How to Decorate for a Murphy Bed
You’ve chosen, purchased, and received a brand new Murphy bed…now what? You’re ready to take your space to the next level with design and decoration to perfectly suit your needs and taste. A beautiful, real wood Murphy bed will do half the job for you, but if you’re ready to take it a step further and get your space looking (and functioning) exactly how you want it to, read on. Of course, the genius of the Murphy bed is the ability to instantly create a functional multi-use room—whether it’s a regularly used bedroom where you’re looking to get your space back for day-to-day use, or you’re adding a guest room set up to a home office or storage space. But how do you turn that extra room into a full and equal partner with the rest of the rooms in your house instead of that room which has the door unfailingly closed when visitors come around (we all have one!)? Keep these dos and don’ts in mind as you navigate form and function and you’ll be showing off and sharing your Murphy bed space in no time.
Give our team a call. We’re happy to help.
Do treat it like a real, worthwhile room by utilizing beautiful storage options.
Do your spring cleaning and get organized. You wouldn’t keep boxes in your family room or bins stacked high in your kitchen. Find the space in the garage, closet, under beds, etc., if you can. If there is a closet, make sure it’s optimized with shelves, cube organizers, etc. so all the available space is used. If you can’t throw stuff out, donate it, or find anywhere else to tuck it away, trade out those plastic totes for more aesthetically pleasing options. If it’s permanent storage you need, start thinking of permanent items you can use. Add side cabinets to your Murphy bed to add ample storage, find a storage ottoman, chest, armoire, dresser, or a combination of such items. Check your local thrift shops and Facebook marketplace for these things first. You can find beautiful, high quality items for pennies that will last longer and look better than a flat-pack option or a tower of bins.
Don’t leave it bare.
Now that you’re organized, don’t leave the room lifeless even if it isn’t used everyday. It can be tempting to spend all your energy and budget on only the most visible spaces in a home, but having a whole home designed exactly how you like it is so satisfying and will affect the way your home feels. Give that beautiful bed something to (visually) play with! Plan to paint or add a wall treatment like box molding or wallpaper (many of these can be DIY’d inexpensively) to every wall. Think about how the ceiling could get involved with paneling or wallpaper of its own and what you’ll need to dress the windows. Every beautiful room out there has beautiful bones beneath all the furniture and decor. Don’t skimp on that character for your multi-use room.
Do start with a large rug–8×10 or larger for a queen size bed.
As in any room, a rug will instantly ground the space as well as give you direction on the color palette for your paint, bedding, curtains, and decor. Rugs are one of the harder items to select with such a range of prices, materials, and patterns available, so starting there is a smart move. Place a rug a couple feet in front of the Murphy bed so that when opened, there are a few feet peeking out at the foot of the bed and lots of rug showing on each side. When the bed is closed a rug will fill out any empty space so as to not leave the room feeling bare. Win-win.
Don’t be afraid to place furniture in the area.
A Murphy bed with a desk floating in front and a couple of chairs across is the perfect way to create the functionality you need in a beautiful way. When your guests arrive, a desk on casters can easily be relocated and chairs can become accent seating. The same goes for a sofa or a pair of armchairs–with furniture slides they can be scooted across the room out of the arc of the wall bed and a den or lounge swiftly becomes an extra comfortable guest room. If it’s not used daily, a Murphy bed can be the perfect backdrop to a well furnished room. Don’t feel like the whole space needs to remain empty perpetually.
Do mix in personal and beautiful items, new and old treasures.
In many homes, that extra room tends to feel either extremely sterile and thoughtless or like a den of sentimental yet aesthetically un-appealing tchotchkes that haven’t found a home elsewhere. Displaying a few family photos and a couple of personal items will warm up the space. Adding in beautiful decor pieces will create a nice balance. Similarly, bringing in vintage or antique items alongside some shiny new treasures is a fool-proof way to create an intentional, curated look. Don’t reserve all the pretty things for the other rooms, and certainly don’t leave the guest room to house to all the dusty childhood trophies.
Do include guest amenities, preferably pretty ones.
If you’re using the space as a part-time guest room, you’ll want to include a few items that will elevate the experience, and simultaneously, the style. For example, a retro-look fan that doesn’t need to hide in the closet or a couple of cozy throw blankets that will both add visual texture and come in handy as spare bedding. A bench or accent chair is convenient for putting on socks and shoes. Blackout curtains will add a ton of interest as well as serenity to the room. A side table here or there serves as a surface to display a couple beautiful decor items and as a landing place for toiletries and wallets. Additionally, make sure your guests have a place to set their phone and a glass of water at night, plenty of accessible outlets, and space for their suitcases and dirty clothes, and your guests will love you forever.
In many ways, decorating with a Murphy bed is the same as decorating any other bedroom or office, but when you’re trying to create two spaces in one you’ll need a little more forethought and creativity. But by following a few tried and true designer guidelines and balancing them with practical ideas and strategies, you’ll find yourself with a beautiful and functional space much more easily than you’d think. And you’ll never regret improving that space with a Murphy bed or with sound design.