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Converting a van into the perfect van of your dreams is an incredibly exciting project. Creating a cozy and cool space in the back of your van opens up a whole world of exciting opportunities. You can pick up and go, knowing you have everything you need in the back of your van.

Parking up in beautiful locations, putting the coffee on and enjoying a warm summer’s evening as the sun sets on the ocean horizon. 

You may find yourself wondering how to come up with good ideas about what direction to take your van conversion. In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to find the ideal idea for the Van Build you are looking for. The road of exploration and freedom awaits!

You don’t have to know a lot about vans or how to convert them. Most people don’t know anything about it so don’t worry. 

Where To Find The Best Van Build Ideas

Why Choose The Van Life?

One day I was searching the internet and coincidentally stumbled across a cool looking couple in an even cooler van. I was instantly struck by how well thought out the design of the conversion was.

I’m into sleek and stylish things and I never thought a van could achieve this. They used beautiful wood and rustic decoration with tasteful lighting, with a well thought out floor plan where everything just worked. 

The article got me thinking about the idea that I’ve always loved traveling. That idea of freedom and exploration was always in my dreams and I had one of those moments in life, where it felt like I’d found the missing link.

I talked to my partner and convinced her of how great it could be. Luckily, she was excited about the idea, and we went for it! Two weeks later we owned a van!

After we bought the van, we realized we knew nothing about how to convert one and what it entailed. After a monetary meltdown, we turned to the internet to save ourselves.

It was amazing how quickly we found so many great videos and articles from people who had done the same thing and made a beautiful van conversion. In this article, I’ll share with you the most useful things we found to help us!

Van Build Websites

I stumbled across a great website called 40 Hours of Freedom (Custom Crafted Vans). Here, we found a cool couple living in an idyllic van setup with a lot of information about their journey.

If you are looking for some inspiration they now convert vans professionally and have some great ideas and tips about how to begin and what direction you want to take the conversion. I highly recommend checking out this site.

Gnomad Home

This website is great, it runs through everything from the very beginning of the process to the very end.

For example, choosing the right style of van for you, planning your conversion layout, knowing how to make sure weight distribution in the van is even, making the most out of each part with multiple functions, different bed styles, dinette layouts, the best kitchen location, testing your layout, bathroom layout, and portable toilet options, shower options, solar and electrical options and so on.

The list is endless. I think this website is one of the most detailed and extensive places you can go in terms of conversion information. 


Of course, the infamous Instagram! The home of perfect-looking lives and people living the year-round tropical dream! Don’t worry guys, it’s never quite as good as it seems.

However, Instagram is a great place to find inspiration. With millions of people posting about their van builds, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of ideas. A good place to start is with hashtags. Type #vanlife #vanconversions #vanbuilds to find some great van conversions.

It’s also a great place to share your journey once you start your conversion. People love to see your ideas and there is a cool community of people there sharing ideas and chatting. So if you come up with a cool idea for your van build be sure to share it for others to be inspired by. 

Divine On The Road 

If you go on IG and check out this page, her van is epic! I really liked the kitchen she made and this was a big inspiration for us. 

She makes it feel like there is more space than there actually is, which I think is really important in a van. It doesn’t feel cramped and everything works harmoniously together. 

A beautiful counter as you walk in is great for cooking space which is essential for those who like to cook. The lack of a kitchen is what puts many people off this kind of life.

But if you search around, it’s remarkable what people create in the back of their vans! So if that was something that was holding you back then think again, check out this girl!

Brown Bird & Co

Go and check this van build-out. It draws you in and looks so cozy. With beautiful wood top kitchen surfaces, a gas cooker, a table, beautiful benches with storage underneath. And a comfy bed-mounted high at the back of the van keeping it out of the way and tidy, this really is a dreamy little setup. 

On the wooden kitchen surfaces, they have beautiful details of the edgework in the wood, giving it a very special touch. If you look in the bio of their Instagram, you will find their website full of many ideas to help inspire your first or next van conversion! 

Two Roaming Souls 

If you are struggling to find clever ideas for bed setups in van conversions, then don’t worry, there are many sites online sharing very clever and interesting bed setups to help keep everything tidy and compact.

If you go to, you will find some great ideas for which direction to take your bed setup. They cater for any budget and walk you through step by step the process for your bed design. 

A very popular design is the stationary bed. It’s very simple and one of the most affordable options. The bed stays put which means you don’t have to convert it daily into something else like a sofa or storage.

After a while having to constantly assemble and reassemble your bed and remake the sheets can become a hassle. So if this is something that would bother you then this is one of the first setups this website suggests. 


As you know, nowadays, if there is anything you want to learn how to do, you head to YouTube. Most people’s first reaction is to hit up a YouTube tutorial. It is an amazing luxury to have in this day and age.

Before, if people wanted to learn things, they’d have to take classes or go to a book store and buy a book on it. But then if you were more of a visual learner and didn’t read well, it left you with limited options.

Now it’s all changed. Many people are highly skilled in things they picked up from watching YouTube videos. 

 This is a great place to go for van build ideas and tutorials on how to convert and build the van of your dreams. 

Van Clan on YouTube is a good channel sharing many interesting ideas about clever layouts, bed designs, how to make money when living in a van, storage space ideas, and many more cool videos. 


Pinterest is one of the most genuine visual platforms for artists and ideas. Instagram got saturated with false advertising and influencers, whereas Pinterest has remained purely about the beauty in artistic ideas and images. There are many amazingly tasteful and beautiful ideas being shared on Pinterest. 

I highly recommend checking out this site before undergoing your conversion. Pinterest is often forgotten amidst the other big platforms out there, but it’s a gem worth investigating. If you search Van Build Inspiration you’ll find many images and ideas come up. 

Two Wandering Souls

We will now take you through a particular website from start to finish giving you some ideas on how to tackle the process of your van conversion.

If, like many, van life has captured your imagination, and you can’t stop dreaming about the endless possibilities of freedom it has to offer, then it sounds like it’s something you should pursue.

There is so much information out there it can be overwhelming to know how to get started. So here we will try to simplify the process and get you on the way to having the life of your dreams.

Here, you will find conversion ideas and conversion tips and instructions for whatever budget you may have. Ranging from incredibly simple and affordable, to more complex and costly.

First things first, you must decide what kind of lifestyle you want the van for. Will you be living and working on the road full time? Adventuring weekend warrior with the family? 

Before going any further, this website offers a ‘Van Build Planning Guide’. Download this and figure out what layouts jump out at you for your needs. Compile all the information on why it suits you.

Collect many visual inspirations that fall in line with this layout and make a clear list of three major things in your mind that your van must provide.

This will help you narrow down the idea of what is important to you. Once you have got all of this information, head over to another guide this website offers, ‘Van Conversion Layout Guide’.  

Designs & Conversions

Here you will find many highlighted points that may suit you such as:

  • How to make use of limited space
  • Designs if you have limited cash
  • Luxurious designs 
  • Office necessities 
  • Family accommodating designs 
  • Extra seating necessities 
  • Added storage ideas 
  • Builds that are good for dogs 
  • Stationary and non-stationary beds 

How To Make Use Of A Small Space

Where To Find The Best Van Build Ideas

Pullout ‘Backyard Kitchen’

Obviously, kitchens take up a lot of space in a van, so there are options to have your kitchen mounted at the back of the van on a sliding design that allows it to all pull out of the back doors into the outside area.

This is a genius idea that creates so much extra space inside the van. This layout is particularly good if you like cooking outdoors, and you plan to do most of your trips in warmer destinations.

You are able to cook standing up and all the smells from cooking aren’t condensed into the van. This is a huge perk for many people. 

The Surfers Van

This design also offers a pull-out kitchen and a convertible bed to bring some outdoor vibes to your design in a lovely sunny country. This is great for smaller vans as it allows more space inside for surfboard storage and travel equipment. 

The Minimalist

This design is one for those who like things to be organized, neat, and minimal. Moreover, this design is especially good for weekend travelers and families who need space free of clutter. This also offers a high-end feel and makes for a more luxurious experience. 

Tight Budget Designs

If this is your first time doing a van conversion, and you don’t want to invest a huge amount of money into it then this style of conversion is a good idea.

These are often the most simple and straightforward designs and don’t take long. If you are traveling alone and like life to be simple and modest, then this is a great choice. This design typically included a stationary bed, a kitchen and a camping stove with a basic sink. 

Kitchen Facing Forwards

This is good for those who want a kitchen in the van facing forwards towards the front of the van. If cooking is a priority for your build then this layout idea is definitely one to consider.

Likewise, if you plan to travel to places with mixed weather and colder conditions, then this could be good for you. The great thing about the location of the kitchen in this layout is you can slide the side door open for ventilation, so you don’t stink the van out with cooking smells. 

The High-End Build

This one is for those who enjoy life’s luxuries. Traveling in class with all the mod cons to make your experience tip top. A five-star hotel on wheels if you will. Obviously a build with those with a bigger budget where money isn’t such an issue.

You can indulge in a master bed along with separated rooms for others. This design would require a bigger van than your standard size. Along with a fully operating kitchen and plenty of preparation space.

Littered with elegant details to make it a real head-turner. This design is ideal for a family with small children and those who like some personal space within the van, or the couple living the high life. 

Combing Office Life With Van Life

This option is highly recommended if you plan to spend your time on the road working and living, a lifestyle combining work with living in your van.

These designs allow you to integrate office space into your van setup. You can design it, so your office is at the back, and you can open doors and work with a beautiful view.

The office can be multi-purpose combining a coffee table as well. You can get clever with this idea. If you have a van with a side window then this is a good opportunity to make your office next to this window allowing enough natural light for working and giving you a beautiful view. 

Family Accommodating Designs

Van life is possible with a family, so don’t give up on your dreams! These ideas make amazing use out of small spaces with brilliant ideas to incorporate sleeping spaces and cooking areas.

Bunk Bed ceiling sleeping pulldowns are a great way to create space for your kids to sleep. This keeps floor space plentiful whilst utilizing ceiling space for sleeping. There are many other designs of this nature out there so if this one is not for you then don’t fret. 

Extra Seating Necessities

If you plan to have guests over in your van for drinks and food then there are options to increase seating space practically.

Ideas such as a galley kitchen and an L shaped bench that can convert into a bed is one of the best ideas we’ve come across in terms of increasing seating space in a practical and good looking way.  

Adventuring Storage Options

If you are into action and adventure sports such as surfing, cycling, and climbing, then this kind of layout is essential for you to fit all of your gear into the van. This layout is all about making practical features into storage units as well.

For example, raising the entire flow level a little to give open space underneath to slide boards, climbing equipment and bicycles. Taking a small amount off your ceiling height is a small price to pay for being able to store everything you need under the floor and out of the way.

You can also make the benches open up with storage space inside, and the same for the bed and kitchen utilities. 

Vans For Dogs

If you have a lovely furry friend that you can’t go anywhere without then there are clever designs to incorporate dog space, so they can enjoy the adventures with you.

There are design options including built-in kennels and dog cages. As well as pull out dog beds. Your dog will be happier than ever with the freedom of the great outdoors and the comforts of home combined. 

Stationary And Non-stationary Beds

Depending on your preference, the options between stationary and non-stationary beds are quite influential over the entire design of your van.

If you are anything like me and the idea of assembling and disassembling your bed daily stresses you out, then a stationary bed is probably the way to go. However, if this does not bother you then having the ability to move and convert the bed may be appealing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Vans are the Most Reliable for Conversion and Driving?

At the top of the list is the Mercedes Sprinter, a close second in the Ford Transit, in third is the Dodge Promaster.

Which Van is the Most Affordable to Live In?

The Nissan NV200 is one of the cheapest compact vans on the market. With a 2.0 liter engine, it’s not the most powerful, but it gets the job done”.

How Much Money Do I Need to Spend to Convert a Van into a Home?

You can find a reliable van anywhere from around $4000.00. And to concert the van you will be spending anywhere from $2000 for a very basic conversion anywhere up to $20,000 for a top-end conversion.

Do You Spend Less Money and Save if you Live in a Van?

Yes, living in a van can allow you to save money, assuming your job is remote. However, if you cannot work remotely then all the costs will be additional luxuries. 


No matter what your situation is there is a design out there to suit your every need. There are endless possibilities out there and inspiration for any style you like. The truth is the internet has an overwhelming amount of information about van build ideas and step-by-step guides from start to finish. 

From websites to social platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, which are very popular with people sharing their stories and ideas. If you’ve just bought a van, and you find yourself panicking about what to do next then do not fear.

Everything you need to know and more can be found at your fingertips!

Happy traveling! 

Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!

No Experience, Existing Product Or Technical Skills Are Required


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