6 Best Camper Bed Designs For Your Van

Woman sitting on her van camper bed

For many vanlifers, their camper bed is one of the main features of their van build. Being your home on wheels, it’s important to design the perfect cosy space for you to curl up at night and get some rest. While it can be a little overwhelming to think about designing your van layout, it’s a good idea to start with your camper bed design. 

There are many different ways to design a campervan bed. From permanent platforms to convertible beds, you’ll find a design that suits the practical and creative side of vanlife. 

The kind of camper bed design you come up with will ultimately depend on the type of van you have, the space you have to work with and your needs while living on the road. We’re going to break down the six best camper bed designs, so that you can get some inspiration for your dream van build.

Things To Consider When Designing Your Camper Bed

Before you go ahead and check out some camper bed designs, it’s a good idea to think about some of the features you want in your van and what design would best suit. There are many things to think about before you consider the specific design, which will ultimately help you make the right choice for your camper bed. 

Some important things to consider about camper bed designs include:

  • Think about the length of the bed that you need so you can fully lie down straight.
  • Consider whether you want your bed permanently set up or non-permanent. There are plenty of ways you can have a camper bed that is foldable, convertible and stowaway so you can save space, if you need.
  • The direction or orientation of your bed will depend on what kind of van you have and the room you’re willing to give up. You can have a bed going across the width of the van (saves room but can be too short for some people) or a bed going lengthways (takes up more room but will be longer).
  • The location of your bed will also depend on your van layout, but most vanlifers tend to position their bed to the rear of the vehicle.
  • Will your camper bed be a DIY job or professionally built by a van builder? This may impact how technical or difficult the bed design will be.

6 Best Camper Bed Designs

Below are the six best camper bed designs for all different vans and buses, depending on how you want your layout to look and work within the space that you have.

1. Permanent Platform Bed

Nice looking permanent camper bed

This is certainly the most popular campervan bed design. The permanent platform bed is a dedicated bed space that is always in a fixed position and usually on a raised wooden platform or frame. It can be positioned across the width of the van or lengthways, depending on how much space you have.

This design has many benefits. You don’t have to assemble or move anything around once you park up and they also tend to have plenty of storage space underneath the bed, depending on the height that you build it. This can be great for storing batteries and electrical systems, camping chairs and tables, bikes or other outdoor equipment and even a pull-out drawer kitchen.

However, this bed design does take up a lot of room and is ideal for larger vans like Sprinters or Transits. If you have a smaller van, you might want to think about having a more practical convertible or removeable bed design.

2. Convertible Couch Bed

Rustic view of a camper van with sofa bed

The perfect way to combine two cosy additions into one, the convertible couch bed design is effectively like having a futon or sofa bed in your van. This is a great option if you want to have space to casually sit back and relax without having to sit on your bed.

The most common couch camper bed has a similar design to a futon, where the couch flips down or slides out into a double bed. These are generally very easy to set up, which is great after a long and tiring drive. 

However, they can be difficult to build as a DIY option because they usually require specific hinges or sliding slats. But if you’re a pretty handy person, then it can be a fun option.

3. Removable Table Bed

Campervan with removeable table bed

Another option if you want to combine two features into one is a removable table bed. This is fast becoming a popular design for those who want to include a dinette or workstation in their van for living as a digital nomad on the road.

The design usually consists of two bench seats or couches down the side of the van and then a removable or foldable table in the middle. When set up, you’ll have a dining table and two long seats on either side for eating or working on your laptop. When it’s time to sleep for the night, you can simply remove or fold the table and use the tabletop to form the bed platform between the two bench seats. 

This means your couch and dining table become your bed for the night. One downside is that it can take a couple of minutes to set up, compared to a permanent bed.

4. Drop Down Bed/Murphy Bed

Two views of murphy bed inside a campervan

This bed design has a few different names. You might refer to it as a murphy bed, wall bed, fold out bed or drop down bed. Either way, it’s one of the ultimate space saving camper bed designs for a van. 

The design has the bed folded up against the wall of your van, which is then easily folded down when it’s time to sleep. While this means you’ll have more space in your van to have a dining area or lounge, it still takes up a decent amount of room. It’s ideal for larger vans and buses, with plenty of wall space.

5. Bed Lift or Elevator Bed

Elevator bed showing when it's up and down inside a campervan

The bed lift or elevator bed is one of the most high end bed designs that we’ve seen on the road. As the name suggests, it’s a bed that can be lifted straight up to the ceiling of the van on a motorised system. This means that you can simply push a button and your bed is packed away for the day leaving more room for couches and a living area underneath. 

One of the coolest features of a bed lift is that you can also lower the bed to whatever height you want. This means that if you have some friends staying over, they can sleep on the bench seats underneath. 
You may need some more know-how to build this kind of design with a motorised pulley system, but there are plenty of people who have built it themselves. Check out this DIY motorised lift up bed in a Mercedes Sprinter for some inspiration.

6. Bunk Beds

Bunk bed inside a campervan with a nice white theme

If you’re travelling as a family and have a little member on board, then bunk beds can be a great way for everyone to sleep soundly. There are a couple of ways you can design bunk beds for a van. 

You can have a single raised platform above a fixed double bed which can be folded down from the wall or you might even have two fixed benches on top of each other for two single beds. This can take up a bit of room in your van, but it’s ideal for travelling with kids on the road.


Now that you have some ideas about what kind of camper bed designs are out there, it’s time to start thinking about which one might work for you and your van. Whether you want a permanent bed set-up so that you have minimal work to do when you arrive at camp or you’d prefer to have a spacious workstation and dining area that converts into a bed, these designs will provide some inspiration for your next van build.

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