Murphy Bed Design

Adding a bed to the van is the second, larger interior project that I’m working on and probably the most important addition to the RV.

cargo-van-murphy-bedWhile the van conversion process should follow a specific order, so-far I’ve deviated from that, to create a (very) basic setup, that will sustain me on short trips, until the conversion has completed. Access to 12V, privacy, flooring, vents and a bed are all I need for the moment to be reasonably comfortable on short road trips.
The bed has a simple design, with many complicated requirements added to the construction. I decided a long time ago, that living space is crucial for a well-designed recreational vehicle. My experience reminds me that inclement weather can prevent you from leaving the vehicle for multiple days or longer and having enough floor space to move around (and standing straight) is the primary objective for this conversion.
A Murphy bed seemed to me the logical solution, where the floor space could be retained during the day (and keep a messy bed out-of-sight). To make optimal use of the interior space, I added a collapsible desk, where one can sit comfortably during the day, working or just surfing the Internet. A retractable monitor/tv is built-in above the bed and accessible from the desk or the passenger-side swivel seat. And with some design flair, I Incorporated a picture into the design.

Design Details

cargo-van-murphy-bedI first measured the driver’s side wall details of my 2016 Ford Transit and then projected over it the cabinet design for the entire wall.


cargo-van-murphy-bedThe Murphy bed is located immediately behind the driver’s seat, with only a very narrow space in between, reserved to hide the cabin curtain. To the left of the bed is a vertical storage cabinet, followed by the kitchen counter top that spans the width of the vehicle. From the kitchen, you have views through the side window and through the rear doors. The small area between the kitchen and the rear doors can accommodate a bike, tools and other items.

On the right side, at the bottom of the cabinets, a floor vent is visible. The cabinets to the left of that, and under the bed itself, can be used for batteries or to store the bed linens. The top-right overhead cabinet holds the retractable 17 or 20 inch monitor/tv. In a closed position, the bed shows a picture frame.

Working Desk

cargo-van-murphy-bedWith the bed in upright position, the picture frame can be unfolded into a desk. A comfy chair would complete the picture.

Previously, I wanted the desk to be perpendicular to the bed/wall, but the height and position of the bed did not allow for that. This would have offered better views through the sliding door windows, when sitting at the desk.


The Bed

cargo-van-murphy-bedWhen the bed is pulled down, one double window is exposed; the window to the left is boarded up. This would be a nice spot for another picture or painting. One can view television from the bed at night or watch a beautiful mountain view through the opened side door, when you wake up in the morning.
cargo-van-murphy-bedWatch this project and others develop on the Project Page and watch all my videos on YouTube!

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  1. Great ideas and guides! Did you generate the CAD drawings on this page yourself or are they available elsewhere?

    1. Thanks for the encouragement!

      The CAD drawings are all my own and a way for me to explore new ideas. I can visualize them quite well and thus a great help in the development of the van conversion.

      If you are interested in them, I can put them on the download list for you to download. Just leave another comment here!

      Van Williams

        1. If you go to this page you’ll find several links with more information. When you’re asked to subscribe, you’ll receive a link by email, where you can download the actual drawings. If you have problems downloading, let me know and I’ll make it work.

          Van Williams

  2. Love the van conversion. Are you going to show exactly how and where to get the pivot point mechanism for the murphy bed??? Thanks

    1. Hi Doug,
      Thanks for following my conversion.
      Short answer: Yes. Long answer: I’ve finished most of the back wall and window and I started to work on the finish materials; first some Formica on most of the back wall panel and the same on the side panels. Then I’m working on the lower cabinets doors, locks and Formica too. Finally the fold down bed. Lots of Formica and the pivot mechanisms. That includes a similar thing for two foldable legs. I will show the different parts and how to install them and will include a detailed parts list and where to order them. After that, I still have to add a desk to the bed, but I will wait for that, as I have some special plans for the desk surface, which will take time, that I don’t have right now. I’m also still working on a custom chair, that will go with it. Too many plans, too little time, but that’s a good thing ๐Ÿ™‚
      Happy New Year!

      Van Williams

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