Deciding what van layout to choose is one of the most difficult decisions of a build.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
If you choose a fixed bed, you give up the highly useful daytime area a convertible bed provides…
If you choose a convertible bed, you lose garage space and basically have to make camp every night…
So what’s the best option for you?
In this post, you’ll find a detailed description of every van layout – as well as its benefits and drawbacks.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a great understanding of what van layout is right for you.
Table of Contents
But First… 6 Important Factors To Consider When Choosing A Van Layout
There’s a reason why almost every van has a unique layout.
What works for one person may not work so well for someone else (in other words, the ideal layout varies depending on your needs).
So, in order to help you out, we’ve put together a list of the 6 main factors to consider when deciding what van layout to choose.
1. The Size of Your Van
Size plays an integral role in the kind of campervan layout you can have. Generally, the larger the van is, the more amenities you can enjoy. On the flip side, if you have a small van, it’s best to choose a camper van floor plan layout that maximizes space (such as one that combines the bedroom and living room).
2. Making Your Bed
Making your bed is an important (yet neglected) element to consider when picking a layout. Some camper van floor plan layouts have tricky bed set-ups that complicate the typically simple chore of making a bed. For example, if you pick a layout with a Murphy bed or pull-out couch, you should be prepared to assemble the bed every day.
3. The Number of People and Pets
When searching for the best van layout, it’s essential to consider the number of people (and pets) in your van. For example, if you’re traveling with your spouse and children, you’ll want a layout that offers multiple sleeping solutions. Ultimately, the layout should provide enough room for everyone to sleep and live comfortably.
4. Room For Entertainment
Do you want to invite friends or family to hang out in your van? If so, you need a van home layout that has space for entertaining guests. It doesn’t need to include a designated entertainment room — many layouts feature multi-functional rooms (such as entertainment spaces that double as living rooms).
5. How Often You Cook
A kitchen is an important part of many DIY camper van layout plans. By installing a kitchen, vanlifers can enjoy fresh, homemade meals right in their vehicles. On the downside, kitchens take up quite a bit of space. If you don’t cook very often, you might be better off with a small kitchen, or even no kitchen at all.
There are many van bathroom set-ups available, from simple, portable toilets to full-fledged bathrooms with showers. If you’re traveling off-the-grid and would prefer a more comfortable lifestyle, a camper van layout with a bathroom is probably worth the extra cost and effort. However, if you’re constantly around public restrooms, you may not need a bathroom at all. It’s up to you to decide which amenities you can (and can’t) live without.
So… What Is The Best Van Layout? (20 Best Van Layouts)
Coming up with the perfect layout for your van is easier said than done. To help you find inspiration, we’ve assembled a list of 20 van conversion layout ideas organized by type.
Van Layouts with Murphy Beds
The first type of camper van interior layout on our list is those with Murphy beds. This set-up involves a bed that can be folded up against the wall when not in use. Although Murphy beds aren’t the most comfortable sleeping solutions, they’re great if you need to conserve space.
1) Murphy Bed with Lots of Countertop Space and a Farmhouse Sink
This vanlife floor plan layout makes the most out of small spaces by featuring an L-shaped couch underneath the Murphy bed. During the day, you can enjoy a space for entertainment and relaxation — then, once nighttime hits, pull the bed down over the couch. Right next to the bed are countertops and a farmhouse sink.
Best for: Saving space
2) Murphy Bed with Work Space Underneath
When it comes to small camper van layout ideas, you won’t find many set-ups more popular than this one. Underneath the bed is a small table and bench that fits two people. You can use it as a work space for completing remote jobs, an area for relaxation or a miniature dining room.
Best for: Remote workers
3) Murphy Bed with an Open Floor Plan
If you’re looking for open space, this camper van layout plan is the one for you. When the bed is folded, there’s plenty of clear floor space (which is perfect for storing camping gear). Of course, these items will need to be moved when you want to use the bed.
Best for: Light traveling
4) Fold Away Murphy Bed with One-Wall Kitchen
Sleeping in a kitchen might seem like a strange concept, but it’s actually pretty popular among vanlifers. In this van camper layout, a fold-away bed can be assembled directly over the kitchen countertops. Although this isn’t a traditional Murphy bed, it functions the same way and saves tons of space by combining a kitchen and bedroom.
Best for: Saving space and cooking
Convertible Bed Van Layouts
The next small camper van layout idea in our guide is convertible bed layouts. Convertible beds can be folded into a bench or sofa when not in use, essentially functioning as two furniture items in one. While they may not be as luxurious as traditional beds, they maximize space and are a step above Murphy beds in terms of comfort.
5) Convertible Bed to U-Shaped Dinette
Whether you want to entertain guests or enjoy meals with family, a U-shaped dinette area is a great amenity to have. While it’s designed for eating, you can utilize the space for virtually anything (such as reading, writing or doing work). At night, just remove the couch cushions and pull out the bed.
Best for: Hosting guests
6) Convertible Bed to Double Large Couches With Lots of Storage
Anyone who needs extra storage space will benefit from this van layout. The front consists of the kitchen, while the back features the bed and couch conversion. The double couch set-up is great for relaxation and hosting guests. As an added perk, the wooden furniture (which supports the couch and bed) doubles as a storage container.
Best for: Storing gear
7) Convertible Bed with Large Seating Area
Living in a van doesn’t have to be cramped or uncomfortable. For instance, take this campervan layout — it provides tons of space, from a large seating area to overhead cabinets. Best of all, it doesn’t exclude any essential amenities. The seats can turn into a bed, and the front of the vehicle offers a small kitchen area. For more pictures, follow @asobolife on Instagram.
Best for: Hosting multiple amenities
8) Convertible Dinette with Huge Bed and a Wet Bath
If sleep is a major priority for you, this convertible dinette van layout may be what you’re looking for. The cozy dinette area (which is located in the back) folds out into a comfortable, double bed. Along with a large bed, the layout comes with a wet bath. Ultimately, it provides luxury and conserves space at the same time.
Best for: Luxurious travelers
9) Simple Convertible Couch to Bed with Minimalist Amenities
This set-up is one of the simplest campervan layout ideas on our list. It features just one room with a fold-out couch and storage cabinets. While it may be small, it provides enough room for storing gear and relaxing. It’s best for single vanlifers who can get by with the bare minimum.
Best for: Solo travelers
Van Layouts with Bunk Beds
The third van layout we’re going to cover is layouts with bunk beds. Instead of taking up floor room, this set-up utilizes vertical space by stacking beds on top of each other. It’s a great solution for vanlifers with kids (or anyone who wants two separate beds). On the downside, bunk beds are difficult to install, which means you might need professional assistance.
10) Bunk Bed with Dinette Underneath
This concept combines the benefits of bunk beds and convertible beds. The top bunk, which is installed along the walls, remains stationary. Meanwhile, the bottom bunk can be folded into a cozy dinette area for enjoying meals.
Best for: Couples or families with kids
11) Small Kids Bunk Beds Across From Kitchen and Convertible Bed in the Back
Hosting a family of four in a van is made easy with this unique set-up. One sleeping solution (the bunk bed) is situated directly across the van kitchen, while the other (a convertible bed) is located in the back of the van.
Best for: Families with kids
12) Kids Bunk Bed with Seating and a Small Kitchen
Families looking for a roomy van layout that will accommodate their travel needs should consider this model. Rather than use two same-sized beds, the bunk bed features a small bed stacked over a full-sized one. The bottom bunk, which can be used for seating, comes with storage space and is located next to a small kitchen. Overall, it can comfortably seat three to four people.
Best for: Families who travel often
Platform Fixed Bed Van Layouts
A fixed platform bed is one of the closest things you’ll find to a traditional, residential bed. It consists of a stationary bed that’s permanently fixed to the van (typically to an elevated platform). Compared to other models, it’s rather comfortable — plus, there’s no daily assembly required. However, it takes up more space than Murphy, convertible and bunk beds.
13) Fixed Bed Over Kids Play Area with Small Kitchen and Gear Storage
You may not be able to fold a fixed bed along the wall or transform it into a couch, but you can make the most out of the space underneath. This van layout places a fixed bed over a small children’s play area. There’s still plenty of space left over for a kitchen and gear storage.
Best for: Families with kids
14) Fixed Platform Bed with Compartment Storage
This van layout optimizes space through the power of elevation. The platform bed is installed in the back of the vehicle, along the upper portion of the wall. Underneath the bed is shelf space for storing gear. The bed is easily accessible from the front of the van, while the supplies can be reached from the back.
Best for: Storing gear
15) Fixed Platform Bed with Slide-Out Bike Storage, Seating and a Full Kitchen
If you’re worried about bumping your head on the bottom of a platform bed, this van conversion layout solves that pesky problem for you. The storage space under the bed can actually slide out of the van, allowing for easy access to bicycles (or anything else you want to put on the platform). In front of the bed is a small couch and a full kitchen (which comes with a sink, fridge and three burners).
Best for: Avid travelers
16) Fixed Platform Bed Over Fridge with a Two-Person Workspace and Wet Bath
This campervan layout provides a sleeping solution, storage space and kitchen appliances all in one convenient furniture item. The top features the bed, while the bottom hosts a small fridge (accessible from the inside) and storage containers (accessible from the outside). Right next to this set-up is a cozy workspace that can accommodate two people, as well as a wet bath.
Best for: Couples who travel frequently
17) Fixed Bed with Gear Storage, Seating and a Kitchen Skylight
If you like unique designs that optimize natural light, this van layout is for you. Unlike most set-ups, this one features a skylight in the kitchen, letting sunlight illuminate the space. It also comes with your standard amenities, such as benches, fixed beds and storage space.
Best for: Couples who travel frequently
Layouts with Bathrooms
Bathrooms take up a lot of room, but — for some vanlifers — they’re an absolute-must. If you can’t imagine living without a bathroom on-hand, these conversion van layouts are for you. They range from simplistic toilets and outdoor shower set-ups to comprehensive toilet, sink and shower units.
18) Zig Zag Kitchen around Wet Bath with Cassette Toilet
Staying true to its name, this van layout plays around with the interior design to fit all the amenities in. Rather than place all kitchen amenities in a single space, the kitchen becomes disjointed to fit in the bathroom (which features a shower and cassette toilet).
Best for: Small vehicle owners who want a bathroom
19) Small Wet Bath with Platform Bed at the Back and a Large Kitchen Sink
If you want the convenience of an easily accessible toilet, but don’t want to lose much space, this van layout provides a solution. It has enough space for a platform bed, kitchen sink and very small wet bath (which can fit a cassette toilet).
Best for: Vanlifers who want a toilet
20) Platform Bed with Lots of Seating and an In-Drawer Hidden Toilet
This van layout proves you don’t need a bathroom to have a toilet. It features an in-drawer, hidden toilet — when not in use, the toilet is closed into the drawer, blending seamlessly into the background. This provides a clean, polished look that’s great if you want to invite guests (which is easily doable thanks to the expansive seating options).
Best for: Vanlifers who want to entertain guests
How Do I Plan My Campervan Layout?
Once you’ve measured dimensions, chosen your amenities and devised an idea of the kind of van layout you’d like, you have to actually plan it out. This can be done through one of the following methods:
- Draw it on paper
- Use 2D editing software (like Photoshop)
- Use 3D editing software (like vanspace 3D)
Any visual representation can help you efficiently plan where everything is going to go.
What is the Best Layout for a Small Van?
In general, the best van conversion layout is one that prioritizes functionality. Each area of the van should serve multiple purposes to maximize the space. For example, seating areas should convert into beds, platform beds should provide storage space, and so on. This doesn’t mean it has to be uncomfortable or look disheveled — with the right aesthetic flair, most van interiors look quite cozy.
The layout should also prioritize your needs. For example, if you don’t need a shower or toilet, you don’t want to waste space with a bathroom. Ultimately, the best camper van layout will vary from person to person. If you need help finding a design that works for you, reach out today!