Posted by Bridget Reed

What Is a Murphy Bed? Everything You Need To Know

5 min read

Originating from a clever idea by William Lawrence Murphy, these beds have become the epitome of space-saving solutions in modern homes. These fold-down beds have transformed small spaces and studio apartments, maximizing floor space and providing the functionality required for an urban lifestyle. 

From guest rooms to living rooms, Murphy beds are versatile, blending seamlessly into wall space. Whether you live in a city or are simply looking to optimize your living area, these beds offer a great solution. 

Where Did Murphy Beds Come From?

William Lawrence Murphy, driven by a need for more space in his San Francisco one-room apartment, engineered the first-ever wall bed. But what really nudged him in this innovative direction? A romance with an opera singer. 

Seeking to woo her without the scandal of bringing her into a bedroom, Murphy's invention transformed his living space into a sleeping space with ease. The legendary Murphy bed was thus born out of love and necessity. 

This revolutionary idea didn't just stay within his apartment but spread globally, adapting to the needs of sleepers everywhere. As word spread and designs evolved, the Murphy bed's reputation grew, eventually earning it a spot in the revered Smithsonian.

How Do Murphy Beds Work?

Murphy beds are a blend of craftsmanship, innovation, and comfort. These beds are a testament to top-notch engineering, predominantly crafted from sturdy solid wood or a resilient metal frame, ensuring they stand the test of time. 

But what truly differentiates them from the rest? Their lifting mechanism set them apart, a feat of design that seamlessly integrates into living spaces. 

On the comfort front, Murphy beds have shifted away from conventional box spring setups, utilizing memory foam or foam mattresses. These beds cater to a range of preferences, from compact twin sizes to sprawling king sizes, ensuring every sleeper finds their perfect match. 

Over the years, Murphy beds have seen many design evolutions. From the quintessential pull-down models to the modern cabinet beds that effortlessly merge storage with style, choices are abundant. 

Contemporary homes might see a bookcase variation or the practicality of bunk beds for kids' rooms. And for those keen on optimizing every inch of their space, the trundle beds work wonders. 

The essence of the Murphy bed is its adaptability, catering to diverse spaces and needs while ensuring restful sleep. If you’re moving to a new space and are considering a Murphy bed, it might be a great solution for small spaces or a simple way to make any room multi-functional. 

The only other thing you need to thrive in your new home and take your new Murphy bed to the next level is our Miracle Made® Move-In Bundle. It elevates the Murphy bed experience with sheets infused with silver, reducing odors and laundry frequency, ensuring you bask in luxury every night. 

But comfort and cleanliness don’t stop at your bedding. This bundle completes the experience with ultra-plush towels crafted from premium cotton, perfect after every bath or shower. 

Why Install a Murphy Bed?

In an era where urban landscapes expand and personal spaces contract, Murphy beds are a secret weapon for your small-space interior design. Its ingenious design maximizes floor space and simplifies tasks like washing sheets due to its accessible structure. These beds can truly transform your living space, offering multifunctionality in a compact design.

They’re also ideal if you have areas of your home that convert from one purpose to the next, giving you a more seamless way to achieve this. Transitioning a living room into a guest room by dusk and converting it into a productive home office by dawn might sound like a dream. But with a Murphy bed, it can be a reality. 

Their versatility goes beyond just space-saving. Murphy beds seamlessly integrate into various room settings, providing practical and aesthetic solutions. And while other space-saving options like futons or daybeds might vie for attention, Murphy beds, with their blend of comfort and style, remain unparalleled in their functionality.

Murphy Beds Today

The challenges of urban living have demanded innovative solutions, and the Murphy bed has continued to offer just that. 

Contemporary designs don't just fold into walls anymore — many people have built Murphy beds that are also visually beautiful. Think elegant headboards that make a statement, multifunctional bookcases that house your books by day and transform into beds by night, and an array of colors and finishes to match diverse interior palettes.

Moreover, these beds aren't restricted to bedrooms. Modern living spaces, ranging from spacious lofts to compact condos, benefit from the functionality of a Murphy bed. From materials like rich woods and lustrous metals to innovative mechanisms that allow smoother transitions, Murphy beds today blend craftsmanship, style, and practicality. 

Tips for Potential Buyers

If you're contemplating adding a Murphy bed to your living space, it’s smart to consider a few factors. Start by assessing your available wall space, which will dictate the bed size and design. 

Solid wood Murphy beds exude a timeless charm, making them apt for classical or vintage-themed interiors. In contrast, metal frames, with their sleek lines and modern appeal, cater to contemporary aesthetics.

The mattress size is also important. It's essential to ensure the mattress isn't just comfortable but also fits snugly within the Murphy bed frame. With options ranging from twin to king sizes, there's a Murphy bed for every space. 

And while the pull-down bed remains a favorite, don't overlook other designs like the space-efficient cabinet bed, especially if you're working with limited space. Additionally, consider pneumatic lifts or spring mechanisms for smoother transitions, and choose designs incorporating additional functionalities like integrated lighting or storage.

The Bottom Line

William Lawrence Murphy's quest for optimizing space in his San Francisco apartment birthed an innovation that has become an integral part of modern home design. The Murphy bed, in its essence, encapsulates the spirit of adaptability. 

As homes evolve, seeking multipurpose functionalities and space-saving designs, the Murphy bed continues to cater to these demands. 

Whether you're in a city apartment, a suburban home, or a country loft, the Murphy bed offers a blend of style, function, and convenience. It's not just about saving space. It's about enhancing every inch of it. 


Curator Finds Murphy Bed’s Place in American History | Smithsonian

How A San Francisco Love Story Inspired the Invention of the Murphy Bed | KQED

Antibacterial Activity of Silver Nanoparticle-Coated Fabric and Leather Against Odor and Skin Infection Causing Bacteria | Springer Link

We’re Building Apartments To Be Smaller Than We Used To | Greater Greater Washington

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