What Exactly Is a Murphy Bed?

Murphy bed is a special kind of bed that was invented in the 1900s by William Lawrence Murphy who lived in a cramped apartment and did not have any space for entertaining. Moreover, at that time, social etiquette required that a self-respecting woman should never enter a man’s bedroom. Murphy was particularly keen on a beautiful opera singer. So, he decided to hide his bed and put it up against the wall to make room for a parlor where he could entertain his friends and lady, he also disguised the bed so that it would not be obvious to the guests.

Photo of a Murphy bed
Here you see a far more modern version of the Murphy bed.

This contraption, later on, proved very useful and practical that he applied to patent the invention and hence became known as the Murphy bed. At that time, it was a practical way of transforming a limited space into something that one could enjoy with friends, and still, be able to have a good night’s sleep after the guests have gone.

It became so popular that almost every home in the city had a Murphy bed. After years of holding the patent to the original design, the Murphy bed became so common that the patent was no longer applicable. Hence, nowadays, a Murphy bed can be known as a hidden bed, a wall bed, a pull-up bed, or a cabinet bed. The names may have changed but the original design is still being used nowadays with a bit of improvement. 

How Does It Work? 

The Murphy bed is designed to fit into an open space in a wall or a cabinet. Once it is lowered or opened, it functions just like any other bed. But the magic is in the details.

The design itself allows for the bed to be lowered either manually through the use of hinges and special fittings, but some manufacturers also made an automatic version, where you could lower the bed with a push of a button. For this version, there were sophisticated parts and bolts and hydraulics that made it complex and expensive. But who would not want to just press a button to use a bed, right?

Although this automatic design did have its share of loyal customers, the price tag was a bit high. Fortunately, there are a lot more designs that are cheaper, you just have to know where to look.

The less expensive Murphy beds are cheaper because the design does not use any of the complicated mechanical parts of the automatic designs. These Murphy beds are often made from wood planks, fitted into a cabinet, and then screwed into the wall. Simple, right?

Sleeping in a Murphy Bed 

A Murphy bed is a great bed to have around especially if you have limited space but do not want to sacrifice the quality of your sleep. Since it is a full-sized bed, you can sleep comfortably and not feel that the bed is too cramped. The bed can also accommodate a full mattress. With just a couple of pillows and new sheets, you are set to go to dreamland.

Living in a small space should not be a limitation to the comfort and coziness that every home should be. This is why the Murphy bed is the perfect solution for that tiny home or apartment or office space or even a garage you want to convert into a room.

Aside from being a fully functional bed, a Murphy bed can also be part of a larger piece. As part of a cabinet or shelving system so guests might not even notice it. Current designs of Murphy beds range from classic wooden boards to more minimalist clean lines. Just understand that setting it up will be a bit more difficult than a standard bed but that’s to be expected.

Where to Get a Murphy Bed? 

Murphy beds are quite the thing now. Especially with the renewed interest in tiny home living and downsizing. There are more manufacturers of Murphy beds than ever. Even your local big box store might have one in stock.

However, not all Murphy beds are created equal. The best ones are made from real wood. This makes them safer to use and they’ll last longer.

Typically it’s best to source a Murphy bed from a direct manufacturer rather than a distributor or supplier. You’ll get a better price and the customer service will likely be more friendly.

Also, double-check the design of the Murphy bed and whether you can install it without the need for professional help. Most require a two-person team even but past experience is not required.

We hope this piece has inspired you to go out and purchase your very own Murphy bed. Happy hunting!