Murphy Beds are great space savers, but they are not all made equal. We are going to help point out a few features that you should consider when shopping for your Murphy Bed so you can make an informed decision.
First, a few basic questions should clarify with answers.
What’s The Difference Between a Murphy Bed or a Wall bed?
They are the same thing! Murphy Bed is a now common usage term that was originally invented by William Lawrence Murphy in the 1900s. Some companies will describe their products as Wall Beds while others as Murphy Bed, but they are the same concept.
What is a Murphy Bed?
A Murphy Bed and Wall bed are both used to describe a hinged bed that stores vertically.
Now that we have clarified things, we are going to be focusing on a conventional Murphy Bed design and not a more advanced design that might pair it with a desk, sofa, or rotation system.
Some key differences to look for between Murphy Wall Bed builds.
Murphy Bed Lift Mechanism System Type
This is going to affect how you install the bed as well as how the bed will feel when lifting and lowering.
There are 2 most common types of mechanisms used in Murphy Beds: A conventional Spring system and a Hydraulic/Strut system that uses pressurized gas in a piston.
Installing a spring system is generally considered to be more difficult and can be dangerous. It involved pulling back springs and attaching them to a mechanism. This can pinch fingers. These systems can adjust for mattress weights to help counterbalance. While the systems have conventionally been heavier to lift and lower than a hydraulic system, some can be made to feel balanced if installed correctly and the spring system has enough force. These springs are usually found in older designs.
A Hydraulic/Strut piston system is generally easier to install. They use pressurized gas/struts that might remind you of what helps you lift open the trunk of your car. Once the bed frame is raised up, you typically just connect these struts to the side of the bed and the installation is done. This is much easier than the older spring-style installs, and you avoid the risk of pulling on springs and injury. There is no real way to adjust the strength to match your mattress other than by changing to different strength pistons. This is a downside to this style, however, generally, they do seem to feel easier to lift and lower if they are from a good manufacturer. Check with the manufacturer about the range of mattress weights they recommend and if they offer the ability to change pistons. These are typically found in more modern designs.
So, what is a spring Murphy Bed mechanism or a Piston/Strut Murphy Bed Mechanism better?
The piston/hydraulic system as they are generally easier to lift and lower and they are easier and safer to install. We think the piston/strut mechanism is better for most people.
Murphy Bed Platform / Bed Frame Type:
What will your mattress rest on top of? Not all Murphy Beds are made the same.
Some murphy beds will just rest on the face panel without any extra support or spacing between the mattress and the face. While this might not add anything extra to the comfort this system does the job and works well with memory foam mattresses which are okay on a flat surface. No bells and whistles but it is a compact build design. A Hover Compact Wall Bed System is a good example of this type of Murphy beds and should be considered if you want a clean and compact look.
Another Murphy Bed build is having raised slats that the mattress will rest on. This design is a bit more advanced and will give some airflow between your mattress and the frame below. This can also help with comfort as it gives the mattress some ‘spring’ and replaces a conventional box spring design. Some companies will even space out the slats, so they are denser around the torso for extra support. This design does add more material to the build so do check the internal specifications of the mattress size and overall, Murphy Bed depth.
Our suggestion: A slatted wood base is more comfortable and gives better airflow
Which Is Better, a Murphy Bed With Open Back Panel or a Murphy Bed With a Closed Back Panel?
A closed-back panel is going to be a stronger design that holds the left, right, and top panels together tightly. It also prevents dust from going between the wall bed and the wall.
An open-back panel is not going to be as strong as it uses a simple band to join the left and right panels together. It does however leave room to hang a picture in the space the closed back normally would be.
Choose the closed-back design if you want a stronger, more stable bed. Choose the open back if you want to show off art or want to save some costs on the build.
Murphy Bed Depth & Mattress Size
The depth of the Murphy Bed is correlated to the size of the mattress it fits.
If you want to fit in a 13-inch mattress you are likely going to need an 18-inch-deep cabinet and the system might be heavy to lift. Conversely, if you want to save space against the wall it’s possible to have a 12-inch depth cabinet but this might limit the size of the mattress to 6 inches or so.
Another consideration is how deep the bed is when opened. Having a 6-inch mattress or a 10-inch mattress might not make a difference to the depth of the open bed, which is often around 85 inches for a queen-size mattress. However, once you have a 12- or 13-inch mattress, because of the way the mattress pivots in the system, it might open further into the room making the opened bed depth further (for example 90 inches).
Check the Murphy Beds closed depth as well as the open depth. Don’t just focus on one or the other.
Check with the manufacturer if the Murphy Bed is capable of being disassembled and moved. Some companies will void a warranty on uninstalling or moving a bed. Some beds might lose strength and integrity depending on build style, quality, and how parts join during assembly. It makes sense to consider a murphy bed system that will last and is able to be moved.
Expand Furniture is the leading provider of space-saving furniture and transforming furniture solutions. Whether you need a Murphy bed, wall bed, sectional sofa, or storage solution furniture, we have innovative designs and options for your home.
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