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Van Conversion Kitchen Cabinets: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re planning to convert a van into a living or work space, installing kitchen cabinets is an essential step. Kitchen cabinets provide necessary storage space for food, cooking supplies and other items as well as add functionality to the interior of your van. In this guide, we’ll explain how to choose and install van conversion kitchen cabinets, so you can make the most of the space in your van.

Importance of Kitchen Cabinetry in Van Conversions

A van conversion is the process of transforming a commercial or passenger van into a living or work space. This can include installing cabinetry and furniture, retrofitting windows and appliances, adding insulation and electrical wiring, and customizing the interior to fit your lifestyle needs. Van conversions have become increasingly popular as a way to travel or live nomadically with all the comforts of home. They are also great for those who need to utilize their vehicle for business purposes while on the road.


Van conversion cabinets illustration


Kitchen cabinets are an important consideration in van conversions, as they both provide essential storage solutions and add to the functionality of the interior. Without kitchen cabinets, the interior of a conversion van will lack much of the functionality required for living or working out of a vehicle. Kitchen cabinets also offer additional benefits such as reducing clutter and making meal preparation easier.


When it comes to choosing kitchen cabinets for your van conversion, there are many factors to consider. From size and weight to style and materials, you’ll need to think about how your kitchen cabinets will fit with the overall design of your van conversion. You’ll also want to factor in budget, as well as any safety concerns that may affect your purchase.


Finally, you’ll need to decide whether you’d prefer to install your kitchen cabinets yourself or enlist the services of a professional. Whichever route you take, make sure you plan out placement carefully so that you can maximize space and functionality within your van’s interior.

Factors to Consider When Planning a Van Conversion Kitchen

When planning a van conversion kitchen, there are several factors to consider.


One of the most important factors to consider when planning a van conversion kitchen is the amount of space available. The size and layout of the van will determine the size and layout of the kitchen, as well as the type and number of appliances that can be installed. It’s important to measure the space and plan accordingly to make the most efficient use of the available area.


Another important factor is storage. The kitchen is one of the areas where you will need the most storage, especially if you plan on living in the van full-time. You need to consider the types of food and kitchen tools you will be carrying and plan your storage accordingly. Cabinets and drawers, shelves, and hanging storage solutions are all possible options.


Plumbing is an essential aspect of a van conversion kitchen. You need to consider how you will be providing water to the van, whether it be through a built-in tank or a connection to a nearby water source. You also need to think about drainage and waste management, as well as the type of sink and faucet you want to install.


Electrical systems are also crucial for a van conversion kitchen. You will need to consider how you will be powering appliances such as a refrigerator, stove, and lighting. A generator or solar panels may be necessary to provide power. Additionally, you will need to plan for outlets and switches to be installed in the kitchen.


The appliances you choose will depend on the amount of space you have available and your budget. You will need to consider the size and type of refrigerator, stove, and sink that will work best for your van conversion kitchen. Portable or compact appliances may be necessary to save space.


Lastly, it’s important to consider your budget when planning a van conversion kitchen. The costs can add up quickly, so it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your budget and priorities before beginning the conversion process. This will help you make informed decisions about materials, appliances, and other expenses.


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Types of Van Conversion Cabinets

  • RTA (Ready-to-Assemble) Cabinets: RTA cabinets are a popular option for van conversions. They are pre-cut and ready to be assembled by the customer. They are typically made out of plywood and can be finished with a variety of options. They are a cost-effective option and are easy to install.
  • Custom Cabinets: Custom cabinets are designed to fit specific spaces and needs. They are typically built by a professional carpenter or cabinet maker. They can be made out of various materials such as wood, metal, or plastic, and can be designed to fit in with the overall aesthetic of the van. They offer the most flexibility in terms of design and functionality, but also tend to be more expensive.
  • Prefabricated Cabinets: Prefabricated cabinets are cabinets that are built off-site by a manufacturer and then shipped to the van conversion site. They are designed to fit specific spaces and can be customized to a certain extent. They are usually made out of wood or metal, and are more expensive than RTA cabinets but less expensive than custom cabinets.
  • Vintage or Salvaged Cabinets: Vintage or salvaged cabinets are a unique option for van conversion. They can be used to add character and charm to the van. The cabinets are typically older and can be found at architectural salvage yards, antique stores or online marketplaces. They are often a cost-effective option, but may require more work to make them fit properly into the van.

Planning your Layout to Maximize Functionality and Space

When planning your van conversion kitchen, it’s important to think about maximizing functionality and space. Start by drawing a floor plan diagram of the interior of your van to get an idea of the available space. Use this layout as a reference when figuring out where the cabinets and countertops will go.


Van conversion kitchen cabinets


Consider any appliances or fixtures you plan on incorporating into your kitchen, such as a stove, sink or refrigerator. Additionally, be sure to leave enough room for passage ways and areas for food preparation so you can easily move around while cooking. Finally, make sure to factor in necessary items such as lighting fixtures, wall decorations and furniture when planning your kitchen’s layout.

Nelson Cabinetry Free 3D Kitchen Design
Nelson Cabinetry Free 3D Kitchen Design

Need help with your van conversion kitchen? We offer free quotes and 3D renderings of floor plans to make planning your layout easier. Simply send us your measurements and any ideas you have, and our team of professional designers will work with you to develop a customized floor plan perfect for maximizing your van’s space. With their expertise, you’ll be able to create the ideal kitchen that fits your lifestyle. Get started today and get a quote for free!

DIY or Professional Install?

Installing your own van conversion kitchen is a great way to save money and get creative with your layout. Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) cabinets are an ideal option for DIYers, as they are easy to install, require little maintenance, and come in a variety of colors and styles. Installing RTA cabinets yourself will help significantly lower the cost of your project; you’ll save hundreds or even thousands compared to professionally installed options. Furthermore, RTA cabinets are designed to last longer – they’re made from high quality materials that can stand up to the bumps and bruises of life on the road.


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While DIY projects can save you money, there are times when it’s best to choose a professional. If you’re converting a large van or have a complex design requiring precise measurements; if you don’t have time to install the cabinets yourself or lack the tools and skills necessary; or if you’re simply not comfortable doing the work yourself, then it’s best to hire a professional.

Additional Features to Consider in a Kitchen Cabinet Upgrade

Van kitchen cabinets


  • Pull-out shelves: Pull-out shelves are a great addition to any kitchen cabinet upgrade. They allow for easy access to items stored in the back of the cabinet and make it easy to organize and find items.
  • Lazy Susan: A Lazy Susan is a rotating shelf that is installed in a corner cabinet. It allows for easy access to items stored in the back of the cabinet and is ideal for storing spices, canned goods, and other small items.
  • Under-cabinet lighting: Under-cabinet lighting is a great way to add ambient light to your kitchen and can also be used as task lighting. They can be installed under the wall cabinets and can be controlled separately for different task lighting.
  • Glass doors: Glass doors can be added to any cabinet to display items stored inside. They are a great way to add a decorative touch to your kitchen and can also be used to showcase your favorite dishes or glassware.
  • Soft close drawers and doors: Soft close drawers and doors are a great addition to any kitchen cabinet upgrade. They close quietly and smoothly, which can help to reduce noise in the kitchen and make it more comfortable to use.
  • Built-in organizers: Built-in organizers can be added to any kitchen cabinet to help keep items stored in an orderly fashion. They are typically adjustable, so they can be customized to fit your specific needs.
  • Wine racks: Wine racks can be added to any kitchen cabinet to store wine bottles. They are typically designed to hold several bottles and can be a great way to add a decorative touch to your kitchen.
  • Spice racks: Spice racks can be added to any kitchen cabinet to store spices. They are typically designed to hold several bottles and can be a great way to add a decorative touch to your kitchen.
  • Pull-out trash and recycling: Pull-out trash and recycling can be added to any kitchen cabinet to make it easy to dispose of waste. They can be a great way to keep your kitchen clean and tidy.
  • Customizable Shelves: Customizable shelves are shelves that can be adjusted to fit different items. They are a great option for van conversion kitchen as they can be adjusted to accommodate the limited space in the van.


Final Thoughts

When planning a van conversion kitchen, cabinets are an essential component of the project. Whether you choose to install your cabinets yourself with RTA kits or opt for professional installation, the most important thing is to make sure that your kitchen does its job properly and that you are happy with the end result. With some research and preparation on tools and supplies, it’s easy to achieve a custom kitchen look without breaking the bank – no matter what route you choose.

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Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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