Your camper van bed is going to be the largest single element to plan for in your van conversion, when it comes to sheer square footage that a bed will take up within your van’s living space, so it pays to spend some serious time contemplating what style and size of bed may suit you the best.
Your decision about what type of bed to go for in your van build should take into account factors such as how you plan to use the van, how long the van is, how tall you are, and whether you want a fixed platform bed, or one that folds, slides or moves to create more space within your van at the times of day when you’re not needing it for sleeping on.
In this post we’re sharing a range of Sprinter van bed ideas, from the popular fixed platform beds, to both professional and DIY-designed convertible beds that turn into seating, a dining area, and more during the day.
Camper van bed ideas
Platform bed with storage area (‘van garage’)
The van platform bed, like vanlifers Kyle & Tiffany have in theirs, is definitely one of the most popular designs we see in Sprinter camper van conversions, as it allows you to have a fixed bed that doesn’t require any effort to prepare before jumping in to, and offers plenty of space underneath the bed for storage and equipment.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @rambleandrevive
The space under the platform bed is often referred to as the ‘garage’ area of the van, and, accordingly, many people use this area to store essentials such as their van’s water and electrical system, tools and spares, as well as bikes and other sports gear such as running, watersports and climbing equipment.
Here’s a vibrant example of what it could look like under a platform Sprinter van bed, with storage, the electrical and water systems, and a bright dog crate.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @trailandkale
Convertible camper van seat bed
This folding van bed from Sync Vans is half platform bed, half sofa. This is a great platform bed idea if you want to be able to sleep lengthways in the van (with your head by the rear doors) but don’t want the bed to be taking up too much of the interior living space that could otherwise be used for seating, the kitchen or a bathroom.
This means it’s a popular hybrid bed option, particularly for those with the shorter 144 wheelbase Sprinter vans, who don’t choose to install the side flares that allow them to sleep sideways (more on that van bed idea, below). If you’re not sure what size Sprinter van to choose, or what the main differences are between them, read this post next.
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Platform bed to sleep sideways with Flarespace flares
There’s another solution to having a fixed platform bed in your Sprinter van without it taking up too much of the van’s length. These ‘flares’, popularized by US company Flarespace (and often called Flarespace Flares), replace the upper rear side panels of your Sprinter van, with fiberglass bump-outs that buy you several additional inches of width in the rear section of your camper van.
The beauty of these flares is that they allow you to position your bed sideways so you can sleep sideways. Depending on your bed design, this means it takes up around a foot less length within the van, compared to sleeping lengthways! This means you have more space for your van’s kitchen, storage, or seating, as demonstrated in this spacious-looking van, Roamy The Van.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @roamythevan
You can learn more about the dimensions of van interiors with Flarespace flares on their website and this post from Trail and Kale. Here’s what those flares typically look like from the outside, on the Trail and Kale Sprinter van:
Van seat bed… with seat belts
Popular in Europe as well as being offered by some specialist van conversion companies elsewhere in the World, like Canada’s Nomad Vanz, these van seats not only convert into a bed but are also installed with seat belts and designed to be attached through the van’s chassis at fixture points which can mean they qualify as being crash-safety rated.
A folding van bed setup like this is ideal for not only sleeping, but also transporting, children or additional guests in your campervan. They can sleep on the convertible seats, while the grown-ups get the plush platform bed at the back 🙂
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @nomadvanz
Van with an elevator moving bed
This awesome van elevator bed setup allows for two beds and maximum space allowance for daytime hangs. By installing a bed like this awesome design on Australia-based Benzson The Van, which moves up and down as needed, you have flexibility within your van’s interior, whether you decide to have gear storage, additional seating or something else, you can get the bed out of the way when you’re not using it and maximize on the options for daytime use.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: benzson_the_van
Here’s another moving bed lift system idea for small vans from Atlas Vans:
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Van Murphy bed
A Murphy bed design is where the bed folds up against the wall when not in use, as shown in this example from Overland Van Project. This is a great space-saving van bed idea for smaller vans where you need the van’s full interior height for other uses, whether that’s a dinette seating area, or perhaps you use the van for work or transporting adventure toys like bikes and kayaks and need that space to do that.
When planning a Murphy bed, be mindful of how the stowed-away bed, once folded up, affects the balance of weight within your van, from left to right, and ensure that you’re compensating for that by balancing out the rest of your van’s equipment (such as water and/or electrical systems) accordingly.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @overlandvanproject
Camper van sofa bed that slides out
This van sofa bed design in Van Pura Vida is a great option if you’re looking for a folding bed in your van that you can use as a comfortable, large sofa during the day. We love that the sofa faces the sliding door, so you can chill on it with a beverage of your choice while gazing out of the open sliding door at some beautiful natural spaces, wherever you park it (assuming that’s not a Walmart!).
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @vanpuravida
Camper van that sleeps 4 in bunk beds
If you have more than two people in your family and still want to fit enough room in a Sprinter van to be able to sleep four (plus a dog!), then consider two sets of platform beds, in a double bunk bed arrangement, like this family and their 144 wheelbase Sprinter.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @afamwithavan
Camper van table to bed conversion
If you don’t need all that garage space and will have plenty of storage beneath your van’s seating, then consider a design like Makai The Van, which has seating around a table for daytime use, and converts into a bed for the night, by lowering the table to be level with the seats.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @makai.the.van
Minimalist camper van bed
Who says your camper van has to have anything fancy? Whether you haven’t got around to building your van bed frame, or are saving up for your conversion, once you have your van, throw a mattress and your gear in the back and head out for an adventure, like Dani Antunez and this minimally-converted van.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @dani_antunez
I hope this post has been helpful when it comes to designing and planning your camper van conversion’s bed, layout and design. If you’re in that planning stage, then you may find some of our other van build posts helpful, for example, the 10 must-have features for every Sprinter camper van conversion. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!