Space sapped dwellers, listen up! The Murphy bed, once the prop for slapstick comedic routines and dreary bedsits is having a moment. As rents continue to rise and more people are either forced or choose to live in tinier homes, they are turning to this space-saving solution as a creative way to maximise every square foot.
William Lawrence Murphy invented the bed back in the 1920s while living in a studio apartment himself. It was a social faux pas to entertain guests with the bed in plain sight. By creating a folding bed, he was able to turn his one-room apartment into a parlour and entertain without scandalising the neighbours.
You can still buy one of his ‘disappearing’ beds, but rest assured the design and comfort have drastically improved since the 1900s.
Is a folding bed right for me?
A folding bed’s space-saving credentials make sense, but many are still wary. Are they comfortable? Are they a hassle to fold up and down? Will I get trapped in it?
The answer is yes; they can be as comfortable as a real bed. The frames are sturdy, and you sleep on an actual mattress, making them a top trump over any sofa bed. The engineering improvements mean they can be folded up or down in a couple of seconds, and are light enough to make it a one-person job.
What to do with all that extra space.
The overwhelming benefit of a Murphy bed is the extra space you can claim. If you live in a studio, this could be the difference between having room for a dining table or not. You may even find it possible to do some yoga at home. A wall bed would also add versatility to a spare room. Erin Francois transformed her home study into a multi-use space to double up as a guest bedroom/home study, and it looks marvellous (see images below)
Image Credit: Francois et moi
Where to buy
There is an option out there for most price points, but if the budget allows and you intend to sleep on it every day, look at Clei. Clei have an excellent reputation; you can expect sleek Italian design, impressive engineering, and good nights sleep. They certainly aren't cheap, with prices starting at around £3000/$3800. If you want all the bells and whistles, expect to pay a lot more.
Bestar offer more affordable options without sacrificing aesthetics. Prices start around $1000. Their range of sofa and wall bed combos are pretty nifty in our opinion!
Things to consider
Measure the space. A Murphy bed takes up as little as 50cm when folded up, but you need to make sure you have enough room to accommodate the bed when folded down fully. Don’t forget that you will need a minimum of 30cm extra to move around the bed.
Can you increase functionality? Modern wall beds can be more than just a bed. There are multiple options to maximise its use. Most beds come in a range of styles that can integrate extra shelving, desks, tables and seating.
Shop around. Do your research; you may find you can get a better deal by buying the frame and mattress separately.
Pay a professional. If you can afford to it is definitely worth paying a professional to assemble. They are a little more complicated to put together than your basic IKEA flatpack.
Do people actually sleep on them every night?
The answer is yes! If you need a little more convincing take a look at Alison Mazurek’s home. Alison lives in a 600sqft, one bedroom apartment with her husband and two kids. Practical, multi-functional pieces of furniture, like a fold-down bed, makes it possible to live happily in a compact space.