A Guide to Designing Practical DIY Campervan Layouts

Living in enclosed spaces is not something that everyone enjoys. If you’re someone who does enjoy living in enclosed spaces, having a campervan may sound like a really fun idea to you. The van life has been gaining popularity across the internet for quite some time now. You can find many vloggers sharing their experiences of living on the road in a mobile home. Having a campervan can be fun and also really practical, as long as you know how to set up your van properly.

Today, we’re going to explore how to set up a campervan. Our guide is going to focus on key points that will help you design a campervan that is comfortable and also practical. What’s important to know is that there is no “wrong” way of setting up a campervan. You can design your van any way you want to. As long as your campervan feels like home to you, you shouldn’t have to fuss over anything else.

Designing Your Campervan’s Interior Space


The first thing that you should take into account is how much vertical space do you have in your van. If you’re about to buy a van, you should go for a model that has an adequate amount of interior height.

The exact height that you will need will depend on how are you going to use your van. If you’re planning on using your campervan for stealth camping in urban areas, you’d want something that isn’t too tall. Taller vans tend to stand out more and can also have trouble sitting in covered parking spaces. At the same time, taller vans give you a roomier interior, allowing you to spend more time inside your vehicle.

For people who plan to go completely off the grid, a tall van is the best option. More interior height will allow for a more comfortable interior. You will also be able to install more amenities inside your vehicle.

If you’re going to spend more time in urban spaces, a standard height van will suit you better. You’ll be able to drive around without worrying about your van’s top being too high. Your van will also look more discreet.


Since you’re designing a tiny living space inside your van, you’re going to need a floorplan. A good floorplan should be able to accommodate your lifestyle while you’re on the road. Here’s what you should consider before designing your floorplan:

  • Do you plan on living alone or with a partner while in your campervan? The more people you’ll have on board, the more sleeping space you’ll need.
  • Is a bathing area and/or toilet essential? If you’re planning on living in your van for long periods of time, then definitely.
  • Are you going to be cooking inside your van or not? If yes, then you’ll need a dedicated kitchen space as well. If you don’t have enough room inside, you can consider setting up an outdoor kitchen.
  • Proper vanlifers should also set up a workspace in their van. You can combine your dining area and workspace in order to save space.
  • How much storage space will you need? This will depend on where you’re going and for how long will you be staying in your van. Your storage space should be organized and easy to access as well.

Popular Campervan Layouts

Once you have your van’s interior height and your lifestyle set, you can begin planning your interior. A good way to do this is by getting inspiration from other people’s work. Here are a few campervan layouts that are really popular.

Luxury Layout

This layout does its best to make life on the road as luxurious as possible. A typical luxury layout consists of a lounge area, a convertible dinette, and swiveling driving seats. The mid portion of a van will have a kitchen area and storage space for various items. The rear area of a van will have the bed and bathroom area. This layout includes all the amenities you need to call your van home.

Classic Campervan Conversion

This layout is ideal for people who have standard vans. You can modify your driver and passenger seats to make them swivel. If you don’t need the extra seating space, you can leave your seats as is. The middle area of your van can have a combination bath and toilet area, a kitchenette, and some store space. The rear of your van can have a seating/dinette area that can be converted into a bed.

There’s another version of this layout as well that has more storage space in it. Instead of having a seating/bed area in the rear, you can install an elevated bed with a garage underneath it. This layout has more store space, making it suitable for people who plan on keeping more things with them.

Extended Sleeper

If you have an extra-large van, you can use this layout to include more bed space. The driving area can be converted into a bed when your van is parked. You can also fit an additional bed by installing a sofa-cum-bed in the rear. This layout is great for small families and for groups with up to 4 adults.

Open-Style Cabin

For people who want a roomier interior, a fixed bathroom and toilet can be substituted with a compost toilet and a portable shower. This will allow you to get way more interior space. Not having a fixed bath and toilet will have its disadvantages, but many camping grounds have these facilities available for use.

Van Layouts For Families

For vanlifers who like to take their families along with them, bed space can be a tricky problem to overcome. The best way to overcome this problem is by having multifunctional spaces in your interior.

You can design living areas that can be converted into sleeping areas at night. You can also consider installing murphy beds. These can be folded out of the way during day time and set up when its time to sleep. Some people like to use suspended bed configurations in their van’s rear to come up with a bunk bed set up. This can be a good way to double your sleeping space without affecting the rest of your layout.

Planning Your Van’s Layout

Let’s go through the basics of setting up your own campervan.

List All of Your Large Items

Knowing all the large items that you have to place in your van will help you decide the rest of your layout. Large items include:

  • Bathroom units
  • Cooking area/sink
  • Refrigerator
  • Mattress/bed
  • Microwave/oven
  • Desks
  • Power system/water storage/propane
  • Extra stuff

You should also have an enclosed space dedicated to keeping laundry and garbage. A tiny living space and bad odors never mix well.

Taking Measurements

Taking measurements of the space you have available is important. It’ll help you determine exactly what kind of items will you need to buy for your van. While taking measurements, make sure you keep wiring, insulation, and interior fixtures in mind. Also, take note of the fact that a van’s interior isn’t completely rectangular; there are plenty of curves that you’ll need to keep in mind.

Draw Your Layout

Don’t just starting fitting things into your van, draw your layout first. Having a drawn layout will help you as you set everything up. It’ll act as a plan that will keep your van design as organized as possible. Also, there’ll be a lesser chance of you forgetting something crucial.


Vanlifing can become dangerous if your interior isn’t set up properly. Make sure to do the following:

  • Your cooking area and fuels (propane gas) should be placed in a well-ventilated area. Placing everything near the door or a window is the best way to go.
  • Keep your power system away from your cooking area and any flammable items.
  • Don’t push your refrigerator right against your wall, leave a space of 2- inches to allow the appliance to breathe.
  • Place your ventilation system as far from your doors and windows as possible. This will allow for the best airflow possible.
  • Make sure you have plenty of drinking water on board at all times. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you don’t have access to drinking water.
  • Plan your outer storage carefully. Make sure it is secure and never put your valuables in it.

Weight Distribution

Your mobile home needs to have weight evenly distributed across it. This will make driving your vehicle easier and also safer. Proper weight distribution helps with fuel efficiency as well.

Don’t bunch up heavier objects in one area. Instead, spread them out evenly across your layout. Also, try to cut weight wherever possible. The lighter material you use, the less your vehicle will weigh.


As long as you keep these key points in mind, you can let your creativity go wild and come up with a superb campervan layout. Remember, as long as it feels like home to you, there’s nothing wrong with it.

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