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  • Candice Mackay

Skoolie Bedroom: Maximizing your space!

Before moving into a skoolie, I will admit - I was obsessed with the bedroom spaces. I would idolize the builds that had the cutest little spaces with all this amazing personality. Things like frosted glass designs on their cupboards, fairy lights, cute little knickknacks and throw pillows! So you can guess, when it was time to design our skoolie bedroom, I was pretty pumped up.

Now get ready for the let down - because I have none of those things. Our bedroom space, which, all joking aside - I totally love, is pretty basic. We've improved it since we've hit the road and we are continuing to add things to it. I've nearly got my other half convinced that fairy lights are a good idea - we just need to find the right ones and figure out where to mount them so that we aren't getting tangled in them.


For us, having a bed that we didn't have to take apart and remake every day was a big must have. So when it came time to design the bedroom we had to balance a couple things:

  • making sure it was wide enough for us both and still left enough room for the rest of the floor plan

  • making sure it was high enough up that we could have a good sized garage underneath

  • making sure it was super comfortable (I'm a bit of a princess with cozy sleeping)

  • including storage space

  • making the bed have an incline feature so we could sit up and work or read in bed

  • having enough space that we could sit up in bed and not smash our heads into the ceiling

I originally wanted to keep our regular mattress because I loved it and it was at most one year old. Traditional mattresses are about 11" thick though. That's a fair bit of real estate that we would lose in the garage, or have to accept some head smashing into ceiling. If you have read my Instagram posts, you may know this already - I hit my head on EVERYTHING.

So this led us to do some research. We watched a ton of van conversion videos and we heard people saying that they had memory foam mattresses and all claimed they were pretty comfortable. I was pretty skeptical. So we found a place near where we were living in Toronto that had a showroom where you could try out their foam mattresses, they are called Foamite. They sell them all custom so you can define the dimensions and grade of foam that you want. You can even layer the types of foam that you have, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

We went to the store and we laid on some mattresses and I will admit, I was very pleasantly surprised. We tried a bunch of different types and found what we liked and ordered it. The next step was to test them out. We ordered 5" thick mattresses; each side of our bed is it's own "twin" (it's a custom width) mattress. Having them be separate let Phil and I choose different foams and also let's us control the incline on our bed separately.

We tested them out for a night in our bus. Our very first camp out in the bus was in our drive way, on a very strange angle, in the winter. That said, we had a great time. We were pretty happy with how comfortable the mattresses were but my hips were hitting the bottom of the bed frame. This is no bueno for my happy sleeping situation. So we needed to make them thicker. We had some clearance to go a little higher, matching us to the same height as the counter. So that meant we were able to add 1.5".

This is where the layering came into play. Originally, my mattress was 5" of a "medium" grade foam while Phil had 4" of "firm" and 1" on top of "medium". Since I was hitting the bottom, I added 1.5" of the "firm" foam to the bottom of mine. Phil ended up doing the same. This resulted in the perfect sleeping set up for us.

Since we've been on the road, we added some shelving over each "head" side of the bed. These little shelves have been incredibly helpful for reducing clutter. I'm super happy with the storage we have over out feet as well, we fit loads of clothing in there. There are also some sort of "secret" cubbies that we have access to at the foot of the bed. They line up with the little cubbies we have behind the couch (you can see the photos here). We hide some power outlets, socks, make up and such in there. Here's a list of some of the other things we have in the bedroom that work well for us:

  • Mattress covers: Super important to have these, ours are waterproof and they fully cover all sides of the mattress. You can't see it in any of the photos but we have cut "slats" into the bed frame for protection from mold (don't miss this step, I've seen horror stories of people having to replace their whole bed).


  • Duvet and Duvet Covers: The duvet is just from IKEA, it's the summer weight one which has been pretty good. Our duvet cover is the star of this show, I love marble and think it looks cute. It matches our dishes and bathroom tiles.

  • Sheets: We each have one twin size mattress cover and then we use full queen size sheets. This makes it a little awkward to buy sheets because we only need half of what they usually package together. We bought the mattress covers solo and just use sheets from previous sets.

  • Pillow cases: This seems silly but I have some silk pillow cases that I love. They are easier on your hair when you sleep. I've noticed they help a lot and my hair is pretty fine and prone to breakage.

That about sums up the bedroom area. As we continue to add to it we'll update this article. Thanks for reading!

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