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What Is a Murphy Bed—and How Can You Use It in Your Home?

Murphy beds, also known as pull-down beds or wall beds, are space-saving solutions that can be stored vertically against the wall when not in use. They're great for small apartments and guest rooms, allowing for a multipurpose space. However, there are safety concerns and the need to rearrange the room before and after use. Foam mattresses are recommended for murphy beds.

If you’re looking for a bed that is also a space-saving solution, you might have encountered the term “murphy bed.” Murphy beds are pull-down beds that, depending on your situation, can be a great option for small apartments and guest rooms

Is a murphy bed the perfect space-saving solution you’ve been looking for? Read on to find out. 

What is a murphy bed?

A murphy bed (also sometimes referred to as a pull-down bed, a fold-down bed, or a wall bed) is a bed that, when not in use, can be stored vertically against the wall. 

It’s hinged on one end, which makes it possible to fold it up and store it against the wall or inside a closet during the day and pull it down only when needed.

Pros of a murphy bed

Murphy beds have quite a few benefits that make them unique in the world of beds. These include:

  • They’re great space savers. If you have a tiny bedroom or a one-room apartment, a murphy bed can be a life-changer as it takes up very little space when not in use.
  • They allow you to create a multipurpose space. If you don’t have room in your house for both an office and a guest room, a murphy bed can turn one room into a multipurpose space. Pull the bed out and you have a guest room. Keep it hidden and the room becomes a working space. When not in use, it looks like a wall, closet, or storage unit.  
  • They’re multifunctional. Although most murphy beds look like closets or walls when folded, they can be customized to double as sofas or desks.

Cons of a murphy bed

Despite the numerous advantages of murphy beds, there are some cons to be aware of. These include: 

  • They may not be safe. Murphy beds can be dangerous if not used or installed properly.
  • They’re challenging to fold out and put away. Although murphy beds are designed to be easily folded up and down, it can be challenging to use them in some cases. For example, they shouldn’t be used by the elderly or in children’s rooms.
  • They might require rearranging the room before or after the use. A murphy bed can indeed create a multipurpose room, but that means you have to rearrange the space (i.e., clear the space for the bed) before you pull it out. This might be fine if you use a murphy bed in a space that only occasionally becomes a guest room, but it might be less ideal for daily use.
  • They may decrease the lifespan of your mattress. Most mattresses last, on average, seven to 10 years. Because murphy beds are pulled out and folded up often, they may reduce the lifespan of your mattress

How to style a murphy bed

You have many options when it comes to styling a murphy bed. Most are designed to look like large cabinets when they’re upright and often have shelves on either side that can be used as storage or to display artwork, books, and accessories. 

There are other ways to design a murphy bed that add functionality to your room. For example, you can style your murphy bed to look like a small sofa when the bed is hidden or add a folding desk creating a working space.

Find the right mattress for your murphy bed at Saatva

Loom and Leaf Memory Foam Mattress

Premium memory foam, handcrafted in the U.S. with eco-friendly materials. Breathable organic cotton, cooling spinal gel, and layers of high-density support foam assure a cool, comfortable night's sleep.

Zenhaven Latex Mattress

Natural latex responds to every curve for pressure-free support and responsive comfort. Natural latex is supple, resilient, and durable, for the ultimate in elevated sleep. (It's naturally hypoallergenic too.)


Why is it called a murphy bed?

Murphy beds were invented in the early 1900s  by William Lawrence Murphy, an Irish immigrant in America. According to legend, he lived in a small one-room apartment in San Francisco and was wooing an opera singer. It was considered inappropriate at the time for a woman to enter a man’s bedroom, so Murphy wanted to find a creative way to turn his only room into a parlor during the day. He came up with the fold-up design, and the murphy bed was born.

What is the best mattress for a murphy bed?

When choosing a mattress for a murphy bed, keep in mind that the bed is going to be vertical for much of the day. A common problem with murphy beds is bunching up at the top part of the mattress. This is especially common with

innerspring mattresses.
saatva classic innerspring mattress
Saatva Classic

America’s best-selling online luxury innerspring


The best option for a murphy bed is a foam mattress, either

memory foam
loom and leaf memory foam mattress
Loom and Leaf

Our ultra-premium 5-lb memory foam mattress for a body-hugging feel

zenhaven latex mattress

Our dual-sided organic natural latex mattress for buoyant, pressure-relieving comfort

as they retain their shape better than innerspring mattresses when folded up. Additionally, make sure to always check with your mattress manufacturer to see if your mattress is compatible with a murphy bed. Many murphy beds have a maximum mattress height you can use. 

What size is a murphy bed mattress?

Murphy beds come in all standard mattress sizes from twin to king. If you live alone and are looking to buy a murphy bed to save space, going with a full-size bed and mattress offers ample room for one adult.

Does a murphy bed need a box spring?

You don’t need a box spring for a murphy bed. Murphy beds typically function as platform beds, meaning they’re able to support your mattress without the need for a box spring. 

Can a murphy bed be used every day?

It’s perfectly fine to use a murphy bed every day to turn your living space into a bedroom at night—just like it’s fine to keep it hidden in the guest room to be pulled out only occasionally.

Get high-quality mattresses for murphy beds and more with Saatva

Because of their multifunctionality and space-saving ability, murphy beds are a great option for small apartments and guest rooms. 

If you’ve set your eyes on a murphy bed, head over to Saatva for a variety of durable, comfortable, and handcrafted mattresses that are well-suited for all types of bed frames. You can also take our mattress quiz to determine which mattress is best for your sleeping habits. 

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