DIY Campervan Conversion – Choosing My Sofa + Bed Foam Mattress

Foam mattresses in campervan

Are you ready to start making your campervan into a comfier place to sleep?

If you’re like me then might have started sleeping in your van with a camping mattress. And if haven’t then I’d recommend doing it at least one as it helps gives you an idea of your own requirements. I’ve found it helpful during my planning stages having slept in the van for a few nights.

During June, I built my bed frame, with the help of a good friend of mine who has a wider range of power tools than me. I also quickly realised that building it was much easier with two pairs of hands.

I’ll be sharing a guide on how I put the bed frame together which will be detailed with measurements, tools and plans but for now I’m skipping ahead and sharing my decisions on how to choose a sofa and bed mattress for my van.

A quick reminder, Dennis (my van) will be mainly for short trips, a mix of work and personal adventures so my requirements differ slightly to those who are living in their vans full time. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want a comfy night’s sleep.

Here I’ll share my research for campervan mattresses including my final decision and thoughts on how comfy my mattress is for my van.

Sofa + bed mattresses for a campervan

Foam mattresses for campervan
Foam mattresses for campervan

What options are there for a mattress?

During my research I watched numerous YouTube videos but I found the most useful place to find out about mattresses was via Vanlife and Campervan Conversion Facebook Groups. Search those terms and various groups will come up. Or you can simply see my list below from my research.

Simply go to the search option and type in mattresses. This then brings up all the existing questions with many answers and all the recommendations.

Here are all the different mattress options I found whilst researching:

What mattresses were not right for me?

After compiling my list I researched each option for my mattress. A few companies/options I could eliminate straight away, either based on cost or suitability. Both Duvalay and Shorty Beds offered a limited range of sizes, which wouldn’t work for my sofa/bed set up, plus the single mattress from Duvalay was £329.95, above my budget!

SJH upholstery was again more expensive, the mattress including back rest came out at £300. And Custom Size Beds, was also a pricey option, I can’t remember prices but I wrote in my notebook ‘not cheap” haha!

I considered the options where I had to cut my own mattresses to size, however the Ikea mattress had a depth of 12 cm (120 mm) so too big for what I had planned. Plus this seemed like extra work when I didn’t really need it.

Which mattresses did I chose?

Firm foam with foam mattress topper
Firm foam with foam mattress topper

It came down to the companies that offered mattresses cut to your exact size, minimising the extra work for me to do so that was a bonus! Once I’d settled on my mattress sizes I selected my sizes on the websites and did a cost comparison.

There was a mix of options, free stockinette with some and not with others. Then a few sales and discounts, in the end I settled for Foam2Home which were doing the best offer for what I wanted at the time.

The main reasons I selected Foam2Home, firstly they had a 10% discount offer (WELCOME10) but secondly, and more importantly they offered a memory foam topper, plus they were competitively priced.

On the Foam2Home website you can search for different mattress uses, they have a specific options for campervans. They recommend a combination of two foams – firstly a firm foam, then a foam mattress topper. During my initial research I’d already considered adding a memory foam topper afterwards so this option to buy at the same time made perfect sense.

What size are my mattresses?

Four foam mattress pieces to make up my bed

I knew that my mattress for my van would need to be a non-standard option. My dimensions for my bed frame are not far off a single bed; however, I was never going to have a fixed mattress so I needed a flexible option, which meant multiple pieces of foam mattresses instead of a one-piece mattress.

The shape of my sofa is an L-shape, then my bed when the slates are out is rectangular in size (ignoring the curved edge alongside the wall).

The dimensions of my main sofa bed is 600 mm x 1900 mm so the initial idea was a full length mattress. However, I have three under-storage sections and I realised after sleeping in the van and using my Therm-a-Rest X-Therm mat it was difficult to access each section as you had to lift the entire mattress up each time. Not a big issue with a lightweight Therm-a-Rest but more awkward with a proper foam mattress.

In addition to my main bed, I have my L-shape section of the sofa top, then I needed a mattress to go on top of the slates when I extended the bed, also acting as a back rest for my sofa.

Here are the 3 options I considered for my mattress sizes.

My mattress size options:

  • Option A – (3 pieces) – One full length long mattress (600 x 1900 mm), a small section for the L-shape (385 x 580 mm) and a back section (385 x 1325 mm).
  • Option B – (3 pieces) – One medium length (600 x 1325 mm), a medium section for the full top including the L-shape (580 x 985 mm) and a back section (385 x 1325 mm).
  • Option C – (4 pieces) – One medium length (600 x 1325 mm), two section for the top of the L-shape (385 x 580 mm) and (600 x 580 mm) and back section (385 x 1325 mm).

My final decision was Option C – the 4 piece mattress set. The reason for this is that it gave me more flexibility and easier access to the under-storage areas. It meant I could easily swap the mattress about, creating an additional backrest if I wanted it and also If I’ve been on a very wet hike, I can slide my mattress along and sit on the plywood whilst taking wet layers off, therefore protecting my mattresses.

What depth mattress did I chose?

Memory foam topper
Firm foam with memory foam topper for comfort

Another choice here that I feel I had made early on when I was deciding the height of my bed. I settled on 335 mm for the height, which allowed enough head room for 100 mm of mattress, so that’s pretty much what I went for.

When I finally placed the order it ended up at 105 mm, which was because I added an extra 5 mm memory foam!

My Firm mattress is 65 mm and my Memory Foam Topper is 40 mm.

For me, this is perfect, if feels comfy, gives enough support and I can’t feel the wooden slates under that section of the bed.

How much did my foam mattresses cost?

Campervan bed foam mattresses
My foam mattresses for my campervan bed

Here’s the breakdown of costs for my foam mattresses:

These are the prices (excluding VAT) for each mattress – (Firm foam (65 mm), memory foam topper (40 mm) and stockinette).

Piece 1 – (600 x 1325 mm) = £53.33 

Piece 2 – (600 x 580 mm) = £23.43

Piece 3 – (385 x 580 mm) = £15.04

Piece 4 – (385 x 1325 mm) = £34.22

The 10% ‘Welcome’ discount was deducted from the price excluding VAT so £12.60 discount, then the delivery charge £15.00 was added before VAT on top.

The total cost for 4 pieces of foam mattress was £154.51.

View my post here on my other campervan costs.

Overall thoughts on my mattresses?

Foam mattresses
All 4 mattresses laid out on frame (still some work to do)

Placing my order

Ordering via Foam2Home was a simple process, they gave you a choice which measurement scale to use so it works for you.

After placing my order my foam mattresses were quick to arrive – 3 days after my order (DPD is the shipping provider), you’ll need to make sure you pick a delivery date when you’re home as it’s a big parcel for a neighbour to take in!

The order arrived wrapped in plastic, an exact fit to the mattresses, so not great for single-use plastic but it does ensure that your foam arrives clean  and dry during the delivery process.

When I opened the package I did notice am interesting odour, not a bad one but this faded once it was out of the packaging. I then re-measured each piece and I can confirm they were all exactly as I’d requested.

Foam mattresses
Foam mattresses in packaging

How comfy are my foam mattresses?

The foam arrived with the firm layer and memory foam topper together, then the stockinette around so I didn’t need to do anything else apart from pop in my van.

I was really pleased with the fit of the mattresses and have tested (slept) on them a few times. I can confirm they are very comfy and I slept well. The firm mattress allows enough support for the memory foam on top so that it doesn’t feel hard and I can’t feel the slates on the extendable side of the bed.

The firm foam mattress gives the structure and support, whereas the memory foam gives you comfort. The perfect combination and I’m 100% happy with my decision.

I was concerned that the gaps in between the mattresses would be an issue but since they fit snuggly together it works well for my set up. I do think I’ll probably add some velcro stripes to stop them from moving around during transit and at night.

Mattress covers

Hedgehog material for campervan bed
Sofa/bed mattress cover material

Since I have ordered non-standard foam mattresses this also means I need to commission non-standard covers or make my own. I’ve chosen the later, for two reasons, firstly, it’ll be cheaper but secondly I like the idea of adding another skill to my campervan build.

I am fortunate in that my younger sister is very talented in making things so I’ll be able to use her expertise and also her sewing machine! I’ve ordered my material – the hedgehog design above and I can’t wait to get started!

More details to follow on making my mattress covers.

Do you have any questions about my foam mattresses for my van? Pop any questions in the comments below

4 thoughts on “DIY Campervan Conversion – Choosing My Sofa + Bed Foam Mattress

  1. Liz Sharpley says:

    So weird…we use your website so much for Ethel ideas! Then I’m googling ideas for reupholstering our campervan rock n roll bed and read your article. Only realised it was you when I got to the end!

    Thanks for all your inspiration and….how are you finding your bed? Are you still happy with it? My exact idea was to look at a foam with a memory foam topper but the upholstery company I know of don’t use memory foam in their work. So wondering about a DIY job like you. Any hints or tips other than those in your blog would be very welcome.

    I def need to buy you a coffee and would love to bump into you in the Peaks one day. I volunteer as a Peak Park Ranger so am loving Ethel bagging as it’s taking me on walks I’ve never done before 😊

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      Hey Liz, haha, that’s funny, I do pop up in many places!! I absolutely love my bed, it’s really comfy and I sleep very well. I’d highly recommend going bespoke for your own van’s bed size and what you want. I think the company I used is linked in the post!

      Ah, I hope to bump into you one day, that would be lovely, I’m often there but it can be mid week. I’m volunteering at the Hartington YHA walk on 24th Sept, if you’re about then 🙂

  2. Paul says:

    Just reading the blog as starting a conversion. Do you have more details on the carpeting of the van or a blog on it? If not, did you just spray glue the carpet over the insulation and what carpet did you use?

    Many thanks

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      Hi Paul,

      Yes, I’ve finished everything now but hadn’t got around to writing any more about the next steps. I was focusing in getting it all completed 🙂 I used 4-way stretch carpet, which I bought from Amazon or Ebay (think it’s available on both). Then yes, I sprayed over the insulation to fit the carpet 🙂

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