You want to give your guests a restful night’s sleep, but you don’t want the room to be used as a guest bedroom. A Murphy bed might be the answer to your problem. Murphy beds are foldable and can be stored in a cabinet for storage when not in use. They were first invented more than 100 years ago. You can buy Murphy beds as complete units or you can make your own with the required wood and hardware.
Learn how to build a Murphy bed, or buy one and put it together.
Murphy Bed Dimensions
Although Murphy beds are a great way to save space and make your home more flexible, they can take up space. Depending on the size of the mattress, the cabinet will be approximately 18 inches deep and between 4 and 5 feet wide.
Because the cabinet stands about six-and-a-half-feet-tall and opens in an arc, you’ll need to make sure it can open and close without hitting a ceiling fan or light fixture. Also, ensure there is at least 2 to 3-feet of space around the foot of your open bed.
Murphy beds can be installed in free-standing cabinets but their large size makes them noticeable. You can install the bed in your closet. A Murphy bed can be fitted in a closet that has a 5-foot width between the doors and the jambs.
Murphy beds can be folded up using hinges at their head. They can be hinged on one side of the bed so that the bed is parallel to the wall. This allows for better use of certain spaces.
Murphy Bed Kit
A Murphy bed with its cabinet is the fastest way to create a spare bedroom with one. The installation should be possible for a competent DIYer equipped with a level, a level and basic tools.
First, build the cabinet. This is easiest done on the floor. Then, raise it up. This is a critical step for Murphy beds. Securely fasten the cabinet to the studs. The weight of beds is considerable, and the opening/closing mechanism exerts a great deal of force to do its job. The unit should not be removed from the wall.
A Murphy bed’s functionality is also dependent on its being square and level. Check the floor for levels. If the floor is level, you can then install the sides plumb to make the cabinet square. This can be checked by measuring diagonally across the cabinet from corner to corner. It’s square if the measurements are identical. If the measurements are off, you might have to adjust one side.
Once the cabinet is secured to the wall, follow manufacturer’s instructions for installing the hardware and bed frame.
DIY Murphy Bed
There are two advantages to making your Murphy bed yourself. You have control over the design and cost. This is balanced by how much time it takes to plan, design, and build the unit. Make sure to leave enough room for your fingers while making your DIY bed frame.
You will need to decide the type of hardware that you want for the opening and closing mechanisms. There are two options for springs and gas pistons, similar to the ones used on pickup truck caps and tonneau covers. The springs are preferred by some carpenters because they last longer than the gasoline pistons. You will need to choose the strength of springs and gas pistons required for your bed based on its weight.
A bed frame must be strong enough to support a mattress or sleeper, but lightweight enough to fold easily. Murphy beds are usually made from 3/4-inch plywood by carpenters. Birch is an excellent choice as it is readily available and less expensive than other hardwoods. You can finish the exposed edges by using wood strips that are glued and nailed or iron-on edge banding.
You will be happy for the extra space you get when you have guests and the extra space you have when you don’t.