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If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet attractive and functional way to add seating to your camper or motorhome, an alternative to buying a sleeper sofa or daybed is to build one yourself.
All these sofas were built by RV owners because they were wanting something that perfectly met their needs and helped create the look they wanted for their home on wheels. Many of them were built from plans designed or modified by the people who built them, but if you prefer to follow someone else’s furniture plan rather than take a chance on creating your own, Ana-White.com is a wonderful source for DIY furniture plans (and in fact, several of the daybeds and sofas pictured below were inspired by plans from that website).
Where to buy a mattress for a custom-built sleeper sofa
Building a DIY sofa to fit your RV may mean you’ll end up needing a mattress in a non-standard size or shape. Here are some options for where to get one:
- Make your own. Buy a length of foam, or buy a standard sized memory foam mattress, and cut it to the size and shape you need, then make your own cover for it.
- Order one made custom. Mattress Insider and Tochta are two companies who sell mattresses as well as sheets, mattress pads, and mattress protectors in custom sizes and shapes.
Now for some sofa inspiration….
1. Sleeper sofa with drawers
RV remodeling experts Jon and Brooke Seaman removed the dinette in an RV they renovated for a client and built this sofa bed to replace it. They repurposed the drawers from the original dining booth, and a wood crate slides underneath for handy storage.
2. Built-in sofa
To create this sofa in their beautifully remodeled motorhome, the owners built a wood base and laid a sheet of plywood over the top (with holes cut for the already existing seatbelts). Then they cut an 8″ foam mattress to the correct size using an electric knife and covered both it and the back cushion saved from the original sofa with new fabric. The wooden frame and the sofa back are both screwed to the wall for stability.
3. Daybed with Drawers
I really like sleeper sofas that also have extra storage. This one was custom built by the owners of this gorgeous travel trailer, but if you’re the type that would rather buy than DIY, you could buy a twin bed with drawers like this one to achieve a similar look.
4. Wooden Pull-Out Sofa Bed
This wood sofa bed takes up very little space yet can be pulled out to make a bed big enough for two people to sleep comfortably. I’m sure some would worry about the weight of so much wood in an RV, but this RV’s owners said the type of wood they used to make the multi-colored planks is actually fairly light weight, and they were mindful of their RV’s total weight throughout the project. If you’re interested in building this style of pull-out sofa bed yourself, there are several good tutorials available on YouTube.
If you love the idea of a pull-out wooden sofa like this but aren’t sure you’d want to build it yourself, you can buy a similar one from a company called CouchBed to use as a base for whatever mattress or cushion you choose:
5. Couch with Hidden Storage
One of my favorite DIY RV sofas is this one that was designed and built by Eric and Katie of MountainModernLife.com. I like it because in addition to looking great, it has storage under the seat AND in the back, as well as a cute basket hanging on the end. You can read a very detailed description of how they built it and see more photos and a materials list on their website.
6. Daybed with Storage
When I asked full time RV couple Rich and Amanda if they followed a plan when they built the daybed pictured below for their RV, they actually said it was based on Eric and Katie’s sofa (the one I shared above)! One of my favorite features of their design is the stained oak trim around the arm of the sofa.
7. Bench with Storage
This lovely window seat provides a nice place to relax as well as extra sleeping space for visitors. If you’re a fan of this RV’s coastal vibe, you’ll enjoy looking at the owner’s “coastal lifestyle blog” Artseachic.com.
8. Couch with Built-in Wine Glass Holder
The wooden arm of this sofa built by RV owner John Crowhurst has a wine glass holder, because why not? Follow @TinyHouseTaylor on Instagram to see more photos of this incredible renovated 90’s toy hauler.
9. Daybed with Drawer + Lift Up Storage Access
This sleek daybed is one of the most creative custom built RV sofas I’ve ever seen. Go here to read about how it was built and see lots of detailed photos documenting the process.
10. 3-in-1 Couch
This wooden base was built for a 3-in-1 mattress that can be a sofa, twin bed, or queen-sized bed depending on how it’s folded.
View this post on Instagram
11. Daybed with Pet Crates Underneath
RVer Judy Acker sent me these photos of a daybed in her RV built with space for their pets’ crates underneath concealed by a curtain. This would be an excellent use of space for anyone whose dog sleeps in a kennel at night or for motorhome owners who need a safe place for dogs and/or cats to ride during travel. (However it’s not be safe for pets to ride in a pull-behind trailer as these move around more and can quickly become very hot inside.)
12. Matching Daybed Set
These couches look like they were purchased as a set, but they were actually just painted to match. The one on the right is a daybed from Ikea, and the other was built by the RV owners – a fairly simple design with wood crates that slide out from underneath.To see more RV sofa ideas, check out my blog post “Sofas for RVs that You Can Buy or DIY”.
For more DIY RV renovation project inspiration, take a look at these beautiful wood DIY countertop ideas.