Van Builds

7 DIY Camper Van Bed Ideas

Deciding on a DIY bed idea is one of the most crucial decisions to make during your van build. Check out these 7 DIY van bed ideas!

There are a lot of different camper van bed ideas out there. Deciding on what type of setup you want is probably one of the most crucial decisions to make during your van build. Your bed setup can change your entire van life experience!

Everyone has their own needs when it comes to their particular lifestyle. It’s important to remember what’s necessary for you to live as comfortably as possible. You might need a lot of storage space for gear or you might want your van to feel as open and roomy as possible. Regardless of your lifestyle, getting a good night’s sleep is important!

Let’s take a look at a few DIY camper van bed ideas!

Platform Bed

A stationary platform bed at the back of a camper van with the back doors open to trees. The bed had pink and white blankets on it and the van is decorated with lights and pictures with a white and wood theme.

The platform bed. This is one of the most popular van bed ideas. A platform bed is a raised, fixed structure with a bed on top and plenty of storage space underneath. This is often a popular bed for people who have a lot of gear or other items that they want to have in their van.

PROS:

  • You get a ton of storage space
  • You don’t have to set up your bed every night
  • It’s possibly the easiest bed to build

CONS:

  • It takes up a lot of living space
  • There’s not much room for seating
  • You might feel cramped with less head space

Drop-Down Table

Interior of a camper van with bench seating on either wall and a wooden table in the middle. The van has a cedar plank ceiling and white walls, and the back doors are open to a park.

A drop-down table bed is another very popular van bed idea! During the day, you can have benches and a table set up. At night, the table comes down between the benches and the cushions slide to form a bed! This is a popular setup for people who like to host others in their vans or want a comfortable workspace.

PROS:

  • It takes advantage of your van’s space
  • It can allow you to host guests
  • You get bench seating AND a full bed!

CONS:

  • You have to set the bed up every night
  • There is less storage space

Murphy Bed

Interior of a camper van with wood designs. A murphy bed is laid out from the left side wall.
Murphy bed in a @rydawell van

A murphy bed is a SUPER creative design for van lifers! This van bed simply lifts up to become part of your van’s wall when you’re not using it. This is a great option for people who want to have a unique setup and don’t want their bed to be in the way!

PROS:

  • It’s super easy to use
  • The entire bed moves out of your way
  • It’s UNIQUE!

CONS:

  • It will make the width of your van smaller
  • It is a more difficult design to build

Couch Sliding Bed

Interior of a camper van under construction. There is a wood-framed couch with wooden slats that are pulled out to extend to a bed.
Constructed by @thevanmart

Couch by day, bed by night! This is another super creative van bed idea by @thevanmart that helps save a lot of space. The alternating planks allow for the front of the couch to slide out to extend into a bed!

PROS:

  • It’s super easy to use
  • It saves a lot of living space

CONS:

  • There is less storage space
  • It might be slightly harder to construct

Flip Bench-to-Bed

Two images with the interior of an SUV. In the first image, there is a wooden bench located above the wheel well. In the second image, the top of the bench was folded down to extend to a bed.
Constructed by @jakeheard

Similar to the previous design, this van bed idea also turns a normal bench into a bed! The seat has a double panel of wood that can flip down to extend the bench. The back panel of the bench acts as the support for this extension!

PROS:

  • It’s fairly easy and cheap to construct
  • It saves living space
  • It can work for any sized vehicle

CONS:

  • You would need to remove all cushions to convert the bed
  • Solid wood could cause mold issues with your cushions

Bunk Beds

Traveling with a group? This might be the design for you! Bunk beds can ensure that every member of your family has their own space to sleep. There are a ton of different ways to design bunk beds, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

PROS:

  • Flexible design
  • Great for families/groups

CONS:

  • They take up a lot of space
  • They will require more tools, wood, and work!

Elevator Bed

Feeling like a pro and wanting to get a little more creative? Try constructing a bed that lifts up to your ceiling! This elevator bed lifts up to the ceiling during the day to reveal your living space. At night, it simply comes back down and is ready for you to sleep in it!

PROS:

  • You don’t need to rearrange your living space to set up your bed
  • It gives you a lot of flexibility when designing your space

CONS:

  • This is likely the most difficult and costly setup to build!
  • Your ceiling will be much lower

Personally, I went with the platform bed for my first build. I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me due to the lack of space! I wanted my van to have more living and walking space, so I swapped my platform bed to a table drop-down design.

It’s important to really weigh the pros and cons of each design. You want to figure out which one will be the best for you to make your life more comfortable! Also, keep in mind that these are all DIY beds. If you end up not liking your design, you can always change it!

Are there any other DIY camper van bed ideas we should know about? Let us know in the comments!

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3 comments

  1. Excellent analysis of bed options. I went for the platform due to overall mattress comfort. I wanted a single mattress with no seams. Originally had a “rock & roll” bed in my VW Eurovan. It gives you the ability to have additional seats, but the hardware below the bed eliminates a lot of storage space. So when I sold the VW and bought a Ford Transit I went with a DIY platform…and after camping in the Transit for five years I’d do it again.

  2. Elevator bed. Down for travel or sleep, and you don’t miss the space it takes up. Up when not traveling or sleeping, and you have space to eat, play games, with storage space on both ends of the bed which will also support it when down, so if you lose some headroom, so what, you’re going to be sitting anyway. And possibly best of all you don’t need to make it if you don’t want to.

    AND it is NOT the most difficult and costly setup to build. You build a frame for your mattress, how hard is that? Then you raise and lower it, and it is actually pretty low cost, like $100 to $200 IF you do your homework. If you just copy everyone else, and buy a fancy electric lift it can cost, a lot.

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