Having an additional mattress is great for sleepovers and unexpected visits from the in-laws, but there’s just one problem: space! When you’re limited on space, a Murphy bed is the perfect compact solution. Also known as a wall bed, a fold-down bed, or a pull-down bed, these full-size beds tuck away into a wall, a closet, or a cabinet when not in use.
Murphy beds can easily convert a living room or a home office into a guest bedroom. The best Murphy bed is safe, sturdy, and comfortable for a restful night’s sleep. Keep reading for the features to look for in the best Murphy bed and explore some of the top picks on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Beachcrest Home Navarra Storage Murphy Bed
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Zipcode Design Colquitt Murphy Bed
- BEST WITH STORAGE: Beachcrest Home Dinah Murphy Bed
- BEST CABINET BED: Night & Day Furniture Murphy Cube Cabinet Bed
- BEST DIY KIT: Create-A-Bed Deluxe Murphy Bed Kit, Vertical
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Murphy Bed
Murphy beds come in traditional wall-mounted units or freestanding folding designs. A high-quality Murphy bed is compact, comfortable, and easy to use. Consider the size, orientation, frame material, and safety features when selecting the right bed for your space. Other features including additional storage space and a foldable mattress can sweeten the deal.
Full and queen-size beds are a common and popular option because they provide enough space for two guests. Twin and twin XL beds are also easy to find; these beds can only accommodate one guest but take up much less space. King-size Murphy beds are less common due to their large size and the weight of the mattress.
The ideal size depends on the available space and the bed’s intended use. Make sure to measure both the stored and expanded size of the Murphy bed to ensure there’s enough wall and floor space to fit your selection.
Pull-Down vs. Folding
Traditional pull-down Murphy beds attach to the wall; the mattress sits on a wall-mounted frame that pivots vertically for storage. These beds usually tuck into a wall recess, a closet, or a shelving unit that hides the bed frame inside.
A wall-mounted Murphy bed gives the user the option to choose the mattress, a plus for picky sleepers. Installation is more complicated with these bed types—the bed will need to be drilled and mounted to the wall.
Folding Murphy beds store in a compact, freestanding cabinet that resembles a storage chest. Since these frames don’t attach to the wall, they’re much easier to install—there’s no drilling required. Sometimes referred to as “cabinet Murphy beds,” these bed types have a mattress and bed frame that folds or slides into the cabinet for storage.
These beds often include a custom-fit, multi-piece mattress inside the chest. This offers less flexibility to select or replace the mattress. These mattresses also tend to be thinner than regular mattresses. A mattress-topper, however, could make a world of difference.
Murphy beds come in vertical and horizontal orientations. Vertical layouts are the most common and mount with the head section of the bed closest to the wall. Horizontal Murphy beds mount with the long side of the bed closest to the wall. Some Murphy beds can install in either orientation, offering flexibility for those who need it. When choosing orientation, consider the room’s shape and size, the ceiling height, and the clearance space.
Vertical Murphy beds take up around 6 to 8 feet of wall height when in storage mode. For this reason, they’re well suited for rooms with average to high ceilings. When measuring for a vertical bed, consider ceiling fixtures like lights and fans to make sure the bed has enough clearance when changing from storage to bed mode. When in bed mode, vertical designs project farther from the wall and take up more perpendicular floor space.
Horizontal Murphy beds fit into shorter cabinets, making these beds ideal for rooms with low ceilings. Since their shorter side folds down, they don’t project as far into the floor space when in bed mode. This makes them ideal for narrow room layouts.
Murphy beds are made from a range of durable materials, including metal, solid wood, plywood, particleboard, and MDF (medium-density fiberboard).
- Metal: Metal frames are sturdy and long-lasting. Many Murphy beds with metal frames store on wooden shelves or cabinets.
- Solid wood: Solid wood frames are made from solid woods like oak, cedar, mahogany. These frames are very sturdy, strong, and have a beautiful finish.
- Plywood: Unlike solid wood, plywood is made out of multiple thin layers of wood, glued together into boards. Plywood tends to be less sturdy, but it’s a more cost-friendly option when compared with solid wood.
- Particleboard: Particleboard is composed of compressed wood particles rather than thin layers like plywood. It can resemble solid wood in appearance and feel and is a more affordable option; however, it’s not as durable as solid wood or plywood.
- MDF: Medium-density fiberboard is another option that’s made from wood particles, but it’s made from finer wood particles than those found in particleboard. Because of the fine particles, MDF is denser and more durable than particleboard.
True to their space-saving design, some Murphy beds include storage features to make them more convenient to use. The most common option is storage space along one or both sides of a wall-mounted bed. These come in the form of shelves, cabinets, and closets, and are useful for storing bulky bedding or guest items.
These storage features take up more wall space but give the bed a more seamless look. Some wall-mounted beds even fold up to reveal desks or couches for use during the day.
Foldable cabinet Murphy beds tend to be more compact than wall-mounted beds. These designs don’t usually accommodate extra storage—their compact size has just enough space to fit the folding bed frame and the mattress. Sometimes these models will allow for some bedding inside the cabinet as well.
Instead of a lumpy couch mattress or a thin futon, most wall-mounted Murphy beds fit a regular mattress up to 12 inches thick. It’s best to use a regular mattress in pull-down beds instead of a foldable mattress or a futon. Foldable mattresses tend to collapse when the bed is in storage mode.
Freestanding cabinet Murphy beds often include a foldable mattress. These custom mattresses are designed to fold in just the right way to store in the cabinet or chest. Most foldable mattress options are made of foam. They tend to have a thinner design, and some users may feel the separate sections of the mattress.
A high-quality and properly installed Murphy bed is safe for the whole family. Murphy beds include a number of safety features to make sure the bed stays in place. Most designs have a counterbalance system which also allows them to fold up and down easily. Modern Murphy beds have piston-lifts or torsion-springs for smooth and safe operation.
The piston or hinge system helps to hold the bed in place, preventing it from opening or closing on its own. As an extra measure of security, some wall-mounted Murphy beds have straps or locks to secure the bed in place in storage mode.
Our Top Picks
Give overnight guests some restful shut-eye with a comfortable Murphy bed. The following list of recommendations includes some of the best Murphy beds on the market. These units are comfortable, durable, and easy to use, temporarily converting any room into a cozy bedroom.
Add some extra storage with this wall-mounted Murphy bed and shelving system from Beachcrest Home. This bed includes a queen-size bed and a shelving unit made from particleboard with a dark chocolate finish.
In storage mode, the entire unit dimensions (including the storage shelf) measure 20.3 by 89.5 by 89.5 inches. The near 7.5-foot height is ideal for rooms with tall ceilings. The shelving unit has five open shelves for decorations and storage, each measuring 25 inches across. For a seamless look, the bottom of the bed includes paneling and handles, making the stored bed look like a handsome wooden wardrobe.
Converting the bed is safe and easy—the dual-piston system smoothly lowers and raises the bed. A queen mattress up to 12 inches thick (not included) sits on a wooden slatted base for ample support.
This simple and sleek Murphy bed from Zipcode Design is a cost-friendly pull-down bed for weekend guests and visiting family. The particleboard build comes in a natural bark gray color. A wood grain pattern and basic handles offer a neutral look that will suit any space.
In storage mode, this bed takes up around 20 by 58.6 by 83.6 inches of wall space. The dual-piston system makes opening the bed smooth and safe. The bed mode fits a full-size mattress up to 10 inches thick, which sits on top of a wooden slat base for added comfort.
With two full-size shelving units (one on each side of the bed), this wall-mounted Murphy bed provides ample storage space. The clean white finish makes for an elegant addition to a spare room.
This unit measures 18.2 by 108.6 by 89.1 inches in storage mode (including the shelving units). It fits full-size mattresses up to 10 inches thick on a wood slat base, which is easy to convert between modes using the smooth dual-piston system.
The open bookshelves feature three adjustable shelves in each unit to maximize storage options. Each side has five shelves, each holding up to 20 pounds—perfect for knickknacks, picture frames, and storage baskets.
Murphy beds tend to look unassuming, disguising themselves as cabinets or storage chests during the day. Made from solid hardwood with a rich cherry finish, this wooden cabinet bed from Night & Day is compact, durable, and stylish.
In storage mode, the bed measures only 27 by 37 by 64 inches. The faux handles and panels make it look like a handsome storage chest. Inside, there’s space to fit the included foldable mattress, bed sheets, and pillows. Locking hinges keep everything in place.
In bed mode, the chest transforms into a queen-size bed with a short wooden headboard and sturdy feet. The bed includes a 6-inch tri-fold gel memory foam mattress, bringing comfort to this compact bed design.
DIY-enthusiasts can create their own pull-down bed with a Murphy bed kit. Designed by Create-A-Bed, this kit includes the necessary hardware to install a vertical, wall-mounted Murphy bed, leaving the bed frame and storage cabinet design up to the installer.
To make the process more accessible, an included step-by-step DVD and illustrated instruction booklets breaks down the building process. This kit is for a full-size bed, but twin- and queen-size options are also available.
This kit includes the necessary mounting hardware, two pistons, and two bed frame legs, all of which are made from sturdy black steel. The bed frame, cabinet, and mattress are not included. Users can build their own bed frame or hire a woodworking company to create a custom bed—perfect for those who are looking for an affordable, one-of-a-kind Murphy bed design.
FAQs About Murphy Beds
Murphy beds provide easy access to a full-size bed, without the full-size footprint. They offer a more permanent and sturdy alternative to a rollaway bed or an air mattress, but without taking up too much space. Still looking for the best Murphy bed to fit your needs? Keep reading for answers to the most frequently asked questions about these space-friendly beds.
Q. Are all Murphy beds the same size?
No, Murphy beds are commonly available in twin, full, and queen bed sizes.
Q. How deep are Murphy beds?
Most wall-mounted Murphy beds are around 16 to 20 inches deep and can accommodate a regular mattress.
Q. How long do Murphy beds last?
Since Murphy beds need to be pulled out and put away with each use, they tend to wear out faster than a regular bed frame. Most Murphy beds can last 15 years or more, depending on how often they are used.