Final report Part 1: Van Build Bed/Couch

For my final project in Aesthetics of design, I created a couch that faces both forwards, and backwards in my Van, and it also easily converts into a full size bed!

Inspiration for this build came from watching essentially every small size van and mini van build video on YouTube, and selecting design elements from all of them that I enjoyed. My objectives where as follows:
– to create a couch that is comfortable and allows up to four people to hang out on a circular configuration inside the van
-to also have a couch that allow you to look out of the back to enjoy the view
-to have a full size bed that can sleep two people comfortably.
-to allow enough space for storage under the bed, and allow for ample surface and cabinetry space on either side of the van.
-easy conversion from couch to bed mode.

Below are some images of how I achieved these objectives.

Image 1: the form of the structure

The couch is comprised of four plywood sections that are joined together with piano hinges. The hinges allow for a strong connections that enable them to easily hinge from flat, to upright modes. The base is an 8″ tall pine structure fastened together with screws, 90 degree steel brackets, and industrial strength drawer sliders rated to 250lbs.


Image 2: Sliding hinges display

In this image you can see the industrial sliders being pushed in with the bed surface taken off. the sliders allow for a strong and smooth transition from flat to upright, as well. The sliders also come equipped with locking latches to keep the piece in either couch or bed mode while moving on the road.

Here we can see the couch installed in the van, looking back. The cushions were made from 3inch thick foam, cover with a custom fabric sheets to fit the dimensions of the cushions. You can see the black latches on either side, which are keeping the bed in couch mode here.

Image 3: view from the inside looking back


I these two images, you can see that there is ample room for addition seating, or a table in the cab, which in couch mode, and while in bed mode, there is more than enough room for one 6′ tall person to sleep comfortably.

It’s worth noting that these reinforcing steel brackets are installed for longevity and stability over time on the frame, and the frame was fastened into the floor and subfloor of the van using pocket holes.

The Seats are even big enough for Bernie! (110lb berna-doodle). The backwards seat also allow for easy-access gear and item storage out the back.

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Final Report Part 1: Final Tick
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Post 10: Project Progress report

3 Comments. Leave new

  • Alexis Cisneros
    May 8, 2024 10:41 am

    Hi Jon,

    I the project is looking great! The design of the couch/bed is really great and looks cool. It seems like a really practical project for the van. The images were very helpful and helped me understand the constraints and reason for the project. Overall great post!

  • Travis Mulford
    May 8, 2024 10:37 am

    Hi Jon,
    I think this project came out looking great. I really like how the surface of the bed meets the bottom portion of the back doors of the van, that seems like it will be a great storage space. Do you have any additional plans to add furniture in front of the bed/couch?

  • Hey Jon, the build looks great so far and your dog is so cute. Awesome how you got the hinge design to work. I know that some van parts can come loose or make noise when driving on the road. Are are you securing the bed to the van?


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