What Makes the Perfect Sprinter Van Conversion Layout For Van Life?
If you are in the market for a Sprinter van conversion, then you have probably noticed that there are literally hundreds of camper van layouts out there.
Choosing the right layout for your camper van conversion is important. Camper vans offer a lot in a small space, but the right floor plan can make the difference between a cramped, RV-like feel or a bright and open van lifer’s dream rig.
You also need to consider your needs: Are you going to be living full-time van life or just taking your van out for weekend road trips?
Whether you are starting your own DIY custom build on your own van, or looking for the best campervan conversion companies, this guide can help you figure out what floor plan you need to maximize the functionality and vibe of your van’s living area.
Major Components of Camper Van Layouts
While camper van layouts vary a lot, most have the same basic components that comprise the majority of the living space.
The orientation and design of these components will determine how your van’s floor plan functions and feels.
Van builders that thoughtfully design and orient the following components will have the best layouts.
Kitchens tend to take center stage in van designs. Having a fridge, sink, stovetop, and plenty of counter space is a big part of what separates camping in a van from car camping.
Kitchens take up a lot of space, and there are a few different orientations that can really change the feel of a Sprinter camper van layout.
The most common camper van design is to put the kitchen along the driver’s side wall, opposite the sliding door. With a bed in the back of the van, the kitchen runs between the bed and the front seats.
This option is great because it leaves about 3/4 to 2/3 of the width of the van open on the passenger side.
Another common kitchen design is to split the area into two cabinets, with one in the same orientation on the driver’s side and another on the passenger side, partially blocking the sliding door.
This design can make a van interior feel a bit more cramped, but there’s usually still plenty of room and you get the added bonus of being able to do dishes or cook a meal with an open-air feeling while looking out the sliding door.
The third option is to place the kitchen towards the front of the living area in an east-west orientation behind the front seats.
This option leaves the entire area between the kitchen and the bed open, expanding the possibilities for bench seats and other ideas.
The downside with this kitchen design is that it blocks passage between the front and rear of the van, although some builders leave the middle of the galley open with a fold-down countertop to address this issue.
The bed takes up the most space of any aspect of a camper van build. People get quite creative with their bed designs, utilizing things like bunk beds, convertible beds that fold into seats, and more.
Side-to-Side or Front-to-Back Bed?
Whether to orient the bed front to back or side to side is an inevitable camper van layout question.
With a front-back orientation, it is possible to fit a queen size bed in a Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit, and it’s not unheard of to see king beds in camper conversions.
The east-west orientation, on the other hand, has the major benefit of leaving more living space available in front of it. This type of bed is better for high-roof vans with shorter wheelbases, such as the Sprinter 144.
One way to avoid feeling too cramped with an east-west bed is to add flare-outs to the sides of the van. These literally make the body of the van wider in the area of the bed to allow for more sleeping room.
Fixed vs. Convertible Beds
While convertible beds that pull out or convert to a seating area seem like a great idea for such a small space, we find that they end up being far less practical than fixed beds.
Convertible beds eat up storage space, while fixed beds allow for massive amounts of storage underneath them.
Additionally, it’s a pain to remove mattress toppers and bedding every time you go to convert your bed into seating, and there’s not exactly a great place to store these items in a van.
Additional Seating/Sleeping Areas
Many vans are meant for families and people traveling with more than two people. These vans tend to include rear bench seats.
The most common way to accommodate additional people for sleeping is to allow for the bench seats to fold down to create another bed.
There are other options, like adding a pop-top to your van with a full bed above the living area and a ladder to access it. But for kids who aren’t too picky about where they sleep, a simple convertible bench seat does the trick.
Having lots of storage is critical to making a camper van functional and keeping the living space from feeling cluttered.
Overhead cabinets are one common storage solution for vans, providing a great place to store clothes, food, and other items.
Box seats serve the dual purpose of providing seating while also holding large items. It is common to store a cassette or composting toilet in a slide-out cabinet under a seating area.
The bulk of the storage in a van is usually found in the “garage” area, under the bed in the rear of the van.
The garage is usually accessed through the rear doors and is a great place for all your outdoor gear and large items like mountain bikes.
The garage is also commonly where a van’s electrical system and water tanks are hidden away. These components are a great way to fill up the awkward area around the van’s wheel wells.
Van owners that need even more storage space can add a roof rack with a cargo box. Roof racks are also great for mounting awnings, LED lights, solar panels, and other accessories.
Finding Your Perfect Van Build Floor Plan
Are you in the market for a Sprinter conversion with a perfect layout? Forget the stress of designing your own floor plan and go with a professional conversion company with decades of experience designing and building small spaces.
Muse & Co. Outdoors is one of the best camper van conversion companies in California. With three models to choose from, you can pick the layout that is perfect for your needs.
Muse & Co. Outdoors offers semi-custom van conversions, meaning we handle the heavy lifting of designing the perfect layout but we still give you control over many aspects and features of your build.
Learn more about our vans here or try our Build My Van tool to explore your options and get a feel for what your dream rig could look like!
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