A Murphy bed offers an attractive and efficient way to accommodate guests and save space in any room.

Practical, attractive, space saving — these are only a few of the reasons you might want to purchase a Murphy bed. Perfect for small homes, apartments, and even offices, a Queen size Murphy bed or a Full size Murphy bed allows you to transform any room into comfortable sleeping quarters in seconds, without taking up valuable square footage such as with a conventional bed. 

Concealed attractively in a cabinet, Murphy beds quickly and conveniently fold up and out of the way when not in use. Before you rush out to buy a wall bed, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you make the right choice for your lifestyle and home. 

1. Your reasons for considering a Murphy bed

First, consider your purpose for choosing a Murphy bed. Will your wall bed be only for guests or will it be used regularly? When the bed is up, will you need additional seating, storage, and cabinetry? Will you need a Queen size Murphy bed or a Full size Murphy bed?

Depending on your needs, you may want a wall bed that, when folded away, offers plenty of shelving and storage, perhaps even a sofa or a Murphy bed desk. Some models are multipurpose and provide convenient and effective utilities in addition to extra sleeping space.

2. The layout of the room

A critical consideration is the layout of the room. Measure all walls carefully to ensure you have enough space for the wall bed when it’s folded away, but also when it’s folded down. Keep in mind that a Queen Murphy bed will require a little more space than a Full size Murphy bed.

Choose the wall on which you will install the bed wisely, as it will likely be there for some time. If your room is longer and narrower, you may want the bed installed on the narrow side. If the ceiling is relatively high, a vertical wall bed is a great choice. If your room has low ceilings or the bed will be installed along the long wall, a horizontal bed might be the best choice.

3. Appearance

Of course, aesthetics are also vital to your decision. You want to ensure that the Murphy bed you choose fits with your style and decor.

As most Murphy beds are not constructed of solid hardwood, it’s up to you to choose the type of finish you would like. Solid wood veneer helps to give a high-quality and more expensive look and feel. Less costly are the laminate veneer options, but they will only offer the look, not the feel, of wood. 

4. The folding mechanism

A Murphy bed will only be as good as its hardware. There are a couple of choices of folding mechanism in Murphy beds. You have to decide if you want a piston mechanism or a bed with a spring.

A piston system uses air pressure with a lock to hold the bed in place when not in use. Piston mechanisms don’t require adjustment. Spring mechanisms, on the other hand, may need adjustment over time and will require dedicated cabinets to accommodate the spring mechanism.

5. Durability. Will it last?

If you want a Murphy bed to use every day, your bed should last a little over a decade or so. If your bed is only for guests or part-time use, you can expect it to last twice as long.

The durability of your Murphy bed will come down to quality – of the folding mechanism and the construction materials. Once made with metal frames, today’s Murphy beds are constructed of wood or wood-based materials. The most common materials you’ll find are:

  • Solid Wood: The strongest of the materials, solid wood is more expensive but commonly used. Just keep in mind, wood can be vulnerable to warping over time.
  • Particle Board: Compressed wood particles, particle board offers the appearance and feel of real wood. It’s often more affordable than beds made of other materials but may not offer the same level of durability.
  • Plywood: Created from multiple layers of thin strips of wood, plywood is typically resistant to warping. Its many knots, however, can make for structural weaknesses.
  • MDF: Constructed from finer wood particles than particle board, MDF is typically denser and stronger though equally economical.

6. Can it be removed easily?

You’ll find a couple of different choices when thinking about uninstalling your Murphy bed if you have to.

You will find freestanding models that don’t require any mounting, to either the wall or the floor. However, mounted Murphy beds are much more common and readily available with significantly more options in style and design.

If you opt for a wall bed that uses a piston mechanism, they are often mounted to the wall. Wall-mounted bed systems tend to be easier to remove and leave minimal damage.

Conversely, floor-mounted bed systems, those with spring mechanisms, are difficult if not impossible to remove without costly damage to your flooring. Floor mounted beds are, however, more stable.

7. Are you able to DIY?

There are plenty of do-it-yourself ideas available for building your own Murphy bed, be it a Queen Murphy bed or a Full size Murphy bed. But this is not a job for a beginner carpenter! If you don’t have the appropriate skills and equipment, it’s probably best to purchase a ready-made wall bed. It’s vital, to ensure the ongoing safety of your bed, that your Murphy bed is well constructed and properly installed.

8. Don’t forget comfort!

As with any bed, a good night’s sleep comes down to mattress comfort. There are a wide variety of mattresses you can use in a Murphy bed, but your mattress must fit properly. Measure for length, width, and depth as your frame may not be deep enough to hold every mattress. Be sure to choose the right kind of mattress, depending on if you’ve bought a Queen Murphy bed or a Full size Murphy bed.

If yours is a bed that isn’t very deep and can only hold a foam mattress, not to worry — you can find very comfortable foam options. Choose memory foam if you can, or consider investing in a high-quality mattress topper, which comes in a variety of styles and materials.