How to convert campervan seating into a bed

After much pencil chewing and imaginary beard stroking over how to convert our campervan seating into a bed, Paul had an epiphany.

The first stage was fairly simple. By hinging an extra panel onto the long section of the L-shaped seating, we could pull it out to create the base of the bed. As shown here:

Paul had to cut the top panel marginally shorter than the bottom one, so it would clear the overhanging worksurface when pulled out. This will be hidden though once the seat cushions are on.

We’ve continued to use the same material for all the seating panels – I imagine the staff at Bunnings are somewhat intrigued by the sudden demand for their cheap pantry doors. It’s been a readily available form of MDF though with a glossy plastic coating, and has been really easy to work with.

The challenge was creating the supporting leg underneath the pull-out bed panel. The moment of revelation occurred when Paul worked out he could add another panel, which, when hinged, would act as a back rest in one position, and a supporting leg when folded down:

In the bed configuration, the two seat cushions will stay in position, and the two backrests will lie side by side on the other half. The bed is actually wider than I’d imagined; I was visualizing us both having to lie on our sides and turn over in unison, but it’s about 1.2m wide, which is fairly comfortable.

This week Paul has also fitted the master control switch, and bought the battery and the charger, so the next job is to start wiring everything up. Since winter arrived early in Brisbane, I have been lobbying for a nice warm fan heater, in case the van is finished before August. I’ve been advised to just rug up.


12 thoughts on “How to convert campervan seating into a bed

  1. Rachel
    Both Renata and I are waiting in anticipation to see the completed cushion covers etc that you’re working on. I know you’ve been busy with all these posts etc and keeping Paul fed and energised for his weekly campervan work-out! But when will we see your beautiful work?
    Looking forward to seeing the van.

  2. I think Paul is doing a great job and Rachel doing a great job on the blog, but I’m not sure when she’ll get round to doing the cushions etc!!
    Need to see some more progress and photos please.
    Hope to see you guys soon too.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing all of this invaluable information. We have a Mitsubishi L400 4WD van with a conversion that we are not happy with. I’ve scoured millions (okay maybe slight exaggeration) of websites looking for the right conversion for us, and I think this is it! Well done for getting a bathroom in there as well…I’m so impressed with that! Was there any reason you didn’t add a pop-top other than the expense of it?

    • Brilliant! We loved the design, it totally worked for us and squeezed so much in. You might have read in the blog that the ceiling height was the source of much discussion early on. In the end, Paul just didn’t want to ruin the integrity of the van’s shell by cutting its roof off. It drove so nicely and felt so solid, which could have changed substantially by adding a pop-top roof – especially as we were doing the work ourselves ha. We didn’t regret it, and never spent enough time standing up in the kitchen area (at the lowest height) for it to be a problem. Best of luck with yours 🙂

  4. Hi Rachel, did you have any issues with the fold out panels not being supportive enough for you to sleep/sit on?

    • Hi Gabriela, I’m so sorry for my late reply on this one, for some reason the comment has only just come through. It’s probably too late for you now but we didn’t have any problems at all – the supporting leg did its job and it made a very sturdy and comfortable bed.

  5. Hi, I love the design in this post. I have been looking for a way to add a window seat between two bookcases in my house that would serve primarily as a reading spot with open storage cubes below, and also as a spare twin sized bed for a visiting adult. I didn’t know how to draw or explain what I envisioned. My space is limited, and a seat depth of around 20″ with an equal height of 20″ and a length of 79″ would work. If the top of the seat had 3 “layers”, it would open to a flat 40″ wide, and 79″ long with a 20″ “leg”…right? I wonder what materials and type of hinges did you use to build your bench? Is this strong enough to support an adult? I am so pleased to see your pictures, they are very helpful.

Leave a Reply to Richard V Jones Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s