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Who Invented The Murphy Bed

Who Invented The Murphy Bed

When it comes to space-saving furniture, the Murphy bed is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and practical inventions. Also known as a wall bed or pull-down bed, the Murphy bed is designed to fold up against a wall or inside a cabinet, providing a convenient solution for maximizing space in small living areas. But who exactly invented this ingenious piece of furniture? Let’s delve into the history and explore the origins of the Murphy bed.

The Early Days of the Murphy Bed

The Murphy bed was invented by William Lawrence Murphy in the late 19th century. Born in 1876, Murphy was living in a one-room apartment in San Francisco during the late 1890s. At that time, societal norms frowned upon entertaining guests in a bedroom, which posed a challenge for Murphy, who wanted to invite a woman into his small living space.

Driven by the desire to create a more versatile living environment, Murphy began experimenting with ways to conceal his bed during the day. He developed a system of hinges and counterbalances that allowed the bed to be easily folded up and stored vertically against the wall, creating additional floor space.

The Patent and Commercial Success

In 1900, Murphy filed a patent for his innovative bed design, which was granted in 1908. The patent described the bed as a “disappearing bed” and outlined the mechanism that allowed it to be folded and unfolded effortlessly. With the patent secured, Murphy established the Murphy Wall Bed Company to manufacture and sell his invention.

The Murphy bed quickly gained popularity, especially in urban areas where living spaces were often cramped. Its ability to transform a bedroom into a multi-functional space made it a sought-after piece of furniture. The Murphy Wall Bed Company expanded its operations and began selling its products nationwide.

Evolution and Modern Adaptations

Over the years, the Murphy bed has undergone several improvements and adaptations to meet changing consumer needs and design trends. In the early days, Murphy beds were primarily made of wood and featured a simple folding mechanism. However, advancements in materials and engineering have led to the development of more sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing designs.

Today, Murphy beds come in various styles, sizes, and configurations. They can be integrated into custom cabinetry, allowing for seamless integration with the overall design of a room. Some models even incorporate additional features such as built-in storage units or desks, further maximizing the functionality of the space.


1. How much space can a Murphy bed save?

A Murphy bed can save a significant amount of space in a room. When folded up, it typically takes up around 16 to 18 inches of depth against the wall. This allows for more floor space during the day, which can be utilized for other activities.

2. Are Murphy beds comfortable?

Yes, Murphy beds can be just as comfortable as traditional beds. The design and construction of modern Murphy beds have greatly improved, with the inclusion of high-quality mattresses and sturdy frames. It is important to choose a good mattress that suits your preferences to ensure a comfortable sleeping experience.

3. Can anyone install a Murphy bed?

While it is possible for individuals with basic DIY skills to install a Murphy bed, it is recommended to hire a professional for a safe and secure installation. Professional installers have the expertise and knowledge to ensure that the bed is properly mounted and functions correctly.

4. Are Murphy beds suitable for everyday use?

Yes, Murphy beds are designed to be used on a daily basis. They are built to withstand frequent folding and unfolding without compromising their structural integrity. However, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage and maintenance to ensure the longevity of the bed.

5. Can Murphy beds be customized?

Yes, Murphy beds can be customized to suit individual preferences and specific room requirements. Many manufacturers offer a range of customization options, including different finishes, materials, and additional features. Customization allows for a personalized touch and ensures that the bed seamlessly integrates with the overall design of the room.

6. Are Murphy beds expensive?

The cost of a Murphy bed can vary depending on factors such as size, materials, and additional features. While some models may be more expensive than traditional beds, it is important to consider the space-saving benefits and long-term value that a Murphy bed provides. Investing in a high-quality Murphy bed can be a worthwhile investment for those looking to optimize their living space.


The Murphy bed, invented by William Lawrence Murphy, revolutionized the concept of space-saving furniture. Its ability to fold up against a wall or inside a cabinet has made it a popular choice for maximizing space in small living areas. Over the years, the Murphy bed has evolved and adapted to meet changing consumer needs, offering a wide range of styles and configurations. With its rich history and continued popularity, the Murphy bed remains a testament to the ingenuity and practicality of innovative design.