Building a Murphy Bed

Space is at a premium in urban areas, so being able to make use of every square inch is of great importance. While it has been around for over a century, one space-saving solution that has been regaining popularity is the Murphy bed. Named after William Lawrence Murphy, who patented the design in 1911, this fold-away bed is hinged at one end so it can be stored vertically against a wall or inside a well-designed closet. Let’s explore the essentials of Murphy beds, from how they work to helping you build your own and ways to maximize your living space.

Understanding the Basics of Murphy Beds

Also known as wall, pull-down, or fold-down beds, Murphy beds are designed for small living areas to save space as they fold away into a wall or cabinet. This clever design allows the bed to be lifted up and stored vertically, increasing your floor space, which is especially useful in home offices, studio apartments, or any multi-functional space. Due to their space-saving design, Murphy beds are ideal if you’re looking to optimize your living space, as most are designed with a counterbalance system so they can be pulled down or lifted up easily.

Typically made up of a frame and mattress with a mechanism that lifts the bed into a wall unit, a Murphy bed uses either a spring-loaded or piston-lifting system. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. The traditional spring system can be adjusted to handle different weights. On the other hand, the piston system is known to be smoother and quieter. As always, good, quality hardware ensures safety, is more durable, and will extend your Murphy bed’s longevity and prevent it from breaking with regular movement up and down.

Murphy beds come in three different sizes: single, double, or queen-sized. Whichever sized bed you choose, be sure that the cabinet the bed will fold into is big enough and that you have enough wall space for it. In addition, the wall the bed will be installed against needs to be strong enough to handle the weight of the bed. Before installing your new Murphy bed, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a contractor, especially if you live in an older building or one with lots of drywalling so you don’t attach it to a wall that is not structurally sound.

Design Considerations for Murphy Beds

When you’re in the planning phase of installing a Murphy bed, it’s important to think about how it will look and its functionality so it blends seamlessly with the existing décor in your room. The outside of the bed is customizable—you can have it made to your liking so it matches your existing furniture through similar wood finishes or paint colors. Modern Murphy beds can also incorporate shelving, cupboards, or even a fold-out desk for when the bed is lifted away, adding extra value to your space through a piece of furniture that serves multiple purposes.

We touched on the importance of installing your new Murphy bed against a structurally solid wall, but there are additional safety features to keep in mind. Make sure the bed you buy has a locking mechanism. This is to prevent it from accidentally falling down when stowed away. When it comes to where to place it in your room, you must ensure there’s enough space surrounding the bed when it is lowered to avoid damaging furniture and to make it easier for you to get in and out of the bed and get around your room when the bed is down.

As with buying any new bed, you need to make sure you’re buying the right mattress for you. Murphy beds, however, need mattresses of specific thickness and weight so that the lifting mechanism works properly. If you get a mattress that is too heavy, it will make it harder to lift the bed away. On the other hand, one that is too light may not be comfortable enough. Experts recommend going for a mattress that is specially designed to be used with Murphy beds.

Guide to Building a Murphy Bed

A good amount of planning should go on behind the scenes before building your Murphy bed. As mentioned earlier, begin by choosing the right location in your room and then measure the space where the bed will be installed. Remember to measure out both the dimensions of the bed when it is open and when it is closed up against the wall. Next, buy or put together the cabinetry that will house the bed. It should not only be strong and sturdy enough to handle the bed’s movement but also aesthetically pleasing, as it will be large and perhaps even a focal point in your room.

The most important step is installing the lifting mechanism. Equally important is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely, whether a spring-based or piston-based system, to ensure safety and that the lift mechanism works correctly. Typically, this involves securing the bed frame to your chosen mechanism and securely attaching the remaining parts to the wall. Again, we recommend getting professional help to avoid structural damage or safety issues.

Last but not least, it’s time to add your décor and additional features like lights, shelves, or a fold-out desk before attaching the mattress to the frame. Once everything is set up, it’s important to lift the bed out and put it back in several times to test that it operates smoothly and remains securely closed when not in use. Regularly check these mechanisms to ensure you stay safe and that your new bed works long-term.

Maximizing Space

With its ability to transform a small room into a multifunctional space, the Murphy bed isn’t the only piece of multipurpose furniture that can help with your storage and space-saving needs. Hollow ottomans with lids offer additional storage space, and expandable dining tables allow you to reduce or increase the size of your eating area by even 100%. Items like these free up space and improve how you use your room and how it can work for you.

When it comes to small living space, organization is key. It’s a good idea to use the area around your new Murphy bed to install built-in cabinets or shelving to not only conceal the bed more effectively when it’s stowed away but also offer additional storage. Well-designed storage units can hold bedding, clothing, and other essentials, which means they remain accessible yet out of sight.

Lastly, if you want to make your space appear larger, an interior décor hack is to keep your decor minimalistic and simple. Lighter paint colors can also make a space appear larger. Strategically placing mirrors in your room can help increase the sense of space. When your Murphy bed is up and stored away, make sure that the floor area is clear of clutter to take full advantage of the space created. Regularly re-evaluating how you’re using your space and decluttering will help you keep your home feeling comfortable and spacious.

When space is limited, a Murphy bed could be a smart buy. If you follow the guidelines provided in this article to design and build your own Murphy bed, you can ensure it is safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. With the suggestions of additional, creative space-maximizing furniture and storage solutions, your compact urban space can be transformed into a stylish and practical living area. Embrace the small space living challenge by integrating solutions like the Murphy bed, seamlessly blending comfort with style and functionality.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.