Should I Build My Own Murphy Bed?
The main things to consider when deciding whether you should build or buy your Murphy Bed.
- A Murphy Bed is a great way to get the comfort of a real bed into a small space.
- If you have any level of woodworking knowledge, there is a Murphy bed kit solution for you.
- Murphy Bed Mechanism Options
- Am I capable of building my own Murphy bed?
A Murphy bed or Wall Bed is a great way to get the comfort of a real bed into a small room without devoting a ton of floor space. If you are a DIYer with a quick Google search you can find a bunch of information on building your own Murphy bed. This issue is that Murphy beds can be big and heavy, they can have lots of stored energy making it important to build a safe Murphy bed that is easy to lift and lower. At Wilding Wallbeds we regularly field calls from people who have attempted to build their own Murphy bed and now it is too heavy to open, or the mechanism they chose isn’t working properly. This begs the question, “should I build my own Murphy bed?”
The short answer is yes, a Murphy bed is definitely something that a skilled DIYer can handle. It all comes down to making sure you have the proper mechanism, proper materials, and adequate skills to take on the project.
Let’s talk about Murphy bed mechanisms.
Finding the right mechanism for the job is most important decision in the entire project. There are many mechanisms on the market, some are cheap some super-expensive, some include just a couple of lifting arms, others include frames, slats and other pieces. Depending on the mechanism you choose, your Murphy bed will lift and operate differently.
At Wilding Wallbeds, we have two great options when it comes to mechanisms: the Murphy Frame, and the Murphy bed Mechanism.
The Murphy Frame
The Murphy frame is a complete Murphy bed. It doesn’t require any extra cabinetry or woodwork. It was designed to be put in closets, but we have seen customers use this frame in many creative ways including…
- Building a closet-like cabinet around the frame
- Building a Bookcase bed and integrating the frame
- Installing the Murphy frame into an alcove or nook in the wall, then using curtains to keep in from view
The Murphy Frame includes the powder coat white steel frame, the spring driven yoke system, and the European slats. It generally mounts directly to the wall through the base boards, but it can also mount to the floor if that makes more sense in your installation scenario.
Questions? Give us a call, we’re happy to help.
The Murphy Bed Mechanism
The Murphy bed mechanism is the same exact mechanism that we use in all of our Studio series Murphy beds. This is a commercial grade, spring driven Murphy bed mechanism which includes the mechanism plates, swing arms, springs, bed frame, legs, all other required hardware parts, as well as an instruction booklet that contains a cut list. To use this mechanism, you will need to construct a wooden cabinet surround that the mechanism mounts into, then a wooden bed face that the frame mounts onto. The Murphy bed mechanism is popular choice for skilled woodworkers, cabinet shops, and others with cabinet making experience.
When the bed is complete it will look like a finished cabinet, you simply grab the handles on the face of the unit and pull down. The bed frame and mattress sit directly on the back of the face, so there is no need for folding or sliding doors to allow the bed to open. When built properly, it will support 2000 lbs and can be used daily.
What materials should I use in building a Murphy Bed?
Finding the right materials to build the bed out of is the next thing to figure out. Unlike a kitchen cabinet or bookshelf, a Murphy bed has moving parts with quite a bit of stored energy. This means that the strength of the materials is directly related to the safety of the Murphy bed, as well as the durability.
A quick walk through your hardware store will show you that particle board is the cheapest option. The issue with this is that it simply isn’t strong enough to support the torque of the mechanism and the stress of a person laying on the mattress. A particle board Murphy bed will fall apart and can be a safety hazard.
The next material that is occasionally used in DIY Murphy bed tutorials on YouTube is MDF core. MDF is definitely stronger than particle board, but the issue with it is the weight. MDF is heavy and puts unnecessary strain on the mechanism. It also makes it heavier to operate.
Furniture grade plywood is the ideal choice. It uses layers of wood with the gains crisscrossing from layer to layer. This adds an incredible amount of strength as well as stability. There is much less risk of the boards bowing or warping. A nice edge banding can be used to cover the exposed edges of the boards.
Solid wood is a great choice for the trims, crowns, and other decorative pieces. For the structure of the bed solid wood is a bad idea because of the bowing, warping cupping, and cracking that can naturally occur.
The DIY Kit
If you don’t want the hassle of sourcing, cutting, and milling your own lumber the Wilding Wallbeds DIY kit is a great option. It includes the Murphy bed mechanism, all of the wood components, edge banding, and instructions. All you need to do is sand, edge band, stain, and assemble it. The DIY kit is great for an intermediate skill lever DIYer.
The added benefit of the DIY Kit is that it will come with our specially-milled furniture grade plywood, which means you are guaranteed to have a durable and strong final product that will last a lifetime.
Am I capable of building my own Murphy bed?
With all the previously discussed information in mind, we can now talk about whether or not you should build your own Murphy bed. A Murphy bed can be as much of a project as you want it to be.
The Murphy Frame
Skill Level: Basic
The Murphy Frame is a simple solution that requires know-how to put together and install in your room. From there you can be as creative as you would like in dressing it up. If you are handy at all, the Murphy Frame should be within your skill level.
The DIY Kit
Skill Level: Intermediate
The DIY Kit is great is you know how to finish wood. You don’t need to have a full woodshop, maybe just a project space in the garage so you can get it all prepped and finished. No need to source any materials, it comes with everything you need. This is perfect for an experienced DIYer who isn’t afraid of a project.
The Murphy Bed Mechanism
Skill Level: Expert
The Murphy Bed Mechanism is for skilled wood workers and cabinet shops. This is more involved than a simple hobby kit. You need to find your own wood, have access to saws, and be able to accurately mill specific holes in the wood. If you are a casual DIYer this may be more than you can handle.
Brandon is the director of corporate sales, which means he oversees the sales staff at each Wilding Wallbeds location. He offers training, provides solutions, and helps our sales team tackle…