11 Ingenious Campervan Bed Ideas for Cozy Sleeping

If you’re pursuing van life, we recommend starting the build with the van bed. This list of 10 campervan bed ideas will help get your van conversion going!

Building out your own campervan means you’ll have to make several big decisions, and one of those is your campervan bed design.

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

In this post, I’ll give you a bunch of campervan bed ideas so you can decide which design is just right for your layout. I also included some feedback from van lifers on which beds they chose to help you consider the pros and cons of the different styles of campervan beds.

1) Permanent Platform Bed

Photo Credit: Cody @thedesertcruiser

A permanent elevated campervan bed is 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.

This is the bed Kaylin Zittergruen and her husband decided to have in their Sprinter van conversion. Their campervan bed is oriented north-to-south because her husband is tall at 6’5”. She says, “I like how I can conveniently store my tubs of outdoor gear, outdoor stove, laundry hamper, dog bed, dog food, box with our Starlink, and camping chairs under the bed.”

Kaelan Young and her husband Daniel also chose a fixed bed: “We chose a fixed bed so we could have plenty of space in the back for all of our gear. We also like being able to sit up in the bed sometimes when we do work during the weekdays.”

Although Daniel is tall, they can sleep comfortably with their fixed campervan bed oriented side to side: “Our bed is a regular full-size bed. My husband is 6’4”, and I am 5’7”, and we both sleep comfortably with our 50 lb dog.”

Another option is to place the campervan bed 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 your preference.

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 space to fully lay down, which means they take up more room. However, Flarespace flares add width to your van with a fiberglass bump out so you can sleep sideways. I added Flarespace flares to my Sprinter van and love having a permanent bed with a garage underneath.

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

If you decide not to go for a premade platform bed, another option is to DIY your fixed platform bed, which is what Skye and Garrett Arnold decided to do in their 2016 ProMaster City: “The van was a totally empty metal box. The whole build was done by us. We chose a ProMaster City over a Transit or Nissan because of internal space, and the boxier shape makes interior building easier.” 

A fixed bed makes perfect sense for their rig: “We have a fixed platform bed we built to fit into the van. It’s on top of a floor (plywood, an insulated sheet, and linoleum). Underneath the bed, we have one side committed to the kitchen drawer/cooler drawer and the other for general storage.”

Skye and Garrett said they would not change anything about their DIY campervan bed: “I don’t think we’d change anything with the bed. The height is on a 2×12 plank, so it was easy to make level and fit bins without wasting space or eating up too much of our head space. We lost more head space when we added the foam topper, but it’s fine. We saved money and space with the food drawer by not using drawer rails.

The really strong ones are super expensive and another thing that gets bent/broken. The drawer slides on two waxed pieces of wood. By doing that, we added 0.5 inch of drawer width because it’s flush with the sides. The bed sits on slotted planks we made (saves weight – wood gets heavy).”

However, they had to discuss some trade-offs to accommodate their campervan bed: “The 12-inch bed height didn’t allow us to add in a larger or electric cooler. The height limit for our cooler drawer is 11 inches. Most modern and electric coolers are 12+.”

2) Drop-Down Table Convertible Bed

Photo Credit: @keithandhannah

Another classic van bed design is the dinette drop-down table bed. Some van lifers find this style to be 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.

The drop-down table bed is the style of campervan bed that Keith and Hannah Rose decided to have in their DIY Sprinter van, but they are not fans of it: “When we built our van, we opted for a layout with a convertible bed, and this was probably the biggest mistake that we made. This is definitely the biggest thing we would change about our van layout because while we do go out and adventure a couple of days out of the week, we also sit in the van and work a lot, too, so having a separate seating area would make our day to day life that much easier.”

Photo Credit: @keithandhannah

Their least favorite part about this type of campervan bed is how much time and effort it takes to disassemble (and then reassemble) each day: “And it is quite the process to do. Not only do we have to strip everything off the bed in the morning, but that also means we have to put it all back together at night. The cushions we made for the benches are not as comfortable as a bed, so we ended up having to order a second bed to go on top of that, which just ends up floating around the van all day.”

Making the bed every day becomes a chore that they both dread: “Even though this process only takes about 10 minutes, when you live in a van, you’re working for your basic needs pretty much every day, so this is just another added task that gets really annoying, really fast. So, for the two of us, it’s really not that practical because if we don’t make our bed, then we don’t have a seating area during the day.”

Keith and Hanah say a pro of the drop-down table campervan bed, though, is the amount of space it adds: “When our bed is in day mode, it makes a really nice big seating area which is great for entertaining people, but that rarely ever happens. When we do convert the bed, the van feels noticeably more spacious, but you can probably see why we don’t want to do it every day.”

They have also thought about which style of bed they’ll choose in their next van: “We usually make the bed three or four days a week, and even though it’s inconvenient, we still wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything, but in our next van, we will have a fixed bed. We don’t think this lifestyle is ‘hard’ by any means, but the more you can streamline and minimize the number of tasks you have to do each day – the easier it is!”

3) Couch Slider Bed

Photo Credit: Simpler Ways

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 or against a side wall, depending on your van’s dimensions. You can do this yourself, or you can buy a one from a company like Camp n Car.

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.

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 the space between the twin beds, or a lifting table.

5) Flip Out Bench Folding Bed

Photo Credit: Simpler Ways

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-sized bed.

The Frontier Futon pictured above is designed to fit into all sorts of vans, featuring a clever cutout for the wheel well to maximize every square inch of space. It’s spacious enough to sleep two (tall!) people, making it an ideal choice for those who don’t want to compromise on comfort in their compact home.

When set up as a couch, this slide out bed seats three to four people, creating a perfect spot for socializing or unwinding after a day’s adventure. It comes equipped with a custom mattress that secures firmly to the frame with heavy-duty Velcro, ensuring comfort and durability no matter where the road takes you.

6) Bunk Beds

Photo Credit: The Wayward Home

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.

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

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

If you allow 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) Elevator Bed

Photo Credit: Van Land

A power lift bed is the perfect alternative to the Murphy bed for shorter people. It’s a platform that can be lowered and raised via an electric engine. When you don’t need it, it sits near the roof of your van. When you’re ready to sleep, simply push a button to lower it to a suitable height.

This type of bed creates extra storage space in the bottom of the van; however, it reduces headroom significantly.

Beware: typical dimensions for such a bed are 55.12 x 55.12in.

9) Sleep Sideways with Flarespace Flares

Flarespace bumpouts to sleep sideways in a campervan
Flarespace flares

Flarespace flares add fiberglass bump outs 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 Nissan NV.

This shores up 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. 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 – 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

10) Buy a premade van bed 

Panel bed for a campervan
Panel bed from RB Components

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

Several companies out there sell stand-alone beds. Here are some to check out:

11) Travois Seat Beds for Campervans

campervan showing the convertible bed
Photo Credit: Travois seat bed

I went to the Adventure Van Expo in Hood River, Oregon, and saw these 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!

Where to buy prebuilt campervan beds

If you’d rather purchase a prebuilt campervan bed instead of going the DIY route, we have some recommendations for you.

These will save you the time and hassle of building the van completely by yourself.

There are so many companies out there that offer campervan beds!

Some sites we recommend checking out include:

Tips to get you started with your van bed conversion

As you consider campervan bed ideas and their pros and cons, here are some things you need to consider to get you started:

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

Back of a campervan open to see campervan bed design
This NV 200 camper offers a fold down bed. Photo: GTRV campers

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 ensure there’s enough space, and don’t forget to account for insulation and soundproofing, 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 with 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 must make every night)?

How handy are you?

If you’re doing a DIY conversion, remember 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 conversion issues.

Will you be using a campervan conversion company? Try to contact some of their clients to look at their vans 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 rig.

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