Murphy Beds 101

A Murphy bed in a bedroom.

Murphy beds are a convenient option for homes in need of more space. These handy pull-down beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can transform an ordinary room into a multipurpose space in no time. If you are considering installing a Murphy bed in your home, here is everything you need to know about these space-saving sleepers.

What Is a Murphy Bed?

A Murphy bed is also referred to as a pull-down bed, a fold-down bed or a wall bed. They were invented by William Murphy around 1900. Murphy created the bed to save space in his tiny apartment and the idea caught on.

Murphy beds work by folding vertically or horizontally inside a freestanding bookcase or cabinet, clearing room on the floor for other activities during the day. Unlike traditional mattresses, Murphy beds do not feature box springs. The mattress is usually supported by a wood frame or mesh, which helps prevent sagging.

What Are the Advantages of a Murphy Bed?

A Murphy bed.

Space Savings

The biggest advantage of a Murphy bed is its ability to save space. Depending on the type of mattress, a traditional bed that remains in place takes up a lot of floor space. With a Murphy bed, you can fold it up every day, freeing up space normally allocated for a bed. Once concealed inside a cabinet or bookcase, Murphy beds are only around 21 inches in width, which equates to a lot of space savings.

Dual Functions

Along with saving space, Murphy beds offer functions not normally associated with beds. For example, some Murphy beds fold up into bookcases of desks, all of which can be used for other functions throughout the day. Once they are folded up, you can use the space below the Murphy bed for daily activities. This makes them an ideal option for multipurpose rooms or if you are looking to expand your child’s playroom.

Increased Sleeping Space

Because they can be concealed, Murphy beds can transform just about any room into an extra guest room. This flexibility makes them an attractive option if you are in need of extra guest space throughout the year. For example, you can turn your home office into a spare guest room with the addition of a small Murphy bed.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Murphy Bed?

A Murphy bed in a small room.

Sleeping Experience

Although Murphy beds are versatile and offer many benefits, they are not as comfortable as traditional beds. This is especially true if the Murphy bed uses a wire mesh instead of wood planks for support. That said, you can still get a good night’s sleep on a Murphy bed, it just won’t be as good as a normal bed.

Daily Routine

If you have a Murphy bed that is constantly being used, then you have to fold it up every day, which can become a fairly tedious task. Young children and elderly people might also have difficulty folding up a Murphy bed, depending on the type of springs that come with the model.

Where to Place a Murphy Bed

You can put a Murphy bed in any area of the home where there is an open wall space. Murphy beds come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find one that fits your space requirements. Just remember that you will also need open space in front of the Murphy bed. So anything in the way should be relatively easy to move every night.