Designing your layout for your build is arguably the most important step in the build process.
Your layout will dictate the way that you function while living or camping in your van.
Below are some of the most common styles of layouts and their pros and cons. Hopefully this post can motivate you and help you in your build!
RV STYLE LAYOUT
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The RV style layout is beneficial if you are comfortable with a small isle in the center of your space, but massive storage areas throughout your dwelling. Maximizing storage space is the main reason why you might decide on this type of layout, but you will be sacrificing floor space and space to interact with guests.
SLIDING BED CAMPER LAYOUT
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The sliding bed camper layout is one of the most common conversion styles that I've seen and was the first style of layout that I decided to use when building my first van conversion. I chose this layout because its best done to maximize floor space in a low roof van. I personally needed to be able to travel with my motorcycle, and being able to move my bed out of the way in order to have additional seating and make room for the bike was the main appeal for me in this layout. The biggest downside to this layout is that you are missing out on a large amount of storage that you would be able to utilize more with a fixed bed taking up more of the floor space.
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If you're unfamiliar with the VW Westfalia, its a classic style camper van that came from the factory as a fully converted travel van. The typical style for this type of conversion was to have a 2 seater couch with a rock and roll seat-to-bed conversion on one side, and the remaining space to the side of the couch was cabinetry and a kitchen. This style is great if you want to have a massive amount of storage without sacrificing the ability to have floor space. This type of conversion is great for vans that have a low roof because they are designed to make it easy to access everything from a seated position.
FIXED BED AND KITCHEN
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This type of layout is also one of the most common styles that I have seen personally. The benefits to this type of layout are that it gives you the most amount of storage space possible by making the entire space under a full sized bed into a massive storage area. You also don't have to deal with the hassle of converting your bed from a couch every time you want to go to sleep. The down side to this type of layout is that you might be losing a lot of floor space, and you generally will not have much room for upright seating of yourself and your guests. It is also important to note that this is probably the easiest style of van conversion to make, so if you're a beginner to these type of projects, this might be a great place to start!
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This type of layout is best done with high roof and extended vans. The upside to this type of layout is that it allows you to utilize storage space, seating space, and bed space to the greatest degree possible. It also feels the most like a regular home or apartment. The major downside to this type of layout is that it is extremely difficult to achieve this type of layout with a low roof van, and most high roof extended vans can be extremely expensive.