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While planning our van build, we decided that a convertible bed was our layout of choice. We thought having an indoor "hangout" area would be crucial for living comfortably through rainy days. We also thought our dogs would value a more "open" floor plan with the freedom to move around.

With a bit of guessing and checking and testing, we came up with our bench and cushion layout.

We chose a 5" thick memory foam mattress.

We decided to make our bed 80" long as that is the standard length of a king size mattress. 


Our van interior from wall to wall is 69". Cut into 4 even sections gives a cushion width of 17-1/4". 

To see how we made our bed/bench cushions - go HERE


To build the benches, we used 3/4" birch plywood.


We first cut the front, sides, and the divider and screwed them together. 

The divider location (at 43-1/2" shown in the layout above) was chosen so that the frontmost section of each bench would fully encase the wheel wells.

We used 1x4s on the back of the benches to save on weight. The 1x4s will be mounted to the van walls. 

In the photo below, the right side does not have a lower 1x4 because this is where the wheel well sits.

We added a 1x4 on each side of the divider to provide more surface area for the bench lids to close against. 

After building the basic frames, we added 2x3s to each inside corner.

We notched the 2x3s to fit around the 1x4s on the divider.

For the bench lids, we cut a solid piece to fit. 

We then cut off a 3 inch strip for the back most edge, which is where the hinges will mount. 

We then cut the lid into 2 pieces along the divider. 

We screwed the 3 inch strip into place and mounted the lids with hinges.

To make the lid handles, we drilles two holes with a small circular saw and connected the holes using a jig saw.

We added a 1x3 to the front edge of each bench. These will hold the bench backs in between the benches when in bed mode. 

We sanded and sealed the benches with 3 coats of polyurethane.

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