How to Build a DIY Murphy Bed

White Murphy bed open with purple linens and yellow pillows on top closeup

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 6 - 8 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Yield: One Murphy bed with stylish cabinet doors
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Estimated Cost: $600 to $700

Building a DIY Murphy bed can help you reclaim your floor space while maintaining a comfortable, easy-to-set-up spot for overnight guests.

Murphy beds or wall beds are beds that fold away against the wall when not in use, often within an enclosed cabinet. This DIY Murphy bed can be built for under one thousand dollars which include the cost of a Murphy bed hardware kit. This DIY will have handy features like reading lights, electrical outlets, and USB ports.

Read ahead to learn how to build your own Murphy bed that looks great when not in use and won’t break the budget.


Get Inspired by These Money-Saving DIY Murphy Bed Projects

How Much Does a DIY Murphy Bed Cost

It's much cheaper to build a Murphy bed than to buy one. Buying a Murphy bed can cost upwards of $3,000, with luxury options exceeding the $10,000 mark. Having a carpenter build a custom Murphy bed can easily cost just as much.

On the contrary, materials like plywood and solid wood for a Murphy bed will only cost a few hundred dollars. If you opt to use a Murphy bed hardware kit as we do in this tutorial, you can plan on spending another few hundred dollars.

Some DIYers opt to forgo the Murphy bed hardware kits when building a Murphy bed in order to save some money. The tradeoff is the ability to hide the legs and the assisted opening. If these attributes aren't of great value to you, building a DIY Murphy bed without the hardware kit is simple.

The Cost of Wood for a Murphy Bed

On average, the wood needed to build a basic Murphy bed will cost less than $400. As with many DIY projects that use wood, you can make a DIY Murphy bed more or less expensive with the type of wood you choose.

This Murphy bed DIY utilizes a mixture of nominal pine lumber and plywood, as these are strong, solid options that won't break the bank. If you're looking for a more luxurious finish, you can swap the appearance boards for materials like oak and stain them rather than paint them.

Murphy Bed Kits and Hardware

Rather than designing this DIY Murphy bed tutorial around one specific hardware kit, we’ve made it adaptable to many. Generally, Murphy bed hardware kits will come with three things: legs, mattress straps, and springs or pistons for lifting and lowering the bed.

Some Murphy bed hardware kits may come with fewer or additional accessories, but you can typically count on these three items being included. These kits come from many different manufacturers and retailers in a variety of sizes, including twin, full, queen, and king. You can expect to pay a little more as you go up in bed size.

In addition to hardware kits, we’ve designed this Murphy bed tutorial to include integrated outlets with reading lights and USB ports to take advantage of covered outlets.

Before You Begin

The steps below outline how to build a DIY Murphy bed to accommodate a full mattress (54 inches by 74 inches) and any materials and cuts mentioned follow suit. If using another mattress size, remember to adjust everything accordingly.

Additionally, this DIY Murphy bed will utilize a Murphy bed hardware kit, but the tutorial is meant to be adjusted to your specific hardware kit. When in doubt, reference your Murphy bed hardware kit's manufacturer's instructions and employ any provided templates for leg hardware and springs or pistons.

Safety Considerations

Securing your DIY Murphy bed wall cabinet to the wall itself isn't optional. Not only will failure to do so pose a significant safety risk, but it will also compromise the function of the Murphy bed, as it relies on the strength of the wall during opening and closing.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Level or laser level
  • Miter saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Brad nailer with nails
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Iron
  • Painting supplies
  • Orbital sander with sandpaper
  • Caulk gun
  • Oscillating multitool (optional)
  • Pry bar
  • Ladder


  • Murphy bed hardware kit
  • Combination outlet extension and reading light
  • 2 1x8 x 8' pine boards
  • 3 2x2 x8' pine boards
  • 1 2x4 x 8' pine board
  • 2 2x4 x 10' pine boards
  • 2 1x6 x 10' pine boards
  • 4 1x4 x 10' pine boards
  • 1 3/4" x 4' x 8' sheet sanded plywood
  • 2 1/4" x 4' x 8' sheet sanded plywood
  • 1 1/2" x 4' x 8' sheet sanded plywood
  • 3/4" iron-on edge banding
  • Wood glue
  • 12 1/4" x 3-1/2" lag bolts
  • 12 1/4" fender washers
  • 2" wood screws
  • 2 Cabinet pulls
  • Painter's caulk
  • Painting supplies
  • Bare wood primer
  • Interior paint


How to Build a DIY Murphy Bed

  1. Build Mattress Base Sides

    Cut two 2x2 boards to 75 inches and two 1x8 boards to 75 inches. Glue and screw a 2x2 along the bottom edge of a 1x8, pre-drilling and placing 2-inch screws every 6 inches. Repeat with the second 1x8 and 2x2.

  2. Radius the Mattress Base Sides (optional)

    Some Murphy bed hardware kits require the tops of the mattress base to have a radius to accommodate the hardware and the movement of the bed when opening and closing it. If yours requires this, use the provided template and a jigsaw to cut the radius from each top corner of the sides.

  3. Attach Top and Bottom

    Place the assembled sides on your work surface with the 2x2s at the bottom. Cut two 1x6 boards to 56-1/2 inches and place them at each end of the sides. Glue the joints and screw through the 1x6s into the ends of the 1x8s and 2x2s to form a box.


    To make hiding screw heads easier, countersink the screws by partially drilling into the wood with a drill bit just larger than the screw's head, or using a special countersink drill bit.

  4. Attach Middle Support

    Cut a 2x4 to 75 inches and place it in the middle of the box stretching from the top to the bottom, centered at 28-1/4 inches. Screw through the 1x6 boards into the ends of the 2x4.

  5. Attach Mattress Supports

    Cut eight 1x4 boards to 55 inches and place them equally spaced across the inside of the mattress box. Glue and screw them to the 2x2s and the 2x4.

  6. Attach Mattress Straps

    Attach the mattress straps if it's included in your hardware kit according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  7. Mount Leg Hardware and Legs

    On the bottom end of the base, mount the leg hardware included in your hardware kit according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use any provided templates or dimensions for positioning.

    Pay close attention to whether the legs are to be placed on the outside or inside of the base's sides. Once the hardware is in place, attach the legs.

  8. Mount Pivot Mechanism

    At the top end of the base, mount the hardware for the pivot mechanism (spring or piston) using any templates or dimensions provided by the manufacturer for placement.

  9. Determine Wall Cabinet's Dimensions

    Determine your wall cabinet's dimensions and cuts using the hardware kit as a guide. The dimensions of your wall cabinet will depend on a couple of different variables.

    First, your hardware kit will have two specifications:

    1. The pivot mechanism's distance from the floor and the required gap are between the outside of the mattress box and the inside of the wall cabinet. The distance from the floor will determine the height of your sides, as the cabinet's total height will have to accommodate the length of the bed box when closed.
    2. The gap will determine the width of the top and bottom boards to ensure there is room for the hardware.

    Second, the thickness of your mattress will determine the required depth of your cabinet, as the cabinet will need to be deep enough to fit the mattress when closed.

    Use all of these dimensions to determine the size of your wall cabinet.

    For demonstration purposes, assume the required interior height of the cabinet is 80 inches, the interior width is 60 inches, and the interior depth is 13 inches. Adjust these dimensions as needed.

  10. Cut Wood for Wall Cabinet

    Use a table saw or a circular saw with a straight edge to cut the 3/4-inch plywood into two pieces measuring 15 inches by 80 inches (sides). Cut another piece measuring 15 inches by 61-1/2 inches (top). Cut four 2x4s to 60 inches.

  11. Attach Edge Banding

    Attach iron-on edge banding to one side of each plywood piece following the manufacturer's instructions for application and trimming. On the top piece, edge band the sides as well.

  12. Mark the Wall

    Mark the wall for your desired cabinet location. Mark each stud's location as well to make it easier to find at a glance.

  13. Attach the Wall Supports

    Pre-drill and attach a 2x4 to the wall with the top edge positioned at 80 inches, using 1/4-inch by 3-1/2-inch lag bolts with washers. Attach a second 2x4 on the wall against the floor. If necessary, cut and remove the baseboard using an oscillating multitool and a flat pry bar. Attach a third 2x4 with its top edge at 33-1/2 inches.

  14. Mount Cabinet Sides

    Stand the cabinet sides up with the edge banding facing outward and screw through the cabinets into the ends of each 2x4. Place the fourth 2x4 on the floor against the outside edge of the cabinet and screw through the cabinet into the 2x4.

  15. Attach Cabinet Top

    Place the top cabinet piece on top of the side pieces with the edge piece facing outward. Screw through the top piece into the tops of the side piece using 2-inch wood screws.

  16. Cut and Attach Vertical Nailers

    Cut 2x2 boards into two pieces measuring 42.75 inches and two pieces measuring 18.25 inches. Place the longer 2x2s between the top 2x4s against the cabinet sides, then screw them into the cabinet sides using 2-inch wood screws. Place the remaining boards beneath the middle 2x4 and against the cabinet sides.

  17. Cut Back Pieces

    Cut 1/4-inch plywood into one piece measuring 60 inches by 48 inches. Cut a second piece measuring 60 inches by 20 inches.

  18. Mount Recessed Outlet and Reading Light (optional)

    If you're opting to mount the recessed outlet and reading light to take advantage of a covered outlet, cut the hole for the outlet at least 2 inches below the top edge of the 20-inch tall piece of plywood. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for measuring and cutting the hole. If you want a reading light and outlet on each side, position them evenly toward each vertical edge of the 1/4-inch plywood piece.

  19. Mount Back Pieces

    Apply a bead of glue to each 2x4 and 2x2, then slide the plywood into place between the cabinet sides and secure with brad nails. Start with the top piece, then place the bottom piece. The bottom piece is left intentionally unfastened across its bottom edge to allow access to the covered outlet.

  20. Mount Pivot Mechanism Hardware

    Using the manufacturer's instructions and any provided templates, mount the pivot mechanism hardware on the cabinet sides.

  21. Mount Bed Box in Wall Cabinet

    Use the manufacturer's instructions to attach the pivot mechanism and mount the bed box within the wall cabinet. Lift and lower the bed to test its functionality and make any adjustments before moving forward.

  22. Cut and Attach Outside Bed Box Cover

    Cut 1/2-inch plywood into two pieces measuring 30 inches by 76-1/2 inches. With the bed in the closed position, glue and brad nail the pieces to the front of the bed box.

  23. Cut and Attach Faux Door Trim

    Rip 1/4-inch plywood into 3-inch-wide strips. Cut four strips to a length of 30 inches and four strips to a length of 70-1/2 inches. Glue and brad nail the strips around the perimeter of the 1/2-inch plywood to create a faux door.

  24. Attach Door Pulls

    To sell the look of the faux cabinet door, attach door pulls by drilling holes and using their provided hardware. You'll likely have to lower the bed to secure the nuts on the back side. These also will make it easier to lower the bed by providing a firm place to grab.

  25. Attach Top and Bottom Trim to Cabinet

    Cut and attach a piece of 1x6 top and bottom trim to cover the exposed interior of the cabinet when the bed is in the closed position. The width of these trim boards will be dependent on the position of your pivot mechanism on the bed and cabinet and you may have to choose a narrower board to accommodate your kit.


    To further enhance the "built-in" look of your DIY Murphy bed, consider adding additional moldings like cove and baseboards where it meets the wall and floors.

  26. Prime, Caulk, and Paint Everything

    Prime all bare wood using a bare wood primer, applying and reapplying according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once dry, caulk every joint and seam, and fill every nail and screw hole.

    If necessary, drive the nails further into the wood using a nail set. Once the caulk dries, paint all surfaces with your desired paint color.

More DIY Murphy Bed Projects

There's no one way to build a DIY Murphy bed. Here are other Murphy bed projects that you can try out:

  • Modern Farmhouse Murphy Bed: This Murphy bed office combo by Katie at the Addicted 2 DIY includes bookcases and a desk. The frosting on the cake is the bed cabinet. When closed, it resembles a storage wall so those not in the know would never guess it conceals a mattress.
  • IKEA Murphy Bed Hack: Paul from Renovations and Old Houses built his DIY Murphy bed using pieces from IKEA's PAX series. The project incorporates a floor-mounted bed frame with a spring mechanism. When folded up, it looks like a regular cabinet.
  • Basic DIY Murphy Bed Using Rockler Hardware Kit: This Murphy bed project by David Picciuto at "Make Something TV" shows how to make a simple Murphy bed using side-mount deluxe Murphy bed hardware from Rockler. Each kit includes instructions, but if you find them confusing, Picciuto includes a video that gives an overview of the steps.
  • What is the difference between a Murphy bed and a wall bed?

    While the terms "Murphy bed" and "wall bed" have become synonymous, in the past, a Murphy bed implied using a spring mechanism while wall beds used pistons.

  • Are there any alternatives to a Murphy Bed?

    Some alternatives include trundle beds, fold-out sofa beds, futons, and air mattresses.

  • Can I turn my bed into a Murphy Bed?

    You can turn some platform beds into a Murphy bed by adding hardware and building a wall cabinet, but a better and safer route would be to make a Murphy bed.

  • Is it hard to build a Murphy bed?

    Measurements must be exact when constructing a Murphy bed. But a prefabricated Murphy bed kit can take some guesswork out of the process.

  • Does a Murphy bed need to be attached to the wall?

    Not all Murphy beds are attached to a wall. There are also floor-mounted options available.

  • Can you leave bedding on a Murphy bed?

    You typically can leave sheets and possibly even quilts and thin duvets on a Murphy bed when it's in the raised position. But this can vary based on the bed model.