How Do I Choose the Best Horizontal Murphy Bed?

Judith Smith Sullivan

There are several different types of horizontal murphy beds, and choosing the best one will depend on the space you have available, your style, and your budget. A horizontal murphy bed can be purchased ready made or in a kit that requires some assembly, or can be custom made by a carpenter or built yourself. Sometimes murphy beds are also available second hand through classified advertisements or furniture consignment stores. Designs may be as simple as a metal frame or as elaborate as integrated cabinets with motorized mechanism for raising and lowering the bed.

Good deals on used items may be listed in the local classifieds.
Good deals on used items may be listed in the local classifieds.

In order to find the right horizontal murphy bed for you, start by measuring the space intended for the bed. Measure its width, height, and depth to determine the size of bed you can accommodate. If the bed will be used for children, a twin size will suffice, but adults will be more comfortable on a full or queen size bed. Next, consider the surrounding decor. If you choose a murphy bed which has a cabinetry encasement, it should match the room's style.

Know the measurements of room and bed before purchase.
Know the measurements of room and bed before purchase.

Some horizontal murphy beds have additional features like shelves, storage cubbies, and integrated desks and tables. These types of beds are typically more expensive, but in small residences, the extra storage and the functions of the bed are worth the extra cost. Decide whether you prefer a manual bed, which is raised and lowered by hand, or a mechanical bed, which is electrically powered. Powered beds are typically more expensive but may be necessary if the bed will be regularly used by a small child or older adult who cannot operate a manual bed.

Lastly, determine your budget. A horizontal murphy bed can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the brand, design, and features you choose. If you find that you need multiple features, which are expensive in ready made designs, consider hiring a carpenter or building the bed yourself. In some cases, a carpenter can build a custom horizontal murphy bed for less than the cost of a ready made unit. You can also search classified ads, online auction websites, and used furniture stores for secondhand murphy beds, which are typically less expensive than new beds.

Once you've ascertained your needs, decide whether you're going to buy, build, or have a carpenter build a murphy bed for you. If you plan to buy, try to purchase the horizontal murphy bed from a local store. This way, you can test similar murphy beds in the show room for ease of use and overall quality. It may also help you decide on what features are best for you if you are unsure.

If you are building or having a murphy bed built, make sure you have detailed plans. This should include the encasement, mechanism, materials, and anchoring. There are some murphy bed plans available online and in carpentry books. Keep in mind that you will have to purchase a mattress, so make sure that the bed is built to sustain the weight of the type of mattress you want. If you prefer a thick mattress, the bed will have to be built to accommodate it.

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