The Sofa Bed Project

If you’ve been following our blog posts, you have no-doubt seen a few pictures of our travel trailer; a 2012 Keystone Hideout. The couple from which we bought it had made some nice little modifications that were useful to us too.

In our time with the trailer (this is our third season), we have continued the tradition of making some mods to more tailor it to our style of mobile living. Our most recent was the remake of the sofa bed. The original was wearing out. It didn’t look bad, but when you sat on it, you felt like you were leaning forward and the center seat felt like it sagged down a bit. It wasn’t comfortable at all.

Out with the old!

Our makeover was Sharon’s inspiration and we both worked on the planning and design. She took care of the mattress and upholstery and I focused on the carpentry work

Sharon likes to store things under the sofa and the old convertible sofa bed was difficult to maneuver when it came to trying to get something out or put something into the under-seat storage. It was heavy and a balancing act to try to hold in just-the-right position to balance between falling back down into a seat or slamming out into a bed. She would usually call on my help to hold the seat up while she took the dive into the storage area.


Our first step in the remodel was to remove the old jackknife sofa mechanism from the wooden base that is attached to the floor. Once removed, I did some measuring and assessing the best way to put a solid new seat base in… strong enough to withstand active grandchildren yet easily accessible for the storage area. Sharon wanted a real mattress on the bottom and she wanted some space along the back of the seat to be able to lift the mattress up to rest on its edge while being behind the hinges, so the lid to the storage could be easily opened. To accomplish this, I built some framework and covered it with the thin strip of plywood along the back. The rest of the seat base was attached with four sets of hinges. Since the hinges rest under the mattress, I selected them more in regards to their strength than how they look. Industrial function was priority here.



I felt the need to have a supporting brace across the middle of the base to offer extra strength under the weight of those of us who will sit or lay on it. However, Sharon likes to store some things in there that are too long to fit in a half-width opening. So, my solution was to make a brace that was removable when wanting to store a long object (like Sharon’s L. L. Bean hammock). So the brace shown here simply lifts out.IMG_20170805_175441308

After the carpentry phase of the project was complete, Sharon went to work. She had ordered a custom-made mattress to fit the space. She then carefully removed the upholstery material from the base and back of the old sofa bed. We wanted to use it, if possible, because it matched the upholstery of the dinette seats. Sharon carefully covered the mattress with the material from the bottom of the old seat and then covered a foam back with the material from the back of the old sofa.

The finished project doesn’t look much different than the old seat, but it is way more comfortable. Plus, all we have to do to turn it into a bed is lift the back off to expose the full width of the bed.

We have a few little tweaks we would still like to make to our newly-remodeled sofa bed, but are for the most-part very happy with the result.

Believe it or not, this was not the biggest project we’ve tackled in the Hideout. I’ll tell you about some of the others in future posts.

Happy camping!



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