5 Best RV Bunk Bed Conversion Ideas

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We’ve all heard of RVers retrofitting their coaches with bunk beds, but have you ever considered an RV bunk bed conversion in reverse? 

Fortunately, there are many amazing ways to repurpose a bunk area. When you no longer need the extra sleeping space, RV bunk bed conversions are a great way to customize your rig.

Maybe you’re an empty nester whose children have moved on to their own adult lives. Or perhaps you work from the road and desperately need office space. Depending on your family’s needs, bunk beds may not be the best use of space. 

If your two-legged children have left home, you may want to convert the bunk space into a pet-friendly haven for your four-legged travel companions.

Or perhaps, you’re the opposite of empty nesters, and your children are still very little. We have some great ideas for how you can convert that RV bunk space into a crib that’s safe for your baby or toddler.

If you love your travel trailer or motorhome but want to make better use of your limited square footage, an RV bunk bed conversion might be for you. We’ll show you some great ideas on what else you can do with that space.

Why RV Bunk Bed Conversions Make Sense

Why RV Bunk Bed Conversions Make Sense

As my dad always says, “It’s your house, you have to live in it.” That same advice can be applied to RVs as well. If you spend a lot of time in your RV, then customizing it to meet your specific needs only makes sense. Converting an unused RV bunk bed area is one of the most impactful ways to do just that.

Bunk beds are a popular feature, in part because that space is adaptable as your family grows and changes. Many bunk spaces already have hanger rods and/or fold-up top bunk features for this exact reason.

Sometimes an RV bunk bed to closet or storage conversion is as simple as taking advantage of features already installed in that space. Even if your desired remodel requires removing the bunks entirely, converting this space can still make a lot of sense.

Removing bunks is a relatively uncomplicated DIY project with a lot of bang for your buck. Performing an RV bunk bed conversion into a space you can use is a great way to enhance your RV lifestyle.

How To Remove RV Bunk Beds

How To Remove RV Bunk Beds

Of course, the first step in the RV bunk bed conversion process is to remove the bunks themselves. But how? This construction project can be daunting but don’t be intimidated. In many cases, removing the bunks is a relatively straightforward process.

The first step is to consult your owner’s manual. It should help you determine if there are any wires or plumbing concealed beneath the bunks. If there are, you should disconnect your battery and unplug your camper as a safety precaution. You do not want to risk shorting wires during the demo.

The presence of wires or pipes may also impact your design plan. Rather than hire an electrician or plumber to reroute those utilities, you may opt to hide these fixtures within a cabinet or beneath a raised floor.

Fortunately for novice DIYers, most bunks are not permanently anchored to the frame. But resist the urge to channel your inner Chip Gains or Gallagher and take a sledgehammer to that unwanted fixture.

RVs are built more delicately and, therefore, require a systematic approach. In most cases, disassembly is as easy as removing a few screws and staples.

You’ll need some combination of the following tools:

  • Safety gear (goggles, dust mask, etc.)
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • A mallet or hammer
  • A prying tool (crowbar or hardware staple remover)
  • An oscillating cutting tool with a carbide blade (not always necessary)

Before you dive in, you’ll want to protect the surrounding area with drop clothes and painter’s tape.

Begin by removing the bedding and mattresses. Once the mattresses are out of the way, look for any bolts connecting the top and bottom bunk. You’ll want to remove these before anything else.

If you have a ladder and/or safety rail, disassemble those using a screwdriver or electric screwdriver. Next, gently pry off the paneling sheet on the top and bottom of the bunk frame. This should expose the plywood base of the bunks.

Find and remove the screws holding the plywood in place and carefully lift the wooden platform out. Depending on your design plan, you may want to leave the structure of the bottom bunk intact. In this case, only remove the plywood on the upper bunk.

The 2 x 2 frame of the bunk should now be visible. Examine the frame to determine how it’s anchored to the wall and remove the screws holding it in place. You may need to cut any hidden screws with your oscillating saw. Consider leaving a portion of the wood frame affixed to the wall to anchor any new furniture you plan to install.

Clear out all of the demoed debris and inspect the walls for screw holes and scratches. You’ll want to apply wall putty, wallpaper, or paneling to give the area a finished look. 

Check out this short 2:30 minute video showing how easy it is toremove bunks!

5 RV Bunk Bed Conversion Ideas

1. RV Bunk Bed To Pet Bed Conversion

RV Bunk Bed To Pet Bed Conversion Ideas

If you have a four-legged travel companion, a great RV bunk conversion idea is to transform the bottom bunk into a pet sanctuary. For larger dogs, this space is usually the right size for their bed. If you have a smaller furry friend, you might be able to fit all of their gear in this spot.

You may need to lower the bunk a bit for smaller, or older pets. Otherwise, consider adding bedside stairs to make it easier to access. When making your RV dog or cat friendly, don’t forget about the potential for storage underneath the bottom bunk. This can be a great place to install a drawer for food dishes, or leash and toy organization.

If you have a pet who can’t quite be trusted to roam free while you’re away, you can enclose the bottom bunk to create a true kennel space for Fido. Whether you use a tension-based baby gate or install a more substantial wall-anchored metal pet door, it’s relatively simple to cordon off this space.  

2. Converting RV Bunk Beds To Storage

Converting RV Bunk Beds To Storage

One of the most straightforward, easily reversible, RV bunk bed conversion ideas is repurposing that space for storage. Often motorhome bunk spaces already have rods for hanging clothes built right in. Proper bunkhouses, more commonly found in towables, have even more room for storage. 

When transforming a bunk area into a storage room, consider whether or not you’d like to still be able to use the bunks as beds on occasion. There are tons of totes and collapsible bins that can be set on the bunks and used as pseudo drawers. You can simply remove these containers when you have an overnight guest.

Another option is to remove one or all of the bunks completely. This will allow you to transform the space into customized storage. Some RVers have built walk-in closets or pantries.

If you use video or other specialized equipment, you may find it helpful to create a storage space tailor-made for your industry-specific gear.

3. Changing A Bunkhouse To An Office

Changing A Bunkhouse To An Office

Perhaps the most popular RV bunk bed conversion idea is to transform that space into an office. With the increase in people working or attending school remotely, the demand for desk space within an RV has never been greater. While some RVs include office space, others have to be retrofitted with desks, chairs, computers, and the like.

A bunkhouse offers an entire room you can dedicate to remote working. There is often enough space for multiple desks and any auxiliary equipment you might need. Some RVers have even opted to leave one set of bunks and convert the other set to an office area. This creates an office-by-day/bedroom-by-night multipurpose space.

What if the idea of an onboard office intrigues you, but you don’t have a whole bunkroom to work with? Never fear, there are plenty of ways you can create a cozy workstation in place of a single bank of bunk beds. You’ll probably want to start by removing all or part of the bunk frame. Then install a small desk, chair, and divider. Once it’s all in place, you’re good to go!

Retirees may also appreciate a desk area. Even if they aren’t working from the road, an office space doubles as a great hobby room or a good place to sit and video chat with the family.

4. Create A Camper With 2 Master Bedrooms

Create A Camper With 2 Master Bedrooms

Another, less thought-of, RV bunk bed conversion option is to reimagine the space as a second master bedroom. Bunks are best suited for kids. Whether you plan to travel with your parents, adult child, or friends, converting that space to one large bed rather than multiple smaller beds sometimes just makes more sense.

This design option works especially well if you have a separate bathroom near the bunkroom. Then everyone can truly have their own space. If you’re a snowbird who leaves family behind during the cooler months, creating a proper guest room might even encourage more visitors.

RV bunk bed conversions are not just for empty nesters. Reconfiguring the bunk room is sometimes the best option, even with young children. Many bunkhouses have four beds, while the average American family has less than three children.

If you have fewer children than beds, you can use that extra space for anything from school desks to toy storage. Opt for a room divider and viola, now you have a three-bedroom camper.

5. How to Convert an RV Bunk Bed into a Crib

How to Convert an RV Bunk Bed into a Crib

While we’re on the topic of converting RV bunk bed areas into more custom bedroom spaces, let’s take a look at how you could also repurpose bunks into a nursery. 

The easiest option is to simply install a crib rail across one of the bunks. A tension-based baby gate or a railing anchored directly to the wall both work well. We prefer to anchor the crib rail to ensure it stays firmly in place even when our daredevil toddler does not want it to.

Transforming a bunk to a crib allows you to avoid using valuable floor space for a pack-and-play. This option is also great because it can grow with your child. When they no longer need a crib, simply remove the rail, and ta-da, you have a regular bunk again.

If you’re full-time in your RV, or even if you’re not, you may desire more of a proper nursery space for your baby. Many on-the-road parents have opted to remove the bunks completely and put a freestanding crib in their place. This option also gives you more flexibility as far as toy and clothing storage. There are some truly beautiful RV nurseries that have been created out of bunk spaces.

If you do want to travel with a Pack-And-Play for your young children, check out our article on our sister site, Travel Trailer Pro, Does A Pack-And-Play Fit In An RV?

How Do I Add More Sleeping Space To My RV?

How Do I Add More Sleeping Space To My RV

By now, you’re probably enticed by the idea of reclaiming some of that underused bunk space. But you may not be ready to fully commit to an RV that sleeps just two.

What if your older kids actually want to join you for a weekend? What happens when the grandkids are old enough for a sleepover? If these are concerns you have, consider an RV bunk bed conversion that utilizes multipurpose furniture.

The Expand Furniture Dormire Couch Transformer is a great place to start. This amazing sofa pops up into bunk beds in seconds. Whether you choose to place this magical piece of furniture where the bunks once were or simply replace an existing sofa is up to you.

If you have a freestanding table and chairs, that’s another great place to consider using convertible furniture. By installing a traditional dinette/bed instead, you’ll recover your RV’s sleeping capacity even if you’ve repurposed the bunkhouse into something else entirely.

Additional Considerations Before Remodeling

An RV bunk bed conversion can be an exciting blank slate. There are so many possibilities for that space. In all your enthusiasm, take care to consider weight, specifically the Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW or “Dry Weight”) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) changes in your remodeling plans.

Regardless of your design vision, your RV is only rated to carry so much. Be careful that whatever you install in place of bunks, you don’t exceed the weight capacity of your rig.

Any alterations you make could also impact the tongue weight of your towable. Typical packing advice says you should concentrate the bulk of your load towards the front of the trailer to prevent sway. Since most bunkhouses are located in the rear, you should avoid installing particularly heavy structures there.

Final Thoughts On RV Bunk Bed Conversion Ideas

RV bunk bed conversions make it possible for your RV to grow with your family’s needs. From a crib and nursery to a kid’s bedroom, to a space for a grown child to come back home, there are countless options. Once you enter the empty nester phase of life, a home office or hobby room might be the perfect use of that space.

If you incorporate convertible furniture into your remodel, you can preserve the ability to host guests. Dual-purpose furniture provides sleeping options without you having to sacrifice the square footage you’ve only recently reclaimed.

While bunk beds are a coveted RV feature, they are only fully utilized for a brief period of time. Considering one of the countless RV bunk bed conversion options can prolong and enhance the usability of your rig.

Related Reading:

1. 10 Best Travel Trailers With Bunk Beds Under 7,000 lbs.

2. 8 Best Class A RVs With Bunk Beds

3. 5 Awesome Class C RVs with Bunk Beds

4. 12 Best Travel Trailers with Bunk Beds

Laura Tyrell – Author and Part Time RVer

Laura is a part-time RVer and a full-time mom of three.  Long-time campers and RVers before children, Laura, and her husband have fallen even more in love with the RV lifestyle since becoming parents to a child with food allergies. 

Having her own kitchen on wheels makes her RV trips amazing. Laura is passionate about finding ways to make traveling with young children fun, easy, and attainable.

Laura Tyrell3

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