Skip to content

What Is Murphy Bed

What Is a Murphy Bed?

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, Murphy beds are designed to fold up against a wall or inside a cabinet when not in use, providing homeowners with the ability to reclaim valuable floor space. In this article, we will explore the history, functionality, benefits, and various designs of Murphy beds.

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 living 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 functionality of Murphy beds have evolved, incorporating modern materials and mechanisms to enhance their usability and aesthetics.

How Does a Murphy Bed Work?

Murphy beds are designed to be easily folded up and concealed when not in use. They typically consist of a mattress attached to a metal or wooden frame, which is hinged at one end. The bed can be lifted and secured vertically against a wall or inside a cabinet, using a system of springs, pistons, or counterweights to assist with the lifting and lowering process.

When it’s time to use the bed, it can be easily pulled down and locked into place. Some Murphy beds also come with additional features such as built-in shelves, desks, or sofas, further maximizing the functionality of the space.

The Benefits of Murphy Beds

Murphy beds offer several advantages for homeowners, especially those living in small apartments or houses with limited space:

  • Space-saving: The primary benefit of Murphy beds is their ability to save space. By folding up against the wall, they free up valuable floor space that can be used for other purposes during the day.
  • Multi-functionality: Many Murphy beds come with additional features such as storage shelves, desks, or sofas, allowing the room to serve multiple purposes.
  • Guest accommodation: Murphy beds are an excellent solution for accommodating guests. They can be easily pulled down when needed and provide a comfortable sleeping space.
  • Improved aesthetics: When the bed is folded up, the room appears more spacious and organized, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the living area.
  • Customization options: Murphy beds come in various designs, sizes, and materials, allowing homeowners to choose a style that complements their existing decor.
  • Increased property value: Installing a Murphy bed can add value to a property, as it offers a unique and desirable feature for potential buyers.

Types of Murphy Beds

Murphy beds come in different styles and configurations to suit various needs and preferences. Some common types include:

  • Vertical Murphy beds: These beds fold up and down vertically, with the head of the bed against the wall. They are the most common type of Murphy bed and are suitable for rooms with high ceilings.
  • Horizontal Murphy beds: These beds fold up and down horizontally, with the head of the bed against the wall. They are ideal for rooms with low ceilings or narrow spaces.
  • Side-tilt Murphy beds: These beds tilt to the side when folded up, allowing for additional storage space or a built-in desk on the opposite wall.
  • Cabinet Murphy beds: These beds are concealed within a cabinet when not in use, providing a seamless and stylish look.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Are Murphy beds comfortable?

Murphy beds are designed to provide the same level of comfort as traditional beds. The quality of the mattress used plays a significant role in determining the comfort level.

2. Can I install a Murphy bed myself?

While it is possible to install a Murphy bed yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional to ensure proper installation and safety.

3. How much space is required for a Murphy bed?

The space required for a Murphy bed depends on the size and type of bed. Vertical Murphy beds typically require around 16 inches of floor space, while horizontal Murphy beds require around 8 feet of wall space.

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

Most Murphy beds are compatible with standard mattresses. However, it is essential to check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure a proper fit.

5. Are Murphy beds safe to use?

Modern Murphy beds are designed with safety mechanisms to prevent accidental folding or collapsing. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for safe usage.

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

Yes, many manufacturers offer customization options for Murphy beds, allowing you to choose the materials, finishes, and additional features that suit your preferences and existing decor.


Murphy beds have come a long way since their invention in the early 20th century. They offer a practical and space-saving solution for homeowners looking to maximize their living areas. With various designs and customization options available, Murphy beds can seamlessly blend into any decor while providing the comfort and functionality of a traditional bed. Whether you live in a small apartment or want to create a versatile guest room, a Murphy bed can be an excellent addition to your home.