After using the van with the simple platform for a bed, table and place to hang out for a year, we decided it was time to go to the next level: Build an all-in-one bed-table-benches-storage! Our goal was to add more storage to the livable space in the van, to create a space where 4-5 people could easily eat together (after a day of skiing, mountain biking, or hiking around in the mountains, it is nice to have a place for a well deserved beer and some snacks!), and to have a large super comfy bed (which can fit 3 comfortably, and surely 4).

We came up with the idea of this u-shape bench with a table in the middle. This table then comes down at night to complete the surface for the bed. In the next instructables, we will show how we also made the cushions to fit both in bed and in bench modes.

In total, it took us about 4 days to make and varnish the benches and table and to install them in the van (with 2 people). Materials were around 450$ for the plywood, the hinges, the varnish, and the leg for the table.

This is our fourth step in the conversion of our Sprinter van. See the three previous steps here: insulation, storage platform, and cedar panels.

DISCLAIMER: This is the first van conversion we are doing, so this is certainly a process of trial and error! We tried to describe at every step the reasons why we made the choices we made, so hopefully you can see that we used common sense to design this process. I am an industrial designer and design researcher and my boyfriend is a landscape architect with some knowledge in wood working. We see this project as an experiment and as a wonderful place to try out some ideas about design, materials and fabrication.

For an overview of the work we did, take a look at our timelapse videos!

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

  • 2 sheets of 4' x 8' 5/8" thick plywood. We used tuckernut plywood, since it was available at a store close by. It ressembles nordic birch plywood.
  • 1 sheet of plywood for the table. Ours is 25" x 42". We used a cedar plywood since it matched our walls.
  • 1 leg and 2 mounts. We found ours at CamperWorld.
  • 8 2"x2" of 8' long pine studs
  • Wood glue
  • Nails for the nail gun (1 1/4" long, gauge 18)
  • Screws (size 8, 2" long; and size 5 3/4")
  • Bolts, nuts, and washers (about 25 sets, 3 inches long).
  • 8 hinges.
<p>Great post. Thank you! What is the total length of the bed platform? I'm 6'2&quot; and want to make sure it's long enough so my feet aren't hanging over etc... </p><p>thanks in advance!</p>
<p>Hi! Sorry for the slow reply! Our bed platform is 72 inches long by 69 inches wide. I guess this would be just short for you. You can adapt it to your own size though for sure! Good luck!</p>
<p>Hi there</p><p>I noticed a piece of sheet on picture 14, which was :Athens 2004. As i am an Athenian citizen i am very proud when i saw that this piece was helpful on your remarkable job with your camber....Have a nice day! Themos</p>
<p>Hi Themos, Wow, such a good eye for the details! This is a towel from some friends in fact. We have never been to Greece but would love to one day! Have a great day you too!</p>
Hi my frioend. If you need anything and i can help do not hesitate to ask. You are welcome to my country 12 months a year!<br>HAVE A NICE WEEKEND AND BE HEALTHY!!!
We're so stoked on this! Thank you for saving us so much time. We made a couple adjustments but so happy with the outcome.
<p>This is amazing!!!! Love to see how our design is re-used elsewhere!! Congrats on your conversion :) And good work on reusing the outdoor lounge chair cushions!</p><p>I am curious, did you make the kitchen unit yourself? looks cool (from what I can see from the photo!) </p>
<p>Thanks! We did. Well, we had some help with all of it since we're not that handy. We also added a shelf above both that kitchen area and the cockpit. </p><p>Love how it's all coming together. Without your instructables we'd still have an empty van!</p>
<p>hey! Sorry for the slow reply on this! The photos look great! I really like the shelf above the cockpit!!!! So good :) How did you attach it to the walls/ceiling? </p>
By the way, we are temporarily using the cushions from our outdoor chaise lounge chairs, which fit perfectly until we make the custom cushions. Thanks again for everything!
Just curious what is your heat source
Just curious what is your heat source and how is it installed how well does it work
I greatly admired your craftsmanship and equally appreciated your thorough inatuctables, they served as great inspiration for my own van conversion. Thank you.
<p>Hey eric.kessler.18 . It is so nice to get comments like yours, it made my day! So glad to see that these instructables are useful for others and more importantly that they get to inspire others to make liveable spaces out of unexpected spaces! Great work on your conversion, two thumbs up!! </p>
<p>It's amazing to see how my favourite van instructables actually influences each other! It's because of you that the internet works the way it does so we can pollinate each other with knowledge.</p>
<p>Hello again Audrey! Can you please tell us the height dimensions? How much headroom from the seats/bed to the ceiling? Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi kbss,</p><p>Sorry for the slower reply! I don't have the dimensions precisely of the height to the ceiling, but it is comfortable enough to sit and not feel like your head is too close to the ceiling! I think it is around 4 feet tall. I will have to check again and get back to you (but I am traveling now, without the van...). The height of the seat is 13 inches tall for the wood and then a cushion of 4 inches on top of that. </p>
<p>Love your van- quick question- where did you find the pedestal and post mounts for the table? I have been looking for some for my van. </p>
<p>Hi JeremyH8, sorry for the slow response! We found our pedestal and post at <a href="http://www.campingworld.ca/shopping/item/table-floor-mounting-hub-6-5-8-/7871" rel="nofollow" style="">CamperWorld</a>.</p>
<p>Nice job, I'm in the same progress as you are, but you have been smarter than me. Now I have to remove some panel to put insulation. If ever you went to install some window, pretty easy, I install 2 on mine, driver side and sliding door. Enjoy your ski trips.</p>
<p>Thanks pierrelu.parent.71! I bet it is quite a long process to remove panels and add the insulation! I hope it goes smoothly for you! </p><p>We had a professional company install one window on the sliding door and one in each of the back doors. We didn't feel quite as adventurous as you with cutting open the metal doors! Enjoy your trips to come as well!</p>
<p>What did you use for the pedestal? Is it adjustable, or do you just remove it and stow it? Great design! </p>
<p>hi tommy.penick,</p><p>For the pedestal, it is just a post that fits perfectly in the mounts. It is not adjustable, but when we bought it, there were a range of a few lengths. When the table is in bed position, we just stow the post.</p>
I would honestly love to! My wife and I have 3 kids ( 2 her and 1 me ) and she is pregnant with our first kid together so I have to give up my sports car for a SUV and now it looks like we have to give up the SUV for a van lol. So this may come in handy sooner rather than later lol!!
This has made me honestly want a van lol. Really nice work!
<p>Awesome! Thanks!! Hope you get a van and go ahead with the project ;)</p>
Awesome work! How do find the ryobi nailer ?
<p>Thanks! We loved the ryobi nailer! We had a friend lend it to us for this project and it was the first time we used one for such a big project. Worked like a charm!</p>
<p>Lovely work, I really like the look </p>
<p>Thanks! We love the look too and to wake up in that environment is always so great!</p>
<p>So well done! The interior is gorgeous! Cheers, Joel</p>
<p>Thank you Joel!</p>
<p>Another great instructable! Thank you! Your van is absolutely fantastic. It is an inspiration to see the care and creativity you've poured into it!</p>
<p>Thank you for your support and enthusiasm!!</p>
<p>My first thought when I saw the van paneled with wood was, &quot;Awesome! Mobile sauna!&quot;</p>
<p>Look at the instructables where we explain how to do all the cedar paneling!! https://www.instructables.com/id/Cedar-paneling-for-van-interior/ </p>
<p>Camper Van Bedthoven.</p>
<p>Haha! Good one!</p>
<p>Fantastic! Thank you for sharing,I picked up tons of pointers.</p>
<p>Great Job!! This is Goergeous!!!</p>
<p>Looks like you'll need to quit your day job, and start doing this for a living!</p>
<p>Thank you!! That would be awesome :)</p>
WOW! That is awesome work. Well thought out, executed, and written. I had a trailer that I installed fold up benches that could sleep one each.....uncomfortably. This was for my ATV, and had a card table for games and eats.
<p>Thanks kbc2!! Wait till you see the next one, with the cushions! It makes a bed larger than a queen size bed! (But not quite a king size bed...) </p>
Here is a funny for you. I saw a van today that the guy had rigged out the back for camping. Should have taken a picture. Was not pretty by any means, but, was very functional. He framed the back, and had an E-track system EVERYWHERE. Could have a bunk bed (slept 6 kids), benches, modular storage, or cargo. Showed him your i'ble and he loved it.
Extremely happy to see someone else appreciates the many uses for vans. Mobile anything you want, love the project. Looks great!
<p>Thanks mkemper1!!</p>
Looks really cool.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an industrial designer, an interaction design researcher, a painter, a jeweller, a skier, a camping enthusiast, and I just love to make stuff!
More by AudreyDesjardins:How to sew cushions for a camper van Bed, Table, and Benches for camper van - All in one! Cedar paneling for van interior 
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