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Types of Murphy Beds — Space Saving Benefits of Murphy Beds

Types of Murphy Beds — Space Saving Benefits of Murphy Beds


Whether you are looking to make the most of a small space, want to create a dual purpose home office, or you simply need a little extra room to accommodate your guests when they come over, a Murphy bed is one piece of furniture that can mean all the difference in the world.  Murphy beds have also become quite popular for people making the move to tiny houses or for RV living.

Unlike those ugly folding beds or cots you’d sleep in when you went to your grandmas, a Murphy bed takes the form of this beautiful, almost-unassuming piece of furniture in the day time, only to spread out its wings and transform into a comfortable bed you can cozy up in during the night.

The Murphy bed is quite simple to use, yet still has this miraculous tendency of looking good when not in use.

What Exactly Is A Murphy Bed?

Also known as a fold-out bed, hideaway bed, or a wall bed, a Murphy bed can best be understood as a bed that can be folded up to fit inside a closet or against the wall.

Most Murphy beds today are constructed with various appealing designs that accent the décor of your style. Therefore, other than being beds, they double up as attractive furniture sets. Just fold it up behind into a beautiful shelf in your living room, and you won’t even notice it’s there!

Fun Fact — Who Invented the Murphy Bed and Why

The Murphy bed is actually named after the inventor William Murphy, who patented the idea in the early 1900s. You see, San Francisco, where William then lived, had this moral code that restrained women and men from sleeping in the same bedroom. While this might seem absurd in this modern era, it may very well be what inspired this fold-down contraption by Murphy.

With this, the young gentlemen everywhere we're able to get away with having women over, and they’d sleep in the living room instead (or so it seemed). Murphy’s design was unique since it incorporated a counterbalanced, pivoting design, which was far more efficient than his competitors.

Today, these beds are made extra strong and durable, with a combination of fine material and craftsmanship, so they stand the test of time.

Types of Murphy Beds

Murphy beds are often called wall beds because of the way they function. They work basically as their name suggests; by folding right up to the wall creating a hidden bed. While there are many different Murphy wall bed designs, structure wise there are two main types — internal and external. This refers to how the bed itself is mounted and accessed. 

Internally Mounted Murphy Beds

With a sunken wall bed there will be an actual opening cut into the wall and the bed itself will fit inside. The bed frame is attached to the wall with heavy duty hinges. The benefit of an in-built Murphy bed is maximum space optimization because the outer covering is usually flush against the wall so that it does not take up any space with the room.

The downside is that not only does the process require cutting into existing walls, but more importantly it requires enough space behind the wall to fit the bed. For this reason, these are usually custom builds that are done during initial home construction. Sunken Murphy beds are not as easily moveable from one location to another, and if they are removed, you will need to do something to cover the whole in the wall.

Externally Mounted Murphy Beds

While an external wall bed will take up some space within a room, they are designed to maximize the space that they use. The bed itself is built into an outer frame. Depending upon the type of Murphy bed this frame is usually securely attached to the wall. The benefit of this type is that because they are not mounted inside the wall is that they can be moved from one location to another.  

Because they require less work, externally mounted hideaway beds are the most common type of Murphy beds.  As such, that is the kind of wall bed we will be discussing in this article.

Murphy Wall Beds

Since they are not limited by the area within the structure of your walls, there are a wide variety of design options available for external Murphy beds. The simplest (and usually least expensive) type of wall bed consists of a cabinet with a flat front that hides the bed until it is needed. Basic Murphy beds do not provide additional storage except perhaps a flat surface on top for decorative items.

While simple wall beds serve a purpose, more often, you’ll find additional features like shelves or partitions, intuitively positioned so you can store or display things without interfering with the bed’s functionality. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.

Wall Beds with Sofa or Couch

Murphy beds with a sofa are made with the living room user in mind. Therefore, together with an extra bed, you also get a fully functional couch or love seat, complete with cozy cushions and an armrest. Sit on the sofa and enjoy your TV by day, then remove the cushions and fold it down to reveal your beautiful full-sized bed by night. They are also good for dual purpose guest rooms or home offices.

Wall Beds with Desk

These kinds are basically wall beds, but with fully functioning desks incorporated within them. The desk typically pops up when you push up the bed. Murphy beds with desks are made such that they easily convertible without disrupting things lying on the desktop.

Wall Beds with Table

Now, if you need a little extra space to do your work, then you’ll be better suited to having a Murphy bed with a table instead. Here, the bed will fold up to reveal a decent-sized desk that can play the role of a larger desk.

Library Murphy Beds

Library Murphy beds are wonderful for anyone with a large collection of books, or even any kind of collection whatsoever. They’ll usually feature bookshelves that open to the side to reveal your bed.

And that’s not the best part. When not in use, library wall beds fold up to completely camouflage your bed behind the sliding bookshelves. In most cases, you won’t even realize the bed is there. Some library Murphy wall beds additionally have custom lights you can use for late-night reading, as well as, side cabinets to store your bedside utilities.

Wall Beds with Shelves

These ones are a little different from library-style Murphy beds. Rather than have sliding bookshelves which fully hide the bed behind them, Murphy beds with shelves will have shelves on the side, or on the front section of the unit. These are great to use as a display for a few things.

Console Murphy Beds

Console wall beds are designed with your entertainment needs in mind.  An entertainment console Murphy bed is built to house both your TV and its components. Some advanced designs rotate with the console section pulling out so the TV can be seen from the bed. For others, a flat screen TV is securely mounted on the cabinet front. With this type, when you pull down the bed, the TV drops down under the bed.

Bunk Wall Beds

Bunk Murphy beds are the ultimate space savers for people sharing rooms. They usually include two or more foldable beds in one unit that you can easily fit in your kids’ room, and that you can fold up to create space for playing. They also come in adult sizes, which can be perfect for cabins, fire stations, guest rooms, and the like.

Bi-Fold Murphy Bed

These kinds of Murphy beds are called bi-fold wall beds because of the way they open. Instead of either sliding shelves or a flat front that is attached to the bed itself, they incorporate two cabinet doors which open outwards to reveal the bed frame.

Bi-fold designs usually have sturdier wood slats that can support mattresses with a thickness of up to 11 inches. They’ll also have some extra tweaks such as built-in straps so nothing falls behind the bed during storage, a folding headboard, and a spring-balanced mechanism so you can easily fold it up on your own.

Cabinet Murphy Beds

Also known as chest beds or hutch style Murphy beds, cabinet murphy beds are great for any room that functions as a den, guest room, or any other multipurpose storage room. This type of Murphy bed differs from a wall bed because in most cases they are not as tall. Because of the way they are designed, they are often free-standing and may not have to be attached to the wall. There are even rolling Murphy cabinet beds that can be easily moved from one place to another.

The innovative bed folds up into a stylish looking dresser or chest-like console. Depending upon the model, there may also be cabinets that you can use to store away your clothes or extra things. The unit then pulls out from inside to reveal a bed for when you want to use it. In some units, however, you might lack the extra storage, in which case, you can only place something to display on the top, like a TV.

Are Murphy Beds Practical?

Murphy beds might arguably be one of the most practical pieces of furniture you can have in your home. Because of their efficiency in saving space, murphy beds are perfect for anyone staying in small spaces like studio apartments, tiny houses, or just small apartments.

So the question remains, are they comfortable? Are they easy to fold up and down, or do you have to sacrifice your comfort for convenience? Well, most users claim that the beds are quite comfortable and suitable for everyday use. Not to mention, they also feature smart, modern designs that do well to compliment your house. On the question of durability, most Murphy beds are built to last. They feature well-balanced frames, with sturdy lift mechanisms that will have them running for as much as 7 years.

Most Murphy beds will also accommodate different kinds of mattresses. It might take a few nights to get used to initially, but you get the hang of it soon enough. Also, with modern engineering, these beds literally fold up and down in seconds without needing any hard lifting. You always have the option of leaving it down if you want, and only folding it up when you have guests over.

Benefits of Murphy Beds

Before we look at the many versatile benefits you stand to gain from murphy beds, it is important to note that not all folding beds are actual murphy beds. In fact, while the William Murphy inspired bed design grew to be the most popular since early 1900, the foldaway design was still around before then.

Genuine Murphy beds, however, are ideally, the highest quality wall beds out there. They pride themselves with their style, safety, functionality, and relatively more efficient designs.

With an authentic Murphy bed, you stand to gain considerably more benefits; some of them include: 

Provides For More Open Space

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Murphy beds is that they can easily be folded up into the wall when you don’t have use for it. With this, you get a little extra space for your other needs. When night comes, just pull it down, and your living room instantly transforms into a functional bedroom. This space-efficient quality can make all the difference in tiny apartments and micro-condos.

Multi Functional Rooms: Versatility Is King!

Murphy beds let you make use of one room for more than one purpose. For example, with a Murphy bed in your crafts room or office, it gets to perform the function of a temporary guestroom whenever you need it. This way, you get to accommodate all your friends and family when they come to stay over. If you have one in your child’s bedroom, you get to allow form more room for play during daytime.

Sophisticated Designs: Multi-Purpose and Easy To Use!

Most modern Murphy beds will also feature contemporary designs. They come with a variety of wood finishes too, which you can pick to complement your room’s internal décor. Most of the beds also perform other functions. For instance, you’ll find some which double up as cabinets and or libraries with shelves within that you can place your books.

Murphy beds also incorporate really efficient wall-mounting systems that protect your wall from damage. Another common feature includes straps to hold your bedding in place such that you can fold the bed up without having to replace the sheets every night.

Easy To Disassemble and Move Around

The good thing about external Murphy beds is that they provide value for even when you decide to move. They can be easily disassembled and transported to a new location. Additionally, you have the option of leaving it behind which it adds resale value to your condo, house, or apartment.

As we mentioned earlier, if you have a custom in-built murphy bed that is sunken into the wall, that type is not as easy to move.


Murphy beds are not only the most practical ways of saving some space in your home, but they also act as a focal point of convenience when you have guests sleeping over. Therefore, instead of purchasing a bookcase, desk, bed, and cabinets separately, these beds give you the option of getting this all in one unit.

With your very own Murphy bed, you get to save space, money and additionally get yourself a beautiful piece of furniture to last you a lifetime.