Are you trying to decide if a Murphy bed is right for you? Or which one is the best to purchase for your space? Regardless of your reasons, our Ultimate Murphy Bed Buy Guide will tell you everything you need to know.
What is a Murphy Bed?
Murphy beds are the ultimate space-savers. They easily fold up against the wall when not being used and are an excellent addition to maximizing the flow and function of a room. Whether you live in a cozy studio apartment or a house, a Murphy bed helps you reclaim floor space.
History of the Murphy Bed
The Murphy bed was created around 1900 in San Francisco by William Lawrence Murphy. Legend has it that a love interest prompted him to create a bed that could essentially be folded up, so he placed a full-size mattress on a metal frame that he could lift and lower when not in use.
Why Do They Call It a Murphy Bed?
The Murphy bed got its name from the person who created them, William Lawrence Murphy. However, he technically never named it a Murphy bed himself but instead referred to it as The Disappearing Bed. Today Murphy beds are also known as wall beds.
How a Murphy Bed Works
A Murphy bed mounts to the wall and can be lifted or lowered as needed. When a Murphy bed is not in use, it will resemble shelving or a piece of furniture to compliment the room.
There are two types of Murphy beds, Vertical and Horizontal. Depending on which style you select, your bed will either open up vertically or horizontally.
Murphy Bed vs a Regular Bed
While a regular bed takes up a significant amount of space and can’t fold up/down, a Murphy bed can easily be left open or closed when not in use. Plus, Murphy beds can be just as comfortable as a regular bed, since you can add a variety of mattress types to them.
Murphy Bed vs a Wall Bed
The term Murphy bed is often used interchangeably with wall bed. The truth is there is a subtle difference. A traditional Murphy bed is wall or floor-mounted and uses elaborate springs and metal frames to raise and lower the mattress. A traditional wall bed also uses a spring mechanism but includes cabinets on either side of the bed to make it appear built into the wall. More modern Murphy beds do not contain a spring mechanism and instead can be lifted or lowered by one or more people.
Murphy Bed vs a Sofa Bed
The difference between a Murphy bed and a sofa bed is that a sofa bed is a bed tucked into a sofa and is moveable. A Murphy bed is typically mounted to the wall and maximizes space within a room by folding up when not in use.
Is a Murphy Bed Practical For Everyday Use?
Absolutely! One of the best things about Murphy beds is how great they are for use daily. As long as the bed is made from durable, high-quality materials such as real wood, you should expect to be able to use your bed as often as you need.
How To Use a Murphy Bed
You can put a Murphy bed in any room where you want to create functional space. Once you’ve installed your Murphy bed, you’ll instantly transform one room into two without compromising your vision for the space.
Guest Room for Friends, Family, or Grandchildren
How Can I Use a Murphy Bed For My Home Office?
Using a Murphy bed in a home office is very common. As remote work becomes increasingly popular, having a home office space is crucial. Many people have a guest room that is only used a handful of times each year. With a Murphy bed, you can have your guest bed stored away when it's not in use, and with functional shelves for storage or decoration when it's closed up. This helps you create a beautiful home office space, while still being able to quickly transform your room to accommodate friends and family when needed.
How Do I Know if a Murphy Bed is Right For My Space?
A Murphy bed is right for your space if you feel like you need more space in your home. A spare guest room can double as a workout room for your morning fitness routine or even an office. For those who live in a studio apartment, a Murphy bed gives you a comfortable place to sleep while doubling the size of your apartment during the day.
Murphy Bed Design Features
Murphy beds are available in a variety of design styles. This includes queen horizontal, queen vertical, twin horizontal, and twin vertical. You can also choose from paint-ready Murphy beds, a white finish, a natural finish, and many other wood finishes.
Should I Buy a Murphy Bed With or Without a Lifting Mechanism?
A cumbersome lifting mechanism makes Murphy beds extremely heavy, unnecessary, and very expensive. Murphy beds without a lifting mechanism use springs or pistons instead, making it easy for two adults to lift and lower the bed by hand. This type of design is also much more innovative and reduces installation time.
Can I Leave Bedding on a Murphy Bed When I Close It?
Yes, you can leave your sheets and comforter on your Murphy when closing it. Additionally, standard-size pillows for sleeping can also be left on your bed. If your pillows are extra large they will need to be removed from the Murphy bed. We also recommend removing any throw pillows before closing them.
Most Murphy beds have a weight limit and some are higher than others depending on the quality of materials used. Many Murphy beds can hold up to 1,000 lbs of distributed weight on the mattress platform.
For the highest weight limit and the best durable quality that won’t break easily under weight, choose a Murphy bed that is made from real wood (rather than cheap plastic materials).
Murphy Bed Pre-Purchase Checklist
Before purchasing and assembling a Murphy bed, make sure to take into consideration the below features:
Ceiling Height: Measure your ceiling height so that you know the appropriate height of a Murphy bed for your space.
Doorway Location(s): Take note of where the doorways are and how far the doors swing open.
Non-standard 90-degree Angles/Corners: Also take note of any angles or corners in the space that are not 90 degrees.
Position of Windows: Most Murphy beds must be mounted to either the wall or the floor. Choosing a windowless wall is optimal for Murphy bed installation.
Electrical Outlets: Be aware of the location of outlets to ensure you still have access to plug-in power cords.
Wall Studs: Wall-mounted Murphy beds should generally be attached to wall studs. Mark the location of the studs to know where to mount your wall bed. If that’s not possible, wall anchors can also work.
Lighting Fixtures & Ceiling Fans: Take note of the ceiling fans and overhead light fixtures so the Murphy bed can fold out without interference.
Baseboards & Molding: It’s okay to have baseboards and molding in a space where you’ll be putting your Murphy bed. In fact, some Murphy beds come with a built-in baseboard notch cutout that can accommodate most baseboards.
Murphy Bed Sizing Options
Which Sizes Do Murphy Beds Come In?
Murphy beds come in a variety of sizes and styles to save space. The exact amount of space a Murphy bed will save in your room will depend on which bed you select and the size of the room. However, one of the biggest benefits of Murphy beds is their tremendous ability to free-up space.
Is a Vertical or Horizontal Murphy Better for My Space?
When deciding if a vertical or horizontal Murphy bed is better for your space, take note of the dimensions of each bed and the size of your room. If your room is very narrow and you choose a horizontal opening, your room might not be wide enough to accommodate the bed or result in a crowded feeling.
Additional Space Considerations
There are three main dimensions you will want to check before ordering a Murphy bed:
- Wall Space: Whether you are ordering a Horizontal or Vertical Murphy bed, you will want to be sure that you have at least the height and width of the bed in unobstructed wall space. Be sure that nothing, such as a window, would interfere with these dimensions. We recommend having 1 to 2 inches of extra space around the bed to ensure that you are able to properly install it on your wall.
- Space To Open/Close Your Murphy Bed: You’ll want to ensure that you have enough space to safely open and close your Murphy bed.
- Side Space: Lastly, you will want to consider the amount of space on either side of the bed to ensure that there's enough room to comfortably move around the bed if it is open. This can fluctuate depending on how the space is used and how you prefer to function in the space. For example, if one side of the bed is up against a wall and there's a couple staying in the Murphy bed, that might work fine to climb in from only one side, while others might not prefer that.
Mattresses for Murphy Beds
Can I Use a Mattress on My Murphy Bed?
Yes! You can use any mattress for your Murphy beds. There are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind:
- Thickness: Your mattress will need to be a specific thickness to ensure it can close into the cabinet properly. For some Murphy beds, this is around 12’’ thick, but you should always check with the manufacturer to confirm.
- Weight: Murphy beds always have a weight limit, with some being able to hold up to 80 lbs and others much less.
- Size: Consider the dimensions of your Murphy bed before purchasing the mattress, as you don’t want the mattress to extend over the edge of the bed. Some edge support on the mattress can be helpful as well, to prevent sagging or deformation of the mattress over time.
We also recommend our very own Lori Hybrid Mattress, the first mattress designed from scratch to be comfortable and long-lasting when stored in a Murphy bed.
What are the Best Mattresses for a Murphy Bed?
The best mattresses for a Murphy bed will depend on where you purchase your bed from. Some are 12” thick or less.
Can you Put a Mattress Topper on a Murphy Bed?
Yes, you can place a mattress topper on your Murphy bed as long as you don’t exceed the total specified thickness.
What Mattress Sizes Fit in a Murphy Bed?
The exact mattress size that will fit a Murphy bed will depend on which bed you purchase. Some Murphy beds can hold a 60’’ x 80’’ mattress, while others can hold a 38’’ x 75’’ or less.
Is the Mattress Platform Attached to the Cabinet When It’s Open?
Yes, the mattress platform should be securely attached to your Murphy bed cabinet when the bed is open.
Murphy Bed Installation
How Do You Install a Murphy Bed?
The installation process for Murphy beds varies greatly. Regardless of where you purchase your bed, it should always come with specific, easy-to-understand instructions and support from customer service to answer any questions you might have during installation.
How Long Does It Take To Install a Murphy Bed?
Installing some Murphy beds can be tedious, while others can only take 1 to 2 hours. The more durable and simple of a design, the easier it will be to install your bed.
What Tools Do I Need to Install a Murphy Bed?
The tools you need to install your Murphy bed will depend on if you purchased a bed with a cumbersome lifting mechanism. If your Murphy bed does not have a lifting mechanism, installation typically only requires a few tools such as a hand-held Philips head screwdriver, a rubber mallet or hammer, a wrench, a stud finder, and a power drill.
Can I DIY a Murphy Bed?
Making your own Murphy bed from complete scratch requires a significant amount of work and tools, so we don’t recommend it. Unless you have previous experience in high-level woodworking, you’ll risk compromising both quality and safety. Some Murphy beds do allow for DIY assembly.
Do You Need a Professional Installation for a Murphy Bed?
While more cumbersome Murphy beds might require professional installation, Murphy beds with a more innovative design and without a lifting mechanism can be easily installed with two able-bodied adults.
What Type of Wall Do I Need to Install a Murphy Bed?
Murphy beds can typically be installed on most wall types, including drywall and walls with wood studs. However, if your wall is made with anything else, we recommend speaking with a contractor before installing the bed.
Will a Murphy Bed Damage My Wall?
A Murphy bed will not damage your wall when installed properly.
What Type of Flooring is Best for a Murphy Bed?
If you have hardwood or tile floors, you may want to put something underneath your Murphy bed (such as a yoga mat) to help prevent it from sliding around, which will help protect your floors.
Can a Murphy Bed be Used on Carpet?
Yes, a Murphy bed can be used on carpet. However, you should install your Murphy bed after installing the carpet, as it will mount to the wall.
Is a Murphy Bed Safe?
Yes, Murphy beds are safe when installed properly and when they are made from durable materials, such as wood.
Can a Murphy Bed Be Moved After It’s Installed?
While a Murphy bed can be moved after it’s installed, we don’t typically recommend moving it once it’s been mounted to the wall.
Cost: What is the Cost of a Murphy Bed?
The cost of a Murphy bed is going to depend on which Murphy bed you purchase, the design features, and the materials used. Most Murphy beds with a lift mechanism are going to be extremely expensive, costing upwards of $4,000. Murphy beds without a lift mechanism will typically cost up to $2,600.
Delivery: How Is a Murphy Bed Delivered?
Some Murphy beds are shipped in four or six boxes, or with multiple people delivering the bed. Other Murphy beds ship the box directly to your front door in just two boxes, making it easy and convenient to receive your new bed.