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Legend has it that the Murphy Bed — also known as a wall bed, fold-down bed, or pull-down bed — was dreamt up by the late William Lawrence Murphy to woo a woman. The inventor was courting an opera singer at a time when women were not allowed into the bedroom of gentlemen. As a solution to this conundrum, Murphy allegedly designed a bed that he could store in his closet when his lady came to call, thus transforming his apartment from a bedroom into a parlour.
Peaking in popularity during the ’80s and ’90s, the Murphy Bed has since seen a resurgence in popularity as smaller living spaces become more common and more children move back in with their families.
The concept of the Murphy Bed is simple: the bed is hinged at one end to allow it to be folded up and stored vertically against a wall or within a closet or cabinet. If you are considering this unique, versatile bed for your home, read on for our top picks and a comprehensive buying guide.
The Full Wall Bed by Cyme Tech Inc. would make an attractive addition to any sleek, modern apartment or condominium. It’s a major space-saver and comes in a gray-brown color called charcoal. When closed, the Full Wall Bed looks like a simple yet classy cabinet. When opened, it easily releases a full-size mattress on which one or two people could sleep.
The Full Wall Bed by Cyme Tech Inc. does not come with a mattress, giving customers the option to purchase whatever type, firmness, and quality of mattress that they would like. Thick 12-inch and 13-inch mattresses will fit in this wall bed. Cyme Tech Inc.’s Full Wall Bed is constructed in such a way that a box spring is not required. Cyme Tech sells matching shelving separately.
The Cielo Wall Bed by Bestar is a good option for people wanting a queen-size Murphy bed. This bed features a clean, simple two-tone color design and comes in two color options. The bed has white cabinet doors and a wood frame that comes in “Bark Grey,” a grayish wood grain, and “Oak Barrel,” a darker brown wood grain.
A unique feature of this bed is that it has two built-in LED lights that can be turned on and off. The Cielo Wall Bed by Bestar does not come with a mattress, so customers may select the queen-size mattress of their choice to use with it. This wall bed is sold through Amazon and comes with free shipping. Customers must assemble it themselves, which is common for Murphy beds.
The Nantucket Murphy Bed Chest by Atlantic Furniture features a compact, cottage design that’s less common for Murphy beds. Instead of being the height of an entire mattress, the bed’s case is a chest that measures 41 inches tall. The Nantucket Murphy Bed Chest comes in queen and twin sizes. Customers must use the memory foam mattress that comes with it, which folds up. Because of the size of chest, this bed cannot accommodate regular mattresses.
The Nantucket Murphy Bed Chest is available in three colors: espresso, grey, and white. The chest has built-in storage in the form of a drawer, which sits below the mattress and can hold bedding or other objects. This bed also has two built-in USB charging ports for phones and other devices.
The Murphy Hideaway Bed by Burleson Home Furnishings is ideal for people wanting a high-quality piece of furniture they do not need to assemble. This bed is well-constructed from solid wood, and will arrive in one piece. It fits a full-size mattress, which is not included. Customers may select a mattress that is up to 10 inches in height for this bed.
The Murphy Hideaway Bed by Burleson Home Furnishings has a rustic look that differentiates it from the many modern, minimalistic Murphy beds. It comes with two built-in nightstands, so people sleeping on the bed have a place to set water, books, glasses, etc. Like the bed itself, these nightstands fold up to fit snugly into the wooden cabinet, which is a light color with a satin finish.
With its handy 25-inch shelving system, the Bestar Wall Bed earned our pick for best Murphy Bed with Storage. The bed folds into a large cabinet with metal handles and shaker-inspired trim. The cabinet is firmly anchored to the wall with sturdy screws, and the bed is easily unfolded through a dual-piston system that is calibrated to keep the mattress open.
The wood frame is available in a choice of three colors: white, chocolate, or bark grey. The Bestar Wall Bed is delivered in recyclable packaging and ready to assemble.
A useful space saver in smaller apartments, dorms, and mobile homes, a traditional Murphy Bed pivots at an end to be folded vertically against a wall or inside a closet or cabinet. Murphy beds can often be effortlessly lifted and lowered with piston-lift or torsion springs.
Following the original design, additional Murphy Bed models have been introduced, including sideways mounted beds and beds with foldable mattresses. When folded up, the bed may look like a bookcase, cabinet, or a wall. Read on to learn more about modern-day Murphy Beds, including designs, safety features, and alternative space-savers.
The decision to purchase a Murphy Bed typically comes down to a single reason: saving space. For studio apartments, mobile homes, and other small spaces, the Murphy Bed frees up precious living space.
For spare bedrooms, home offices, and hobby rooms, the Murphy Bed creates room for office furniture, workout equipment, and the like. And their resurgence in popularity means the Murphy Beds can come with stylish, customizable designs that fold up into cabinets and drawers that match your home’s aesthetic.
Over the years, a variety of inventive Murphy Beds designs have emerged, including Murphy Beds with foldable mattresses and those that unfold horizontally rather than vertically. Choosing the right model for you may depend on the type of space you plan to install your Murphy Bed, your size needs, and personal preferences. To help you decide on your ideal design, we’ve discussed the various Murphy Bed models available on the modern market below.
Without a mattress included, the standard Murphy Bed places a full- or queen-size mattress on a frame that hinges vertically to become a tall piece of furniture. Before bedtime, the owner lowers the Murphy Bed onto the floor horizontally to sleep.
Because a traditional Murphy Bed doesn’t include a mattress, you are allowed the freedom to choose a mattress type instead of being stuck with the one included with the bed. However, standard Murphy Beds may also have limits on how thick the mattress can be in order to be able to close properly.
Murphy beds that come with a specially designed foldable mattress can often fit into more compact cabinets. Many foldable mattresses used with Murphy Beds are made of memory foam due to the material’s moldable, adaptable nature. However, spring, latex, and hybrid mattresses may also be included.
Because these types of Murphy Beds require special, customized foldable mattresses, sleepers aren’t able to choose the material, firmness, design of their mattress. This can be problematic for sleepers with special needs or preferences; for example, those who prefer an all-natural mattress, extra-firm bed, or specific brand.
In addition to vertical Murphy Beds, horizontal versions have been introduced that can fold into shorter cabinets, and take up less vertical space when expanded. The horizontal bed is ideal for smaller rooms with low ceilings or less floor space for bed projection, such as an attic or basement. Bunk Murphy Beds typically open horizontally.
When choosing between a horizontal versus vertical Murphy bed, consider the size and shape of the room in addition to the height of the ceiling. Also consider furniture placement in regards to how different pieces will fit or may be moved once the bed is unfolded.
Now, let’s take an even closer look into the materials, features, and styles of Murphy Beds.
Originally designed from metal frames, most modern-day Murphy Beds are made of wood and wood-based materials. We’ve listed some of the most common below:
Since their introduction in the 1900s, Murphy Beds have been modernized with many safety features. Modern Murphy Beds typically feature a hinged counterbalance system facilitate their folding up and down with ease. The spring-balanced hinge system hold the bed in position to prevent it from opening on its own or folding while you sleep. Built-in straps typically secure the bed in place when stowed, while firm attachment to a floor or wall prevents the bed from falling down.
Modern Murphy Beds go far beyond fold-up platforms to incorporate cabinets, shelves, and desks. You can seamlessly integrate a Murphy Bed system into a wall with custom exterior wall coverings, or choose fold-out cabinet options with incorporated shelving and additional storage. In addition, you can store a Murphy Bed in a living room or den with a built-in couch design, where the Murphy Bed is typically stored upright in the backside of the couch. At bedtime, the bed folds down over the sofa.
As noted above, Murphy Beds may unfold vertically from the top end of the bed or horizontally from the side of the bed. Horizontal Murphy Beds are often folded into a cabinet or integrated into the wall.
Murphy Beds also come in a wide variety of styles, including twin size, full size, queen size, and bunk beds.
Murphy Beds tend to be more expensive than other types of beds and bed frames, though this may vary vastly depending on size and design. We’ve included some average prices for common styles of Murphy Beds below.
Warranties vary vastly by company, falling anywhere between 30 days to a lifetime.
The Murphy Bed is but one of many different types of beds available for tight spaces. We’ve explored additional types of space-saving beds below.