Converting a Van for Your « Van Life »: Creating a Minimalist and Functional Living Space

The increasing popularity of the nomadic lifestyle has led many people to opt for converting a van to live their « Van Life ». Whether for spontaneous adventures or a more permanent life on the roads, turning a simple van into a haven of peace on wheels requires meticulous planning. In this article, we will guide you through the different steps to follow to fit out your van and create a minimalist and functional living space that meets your expectations.

Choosing the Right Van

Before embarking on the conversion of your van, it is essential to choose the right model. The vans most commonly used for nomadic life are the Fiat Ducato, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Volkswagen Transporter. Opt for a model spacious enough to meet your storage and comfort needs. Also, make sure it’s in good mechanical condition.

Setting Up Your Living Space

The first decision to make is the layout of your living space. Think about what you want to use it for: do you want a multifunctional space, or are you looking to optimize every corner of the van? A common approach is to place the kitchen and dining area at the back, bathroom and storage on the sides, and a sleeping area at the front.

Electricity and Energy

Having a reliable electricity source is crucial in a converted van. You can opt for a solar system, an auxiliary battery, or a combination of the two. Solar panels can recharge your electronic devices and power your lights, refrigerator, and other electrical appliances.

The Kitchen

For the kitchen, opt for compact and functional elements. A portable gas stove, a small sink with a water pump, and a compression refrigerator are popular choices. Make sure you have enough storage space for your cooking utensils, food, and dishes.

The Sleeping Area

The choice of your bed will depend on your personal preferences. Foldable or wall beds are commonly used as they save space during the day. Consider investing in a comfortable and durable mattress for a good night’s sleep.

The Bathroom

A full bathroom can take up a lot of space in a van. If you want to save space, opt for a portable outdoor shower and a portable toilet such as a composting toilet. Consider installing storage systems for your toiletries too.


Maximizing storage space is crucial in a minimalist living space. Hanging cabinets, shelves, and cleverly designed drawers are valuable allies. Also, consider using unused spaces such as under-floor or side walls to create additional storage.

Converting a van to live your « Van Life » is an exciting and rewarding adventure that requires thoughtful reflection and meticulous organization. With the right planning and resources, you can transform your van into a minimalist and functional living space that allows you to fully enjoy your freedom on the roads. Always remember that the goal is to create a space that meets your needs and lifestyle, so let your creativity and imagination run free. Good luck with your conversion and safe travels!

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