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Living in a small space is hardly a reason to opt out of a proper guest room. You just need to get clever with your design scheme. Enter the best Murphy bed on the market. If the phrase "Murphy bed" brings to mind images of unsightly, lumpy mattresses that creak as you pull them down from the wall, we're about to change your mind. In fact, we chatted with interior designers Jennifer Jones, principal designer and founder of San Francisco-based Niche Interiors; Pamela O'Brien, principal at Houston-based Pamela Hope Designs; and Andrea Schumacher, founder of Denver-based Andrea Schumacher Interiors, to get their expert opinions on Murphy beds.
"A Murphy bed is space-saving magic. This one compact piece can free up an entire room in your home, providing a flexible space that can be used as more than just a bedroom." Jones says. "When a client needs one room to provide several different functions with a simple, compact piece, we always integrate a Murphy bed."
Jones is onto something: You don't need a second bedroom to install a Murphy bed. All you need is a space big enough to house one. We tend to think this type of space-saving bed works best in unexpected areas, like libraries, home offices, or craft rooms. "I think they are a great option in homes where an extra bed is a nice option, but we may not want to have it take up that much space all of the time," O'Brien says. So if you like playing hostess to out-of-town guests, a Murphy bed may be a good buy.
It's also easy to incorporate because of the fact that it takes up so little room. "During the day, the room can serve as an office, living room, or playroom, and then become a peaceful sleep sanctuary during the nighttime hours," Schumacher explains. "With a Murphy bed, you have the freedom to fold it up and keep it out of sight when it's not in use, providing you with much-needed floor space." What's not to love?
Available in white, chocolate, and dark gray finishes, this Murphy bed is pretty unassuming whether it's up or down. Here's the deal: This Murphy bed looks and feels just like a traditional bed when it's folded down, courtesy of the slatted support system, standard full or queen size, and headboard. It doesn't come with a mattress, but we'd consider that a plus because you can opt for whichever one suits your fancy: memory foam, natural latex, or polyester, to name a few. The best feature, however, is included: the dual piston system, which allows you to fold the bed up and down smoothly and quickly (read: within seconds). Just be sure to have a professional do the installation because, if assembled incorrectly, Murphy beds can actually be pretty dangerous.
Southampton Murphy Bed Chest
You may be questioning how this queen-size memory foam mattress can possibly fit inside the box that, when closed, is disguised as a chest of drawers, but it does. It's designed to fold into thirds and tuck neatly within the chest. Luckily, there's no need to start your search for such a niche product; it's included with the Murphy bed, as are the two USB charging ports. Let's get back to the mattress, though. It features five inches of highly resilient foam and one inch of cooling memory foam. "This cabinet bed is just what we needed! Granddaughters are coming for a visit this summer and this works perfectly in the room that is usually an office," one reviewer says. "The girls are going to love it as much as we do! Everyone that has come by our home is amazed at how compact it becomes when all closed up. We did pay to have it assembled and I am glad we did. It came in several boxes."
Walley Storage Bed
We love a Murphy bed with built-in storage. On sale for more than 50 percent off, this Brayden Studio Murphy bed offers more than just a place to sleep. It's also a sizable storage unit complete with three adjustable shelves and drawers, so if you're working with a small space, you can't go wrong with this double-duty piece. Did we mention it's available in three finishes? You can also get it in either a full or queen size. Just be sure to schedule the mattress delivery around the same time (or before) the Walley storage bed arrives. One reviewer says, "No issues with the assembly, it took two people about 5 hours to assembly it. After assembly and proper fixing to the wall, the bed looks good and feels solid."
Queen Murphy Bed
When it's closed, this Murphy bed looks like a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall armoire, but rather than pull the metal handles outward, as you would a double-door chest, you simply pull them down, et voilà, your faux armoire turns into a full- or queen-size bed. All you need to complete your guest accommodations are a mattress and some stylish bedding. If you want to make your pull-down bed extra luxurious, opt for a mattress topper too. "Illustrated instructions are very good, and they shorted us only 2 dowels & 2 screws that was easy to substitute," a reviewer says. "The room we installed it had very little extra space thus the need for the Bed. More room would have made it easier."
Murphy Bed with Trundle
Contrary to common belief, Murphy beds are not for everyone. Well, standard Murphy beds are not for everyone. In fact, children who weigh less than 50 pounds cannot safely use a standard-size Murphy bed, so if you're on the hunt for a unique pull-down bed for your kids, be sure to consider only those specifically designed for children, like this one by Harper & Bright Designs. It comes in a slew of finishes and configurations, but our favorite is the double bed, which combines a full and twin bed. No matter which one you get, though, it will include ample under-bed storage drawers. One reviewer adds, "Easy to assemble and works great either as a single bed or double bed configuration. Great value for the price!"
Audet Queen Storage Murphy Bed with Mattress
Anyone whose place has low ceilings can appreciate this nifty piece that, like some of the others on our list, looks like a cupboard when it's closed. When it's open, it looks so much like a traditional bed that your guests will be shocked to learn that it can fold up in a matter of minutes. As a faux cupboard, it appears to feature two large cabinets above two drawers, which fold back and pull out, respectively, to reveal a queen mattress, which is included. (Twin XL and full/double sizes are currently sold out.) One happy reviewer adds, "Love it! Perfect for my great grandson who is here two days a week. Works well for limited space. Everyone compliments it and I find the ease of opening and putting away a plus!"
This Murphy bed is a pared-down version of a few on our list, including only the essentials, like a slat mattress support system and a frame you anchor to the wall and floor. It comes in three finishes and two sizes. If you have a small space with a quiet, minimalist aesthetic, this Murphy bed will work for you. It's also on sale for 50 percent off, so if you need something new, now is your chance! A reviewer says, "Easy to set up, and this works wonderful! Was able to assemble solo, with just 5 minutes of assistance. Took me about 5 hours. Read several complaints about the bed not staying down, but happy to say that is not the case. Works exactly as it should. Great buy!"
Double Murphy Bed
Some may argue that we're saving the best for last because this Lark Manor find is more than 40 percent off, easy to unfold, and available in five finishes. Our favorite is the gray oak pictured. As for folding and unfolding, there's no multistep process that can go horribly wrong if you accidentally forget one of the steps. In fact, there's only one step. You just open it and close it like you would an oven door. There's no mattress, so you'll have to source that on your own, but we have a few suggestions for the best online mattresses. A reviewer says, "The bed is phenomenal. It was installed on 5/13. I slept on it the entire weekend. My mattress was fire very comfortable. Best purchase I made. Love love love my Murphy bed. I know my guest who visit will love it as well."
What To Look for in a Murphy Bed
When you're on the hunt for a stylish Murphy bed, there are a few things to consider.
Size: When we say size, we're referring both to the Murphy bed and the mattress. Regarding the former, know that Murphy beds are often a touch taller than they are long, so if you're dealing with low ceilings, be sure to measure before investing in your new bed. Otherwise, opt for Murphy beds that pull or fold out as opposed to down. Equally as important as the frame size is the mattress size. Most of the options on our list are available in both queen and full, but since you're already saving space by employing a Murphy bed, we suggest going with the queen.
Mattress: Not all Murphy beds come with a mattress, so check whether or not it's included before you click "add to cart." If you want to save as much money as possible, you may want to buy one of the beds that come with specialized mattresses designed specifically for that model. We think it's actually a pro to choose your own mattress; that way, you know it'll be comfortable.
Installation: Murphy beds are small-space heroes, but they are not for DIY amateurs because they can be quite dangerous if installed incorrectly. They need to be mounted to both the wall and the floor for maximum security, and doing this requires some construction skills. (Most important, knowing how to find a stud or mount heavy objects in a masonry wall.) If you don't want to be crushed by your Murphy bed while you doze, enlist the help of a professional.
What Is the Difference Between a Murphy Bed and a Wall Bed?
The main difference between a Murphy bed and a wall bed is the way it folds. The former utilizes a spring system that holds the bed locked in the upright position, and the latter employs a set of locking legs that do the same thing. Honestly, though, the two are so similar you may not be able to tell them apart.
How Do You Make a Murphy Bed More Sophisticated?
Our interior designer sources recommend integrating a Murphy bed into a room's design. You can do this whether you're buying one off the shelf or having one custom made. "We can flank the bed with bookshelves, cabinetry, and lighting and integrate it into the Murphy bed design," says O'Brien. "This creates a nice look when the bed is stored away and a cozy nook when the bed is being used." If you're going the custom route, have some fun with your Murphy bed and give it a few more bells and whistles than a bed you'd simply buy online. "An added bonus is that we can build additional storage and function into the wall holding the Murphy bed. Murphy beds can turn rooms like a home office or nursery into a welcoming guest room with just a quick pull," O'Brien adds.
What Type of Mattress Is Best for a Murphy Bed?
Though you can use any type of mattress for a Murphy bed, memory foam is often considered the best because it holds its shape better than springs or latex, which, after so much shifting up and down, can slump to one side or sag in the middle.
Why Trust Us?
House Beautiful editors are small-space experts, so when we decided to find the best Murphy beds on the market, we really scoured the internet. Luckily, we didn't come up empty-handed. All of our favorite finds are safe, stylish, and in a budget-friendly price range. Just don't try to install one yourself—call a professional.
We also worked our connections with the best interior designers in the business to bring you specialized shopping and design advice for Murphy beds. The designers who contributed their expertise to this review all work in urban areas where Murphy beds are prevalent and very useful. Jennifer Jones is the principal designer and founder of Niche Interiors, which is based in San Francisco. Pamela O'Brien is the principal at Houston-based Pamela Hope Designs. And Andrea Schumacher is the founder of Andrea Schumacher Interiors, based in Denver.
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