11 Frequently Asked Questions about a Murphy Wall Bed You Need to Know
Murphy wall beds. How can something so old (the concept was invented over 105 years ago), become so fresh, exciting and necessary in today’s homes and lofts? Here’s how.
When you combine rising real estate prices, the escalating cost of building, and a trend towards smaller homes, lofts and micro-sized apartments you have a world ‘ripe’ for a Murphy bed.
Murphy beds are cool. They give you the ability to have ‘flex space.’ You aren’t stuck with a seldom-used bed ‘eating up’ your room 24/7. When you need a bed for a guest, you simply pull it down. The bedding is in place and you have a full-sized mattress for an excellent night’s sleep.
So, if Murphy beds have been around (seemingly) forever, why are there so many questions about them?
Well for one thing, although the use of this product is growing, most of us have not had one in our past homes or apartments. So, we’re ‘newbies’ to owning a Murphy bed. I hear these questions all the time about these beds:
- Are they comfortable?
- Are they simple to pull down and put up?
- Do I have enough room in my bedroom, loft or dormer to use one and be able to walk around?
- And the ‘biggie’ question. How much will this doggone thing cost?
If you’ve wondered about these questions – and more – then this article is for you. As a guy who leads a company who sells and installs wall beds, I’ve had instances where I’ve recommended them, and they’ve worked out beautifully. I’ve also had situations people have called our company to their Columbus or Cleveland Ohio home or loft and wanted to use a Murphy bed and we told them, “Sorry, it’s not fit for your space.”
In this article my goal is to give you the straight scoop. I’ll give you straightforward answers to your questions about Murphy beds to see if they’ll work for you.
If any of your questions aren’t covered, call us or put them in the comments below.
FAQ #1 – Is a Murphy bed comfortable? What size and type of mattress will I need?
Since Murphy beds use either a 10” or 11” thick mattress which is supported by the door panel of the unit, which doubles as a box spring, you’ll get as good a night’s sleep as you would with a conventional bed. There isn’t a thin folding mattress like a futon or sleeper sofa with bars and lumps you or your guest will have to put up with.
The obvious benefit, however, of the wall bed is when it’s not in use (which in most cases is 98% of the time) it’s stowed away so you have space for a craft room, home office or work out area.
The bed is comfortable, yet you gain much-needed space on a day to day basis.
FAQ #2 – With a wall bed do I have to change the bedding each night?
If you own a sleeper sofa today, you know changing the bedding is a major pain in the butt.
On the other hand, with a Murphy bed, there is a strap which holds the bedding in place. You simply pull your bed down and it’s ready for use. And besides, who wants to change the bed each night anyway? You’ve already got enough household duties as it is!
FAQ #3 – I have limited storage space. Where can I store the pillows when the bed isn’t in use?
Murphy beds usually live in the smallest room of the house. If this room wasn’t tiny, you wouldn’t be using it as the guest bedroom. If a closet in this room either doesn’t exist, or its cramped like a can of sardines, you know the storage of the pillows can be a hassle.
There is a simple solution to this problem.
Instead of choosing the standard Murphy panel bed (which is 16” deep), select a unit with pillow box storage in the back. This system is still a compact 19” deep, but you won’t need to stuff the pillows into an already cramped closet anymore.
FAQ #4 – Do I have a tall enough ceiling to make a vertical or side-tilt Murphy bed work?
When you’re determining (or getting help from a Murphy bed in home designer to make the call for you) if you have enough height for a wall bed you need to look at two things.
- What is the ceiling height?
- What is sticking out of the ceiling (fans can be the biggest challenge) which could interfere with the bed when it will be put into use?
The taller (and more frequently used) Murphy bed is the ‘vertical’ bed. A queen size unit is 89” tall and a full or twin mattress vertical bed requires 84” in height. In addition, you’ll want to take into consideration the height of your ceiling light or fan to make sure the bed won’t hit the light or fan when it’s being pulled down.
If you have lower ceiling (say in a dormer room in a Cape Cod style house for example), the side tilt (also called a horizontal) bed can be best. The side tilt beds are 72” high for the Queen, 66” for the full and 51” for a twin.
FAQ #5 – Are Murphy beds easy to operate?
Since Murphy beds have spring-loaded mechanisms which are counterbalanced, they’re simple to operate whether you’re a Grandmother or a Grandchild (assuming your grandchild is large enough to reach the handles). You can pull these beds down with one hand and don’t need to be a championship Sumo wrestler to pull them down either!
If possible, when you’re having the bed installed have your mattress on hand so it can be expertly counterbalanced by the installation team for you.
FAQ #6 – Are there any Murphy beds which combine an office workstation with a bed?
The fastest growing type of Murphy bed is one which combines a desk option (since most rooms with a wall bed are used as home offices). A Murphy desk bed uses a flip-up worktop which is stowed securely in a housing with magnets and a lock from underneath.
To use the desk function, you’ll release the latch, pull against the magnets, the desk swings up, legs fold out and lock in from underneath.
This space-saving option gives you a bed and desk in one efficient design!
FAQ #7– Is professional installation of a wall bed available?
To make sure your bed is set level and properly counterbalanced professional installation is not only available but is the best option to ensure the unit is properly secured to the wall and will work seamlessly. You need to make sure the bed is plumb and square. You need to make sure the system is attached to studs.
If you’re looking for a Murphy bed in Columbus Ohio or Cleveland, we’d love to help you. If you’re in another area of the country, call or email us and we’ll refer you to companies we know across the United States.
FAQ #8 – How much room (beyond the Murphy bed) should I allow to walk around?
I would recommend 2’ of space to walk around the bed.
So, with a vertical queen bed (which is 66” wide and will come out from the wall 90” when the beds in use, you’ll want to have at least 90” of width (the 66” wide +24” – assuming the bed is in a corner, otherwise allow 24” on both sides) and 114” in depth (90” +24”). These numbers will be smaller for a full/twin bed which comes out from the wall 85” and the bed widths are 59.5” (for a full) and 44.5” (for a twin) respectively.
FAQ #9– Can I combine bookshelves, file cabinets or a wardrobe closet with a Murphy bed designed to my wall space?
Since Murphy beds (by their nature) are used in tight spaces in lofts, micro-apartments or guest bedrooms in single family homes, the rooms often don’t have adequate storage. So, combining them with custom-fit organization system is a smart idea.
If you’re designing a home office/guest bedroom, consider adding file drawers or bookshelves on the sides of your bed.
If you don’t have a closet a wardrobe for hanging clothes or drawers for your t-shirts can be a welcomed addition around a wall bed.
Since these organization systems can be tailored to your specific space (and tastes), you’ll get a built-in solution which no store-bought standard-sized, piece of furniture can match.
FAQ #10– What design styles and options are available?
This is where the fun and custom designing begins.
A Murphy bed doesn’t have to be simple, white and boring.
For the front panel you can choose a Shaker design (which works in transitional or traditional spaces) or a sleek ‘flat-front’ Euro option, or a classic bead-board for your Cape-Cod or girls guest bedroom for example. In addition, there’s 20 different patterns and finishes to create a look and feel which fits your personality and design tastes.
FAQ #11– Finally that dreaded question. How much do installed Murphy wall beds cost?
OK – this is the question you’ve dreaded, but usually the first one in your mind. How much will this cost me?
For a professionally installed Murphy bed budget between $2,000 and $4,000 for a standard panel bed. This cost will be towards the lower end for smaller beds (i.e. full and twin sizes) in a white finish.
You’ll be in the middle of this cost range for a larger queen-sized Murphy bed in a standard white design.
You’ll be at the upper end of this range when you use more expensive designs like Shaker and bead-board in a larger queen-size, for example.
If you choose the flip up desk option, you’ll add between $900 and $1,100 to the installed cost.
Given the trends in the marketplace today, the need to do more with less space has never been greater.
If you have a guest bedroom where your current bed is ‘eating the room’ and you desperately need to get better use out of this space, a Murphy bed can be the solution.
While it’s nice to get answers to your frequently asked questions, it can still be helpful and smart to seek out people who design bedding and home organization systems to make your wall bed project work to the max for you.
If you’re in Central or Northern Ohio and would like a helping hand and a Free 3D Murphy bed design, we’d love to be there for you (or if you’d like a Murphy bed shipped to you nationwide, we can assist with that as well).
Please click the links and call the numbers below to let us know how we can help.
How can I (or my team) help you with a Murphy Bed or home storage project?
Figuring out the right size and configuration for a Murphy Bed, wardrobe closet or home office system can be tough. I – and my team – would love to help you. If you’d like a Free 3D design and see how a wall bed can fit into your suburban home, condominium or downtown loft call Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or in Cleveland at 216-658-1290.
If you’d like more information on home organization, Murphy beds, interior design or just some wacky stories follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFotiLinkedIn or on Twitter @Mike_Foti or my companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.
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Great information ,I’m going to build a two story of 900 sqf for a customer, and I will check the site for more information, regards Behrooz Taheri.
I’m glad this post (and our site) was of help. Murphy beds provide a comfortable sleeping situation – yet help to conserve space which is critical for a small home! Let us know if we can help further. Mike
How tall is the queen bed frame when the bed is pulled down. I realize I have to decide the mattress height and add that. Trying to decide the proper height of a nightstand when the bed is pulled down. Thx!
Linda – sorry I missed responding quickly to this question. The height for our Queen murphy bed when the bed is lowered is 23″ off the floor. Good luck with your project and let me know if me or my team can help further – Mike