Murphy beds converse space and open up whole new worlds of possibilities for living spaces. Often referred to as wall beds, murphy beds are best characterized by their ability to fold up vertically and open up space beneath them. Here you’ll find a showcase of murphy bed designs to inspire your next minimalist bedroom project.
Types of Murphy Bed Designs
Before we dig into the spectrum of possibilities in the world of Murphy beds let’s first recognize our options. At their heart, Murphy beds will fold up to rest vertically against walls to open up floor space. There are different ways to fold up, different spaces to fold into, and different ideas on what to expose underneath. In other words, you want to know your options before committing to a Murphy bed design!
These are the simplest and cheapest options you’ll find. If you’re comfortable taking matters into your own hands this route may be for you. You’ll need to create three distinct pieces for this to work: the platform (where the mattress rests), the wall housing (where the bed is stored), and the attachment hardware between the two. Check out this guide for a full overview.
Murphy beds embody the essence of minimalism in their pursuit of freeing up floor space. Why have a whole bed when you can disappear it after use? Many designs are meant to offer the most bare-bones version of this central idea. That is, after supporting the bed and allowing for it to fold up there isn’t much more thought. This approach can be great for designers that intend to create custom housings or integrate the bed into existing features in the room.
Many designs are “plain Jane” in their presentation and leave most of the creative vigor up to the installer (you). More complete designs may feature elegant covering panels, such as barn-door sliders. These designs also feature-rich veneers, extra storage spaces, or novel mechanical designs that may disguise the appearance of your Murphy bed altogether. These are case-by-case considerations and often embody the unique design style of different furniture brands.
Now that you have a frame of reference for your options, let’s look at a roundup of some of the best Murphy beds out there. These include designs ranging from DIY projects and cheap IKEA designs to more evolved and luxurious offerings from the biggest brands on the market.
The Brynn storage murphy bed is one of the most conspicuous designs available. It features telescoping bed rails that pull out, a study platform design that folds down on top, and a mattress that comes folding out of the top storage area. The mechanics of this design allow for the minimal space possible while the stylish front-panel carvings qualify it for an actual design feature of any room. Is it a bed or a sideboard? Hard to tell. The only downside here is that you’ll have to use the mattress that comes with it.
The Brayden Studio Walley is an excellent example of a combination murphy bed. This design may present itself in any number of ways but one thing is constant: these beds serve as something else when they’re folded up. You may find these designs mimetic of entertainment wall units, having shelving installed on the sides, or even having drawers underneath them. There are lots of these designs available for purchase without the need of going overly DIY, but none are likely to have a fully customized look in your home.
Here we’re crossing over from what you could buy on Wayfair into the land of custom options. Modular murphy bed designs feature not only an ability to fold up but also the ability to move around! Imagine having a portable guest room in your home that could simply “roll out” whenever you were entertaining overnight guests. Think about using guide rails, casters, and even hydraulic lifters for these designs. As with most things custom—the only limit is your imagination!
Super Built-In Solutions
Many combination murphy beds will feature cabinets, may fit in between existing elements, and can really blend into their surroundings. To get that truly native look though—you have to be prepared to integrate your murphy bed into a room’s design from the get-go. Using the same materials, veneers, colors, and hardware on your Murphy bed is the perfect way to showcase a crisp and seamless design. The biggest downside here is that you’re not really able to implement these types of designs as afterthoughts.
Form vs. Function
Murphy beds are unique in how they conserve space. Not all implementations embody the essence of saving space. In fact, many hap-hazard designs might end up cluttering a room up, depending on how they work.
The most seamless and “ah ha” type scenarios where murphy beds really shine are in small spaces like tiny homes, RVs, or smaller apartments and lofts. Before you commit to using a Murphy bed try to fully imagine how it will impact the dynamics of your space.
One of the biggest gotchas with Murphy beds is their often-unique dimensions. Sure, you can be pretty confident that a Queen size murphy bed will fit the width and length of a queen size mattress.
Trouble shows itself when mattress thickness is concerned. Some mattresses may be as thick as 14″ which may not fit in all designs. Other mattresses, such as the Hybrid Latex by IDLE Sleep that weighs nearly 250 pounds, may overwhelm the folding mechanisms altogether.
Other designs may require using the mattress that comes with them. Just to be clear—no such mattress has yet to make it onto our list of top-rated mattresses. You might have an incredible design but be stuck with a lumpy mattress. Maybe that’s fine for a guest bed but probably not for your every night sleeper.
Murphy beds can be great space savers. They aren’t for everyone—but when used well they can really make sense. These beds are in relatively low-demand and therefore can be tricky to try out at your local furniture store. Check out our list of online furniture stores to get a bigger selection of possible murphy bed options.
The Home Refinery Review Team puts together buyer's guides, reviews, and company profiles to help readers find the best products on the market for their needs and budgets.