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What Is a Murphy Bed? The Space-Saving Solution Explained

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 7 min read.
What Is a Murphy Bed? The Space-Saving Solution Explained

As urban living spaces shrink and the need for multifunctional rooms grows, the Murphy bed has seen a resurgence in popularity. Known for its ability to convert a living area into a bedroom at a moment’s notice, the Murphy bed epitomizes the blend of innovation, practicality, and style. This article will provide an in-depth look at what a Murphy bed is, its history, comfort, dimensions, and buying tips.

What Is Murphy Bed?

A Murphy bed, also known as a wall bed, pull-down bed, or fold-down bed, is a bed that is hinged at one end to store vertically against the wall or within a cabinet or closet.

The Mechanics of a Murphy Bed:

  • Hinge Mechanism: Allows the bed to pivot and fold.
  • Support System: Can be spring-based or piston-based to ease lowering and lifting the bed.

The Versatility of Murphy Beds:

  • Space Efficiency: Frees up floor space when not in use.
  • Dual-Purpose Rooms: Transforms any room into a bedroom without compromising its original functionality.

Why Is It Called a Murphy Bed?

The Murphy bed is named after its inventor, William Lawrence Murphy. The moniker was born out of Murphy’s efforts to design a bed that allowed him to entertain guests in his one-room apartment without impropriety during the early 1900s.

Historical Anecdote:

  • Murphy’s Motivation: Murphy’s innovation was driven by the moral codes of his time, which frowned upon a lady entering a gentleman’s bedroom.

When Was the Murphy Bed Invented?

The Murphy bed was invented over a century ago, with the first patent filed in 1900 and issued in 1911.

Evolution of the Design:

  • Early Designs: Simple folding designs that have evolved over time.
  • Contemporary Models: Today’s Murphy beds include sophisticated mechanisms and additional features like integrated desks and shelving.

Is a Murphy Bed Comfortable?

Contrary to common misconceptions, a Murphy bed can be just as comfortable as a traditional bed.

Factors Influencing Comfort:

  • Mattress Quality: A high-quality mattress can significantly enhance comfort.
  • Sturdy Construction: Ensures no sagging or movement during use.

Considering a Puffy Lux Mattress for your Murphy bed can enhance comfort levels, thanks to its body-adaptive foam that provides both support and luxurious comfort.

How Much Weight Can a Murphy Bed Hold?

The weight capacity of a Murphy bed depends on its construction and mechanism.

Typical Weight Capacities:

  • Standard Murphy Beds: Can often hold between 250 to 1,000 pounds.
  • Custom Builds: May support more, depending on design and materials used.

What Size Is a Murphy Bed?

Murphy beds are designed to accommodate nearly all standard mattress sizes, ensuring they can be integrated into a variety of living spaces and meet diverse needs. The size of a Murphy bed is an important consideration, as it dictates both the space it will occupy when in use and how well it will blend into your room when stored away.

Standard Mattress Sizes for Murphy Beds:

Murphy beds are generally designed to fit the following mattress sizes:

  • Twin: Typically measures 38 inches wide by 75 inches long. Ideal for children’s rooms, small guest spaces, or in a home office where space is at a premium.
  • Twin XL: Slightly longer than the twin, coming in at 38 inches wide by 80 inches long, to accommodate taller individuals.
  • Full (Double): Measures around 54 inches wide by 75 inches long. Suitable for single sleepers who need more room than a twin offers or cozy for two people.
  • Queen: The most common size for Murphy beds, measuring 60 inches wide by 80 inches long. It provides ample space for two people without overwhelming a room.
  • King: At 76 inches wide by 80 inches long, it’s spacious for couples and is often used in larger rooms.
  • California King: This size is less common due to its larger dimensions, 72 inches wide by 84 inches long, but it is available for those who prefer extra legroom.

Choosing the Right Size:

Selecting the size of your Murphy bed requires considering a few different aspects:

  • Room Dimensions: Evaluate the room where you will install the Murphy bed. Take note of both the wall space for when the bed is stored and the floor space it will occupy when lowered.
  • User Needs: Think about who will be using the bed. A twin might be sufficient for a child or occasional guest, whereas a queen might be better for everyday use by an adult or couple.
  • Dual Purpose: If the room serves a dual purpose, such as a home office or gym, consider how bed size will impact the room’s functionality when the bed is down.

It’s important to note that the actual dimensions of the Murphy bed furniture will be slightly larger than the mattress size to accommodate the structure and mechanism. Ensure you have a few extra inches on each side and above the bed space when taking measurements.

Bedding and Accessories:

When considering the size, also think about the bedding and accessories:

  • Bedding: Make sure to use bedding that fits the mattress size without excess fabric that could interfere in the bed’s operation.
  • Decorative Elements: Headboards and bedding with built-in storage should be chosen with the folding mechanism in mind.

How Big Is a Murphy Bed?

The dimensions of a Murphy bed when extended into the room vary based on the mattress size and design.

Space Requirements:

  • Projection Into Room: Approximately 7 feet from the wall to accommodate the length of the bed and clearance.

Interested in how Puffy stacks up against other brands? Check out our mattress comparisons: Puffy vs Purple, Puffy vs Nectar, Puffy vs Casper, Puffy vs Leesa, Puffy vs Saatva, and Puffy vs DreamCloud.

How Deep Is a Murphy Bed?

The depth of a Murphy bed, or how far it sticks out from the wall, depends on the model.

Depth Considerations:

  • Cabinet Murphy Beds: Tend to be deeper to include storage.
  • Minimalist Models: Focus on a slim profile for a sleeker look.

How Wide Is a Murphy Bed?

The width corresponds with the mattress size, extending a few inches beyond for the structure.

Width Measurements:

  • Twin Size: Around 42 inches wide.
  • Queen Size: Approximately 63 inches wide.

How Deep Is a Murphy Bed?

Murphy beds are designed with varying depths to accommodate different mattress sizes and additional features.

Standard Depths:

  • Without a Cabinet: Usually 16 to 20 inches.
  • With a Cabinet: Can be 20 to 25 inches or more.

Where to Buy a Murphy Bed?

Murphy beds are available through various outlets, both in physical furniture stores and online.

Buying Options:

  • Specialty Stores: Offer customized solutions.
  • Online Retailers: Provide competitive pricing and reviews.

Check out Puffy mattress reviews from real customers and see how we compare with other brands.

What Is a Murphy Bed in a Camper?

In the context of a camper, a Murphy bed is a space-saving bed that folds away, often converting into another piece of furniture like a sofa or dining area.

Benefits in a Camper:

  • Space Maximization: Ideal for the limited space in a camper.
  • Multi-Use Functionality: Transforms living areas for different uses throughout the day.

For those seeking a Murphy bed for their camper, a Puffy Cloud Mattress can provide the comfort of home while on the road, ensuring a restful sleep no matter where your travels take you.

Conclusion: Embracing the Murphy Bed Lifestyle

The Murphy bed stands as a testament to innovative design, allowing for the reimagining of living spaces. With the right mattress and setup, it can serve as a fully functional, comfortable bed that simply disappears when not in use.

Use our store locator to find the closest furniture or mattress store near you and feel the cloudlike comfort of our Puffy Mattress in person.

Whether for a studio apartment, a guest room, or even a camper, a Murphy bed offers a versatile solution for those looking to maximize their living area. When paired with a high-quality mattress, like those from Puffy, the Murphy bed becomes an optimal sleeping arrangement, challenging the notion that space-saving furniture must compromise on comfort.

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