The fold-down Murphy bed, or wall bed, is popular today for the same reason that inspired its invention more than 100 years ago. William Lawrence Murphy came up with the idea for the fold-out bed around 1900 in San Francisco. He needed to conceal the bed in his studio apartment to invite over a love interest without being perceived as vulgar.
Murphy placed a full-size mattress on a metal frame that could be folded up when not in use. The wall bed allowed Murphy to stow his bed in his closet, transforming his one-room apartment from a bedroom into a parlor where his sweetheart could enter.
The invention was successful in more ways than one. Murphy later married the woman that sparked the idea for his invention, and today the Murphy bed is synonymous with clever space-saving solutions.
Since the early 1900s, the wall bed has evolved, but the design is relatively unchanged for most companies. Traditional Murphy beds are wall- or floor-mounted and use elaborate springs and metal frames to raise and lower the mattress. The spring systems can be cumbersome, often dangerous to install, and pricey. Our Wallbeds USA designs are the modern answer to these common Murphy bed pitfalls.
A Murphy bed is the best option for rooms that genuinely need to pull double duty because Murphy beds tuck into a cabinet that folds up against the wall. This takes up much less square footage even than a futon, which is as wide and deep as a small couch.
Murphy beds give you more room to move. They allow any underused bedroom to double as a home gym, office, playroom, art studio, or anything else you can dream up. When in the upright position, some Murphy bed cabinets also have shelves for storage, which frees up additional space. That solves a problem from a practical standpoint, but furniture — particularly the kind you sleep on — needs to be more than functional. It needs to be comfortable.
This is where wall beds have a distinct advantage. You don’t have a big say in the type of mattress you’re getting when you purchase a futon. Unlike Murphy beds, the mattress is built into a futon’s sofa-like frame. This means you can’t easily swap the mattress out if you find it uncomfortable. Murphy beds provide greater versatility in mattress selection because mattresses are sold separately from the frame. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a special mattress if you choose a Murphy bed.
Any mattress that fits a traditional bed can be used in a Murphy bed. The mattress you’re using now would likely fit perfectly. Each Murphy bed cabinet can accommodate a specific maximum thickness, which is listed in a product description. Many wallbeds can accommodate any mattress that is up to 12 inches tall. That’s a relatively thick mattress that offers more cushioning and comfort compared to the average futon.
One of the joys of convertible furniture is being able to transform a space with little hassle. It can be time-consuming to tear apart a room when a guest comes to stay the night, which is another reason why a Murphy bed is so convenient. Murphy bed cabinets are designed for pillows and blankets remain in place when folded up, which saves you the trouble of having to make the bed each time it’s in use. It’s simply a matter of lowering the platform for a wall bed to be ready.