing up more living and storage space inside the van.

Colby and Eric (@engineerswhovanlife) have chosen Transit vans twice (about to be three times)! They said that one reason they prefer them for a conversion is the added height: “The Transit is the tallest of the three more common chassis. The interior standing height of the Transit is 4” taller than the Sprinter. Eric is tall so this was a must for us!”

When converting a Sprinter, the biggest advantage is the ample space inside, especially in the 170″ wheelbase extended model.

If you plan on living in your van full-time or with kids, the huge space inside a Sprinter could make it a clear frontrunner. 

Although you’ll probably have to sleep lengthways in your van unless you are shorter and install flares, there are loads of ways to integrate storage space into your design.

4. Diesel vs. Gasoline

couple sitting at the door area of a campervan
Photo Credit: Keith and Hannah (@keithandhannahh)

When considering the Sprinter vs. Transit question, one of the most important differences is the fuel each van uses.

Most Sprinters have diesel engines, which means better fuel economy and a longer lifespan.

The fuel economy of a Sprinter is one of the reasons why van lifers Keith and Hannah (@keithandhannah) chose a Sprinter for their DIY conversion: “Sprinter vans are super reliable, have a great fuel economy even after the vans are built out, and hold their value. We’re not tall, so livability is perfect, and in our opinion, it looks the best.” 

That said, diesel is more expensive at the pump, and locating the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) that Sprinters require could be a real problem if you travel to Central or South America.

If you plan on extended foreign journeys in your camper van, you’re probably better off going with a Ford Transit van, despite its inferior fuel economy.

Why I Chose a Sprinter Van

couple with their dog inside a campervan parked outdoors
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen (@katekeepswild)

When my husband and I shopped for a campervan to call our home and live in full-time, we researched popular modern chassis, including Sprinters, Transits, and ProMasters

I considered the Ford Transit Trail over the Sprinter. I liked the cheaper price tag, and my husband and I grew up driving Ford vehicles.

Plus, since my husband is tall at 6’5”, I wondered if he could stand more comfortably in a Transit Trail.

However, I knew I wanted a professional conversion and needed my van finished when my apartment lease ended. I had to rule out the Transit Trail as those vans were not readily available then.

I ultimately went with a 2022 Sprinter van to have 4×4, a reliable van for full-time living, and a van with excellent resale value.

I also like the look of a Sprinter, and my husband found he could stand up inside it without needing to squat or bend.

I appreciate having the peace of mind of a 4-wheel drive van on steep, rocky roads and during winter conditions in Colorado (where we spend much of our time).

Ford does not make 4×4 vans, so I already felt hesitant about going with one of those vans in case I ever found myself in a difficult position on the road.

Since I planned to live in my van full-time with my husband and dog, I wanted a reliable and high-quality chassis.

Although services on Sprinters are expensive, I appreciate how Sprinter vans don’t need to be serviced as often and rarely have parts that need replacement since they are made with quality from the get-go (in my experience).

I also chose a Sprinter over a Transit due to the resale value. I knew my family would do van life for 1-3 years and eventually want to sell the van.

I have not yet reached the point where I’m looking to sell my Sprinter van, but I feel confident that I will get a pretty good return on investment when the time comes.

Appearance was not a huge factor in our decision, but since my husband is a photographer and enjoys taking drone shots of our van in epic places, it is a definite plus!


Should I Get a Sprinter or Transit?

couple standing inside a campervan with their dog
Photo Credit: Keith and Hannah (@keithandhannahh)

If you’re hoping for a verdict on which vehicle is better for van life, you’re out of luck!

Sprinter and Transit vans are excellent choices for van dwellers, and each has unique pros and cons.

Although Keith and Hannah (@keithandhannahh) chose a Sprinter van, they said, “A Transit van would be a close second!”

I agree and could easily see us switching from a Sprinter van to a Ford Transit (specifically the Transit Trail) someday, especially if we purchase a home and want a van for part-time traveling.

I have nothing negative to say about the Sprinter other than the initial high price tag and expensive service costs.

The Sprinter vs. Transit debate rages on, so you must weigh the pros and cons and decide which best fits your needs and budget.

I hope you’ve found this article interesting and helpful in your quest to find your dream van. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below!

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Side Flares

Camper van idea with side extending flares on either side of the van
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/_flarespace_/

Side flares can be an especially valuable addition to your van if you’re converting a Sprinter.

One of the biggest reasons that some people choose ProMasters is their width. Because of this, you’re able to sleep across the van, meaning you’re left with more living space.

If you want to create more space inside a Sprinter, side flares are the way to go. They come with or without windows and can really make your van feel bigger.

Space For Pets

Built in dog kennel inside of a camper van
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/quirkycampers/

For many van dwellers, hitting the road without their four-legged friend is out of the question. If you plan on living in a van with your dog or cat, there are lots of van to camper conversion ideas that include space for your pet.

An enclosed space like the one in the photo can be especially important when you’re driving, as it can be unsafe to allow Fido to roam free. Remember, though, it’s never a good idea to leave animals in hot vehicles.

Rooftop Tent

Rooftop tents are a popular option for van dwellers who want a little more living space.

This is a great option for the warm summer months, and many rooftop tents are quick and easy to set up.

Not only that, but you’ll often feel cooler sleeping outside under the stars than you would inside your van, especially on muggy nights.

Keeping It Simple

Simple van conversion idea with seats removed, camping cot and cooler
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/2ndhandvans/

The last entry on our list of inspirational camper van ideas is to remind you that camper van conversions don’t always have to live up to the expectations created by Instagram.

Images of glamorous and beautiful van dwellers relaxing on the beach next to their $80,000 Sprinter can make it seem like van life is unobtainable, but if you keep it simple, you can enjoy affordable freedom and adventure!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of inspirational camper van ideas. Feel free to leave any questions or feedback in the comments section below!

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