5 Tips For Planning Your Van Layout

Planning the layout for your van build can be overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider decisions to make and not that much space to work with!

Here are our top 5 tips to help you in planning your Van Layout.

1. Make A List of Your Top Priorities

You won’t be able to fit EVERYTHING into your van that you want so it’s important to understand what are your top priorities, especially if you’re going to be living in a van with your partner.

These priorities can include:

  • Bed Preference - platform or convertible table/bed

  • Shower

  • Toilet

  • Stove/Oven

  • Closet

  • A Workspace

  • Space to Store Larger Items/Gear

Sit down and make a list of your top 5 priorities. This will help you know what you want to put in your van that will be the most functional for you.

2. Base Your Design Around What You Will Be Doing/Using 90% of the Time

When we design a van for a client we put an emphasis on comfort and convenience features based on the lifestyle the client is striving for in van life. If they will be working remotely, then a desk and workspace is a top priority. If they are planning on living in their van full time, then a shower and toilet are important features.

However, planning your layout with an extra sleeping area because a friend might join you on a trip someday is not the best use of space if it means sacrificing your closet or bathroom to build a bench that could pull into a bed.

A van is small enough already without planning for the “what if’s” or “maybe someday.”

Think about the things you’ll be doing in your van everyday (like cooking, getting ready, working, sleeping) and design your van around these core daily tasks and your priorities we discussed in tip #1.

If you’re looking for floor plans that you can base your layout off of, check out our Van Layout Guide below!

You’ll get instant access to 4 different van layouts that you can tailor to your van as well as all future updates we make to the guide.


3. Identify Window Placement

Windows are an important element to a van design. They can make the van feel bigger and help bring the beautiful places your travel right into your van. Be strategic with your window placement. Remember that windows are the #1 way heat and cold transfer into your vehicle so the more you have the more your van temp will swing with the climate.

We recommend a few standard windows for all of our clients.

  1. Sliding Door T-Vent windows. These offer more visibility while driving and also help to ventilate the van in combination with the vent fan.

  2. Rear Door Windows. One of our favorite ways to stop was to back our van into spaces so we could see the beautiful view out the back windows.

4. Snap a Centerline

When laying out your van you may realize that the outer walls of the van where they meet the floor are different almost all around the van. This means that measuring from the outside of the van is very difficult.

This is why we highly recommend snapping a centerline down the middle of the van with a chalk box. You can do this by measuring from the same point on the wall on both the driver and passenger side. The goal is to have a mark on the floor that is the same distance from both sides of the van.

Repeat the process in the middle of the van and again at the front. At the front of the van it may be difficult to measure from the passenger side because of the sliding door. However based on your first two measurements you should have a good idea what the center point is from the driver’s side.

Now take a chalk box and extend it from the rear to the front of the van and snap a line. If you did this correctly then all 3 of your marks should be covered by the line. Now you can measure from this centerline to ensure items like cabinets and benches are running straight.

5. Don’t Trust Online Measurements - Measure your Components in Real Life!

When you design your cabinetry it’s important to measure the stove, fridge or sink you will be using in person before you build the cabinet. Online measurements may be incorrect and building your cabinet based on those measurements could cause you headaches later down the line.

I find it helpful to design my cabinets using online measurements but I double check those measurements after the product arrives and THEN build my cabinets.

Hopefully these 5 tips come in handy when you’re planning your layout for your van conversion.