Buying a brand new piece of furniture is a home improvement delight that delivers instant gratification in the form of a chic change of scenery. The process is fun and deceptively simple—you can just buy what you like, right? While that is undoubtedly true, there are tried-and-true bedroom design guidelines that apply to all furniture purchases to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment.
These specific parameters not only guarantee your new piece blends naturally in your home but save you the stress headache of bringing it home only to find it's a quarter of an inch too long!
Understanding what you’re buying before you swipe your card is essential for all good purchases.
Any interior designer would advise that you should think through your furniture choices to avoid the pitfalls of purchasing pieces that don’t quite work or fall short of expectations. From the perfect sofa to a dresser, there are buying basics for every piece—Murphy beds included.
Murphy Beds and Bedroom Design
Murphy beds are known as space-savers for small homes and apartments. These fold-out beds have become popular in all-size living spaces in recent years. Homeowners and renters embrace the units because they create multifunctional spaces. For example, a guest room can double as a home gym when the Murphy bed is upright.
Far from flimsy, modern-day models like the Lori Bed are outfitted with display shelves that can be custom-finished.
If you’re new to the wall bed market, this checklist will guide you through all the factors to consider before making your Murphy bed purchase.
(Don't miss this post that details the differences between Murphy beds and wall beds next)
Measuring For A Murphy Bed
Remember the saying “measure twice, cut once?” Measuring your space before buying is the number one headache-saving tip for any furniture purchase. Spend some time drawing up a plan to check proportions. Instead of measuring a few things and hoping for the best, grab a cup of coffee, a measuring tape, and map out a to-scale plan.
This is an excellent time to get clear on the room's function.
For example, if you’re using the space as a guest bedroom that doubles as a home gym, being crystal clear on the measurements will help you determine if you should select a vertical or horizontal wall bed model to accommodate your fitness equipment comfortably.
(Read about designing the perfect home gym in this post)
The plan should include where your Murphy bed would be positioned in relation to other furniture items, as well as the room’s length and width or any unusual corners or angles. Also, take note of often-overlooked elements of the space, including the location of windows and electrical outlets; the way the door swings; and if there are baseboards or crown molding.
The height of the Murphy bed you're considering is among the most crucial measurements to consider. If the bed is too high or low when it's in the upright position, it can be a challenge to reach when lifting and lowering.
This may seem like a lot to keep in mind, but we’ll help you keep it streamlined. To be sure you considered everything before buying a Murphy bed, use this handy checklist to keep the process simple:
Murphy Bed Pre-Purchase Checklist for Optimal Bedroom Design
Right off the bat, some important considerations include:
- Doorway Location(s)
- Direction of Swing Doors (Closets included)
- Untraditional Angles/Corners
Murphy beds come in different sizes and orientations. Checking the ceiling height will help you narrow down the model that is the best fit.
Position of Windows
Most Murphy beds must be mounted to either the wall or the floor, so selecting a windowless wall is optimal.
Be aware of the location of outlets to ensure you still have access to plug-in power cords.
For wall-mounted Murphy beds, it's important to mark the location of studs for proper installation.
Lighting Fixtures/Ceiling Fans
Take note of the ceiling fans and overhead light fixtures so the Murphy bed can fold out without interference.
The presence of baseboards is not a deal-breaker for installing a Murphy bed.
There are three options to consider:
- Removing the baseboard.
- Leaving the baseboard and cutting a base notch. A base notch is a cut-out at the back base of the Murphy bed cabinet, which allows it to be installed flush with the wall over the existing baseboard without cutting into or removing the baseboard. Each Lori Bed already has this baseboard notch cut out.
- If you want to preserve your floors, baseboards, and molding, the Lori Bed is the best option because it doesn’t have a lifting mechanism that needs to create tension near the base of the bed to lift the mattress. The bed uses a standalone platform that only attaches to the cabinet when it’s in the upright position, meaning there’s very little weight, if any, pulling against the wall.
Depending on if you have drywall or brick, you’ll need different wall anchors and tools to complete the installation. (Here's a handy guide to installing a Murphy bed!)
Low Profile Heater Vents
Lori Beds doesn't recommend installing a bed of any kind that would cover a vent or a heat source as it could potentially create a fire hazard and could also warp the wood.
Painting, Staining, and Bedroom Design
Not many Murphy bed manufacturers give you the option to paint or stain your frame. But those with an eye for design value the ability to customize its look.
An unfinished Lori Bed, crafted from 100 percent cabinet-grade poplar plywood, can be painted or stained to the color your heart desires. We recommend painting or staining the unfinished frame before installation to keep the process clean and simple.
(Take a look at the many options you have to choose from with Lori Beds here)
Buying a Murphy bed is a great addition to any home. They are the perfect fit for a small space or a multifunctional room. Keep the buying process simple and streamlined with this handy checklist, and you’ll be lifting and lowering your way to a new space in no time.
Did you learn a lot about bedroom design in this post? Here are three more posts to read next:
This post was first published in 2020, but it was updated in 2022 just for you.