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Murphy Beds Vs. Regular Beds: What You Should Know

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Updated on May 6, 2022 by
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Some prefer queen-size beds or queen wall beds, and some prefer smaller beds. However, the reality is that some people who have the option of having a big or small bed can’t afford to have both. The solution is the Murphy Bed.

You don’t see Murphy beds as much as you might have a few decades ago, but they are still one of the best options when it comes to fitting a large bed in a small space. Going with a Murphy bed vs. a regular bed can be the difference between your condo or studio apartment looking like one large bedroom and being able to have additional space when you aren’t asleep in bed. And just because Murphy beds aren't as popular as they once were, it doesn't mean people aren't interested in the functionality they provide to different living spaces.

For some, however, the question is whether or not to go with a Murphy bed instead of a regular bed. It’s not necessarily as easy as opting for a Murphy bed because you don't have much extra bed space to work with. That might be the initial reason some have for going with a Murphy bed instead of a standard bed, but there is a lot to consider.

And before you can truly appreciate the differences and ups and downs of Murphy beds vs. regular beds, you should probably familiarize yourself with what Murphy beds are. If you aren't sure what to make of Murphy beds, you might consider them to be equal to sofa beds. But honestly, they are so much more than that.

What Is A Murphy Bed?

Because the term “wall bed” isn't all that catchy, you probably won't be surprised to learn that the Murphy bed got its name from William L. Murphy, a man who wanted to make the most out of his one-room apartment in 1894. Now, the Murphy Bed Centers of America prides itself on being one of the premier companies dedicated to creating and continuously perfecting the Murphy bed and all it offers.

A Murphy bed can stay out in the open all day and night, if needed. Or, you can opt to lift and fold it up into its designated wall space when it’s not in use. Then, you can use whatever cabinet doors are in place to keep it out of sight when it’s not in use. These doors could be ones that swing out or slide to either side. Whichever style you prefer, the Murphy bed is made to take up less room when it’s not in use and make for an aesthetically pleasing aspect to your home.

The bed frame of a Murphy bed is usually the most expensive part of the overall structure. The frame is made from metal, wood or a combination of both. The frame can be hollow, with legs that are separate or attached to the frame. The Murphy bed's legs will be made from one of these materials as well. Some even come with a built-in storage bed area for storing personal items like pillows and blankets.

A Murphy bed with its versatility can be used as an alternative to a sofa or bed that you would otherwise have in your home. You can use it for extra seating when you have guests over or for lounging on after work hours, when your living room furniture is already taken up by other people's belongings.

You could also use it as an addition to your bedroom, since it would take up very little space compared to your other guest room furniture. A Murphy bed would look good in a bedroom with high ceilings, since the headboard wouldn't block the view of your room's decorating scheme and architecture if it were placed at an angle against the wall instead of flat against it.

The bi-folds of a Murphy bed are another important feature. These are essentially long panels that can be opened and closed at any time, giving you extra space to store or sit on the bed when you don't need it. When closed, the bi-folds will hide away the bed's storage space when it's not in use, making it a space-saver.

Why Opt For A Murphy Bed?

The whole point of Murphy beds is to be able to fit a larger bed in a small space which might not typically fit a bed larger than a twin when it’s not in use. Maybe your bedroom is just the right size for a dresser and a bed, but you barely have any walking space in there. In this case, you can fold up the bed when it’s not being used and more easily access your dresser, closet, or any other corners of the bedroom. Or, you have a studio, loft, or one-room apartment. In these cases, you might want to opt for a Murphy bed to save space.

Bestar, Edge Collection, Queen Murphy Bed and 2 Storage Units (107”)

Ideal for small spaces and multifunctional rooms. Assign a clearance of 30-36” around open bed. Must be anchored to a wall. Use handle to lower and pull bed towards you and flip leg onto floor. You can sleep on your Murphy Bed every day! EuroSlat mattress support system increases sleeper’s comfort. Accommodates most standard Queen mattresses (8-12” thick, 45-90 lb, 60” x 80”). No futons.

Then, you can have a bedroom during the evening and a living room and dining space where you can entertain guests during the other hours of the day or evening. If you have the space for a regular bed in the guest bedroom on its own, then you probably won't need to go with a Murphy bed. But if you’re short on space and still want to be comfortable in your home, however small it may be, then a Murphy bed is your best bet.

Pros And Cons Of A Murphy Bed Vs. A Regular Bed

Pros

  • Murphy beds take up less space than a regular bed and even a sleeper sofa.
  • When closed, a Murphy bed can convert to another useful space in your home, like a home office area or dining space.
  • It’s as comfortable as a regular bed.
  • There are different ways to design and store a Murphy bed to suit your needs.
  • It takes just seconds to take out and put away a Murphy bed.
  • You can connect it to a sofa to keep your sofa out and in place when your bed isn't in use.
  • A Murphy bed is typically still affordable, despite the extra effort needed.

Cons

  • Regular bed legs don't have to be folded up when it’s not in use.
  • You also won't have to install any special hardware kits or gadgets to keep your regular bed in place.
  • Murphy beds don't always look as normal as a regular bed in your living space or bedroom.
  • It can be a little difficult to install a Murphy bed in a rented space, whereas regular beds are a lot more simple to set up and take down if you move.

Murphy Bed Ideas

Cabinet Murphy Bed

Via Dwell

One option some people tend to lean towards is a Murphy bed which folds into a faux cabinet. Or, in some cases, it can fold into a bookcase that is still legitimately a bookcase on either side of the bed when it is raised up.

Minimalist Murphy Bed

Some DIY enthusiasts choose to create their own Murphy bed out of old-fashioned metal folding chairs. Another way to create a minimalist version of the Murphy bed is by purchasing a piece of wall art and removing the metal hardware from it. It can then be used as a bed, depending on your design preferences.

The pivoting headboard of a Murphy bed allows you to make it into an extra seating area, making it more comfortable to use. You can also choose to incorporate the headboard into your wall design. In addition, cabinetry doors are an option to keep the bed from being seen when it's not in use. You can also create a Murphy bed that looks like it’s made of natural wood. The bed cabinet that is attached to the wall can then be made of solid wood, which will make it look like a true piece of furniture.

You can make a DIY Murphy bed with various color schemes. If you want to make a custom Murphy bed, you can choose from a variety of color options and textures. A combo of metal and wood finishes can be used to create a sophisticated look.

Premium Eco Queen Murphy Wall Bed

3 pieces front panel is very light and easy to assemble.
2 support bars to ensure keep the mattress from sagging.
Light and sturdy cabinet frame.
Advanced hydraulic opening mechanism for smooth and easy operation.
Built using eco-friendly and recyclable materials.

This idea offers a Murphy bed which essentially becomes part of the wall when it's folded up and not in use. It doesn't give you a sofa or desk to use when it’s folded into the wall, but it does offer a more minimalist aesthetic.

Mirror Murphy Bed

You don't need to have a dining table attached to the bottom of your Murphy bed to make it useful when it’s folded into a wall. Instead, you can have a full-length mirror which becomes part of the wall when your Murphy bed is folded up.

Bookcase Murphy Bed

This one is a unique take on a way to get double use out of the space you have. When folded, your Murphy bed is concealed by a bookcase. But because the bookcase is on wheels, it can then swing out to allow the bed to come down as needed.

Horizontal Murphy Bed

In case you really want a one of a kind look to your Murphy bed, you can go with this horizontal Murphy bed in your home. It folds down on its side, so it takes up less space as it comes out from wherever it is folded into.

Murphy Bunk Bed

If you have enough space in your home for regular beds, but want to preserve some of that precious playtime space in your kids’ room, then this Murphy bunk bed might be what you need. But be warned: bunk beds are so fun for kids, they might not want this one folded away at all.

Simple Bunk Twin/Twin XL Murphy Wall Bed

Light and modern twin size bunk wall bed.
Minimal number of components for easy assembly.
Lightweight metal wall mount frame with pre drilled holes to assist with installation.
Soft and quiet opening mechanism is safe and easy to operate.
Two support legs pop out when lower bed is open and are invisible when it’s closed.

Bookshelf Murphy Bed

This one is a little different from the bookcase Murphy bed. This one has shelves with hold in most books and magazines so that when you fold out the bed, you don’t lose your reading material in the process.

Cabinet Murphy Bed

Your guests might be sorely disappointed if they try to open the faux cabinet doors of this cabinet-front Murphy bed. But it’s all in the name of hiding your Murphy bed successfully and easily.

Final Thoughts

Murphy beds and regular beds come from two totally different walks of life. It’s almost impossible to truly compare them, but when you look closely, you can see how one might benefit your specific needs more than the other. Regular beds are easy to set up and don't require extensive Murphy bed hardware knowledge.

Slats, studs, memory foam, and a host of other options can make a regular bed as comfortable as possible. Murphy beds, on the other hand, are more about aesthetics and space efficiency. This means that Murphy beds are typically not as comfortable, but offer much more space.

Murphy beds offer full-sized sleeping spaces in otherwise tiny living areas. And for some Murphy beds, you might need to drill into walls or floor spaces to get the perfect setup for folding away the bed when it’s not in use, so sometimes it becomes an issue if you aren't prepared to make repairs somewhere down the line.

But really, it all comes down to your specific needs. If you have a small living space, then you might want or even need to go with a Murphy bed instead of a regular one. Then again, if you have a rental, it might be a little tricky to properly install a large cabinet for a Murphy bed without extensive drilling in the process. Both options are plenty comfortable, but really, the only time you will legitimately need to go with a Murphy bed is when you are pressed for space. Otherwise, a regular bed will suit most just fine and offers plenty of its own benefits and a certain ease of use.

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