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What is a Murphy Bed?

By D Frank
Updated May 16, 2024
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A Murphy bed is a space-saving bedding device that allows homeowners and apartment dwellers the opportunity to put more room to use. Essentially, a Murphy bed can be lifted up from the foot of the bed, using the Murphy spring mechanism, and folded back into a closet-like storage area. With the bed now seemingly gone from the area, more room is available to the user for other purposes--such as eating or entertaining.

During the 1920's and 1930's, many Americans had Murphy beds in their homes and apartments. Most Murphy beds were housed inside double-door closets, which, when opened, allowed the bed to be lowered to the floor when needed. Developer William Murphy first patented the product in the early 1900s and then opened the Murphy Wall Bed Company. Since changed to the The Murphy Bed Company, this business has experienced highs and lows over the years, depending on the demands of the consumer and the economy.

However, the Murphy bed has once again become extremely popular with many consumers. No longer does the Murphy bed have to be housed in a closet. Rather, modern Murphy bed systems are available which allow the bed to be framed and hidden within library-like bookshelves or stored within large furniture items that resemble an armoire.

The Murphy bed is ideal for anyone living in a one bedroom apartment or studio apartment. This furniture system is also perfect for small bedrooms where nothing more than a bed would seem to be able to fit. The Murphy Bed Company indicates that its products are becoming increasingly popular in "fire houses, hospitals, dormitories and hotels." With the new technology used with these beds, not only does it provide the owner with a place to sleep, but it also offers the owner a handsome piece of furniture. The library-style Murphy bed is particularly useful as it not only houses a bed, but it offers a large area of shelves on which the owner can house books, photos and other items.

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Discussion Comments
By anon295873 — On Oct 08, 2012

Thanks so much for the post. I think that murphy wall beds are really making a comeback. I love mine, and I can't imagine living without it. I live in a small apartment, and there simply wouldn't be enough room!

By andee — On Jul 08, 2011

After looking at several different styles and brands of beds we bought a Sico Murphy Bed for our room. This has turned out to be even more comfortable than I thought. For some reason, I thought I might be sacrificing comfort for space, but this was not the case.

This bed has a traditional innerspring mattress, so it is just as comfortable as sleeping on a regular bed. We have been very please with our purchase, and I imagine that we will have our bed for a long time to come.

By sunshined — On Jul 07, 2011

We purchased a Murphy Bed while living in our first house. Our space was very small and this seemed to be the best fit. The Murphy Bed design we purchased had bookshelves on each side of the cabinet that held the bed when not in use.

This was great for extra storage because we didn't have much of that either. These type of beds have always been somewhat of a novelty, but they are very functional and practical as well.

By honeybees — On Jul 07, 2011

Although I have never had one, I have always been fascinated with Murphy Bed's. I love the idea that you can fold it up and get it out of the way. I can see how these would be useful in situations if you needed to have extra space.

The ones I have seen are not very cheap to buy, but I think you would be able to find some murphy beds for sale in the classifieds. Most people who use them probably only need them for a short time before moving to a bigger space.

By elfi64 — On Jun 21, 2011

Once known strictly as Murphy bed is now more commonly referred to as wall bed.

A very practical piece of furniture in a limited space such as studio apartments, but it is also ideal for a guest room.

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