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How Does A Murphy Bed Work

How Does a Murphy Bed Work?

When it comes to maximizing space in small living areas, Murphy beds have become a popular solution. Also known as wall beds or pull-down beds, these innovative pieces of furniture offer a convenient way to transform a room from a bedroom to a living space and vice versa. In this article, we will explore how Murphy beds work, their history, and the benefits they provide.

The History of Murphy Beds

The concept of the Murphy bed dates back to the early 20th century when William Lawrence Murphy, an inventor from California, sought to find a way to make better use of his small apartment. In 1900, he patented the design for a bed that could be folded up and stored vertically against a wall, creating additional floor space during the day.

Murphy beds gained popularity during the Great Depression when people were looking for ways to make the most out of limited living spaces. Over the years, the design and mechanisms of Murphy beds have evolved, but the basic principle remains the same.

The Mechanism Behind Murphy Beds

Murphy beds are designed to be easily folded up and concealed within a wall or cabinet when not in use. The key to their functionality lies in the use of a spring-loaded mechanism that allows for effortless lifting and lowering of the bed.

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how a Murphy bed works:

  1. Securing the bed: When the bed is in the upright position, it is securely held in place by a latch or locking mechanism. This ensures that the bed remains safely tucked away until it is needed.
  2. Unlocking the bed: To lower the bed, the latch or locking mechanism is released. This allows the bed to be pulled down smoothly.
  3. Counterbalancing: Murphy beds are designed with a counterbalance system that offsets the weight of the bed, making it easy to lift and lower. This system typically consists of springs or pistons that provide the necessary force to assist with the movement.
  4. Lowering the bed: With the latch released and the counterbalance system engaged, the bed can be gently pulled down to its horizontal position. The mechanism ensures a controlled descent, preventing any sudden movements.
  5. Locking the bed: Once the bed is fully lowered, it locks into place, providing a stable and secure sleeping surface.

When it’s time to put the bed away, the process is simply reversed. The bed is unlocked, lifted back into its vertical position, and secured with the latch or locking mechanism.

The Benefits of Murphy Beds

Murphy beds offer several advantages that make them a popular choice for small living spaces:

  • Space-saving: The primary benefit of a Murphy bed is its ability to save space. By folding up vertically, the bed frees up valuable floor space that can be used for other purposes during the day, such as a home office or a play area for children.
  • Multi-functionality: Murphy beds allow a room to serve multiple purposes. A bedroom can easily be transformed into a living room or a home gym by simply folding up the bed.
  • Comfort: Despite their space-saving design, Murphy beds are designed to provide a comfortable sleeping experience. They come in various sizes and mattress options, ensuring a good night’s sleep.
  • Customization: Murphy beds can be customized to match the style and decor of any room. They are available in a wide range of materials, finishes, and designs, allowing homeowners to find the perfect fit for their space.
  • Increased property value: Installing a Murphy bed can add value to a home, especially in areas where space is at a premium. Potential buyers appreciate the versatility and functionality that Murphy beds offer.
  • Easy installation: Murphy beds can be installed by professionals or as DIY projects. With the right tools and instructions, homeowners can easily set up their own Murphy bed system.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Murphy beds comfortable?

Murphy beds are designed to provide a comfortable sleeping experience. They come in various sizes and mattress options, allowing you to choose the level of comfort that suits your needs.

2. Can I use my existing mattress with a Murphy bed?

Yes, in most cases, you can use your existing mattress with a Murphy bed. However, it is important to ensure that the mattress is compatible with the bed’s folding mechanism and thickness requirements.

3. How much weight can a Murphy bed support?

Murphy beds are designed to support the weight of a standard mattress and the average weight of one or two individuals. The weight capacity can vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer, so it is important to check the specifications before purchasing.

4. Can I install a Murphy bed myself?

Yes, Murphy beds can be installed as DIY projects. However, it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and seek professional assistance if needed, especially for complex installations.

5. Are Murphy beds safe to use?

Yes, Murphy beds are safe to use when installed and operated correctly. Modern Murphy beds are designed with safety features such as locking mechanisms and controlled descent systems to prevent accidents.

6. Can I customize the design of a Murphy bed?

Yes, Murphy beds can be customized to match your personal style and the decor of your room. They are available in various materials, finishes, and designs, allowing you to create a unique and functional space.


Murphy beds provide a practical and space-saving solution for small living areas. With their clever mechanism and versatile design, they allow rooms to serve multiple purposes without compromising on comfort. Whether you live in a studio apartment or want to maximize the functionality of a spare room, a Murphy bed can transform your space and add value to your home.