Everything to Know About Murphy Beds

Everything to Know About Murphy Beds

Many people love having an additional bed on hand for visitors, but don't have the space. Murphy Beds are the perfect solution: they offer a compact sleeping space for smaller homes. In just moments, they transform any space in the house, such as a home office or living room, into a space where your visitors (or you!) can get a good night’s sleep. Ready to learn more? Read on to discover everything you need to know about this type of hidden bed.


What is a Murphy Bed? 

Also known as a pull-down bed, wall bed, or fold-down bed, a Murphy Bed is a bed that folds up to sit vertically against a wall when it's not in use. Sometimes, they are built into a closet or a cabinet, giving the illusion that there is no bed in the room. Its primary purpose is to save space; in fact, the inventor of this type of bed, William Lawrence Murphy, invented the bed to save space in his small apartment.

These days, Murphy Beds are the perfect addition for these spaces:

  • Minimalist homes
  • Studio apartments
  • Multi-purpose spaces
  • Vacation rentals 
  • Guest rooms

  • How do Murphy Beds work? 

    Murphy Beds rely on a powerful hinge; this allows the entire bed (both the mattress and bed frame) to be flipped at a 90-degree angle and stowed vertically when not in use. Modern Murphy Beds commonly use spring or piston lift mechanisms to keep them from falling or springing up. When the bed is in its stowed position, it lays flat against the wall and is typically camouflaged (by cabinet doors, for example) to give the illusion that there is no bed in the room. When in use, it lays flat, delivering the same level of comfort as a traditional bed. 


    What is the difference between a wall bed and a Murphy Bed? 

    Over time, the terms "Murphy Bed" and "wall bed" have begun to be used interchangeably, but it didn't start that way. Currently, the two terms are used interchangeably because both bed styles have evolved into similar items with only a few differences. The most distinguishing differences between the different bed types are the lifting mechanism hardware and the frame's construction. Let's read on to learn more.


    Murphy Beds

    Hidden beds often referred to as murphy beds, are mounted to either the floor or the wall and use a set of elaborate springs and metal frames to lift and lower the mattress. They're usually built with a metal frame.  


    Wall beds

    Wall beds often use a "bi-fold" style and often include cabinets on both sides of the bed. Cabinet wall beds are usually built on a wooden frame and usually use pistons to help lift and lower the bed. 

    Whatever you call this creative sleeping solution, the end result is the same — a bed that you can tuck out of sight when not in use.


    Is a Murphy Bed comfortable to sleep on?

    One of the most common questions we get asked is, "Is a Murphy Bed comfortable to sleep on?" In short, the answer is yes! Once your bed is folded down and into place, it is just as comfortable and stable as any other type of bed. The same mattress you use on a traditional bed can often be used on a Murphy Bed. We have a few suggestions to follow to ensure a comfortable experience with your hidden bed.

    • Find the right size of Murphy Bed for your needs


    Murphy Beds come in many sizes, and you'll want to find the right size for your needs to ensure the best fit. Think about who is going to use this space. Will you need space for just one guest, or do you need something more flexible for one or two? Some beds, like those we offer from Murphy Door, have optional side cabinets. There are many options, so carefully consider what you need and what will fit into your space. 

    • Select the right mattress for your Murphy Bed


    Most Murphy Bed manufacturers do not include a mattress with their bed frames, giving you the freedom to choose which mattress you want. Ultimately, the mattress will be the most deciding factor in determining how comfortable the Murphy Bed will be, so you'll want to choose the most comfortable mattress for the best experience. Here are the most common mattress types available on the market:

    • Traditional spring mattress

    A traditional spring mattress is popular because it is familiar to many people. When choosing a spring mattress for your bed, pay attention to the height of the mattress. Because many Murphy Beds need thinner mattresses, you'll want to ensure that the mattress you're purchasing falls within the recommendations of the bed manufacturer.


    • Memory foam mattress

    While memory foam mattresses are newer on the market, they are often the most comfortable and preferred by many people. Memory foam mattresses conform to the body, giving a restful night's sleep. Like traditional spring mattresses, you'll want to pay attention to the height of the memory foam mattresses to ensure it fits into the Murphy Bed.

    • Roll foam mattress

    Roll foam mattresses are another popular option amongst those shopping for Murphy Bed mattresses. These mattresses are rolled tight into a cylinder, making them easy to ship and transport. They're also traditionally thinner than other types of mattresses, making them an easy fit for Murphy Beds. Roll foam mattresses are also usually cheaper and just as comfortable as different types of mattresses. 



    Should I build or buy a Murphy Bed? 

    While building your own Murphy Bed is possible, nothing beats the ease and convenience of buying one. Sure, you might save money if you build your Murphy Bed, but there are many other benefits of purchasing one. To name a few of these benefits: 

    • Buying a Murphy Bed saves time


    Many hidden beds, such as those from Murphy Door, come ready to assemble with pre-cut and pre-drilled pieces, the bed mechanism, and all necessary hardware. Instead of researching and compiling all the essential pieces you'll need, you'll get them delivered in a convenient kit. You'll save time on assembly, installation, and even trips to the hardware store. 

    • You'll know exactly what you're getting with a purchased Murphy Bed 


    When you buy a Murphy Bed kit, you'll know what the Murphy Bed will look like and how it will function in your floor space. Everything about the Murphy Bed will be predictable, down to the measurements, the functionality, and the color. You'll receive a kit ready to assemble so you can start enjoying your bed much more quickly. If you're not used to DIY-ing projects of this scale, buying a Murphy Bed is the way to go.


    Do Murphy Beds have to be mounted or attached to the wall? 

    While some Murphy Beds do not need mounting to a wall, most on the market need to be mounted or attached to the wall for safety. Freestanding Murphy Beds, or those that do not need attaching to a wall, are a good option for those who move frequently or need a flexible option. However, we recommend purchasing wall-mounted Murphy Beds. Mounting Murphy Beds to a wall will ensure that the bed is being supported while lifted and lowered. 


    Do Murphy Beds need a special mattress? 

    Many Murphy Beds do not require a unique mattress, and many are designed to be used with standard mattresses available on the market. While we have covered the different types of mattresses that work with a Murphy Bed, there are a few that we recommend you do not use with a Murphy Bed. 

  • Gel-topped mattress – These types of mattresses tend to be too heavy to operate in a Murphy Bed. While gel-infused memory foam mattresses are great, avoid using gel-topped mattresses.
  • Latex mattresses – While they are comfortable and help you sleep cool, they are typically heavy and do not keep their shape when standing on their end. If you try to use a latex mattress in a murphy frame, you may find that the mattress won't stay in the gram and can even jam the moving mechanism of the bed. 
  • Pocketed coil mattress – These mattresses are made of individual springs placed in socks and sewn together. While they make for a comfortable sleeping experience, they tend not to hold their shape very well, and the mattress can crumple, making it difficult to operate the hidden bed.

  • No matter the mattress you pick, we suggest choosing a high-quality mattress of your choice that fits within the specifications of the Murphy Bed manufacturer. 


    For the Best in Murphy Beds, Buy Murphy Door

    At Murphy Door, we are experts in building the sturdiest, most beautiful Murphy Beds that blend seamlessly into your room. Often referred to as cabinet wall beds, Murphy Beds come in twin, queen, and king sizes and are available in seven different wood choices. Have fun choosing between our different styles and wood type. Will all of our available options, you're sure to find one that fits perfectly into your floor space. Shop our selection of Murphy Beds today.




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