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.
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.
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
This elevated bed platform on a RAM ProMaster by Wayfarer Vans offers plenty of storage space and a slider table.
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:
- Adventure Wagon Moab Elevator Bed
- RB Components Panel Beds
- Flatline Bed Company’s Sprinter Van Bed System
2) Drop-down table campervan bed idea
The table on this Pro Master City Bench Seat Cargo van by Contravans folds down to create a bed.
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.
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!
3) Couch slider bed for your campervan bed design
This stunning slider bed is made by The Ply Guys.
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
This Sportsmobile T45DYO features twin beds that can be joined.
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
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
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
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 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.
9. Buy a premade van bed
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:
- RB Components sells Panel Beds
- Adventure Wagon sells Moab Elevator Beds
- Van Wife Components sells the Versa Bed System
- Freeway Campers offers campervan kits for minivans that include platform beds
- Flatline Bed Company’s Sprinter Van Bed System
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Need help building out your 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.
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:
- 60+ Van Life Essentials I Can’t Live Without
- How to Stealth Camp in Your Van
- 40+ Ways to Make Money from a Van
Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.