Magic Table / Bed
Our little Sprinter van camper has a larger dinette table (8.3sq ft!) than our huge bus coach had, seats up to NINE, and it converts to a comfy bed in just 30 seconds (including bedding)!
So this is the genesis of our table/bed idea: We wanted a large table with a large, comfortable bench seat opposite the big door opening, so that we could sit and eat or ‘computer and look out at the view of wherever our journey had taken us. We liked the idea of sitting side by side as it would let us extend our legs and not fight for foot room as we had at our conventional dinette table in our big RV. AND, this pivoting table is pivotal to our entire design concept – we wanted to make it be the bed area as well, in order to leave lots ‘o room for the big galley, full bath, huge wardrobe, and 52 cu. ft. garage!
And because we never eat and sleep at the same time, this would be the best possible ‘dual use’ area we could create. We don’t hardly ever tend to have one of us sleep-in or go to bed earlier, and even if we did, we feel we can have the other person hang out up front in the cab, thru the heavy black-out curtains. HOWEVER, we did, absolutely want to find a way to make the bed-to-table (and table-to-bed) conversion as quick and easy as humanly possible.
And we achieved it (30 seconds, total, with bedding!) thru the use of a flip-down (or flip-up, depending on your point of view) coffee table lift mechanism, three custom made 4”x24”x52” multi-density foam cushions, and a special upper wall cabinet that is 60” long with no center support so that we can just roll-up the bedding and store it above, instead of having to fold it all every time. The first photo shows the early design stage with the actual flip up coffee table that we stole the hardware from.
We did have to modify it and weld extensions and metal leg assemblies to make the geometry work. But it did work out great, with the large 26”x46”(8.3 sq.ft.) table able to swivel over to a comfortable closeness so that we don’t have to lean forward to eat or type. AND, the table easily pivots away from us to further ease getting in/out of the seat! So to convert, we just swivel the table down, spread the three cushions out, wall-to-door, drop the bedroll down from above and roll it out! We modified the streetside wall as well as a ‘foot pocket’ into the door, and have 75” of van-width sleeping-length room.
Here’s the finished table that is 26″ x 46″ (8.3 sq ft) with formica laminant with tiny blue and brown squiggly lines, and walnut hardwood rounded trim. The wire access cap in the middle is over a shallow box below that has both 110v and 12v (5v adapters) for laptops and device chargers. The table pivots easily with one hand, forward and back, and stays at a nice, close position to the bench seat so that you don’t have to reach forward to eat soup, type, or rest your arms on the table. The angle of the back cushion provides good lower back support.
The table has a removable stop mechanism that allows it to glide over and away from the bench about 10″ and rest there, as you see in this photo. (sliding door is open in this pic) This is very handy for getting in or out of the bench seat without having to carefully scoot in sideways. It also can be used for walking straight thru the isle created, when traveling the length of the van without having to navigate around the table. (which is also not hard due to the extended flooring over the stock step)
Then you can defeat the 10″ stop feature, and let the table pivot all the down to ‘bed mode’. (wooden support on door seen in pic will be replaced with a walnut one) The black box on the floor is one of the two subwoofers of the home theater surround sound system. The other one is on the other side of the bench and they will be built into small end tables on each side with drink holders and phone chargers etc.
Then you just slide the three cushions over and you have a bed! These 4″ cushions are made from a 1″ firmer foam layer on the bottom, and a 3″ softer foam layer on top, which provides firm comfort for sitting, and ALMOST enough softness for sleeping. We use an additional thin egg crate foam layer rolled up with the bedding and it is perfect! The egg crate foam also helps hold the contour bed sheet out to the 52″ x 72″ shape of the bed. The foot pocket you see on the door adds 3 more inches on one side of the bed for a total of 75″.
We also made custom skinny sized pillows to help have our heads closer to the inset wall. These were made with “My Pillow” customizable shredded foam, and adjusted to our individual liking. Then my wife made custom pillow cases for them as well (with little travel trailers on them!). She also made all of the cushion covers, window treatments, etc. As well as a heavy black fabric, ‘black-out’ curtain that will go back up (once the stock cab headliner goes back up) right behind the front seats. We also made a full set of front window/windshield covers out of reflectix that jam-fit tightly to the rubber surrounds of the windows.
Here’s an example of four, but we could have up to nine people at this table in a pinch (and it would be a pinch for some!) – Two in the two swiveled chairs, three on the 52″ long bench seat, three more on folding card table-type chairs on the right, due to the extended floor (once the door is closed, and people are filed in carefully one by one!) And one more on the end. ‘Couldn’t really eat a meal (but four can, easily) but for just drinks, snacks, playing cards, etc. – doable! – In a pinch! (like on a rainy night at a rally or something)