VAN BUILD CONVERTIBLE TABLE BED AREA DETAILS
One of the first aspects of any van build or van conversion is to decide if you want a full time platform bed with storage underneath or if you want a convertible table bed area. Since our van is a live/work situation we wanted the flexibility to have a table/desk area to sit at during the day while we work. Let’s face it, if we had to sit in bed to get our work done, we wouldn’t be productive at all. That’s why we opted for a convertible table bed area instead of a full time bed.
There are pros and cons to each one, but you ultimately get to decide what is best for you. If you know you don’t like to make a bed daily, then a platform bed might be best for you.
PROS OF A CONVERTIBLE SPACE:
Table to eat, work or play games at
Easy to host guests
Functional “two-in-one” design
Don’t have to sacrifice space for another seating area
Easily converts to a bed within 3 minutes
Relatively easy to access inside the benches
CONS OF A CONVERTIBLE SPACE:
No gear storage for bikes and bigger items like snowboards
Must make the table into a bed and vice versa daily
6” of foam for your bed is about the max you can go to still be able to sit comfortably at the benches
Must store your bedding somewhere during the day
PROS OF A FULL TIME BED:
Gear storage for bikes and bigger items like snowboards
Don’t have to make the bed daily
Easy to have a full, thick mattress
Bedding is already on the bed so no need to store
CONS OF A FULL TIME BED:
If you want a seating area, you will need to take up other space in the van
Harder to host multiple people
Often can’t sit up straight on the bed without hitting your head
No upper cabinet storage
Harder to access back garage - you must go outside of the van and open the back doors to access
Now let’s go on to the details of our convertible bed area:
The benches are framed with steel studs (which are lighter weight and stronger than 2 x 4s). We then put 1/2” plywood on the sides, fronts and tops of the benches. The drivers side bench has our plumbing inside (see details here) and the passenger side bench has our inverter, batteries, etc.
TABLE TOP & TABLE PEDESTAL
We opted to keep the table light so that we could use the Lagun Table Pedestal Leg. For that reason, we used a piece of 3/4” birch plywood that we stained and put a few coats of polyurethane on.
Total we used 6" inches of foam. We bought this 4” Memory Foam Mattress Topper, which has 2.5” of high density foam and 1.5” of memory foam. Then we added this 2” Memory Foam Mattress Topper on top of that.
We cut both ourselves with an electric bread knife. We paid someone locally to make the cushion covers and bought upholstery fabric from Joann’s.