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

      Nothing, really. A Murphy Bed is a wall bed and vice versa. The Murphy Bed has become the generic name for a bed that folds up and out of the way. Murphy Beds as we know them were the product of the mind of a man named Murphy. It seems that Murphy was a single man living in San Francisco in the late 1800’s. Being single, he naturally wished to entertain friends and family, but was on a limited income and could only afford a small, one-room apartment. So, he devised the first Murphy Bed. Interest soon grew for these wall beds, and not long after that, the Murphy Bed Company was founded. Today, Murphy bed has become a branded name, much like kleenex describes any number of facial tissue products.

What are the advantages of a Murphy Bed?

      Many people find a Murphy bed the perfect solution for frequent visitors. A spare room can be used for something other than a bedroom if the bed folds up and out of the way during the day. Apartment dwellers also find that Murphy Beds give them much more space, especially in small studio apartments. Of course, there is always the advantage of not having to make your bed in the morning — you can simply fold it up and hide the mess!

How does a Murphy Bed work?

      A Murphy Bed is really just one box inside another. The outside box is the cabinet case that hides the bed when not in use, and the inside box holds the mattress and becomes the bed when folded down. Of course, there are details. Legs to hold the bed off the floor when folded down have to be incorporated, and sometimes a latch to lock the bed in an upright position. Pistons are also an integral part of the bed, providing support for the user when folding the bed up and down. A queen sized mattress weighs around 65 pounds alone, and when combined with a solid wood box, can be quite heavy. Accurately placed pistons with the right amount of tension can make the job of raising and lowering the bed much easier.

Is a Murphy Bed recessed into the wall, or even attached?

      A Murphy Bed could be recessed into the wall, but that translates into a lot more work, since a Murphy Bed is usually around 18 inches deep. Most walls are only 5 inches wide. The majority of Murphy Beds are simply placed against an existing wall and attached to it. This can be done a number of ways, as long as they are attached securely. Because most units use a gas-filled piston to ease the movement of the bed, that case has to be attached to the wall to keep the entire unit from tipping over when the bed is lowered.

What size mattresses fit into a Murphy Bed?

      Custom beds can be built to hold any standard size mattress, from Twin to King. Typical Murphy beds utilize a double or queen sized mattress. Larger and smaller can be found, but are not nearly as useful as the more middle of the road sizes.

Does a Murphy Bed include box springs?

      Generally speaking, no. Some Murphy Bed units come with a type of wooden slat support system built in. We simply recommend a nice pillow top mattress. The added weight of a standard box spring would make the bed difficult to raise and lower. And, since most modern mattresses provide plenty of support individually, a box spring is really not needed.

Horizontal or Vertical?

      Murphy Beds can be built and mounted either vertically or horizontally, depending upon the client’s needs and wishes. If only a narrow stretch of wall is available, then a vertical might be the only way to go. However, if you wish to incorporate a set of shelves above the unit and place it in a library or den as a spare bedroom, a horizontally mounted bed would work better. Likewise, a Murphy bed can be concealed into an entire wall of cabinetry that includes drawers for linen storage and a built in armoire for hanging clothes. Library shelves, television cabinets and workstations could also be incorporated into such a unit.

Do you have any other questions about us or our shop? We’d be glad to answer them or provide you with a quote for a job! Drop us an email at info@woodshopartisans.com or give us a call at 417.379.2229.