You’re ready to start creating your unique floor plan for your van conversion, but where do you start? You can try modeling software, such as VanSpace3D or AutoCAD, but these services often have a fee and have a steep learning curve. Is it possible to find a FREE camper van floor plan design creator that’s also easy to use?
The answer? Yes, it is!
That’s why we want to show you how you can design your van interior using any drawing software you probably already have installed on your computer. Whether you have access to more professional-level software, like Adobe Illustrator, or are only able to use free and widely available software, like Microsoft Paint, you, too, can create your own van interior floor plan.
Follow these six steps below, and you’ll be on your way to designing your perfect van interior layout.
Step 1: Pick a Van Design Software
You may think that to design your camper floor plan, you’ll need to use some fancy, expensive 3D modeling software. But I’m here to tell you you don’t need them. You’ve likely got adequate software already installed on your computer.
Don’t believe us? This is what we created with an outdated version of Adobe Illustrator. Below is a birds-eye view of our van’s layout with our kitchen counters (orange) and rear bed (blue).
And below is a side view of our van’s layout. You can see how we designed our kitchen counters (orange), overhead cabinets (green), and bed (blue).
Even if you don’t have access to Adobe Illustrator, plenty of free and widely available software lets you do the same thing we did. For example:
- Microsoft Paint & Word
- Apple Pages & Keynote
- Expression Design
Whichever software you choose, it needs to be able to let you create shapes (primarily rectangles) with exact dimensions (inches or centimeters). All the options that we list above let you do this.
How To Make Shapes With Exact Dimensions
All our software suggestions above allow you to draw shapes with exact dimensions. In the example below, we use the Apple Pages software to show how to make a rectangle that is 3.28″(W) and 2.34″(H)
Step 2: Identify Your Van’s Interior Dimensions
If you already have your van, great! You will need to use a tape measure and figure out the exact dimensions of your van. If you don’t have your van yet, you’ll have to look online for your van’s interior dimensions.
Have A Ford Transit? The cargo area of our 2018 Transit is 131”(L) x 66”(W). x 76″(H)
Once you have your dimensions, open your van floor plan creator of choice and draw a rectangle to match the dimensions of our vehicle.
Keeping Everything To Scale Is Critical. We chose a 1:10 scale. This means everything that we sketched was 1/10th the actual size. So when we drew our van’s interior dimensions, the rectangle was 13.1”(L) x 6.6”(W)
Below, we sketched a birds-eye view of our van’s floor dimensions. We shaded the rectangle yellow and gave it a black border.
We also added room for the two-wheel wells in the back and the sliding door in the front. The wheel wells and sliding doors were measured, so even these additions were drawn to scale. Remember: Everything was kept at a 1:10 scale.
Step 3: Add Interior Furniture
Now that your van floor plan dimensions are set up, you can begin placing your interior furniture into your van floor plan creator. This is the fun part!
Design the Bed & Back Benches
To draw in a bed using your van design software, use the rectangle tool and play around with different dimensions until you arrive at a shape that fits your liking. Because you’re designing a bed, it’s a good idea to measure your height to ensure you’ll create a bed where you can comfortably sleep.
In our camper…we wanted to build a convertible bed in the back of our van. This bed converts to a U-shaped bench and dining area during the day. (In our opinion, convertible beds are much better than fixed beds.)
Below is how we created the U-bench (shaded in light blue). We outlined each dimension to see how long and wide each section of the benches was. We even know how wide the aisle (21”) will be in the van’s middle.
There will be a table that sits in the middle of the U-bench. To convert the U-bench into a bed in the evenings, we plan to lower the table so it sits flush with the benches. This will create a rectangle-ish bed.
Obligatory Bed Shape Disclaimer
You might realize that our bed is NOT a perfect rectangle. We did this on purpose to maximize our countertop area. Eric sleeps on the bottom half of the bed, while Yuko sleeps on the top half.
Design the Kitchen Counter
With the bed layout finished you can design the kitchen counter. In the layout diagram below, our kitchen counters are shaded in orange.
One of our priorities when designing our camper’s layout was maximizing the countertop area in our van. We wanted ample countertop space to cook, fit our stove & sink, and just hold all our belongings.
So, we took the remaining area and shaded virtually the rest of the camper with two orange rectangles. You can see in the floor plan diagram above that we designed a longer counter on the left side of the van (72” long) and a shorter counter (20.5”) just next to the sliding door.
Looking Back After 4+ Years: We’re happy about maximizing our countertop area. It’s made living in our van considerably more accessible and more comfortable. It’s one of the 12 things we love about our van build.
Step 4: Add Large, Essential Products
Once you’ve created the basic floor plan with your interior furniture, it’s a good time to start placing large, bulky items into your van layout design to ensure everything fits. You wouldn’t want to finish building your kitchen counter only to realize that your desired fridge won’t fit, right?
Examples of large items to put in your van layout can include:
- Fresh & grey water tanks
- Propane tank
- House batteries
- Diesel heater
In the layout diagram below, you can see how we accounted for all our essential items and where we intended to place them in the van. Once again, each product you see below is to scale.
Can’t Measure Your Product? If you don’t yet have the product to measure accurately, one tip is to go to the product’s Amazon page and find the LxWxH dimensions.
But where’s your toilet? Great question! We decided not to travel with a toilet, which worked well for us. Learn why you don’t need a toilet in your camper van.
Step 5: Design Camper Van Side View Layouts
Once you get comfortable creating scaled rectangles using your chosen van floor plan creator, you can also create side-view layouts.
In our diagram below, we created a side view layout of our camper’s left side (driver side). Here, you can see our back bench (blue), kitchen counter (orange), and upper cabinets (green).
Important things you can see in this side-view design:
- Kitchen drawers are designed to fit each of our bulky items.
- Our 1.5” butcher block sits on top of the counter.
- A toe kick that exists at the base of our kitchen counter.
Side view layouts are excellent because you can get a feel for how your van’s interior will look when you’re inside your camper.
Electrical sockets? You can add those too! Add space for your 12v and 120v sockets into your walls or furniture.
Step 6: Design a Van Ceiling Layout
Did you know that creating a van floor plan isn’t only related to the actual floor? You can also design a ‘ceiling plan!’
Below is the ceiling plan we made with our van floor plan creator.
Here is some helpful information to know when creating your van’s ceiling plan:
- Know the length and width dimensions of the ceiling
- Find out the dimensions of the wood plank pieces you will be using.
- Know where your ceiling furring strips will be located.
Are you adding Furring Strips? #3 above is an essential point because your furring strips will likely be where you’ll have to cut your wood planks. Aside from the left and right-most edges, can you see where our other three furring strips are located?
Learn More: How To Install A Beautiful Cedar Plank Ceiling
Add Lights and a Vent Fan
Once you’ve completed your ceiling plan, you can decide the best position to put in your lights and ceiling fan.
In the diagram above, the six black circles are our LED lights, and the grey square near the middle is our MaxxFan ventilation fan.
Shop Our Lights
We use 12 of these 12V puck lights in our camper van. They fill the van with bright, warm white light and only consume 3W per device. Slim profile means they take up minimal ceiling space. Easy to wire to batteries.
Final Thoughts: Save Money! Create Your Own Free Van Floor Plan
And there you have it!
Skip the fancy software. Following the steps outlined above, you can create your own camper van floor plan for free using even the most basic, everyday drawing software.
Doing the homework and spending time to design a proportionally scaled floor plan (either on paper or on your computer) is worth the effort. It makes building your interior easier, gives you a plan to follow, and reduces the chances of making mistakes. We admit we still have van build regrets, but by designing our interior beforehand, we hope we kept our mistakes to a minimum!
If you have any questions about creating your own free van floor plan, please ask us in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading & happy building!
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