Does a Murphy Bed Require a Special Mattress?

Which mattresses will work in a Murphy Bed and which mattresses will flop?

Mattresses for Murphy Beds
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The Takeaway:


Murphy beds have been around for over a century, but in recent years they have exploded in popularity. Many people have grown sick of lumpy, uncomfortable sofa sleepers and are finding that Murphy beds provide the convenience of a sofa sleeper but with the comfort of a traditional guest bed. Unlike sofa sleepers, a Murphy bed does not require a special mattress. However, not every mattress is able to last in a Murphy bed. A Murphy bed is only as comfortable as the mattresses you put on it. When shopping for a Murphy bed it is important to know the dos and don’ts of Murphy bed mattresses.

Does a Murphy bed require a special mattress?

Murphy beds are generally built to fit standard mattresses sizes. This makes finding sheets and bedding very convenient, it also opens endless mattress comfort and quality options. A Murphy bed does not require a special size mattress, as long as the mattress is a standard mattress width and length it should fit in a Murphy bed. The standard mattress sizes for the U.S. are listed below.

Twin/Single– 38” wide x 75” long

Twin XL– 38” wide x 80” long

Full/Double– 54” wide x 75” long

Full XL– 54” wide x 80” long

Queen– 60” wide x 80” long

King-76” wide x 80” long

Murphy beds do have a max thickness of mattress that will fit. Every mechanism and cabinet are a little different so it is important to contact the manufacturer of the Murphy bed to find out how thick the mattress can be. At Wilding Wallbeds we have designed our beds to take up to a 12” thick mattress, which means that you don’t need to settle for a thin pad or cheap mattress. Most mattresses are 12” thick or less but there are thicker mattresses out there, so it is important to know the specifications of your Murphy bed and your mattress.

Murphy beds do not use box springs. Most Murphy beds function as platform beds and support the mattress so there is no need for a box spring. Some Murphy beds do require a thin bunkie board, but it is much less common. Once again, it is important to contact the Murphy bed manufacturer to get all the details. 

Not all mattresses will work in a Murphy bed.

We know that a Murphy bed doesn’t require a special mattress, but that doesn’t mean every mattress will work in a Murphy bed. Mattresses are engineered and built to spend their lives laying flat. This means that the quilting is sewn, the springs bound, the layers glued to perform horizontally. Many mattresses are even mandated to ship and store flat to avoid damaging the mattress.

There are several things you should ALWAYS avoid in a mattress for a Murphy bed.

  • Latex
  • Gel-tops
  • Pocketed coils / individually wrapped coils
  • Cheap 

Latex is a great mattress material, it is comfortable and sleeps cool, but it is very heavy and doesn’t hold its shape when stood on end. When trying to use a latex mattress in a Murphy bed you will find that it slips off the end of the frame/bed box when you close the bed and it can jam in the mechanism and headboard as you open it.

Gel-topped mattresses were a fad that has mostly died out but these mattresses also tend to be heavy and the gel has the tendency to sluff off the top of the mattress when the Murphy bed is closed. For clarification, Gel-infused memory foams work great, it is just the pure gel tops that are an issue.

Pocketed coils (also called individually wrapped coils) are a very popular coil system found in mattresses today. It is a support system built out of many individual springs that are placed in individual socks which are glued or sewn together. They create a great sleeping experience but there is no structure when they are stood on end so the whole mattress slumps and crumples at the head of the mattress. This bends the frame and coils, and it is irreversible damage.

Cheap mattresses are the final issue to address. In recent years the US has been flooded with cheap import mattresses, often called “bed in a box”. These mattresses are cheap, they ship directly to your home vacuum packed and rolled up in a box. These mattresses tout a great sleeping experience for almost no cost, in reality, they are built from cheap materials and do not hold up in a Murphy bed. The layers of foam are generally held together by spots of glue and so when the mattress stands on end the layers can pull apart and it ends up slumping at the head of the bed.

Which mattresses will work in Murphy beds?

There are two main types of mattresses available: inner spring and foam core. Inner spring uses metal coils underneath the top layers of foam. These coils create support, and the foam layers give comfort. Foam core mattresses use dense foams underneath layers of softer foams. The dense foam gives support the same way the coils do in a traditional mattress. Both inner spring and foam core will work in a Murphy bed. With inner springs you want to stick to continuous coils (not pocketed coils) and with the foam core you want to make sure that you are getting a high-quality foam mattress (not cheap “bed in a box”). A good way to tell if the mattress you are interested in will work is to contact the mattress manufacture and find out if they will warranty the mattress if used in a Murphy bed.

Where can you find good mattresses for Murphy beds?

Wilding Wallbeds has struck up a partnership with Serta Mattress Co to create the best mattresses for Murphy beds. These mattresses have all been designed to fit, function, and last in a Murphy bed. This exclusive line of mattresses offers both inner spring and foam core options in various comfort levels. These mattresses also carry Serta’s 10-year warranty in a Murphy bed which would be void if you try to use any other Serta mattress. All in all, these mattresses are the best way to ensure your guests are comfortable and you don’t need to worry about the mattress in your Murphy bed falling apart.