Custom sofa bed frame for VW Transporter | VAN BUILD

Van Sofa Bed Mk1

Whilst VW Transporters are very popular, making best use of the space is key to a good camper van/living space. The ambition for this build meant that we needed to have space for at least two people, two bikes, worktop area as well as storage for kit and leisure battery set up. We did have an idea early on which we built as a test. The design consisted of having a split layer, with bike storage below and sleeping arrangement on top. After construction, we set out on a weeks riding holiday to the lake district and used this setup for the entire week. We found early on that the confined sleeping space was not ideal, nor fit for comfortable living. As this was a test after all, we had to go back to the drawing board and think up other ideas. It helped looking for inspiration on google as other peoples tried and tested ideas could give us a better idea and feel for what could potentially work. We eventually settled on a new van sofa bed design much different that our original. Most of the wood used in the first design would be recycled for use in the new construction.

The Re-Design

Our all new arrangement scraped the split level to make way for a sofa bed and work area. Our bikes would now be accessed and stored from the side door and be kept up against where the bulk head originated. This meant from that point back, we would have an entire living area. The focus point would be the sofa bed as this would cater for two people sleeping, as well as giving you space and comfortable seating during the day! Opposite the sofa will be a newly designed cabinet to cover the wheel arch, as well as giving you space to store essential food items and water.

The Construction

We constructed the bed so that it covered the wheel arch to make best use of the vans space. The timber construction was very simple, and was only really a boxed design with cut out to sit around the arch. The frame had sprung bed slats which were placed equally apart. This allowed for the same amount on the slide out design. The slide out part of the design was made to the same dimensions of the main structure and also had sprung slats attached. These would then slide nicely between the opposite sites creating a simple slide out sofa bed design.

The slats we purchased fairly cheaply from IKEA and served their purpose incredibly well. We bought a double bed set which not only worked out cheaper than buying two single sets, but meant the width of the bed was spot on. Buying two singles would have meant sawing each slat down to size. Be sure to look around as we nearly went for the more expensive option and would have created more work. They came already stapled together which meant removing them all one by one to give us individual slats.

To be continued

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