A brand-new fold-up Murphy bed purchased commercially and installed by pros can easily cost more than $3,000—and that's not counting whatever mattress you pair with the bed. But a piece of furniture designed to save on space shouldn't have to drain your bank savings.
What Is a Murphy Bed?
A Murphy bed pulls or folds down from against the wall or inside a closet.
Here are 11 DIY Murphy bed projects that won't torpedo your bank account. Some of these projects use ordinary building materials available at any home center, while others feature mechanical hardware or other materials purchased from specialty retailers and used in various ways to create fold-up beds. Various IKEA product hacks make for especially ingenious DIY Murphy beds.
- Did you know? The fold-down Murphy bed is named after its inventor, William Murphy, who applied for the patent around 1900. Living in San Francisco where the local moral code frowned upon a woman entering a man's bedroom, Murphy's fold-down invention allowed his one-room apartment to serve as a parlor in which he could entertain friends of either gender. Although other forms of fold-up bed already existed, it was Murphy who invented the pivoting, counterbalanced design that caused his name to become attached to all hidden, fold-up beds.
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DIY Murphy Bed for Small Spaces
Jacque and her husband Matt from The DIY Village website built a Murphy bed for their craft room so it could double as a guest room. Depending on your budget, you could use hardwood, plywood, or MDF to construct this Murphy bed design. Jacque and Matt picked PureBond hardwood plywood. They say that this professional-grade building material enhanced the strength and beauty of their finished project. PureBond products are also formaldehyde-free and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
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Build a Murphy Bed for Less
Technically, a true Murphy bed has a spring or piston lifting mechanism that helps swing the bed platform up and down. The hardware does take the effort out of opening and closing, but it can more than double the cost of making the bed. If you're willing to sacrifice a little convenience to save money, consider the Lori Wall beds kit. It's a mechanism-free solution that makes it possible to create a custom Murphy for much less money.
How does the Lori Wall Bed open and close? The design relies on good old fashion muscle power. To help counterbalance some of the weight, the bottom of the bed frame has rounded "rocker" edges that double as shelving when the bed is closed. Each Lori wall bed kit comes with building plans and assembly fittings (more than 200 hinges, screws, connectors, and bolts). Customers can pick from two types of bed orientations—vertical or horizontal—and from three different bed sizes—twin, full, or queen.
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A Modern Farmhouse Murphy Bed
This Murphy bed office combo by Katie at the Addicted 2 DIY website blew our minds. Katie created a one-of-a-kind furniture system that includes bookcases and 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.
The mechanism kit for Katie's queen-size Murphy came from Rockler. She also downloaded the company's step-by-step instructions for building the cabinet and shelving units. Afterward, she modified the building plans to suit her space and needs.
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IKEA Murphy Bed Hack
Paul from Renovations and Old Houses was inspired to build his DIY Murphy bed using pieces from IKEA's PAX series after his wife saw an IKEA hack from Herbie's World and another from Jerry's Projects.
All three projects incorporated a floor-mounted bed frame with a spring mechanism. When assembled and installed, it's an all-in-one free-standing device that supports, lifts, and lowers a mattress. To conceal, just build a cabinet around it.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Hack-a-PAX Murphy Bed
Here's another DIY Murphy bed that's also a PAX IKEA hack. Norwegian blogger Calvin Gross from Huskverna says that if you're making a unit for a full-sized mattress you'll need several things, including two PAX wardrobe frames and a couple of LURÖY slatted bed bases.
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This money-saving DIY by Imgur user Avalon Awaked explains how to build a Murphy bed for a heck-of-a-lot less. The sofa and ottoman are from IKEA's Soderhamn series. To simplify the DIY process, he purchased The Next Bed—a Murphy bed mattress frame with a lifting mechanism that you can anchor to a wall or floor. The unit is very easy to assemble, but keep in mind that Avalon created a custom mount for the bed frame so it would open over the sofa. Afterward, he made a Murphy bed cabinet with built-in storage using white melamine-covered panels.
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A Basic DIY Bed Using Rockler Hardware
This 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.
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Murphy Bed Fit For a Kid
Need to make room for a grade schooler? Martin Vester used leftover parts from an IKEA Ivar storage system to create a small Murphy bed with built-in shelving for his tiny home office. What's our favorite part of this project? Martin used three of the plywood shelves to create a bench for blankets and sheets.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Disappearing Murphy Bed
Many Murphy beds are freestanding pieces of furniture that you bolt to the wall or floor. The blogging sisters behind Junk in Their Trunk share instructions on how to create one that seemingly disappears like magic without using an expensive lifting mechanism. It's built with ordinary framing lumber, sheets of wafer board for the platform, thin sheets of finish-grade plywood, and basic door hinges.
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Faux Murphy Bed for Tiny Spaces
Andrew and Crystal Odom, the tiny house dwellers behind Tiny Revolution, promote small-space living. Since they couldn't fit a traditional Murphy bed in their home, they developed an idea for an expandable bed. What's inside this two-box design? The front box conceals an accordion-style bed frame on castors. Inside the second box is a foam IKEA mattress.
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This do-it-yourself Murphy Bed Kit by Wilding Wall Beds comes with everything you need to create a functional Murphy bed, including the pre-cut lumber. Once it's assembled, you can customize the cabinet using crown molding, paint, and beautiful hardware. Kits come in alder, cherry, mahogany, maple, or oak.
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.