Wall Bed vs Murphy Bed: Choosing the Right Space-Saver for Your Home

Ever found yourself puzzling over how to make the most of a tiny living space? Imagine having a guest room, home office, and a cozy lounge area all in one. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, choosing between a wall bed and a Murphy bed could be the game-changer you need. But wait, aren’t they the same thing? Let’s dive in and clear up the confusion.

This article will guide you through the ins and outs of wall beds and Murphy beds, highlighting their benefits and helping you decide which fits your space and lifestyle best. By the end, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge to transform your cramped space into a versatile, stylish haven. Let’s get started on this journey to maximize your living area and bring that dream to life.

Key Takeaways

  • Wall Bed vs. Murphy Bed Distinction: While often grouped together, wall beds and Murphy beds have distinct characteristics. Wall beds can include versatile designs with horizontally or vertically folding options and may come with integrated desks or storage, whereas Murphy beds traditionally focus on a seamless blend into room aesthetics, using a pivot and counterbalance system for vertical storage.
  • Space Considerations and Orientation: When choosing between the two, consider your room’s layout and ceiling height. Horizontal wall beds are optimal for rooms with lower ceilings or limited floor space, while Murphy beds are better suited for taller spaces and tend to occupy more wall space.
  • Design and Functional Features: Wall beds offer a range of design options that can include dual functionality, like desks or shelving, ideal for multipurpose spaces. Murphy beds, conversely, often camouflage into the room’s decor, looking like cabinets or closets when not in use, optimizing aesthetic appeal.
  • Pros and Cons: Murphy beds provide space efficiency, superior design integration, and comfort using regular mattresses, but they may require more intricate installation and come at a higher cost. Wall beds also save space and offer versatility with added furniture elements, though they might have more complex installation requirements and specific mattress compatibility.
  • Making an Informed Choice: Your decision should account for space layout, frequency of usage, aesthetic preference, budget, and installation complexity. Evaluating these factors will help you select a bed that aligns with your lifestyle needs and maximizes your living space effectively.

Understanding Wall Beds and Murphy Beds

Delving into the world of space-saving furniture, it’s essential to distinguish between wall beds and Murphy beds. Despite common assumptions, subtle differences exist, shaping which option might be best for your living space.

Wall Beds: A Quick Overview

Wall beds, broadly speaking, encompass any bed that folds up against a wall. Their design varies, allowing for horizontal or vertical storage, which means you can choose based on the layout and limitations of your space. Some models come with attached desks or shelving, integrating seamlessly into your room when the bed is not in use. This feature makes wall beds a favorite for those who desire functionality beyond just sleeping.

Murphy Beds: Detailing the Classic

Murphy beds, named after William Lawrence Murphy who patented the design in the early 20th century, are a type of wall bed with a specific mechanism. They pivot at one end to store vertically against the wall or inside a cabinet or closet. The classic Murphy bed design might include a spring or piston lifting mechanism that helps lower and raise the bed effortlessly. This design seeks to blend with the room’s aesthetics, often featuring attractive front panels that resemble closets, cabinets, or even bookshelves when closed.

Choosing Between the Two

Your choice between a wall bed and a Murphy bed hinges on several factors, including:

  • Space Layout: Horizontal wall beds suit rooms with low ceilings or wide walls, while Murphy beds are ideal for taller spaces.
  • Usage Frequency: If you plan to use the bed daily, a Murphy bed with a smoother mechanism may be more convenient.
  • Additional Features: Consider if you need extra storage or a workspace, as some wall beds include built-in desks or shelving units.
  • Aesthetic Preference: Murphy beds offer more in terms of design variety to match your home decor.

Remember, both options serve the primary purpose of saving space. Yet, understanding these distinctions ensures you make a choice that aligns with your lifestyle, space constraints, and aesthetic desires.

Key Differences Between Wall Beds and Murphy Beds

When you’re exploring options to maximize space in your home, understanding the key differences between wall beds and Murphy beds is crucial. Each offers unique benefits designed to meet specific space and style needs.

Mechanism and Installation

  • Wall Beds: Often attached to the wall with a floor mounting system, wall beds can feature a variety of mechanisms such as spring or piston lifting systems that facilitate easy lowering and stowing away. These beds can be designed to pull down horizontally or vertically, making them versatile for different room layouts.
  • Murphy Beds: Murphy beds are known for their ingenious use of a pivot and counterbalance system that allows the bed to pull down vertically. This design typically requires installation into a wall cavity, making them slightly more complex to install but very sleek in appearance when stowed away.

Design and Aesthetics

  • Wall Beds: These beds offer flexibility in design, with options for built-in desks, shelves, and even wardrobes, allowing them to serve dual purposes in a room. They can be designed to match the room’s decor, making them as noticeable or discreet as you wish.
  • Murphy Beds: Traditionally, Murphy beds have focused on blending seamlessly into the room’s aesthetic. They often appear as cabinetry or wall panels when not in use, disguising the bed entirely until it’s needed.

Space and Orientation

  • Wall Beds: Depending on your room’s layout and space requirements, wall beds can be installed either vertically or horizontally. Horizontal designs are particularly suitable for rooms with low ceilings or limited floor space, like small apartments or attic spaces.
  • Murphy Beds: Ideal for narrow spaces since they extend vertically, Murphy beds are perfect for studio apartments or spare rooms where floor space is a premium. They tend to occupy more wall space when not in use due to their vertical orientation.
  • Wall Beds: With advancements in technology, modern wall beds are designed for ease of use, often requiring minimal effort to lower and stow away. The choice between a spring or piston mechanism can affect how light or heavy the bed feels to operate.
  • Murphy Beds: The pivot and counterbalance system in Murphy beds also ensures they can be easily handled by one person. Proper installation and maintenance are key to preserving the effortless operation over time.

Pros and Cons of Murphy Beds


Space Efficiency: The most significant advantage of a Murphy bed is its ability to free up floor space. When it’s not in use, you can simply lift it up against the wall, making room for other activities. This feature makes it perfect for small apartments or multi-functional spaces, like a home office that doubles as a guest room.

Design and Aesthetics: Murphy beds come in a variety of designs and finishes, allowing them to blend seamlessly with your home decor. Modern Murphy beds can include shelving, desks, and even wardrobe units, making them not just beds but complete furniture systems.

Comfort: Unlike sofa beds or futons, Murphy beds use regular mattresses, providing the same level of comfort as a traditional bed. This means you don’t have to compromise on sleep quality to save space.


Installation: Installing a Murphy bed requires more effort and expertise than a regular bed. The wall mounting process is critical to ensure safety and functionality, often necessitating professional help, which adds to the cost.

Price: On average, Murphy beds tend to be more expensive than conventional beds. The complexity of their design, the quality of materials used, and the additional features they offer contribute to their higher price point.

Usage Frequency: If you plan to use the bed daily, raising and lowering a Murphy bed can become a cumbersome routine. Although modern mechanisms have significantly improved, they still require a level of effort and care each time the bed is stored or pulled down.

In choosing between a wall bed and a Murphy bed, consider how these pros and cons align with your living space, budget, and lifestyle. Murphy beds offer a smart solution for making the most out of limited space while providing a comfortable sleep experience, as long as their installation and cost fit within your means.

Pros and Cons of Wall Beds

Pros of Wall Beds

Space Efficiency: A major advantage of wall beds is their ability to save space. When not in use, they fold up against the wall, freeing up floor space for other activities. This feature is especially valuable in small apartments or rooms that serve multiple purposes.

Versatility: Wall beds come in various designs that include integrated desks, shelving, and storage options. This versatility allows you to customize your space to meet both your sleeping and living needs without compromising on style or functionality.

Aesthetics: Modern wall beds offer sleek and stylish designs that can enhance the overall look of your room. They’re available in a range of materials and finishes, allowing you to find one that complements your home decor.

Ease of Use: Pulling down and packing up a wall bed is typically straightforward and requires minimal effort. This ease of use ensures that you can transition your space from a living area to a bedroom with little hassle.

Cons of Wall Beds

Installation Complexity: Installing a wall bed can be more complex than setting up a traditional bed. It often requires securing the bed to the wall, which might not be feasible in all homes or for all DIY enthusiasts. Professional installation can add to the cost.

Cost: High-quality wall beds with integrated furniture elements can be expensive. The initial investment may be higher compared to a standard bed or even some Murphy bed designs.

Mattress Compatibility: Some wall beds have limitations on the weight and thickness of the mattress you can use with them. This restriction might affect comfort and the type of mattress you prefer.

Room Aesthetics When Down: While wall beds save space when stored, they can dominate a room when folded down. If the bed is used frequently, you might find it affects the room’s functionality or aesthetics during the day.

Understanding these pros and cons will help you decide if a wall bed meets your specific needs for space efficiency, versatility, aesthetic preference, and budget. Consider how often you’ll use the bed and in what capacity, as this will significantly influence your satisfaction with a wall bed in your home.

Considerations for Choosing Between a Wall Bed and a Murphy Bed

When delving into the realm of space-saving furniture, you’re likely to encounter wall beds and Murphy beds as top contenders. Despite their similarities, key differences exist, leading to unique considerations for each. Here, we’ll explore factors to help you decide whether a wall bed or a Murphy bed better suits your needs.

Space Configuration

Consider the layout and size of your room. Wall beds often come with additional components like desks or shelving, requiring more wall space for installation. If your space doubles as a home office or storage area, a wall bed might be the ideal solution. On the other hand, Murphy beds typically demand less surrounding space, making them suitable for tighter quarters.

Usage Frequency

Think about how often the bed will be used. If you’re planning on using it daily, prioritize ease of use and mattress quality. Murphy beds, designed for frequent use, typically offer a straightforward mechanism for lowering and stowing the bed. For guest rooms or occasional use, a wall bed with extra features might provide better value.

Aesthetic Preferences

Your room’s aesthetic when the bed is stored and deployed is also a crucial factor. A Murphy bed often blends into the wall or mimics the appearance of a closet, providing a seamless look. Wall beds, with their integrated features, offer a more functional appearance, which might be more in line with a multi-purpose space.

Budget Considerations

Budget plays a significant role in your decision. Wall beds, given their added functionalities like desks or shelves, might come with a higher price tag. In contrast, basic Murphy beds might be more budget-friendly, though prices vary widely based on design and materials.

Installation Requirements

Finally, consider the installation process. Both types may require professional installation to ensure safety and functionality, but wall beds, especially those with integrated components, might present a more complex installation challenge. Understanding your capacity for handling such a project, or your willingness to hire professional help, will be key in your decision-making process.

By evaluating these considerations, you can better determine which bed type — wall or Murphy — aligns with your space, practical needs, and lifestyle. Remember, the right choice optimizes your living area without sacrificing comfort or style.


Deciding between a wall bed and a Murphy bed boils down to understanding your own space and needs. If you’re leaning towards a multifunctional piece that blends seamlessly with your home office or living area, a wall bed might be your go-to. On the flip side, if maximizing your space with a sleek design is your priority, a Murphy bed could be the perfect fit. Remember, it’s not just about saving space—it’s about enhancing your lifestyle and making your home work smarter for you. Take your time to weigh the options considering your budget, aesthetic, and practical requirements. After all, the right choice will ensure you enjoy both comfort and style without compromising on space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a wall bed and a Murphy bed?

A wall bed is specifically designed to fold up against a wall and often features additional components like desks or shelving. A Murphy bed, while similar in its space-saving design, typically folds up into a closet or cabinet, emphasizing efficient use of space without the added functionality of integrated furniture.

How do wall beds and Murphy beds save space?

Both types of beds are designed to fold away when not in use, freeing up floor space in a room. Wall beds may include integrated desks or shelving, serving multiple purposes, while Murphy beds are more straightforward, hiding away in a closet or cabinet.

What are the main considerations when choosing between a wall bed and a Murphy bed?

Key factors include the available space configuration, how often the bed will be used, personal aesthetic preferences, budget, and any specific installation requirements. It is essential to assess these aspects to determine which option best suits your needs for functionality, style, and comfort.

Can wall beds and Murphy beds be customized?

Yes, both wall beds and Murphy beds offer a variety of design options, allowing customers to select materials, finishes, and additional features like integrated desks or storage solutions. This customization makes it easier to match the bed with the room’s existing décor and functionality needs.

Are there any budget considerations when choosing between a wall bed and a Murphy bed?

Yes, budget is an important consideration as both types of beds can vary greatly in price depending on materials, design complexity, and custom features. It’s advisable to outline a budget before starting your search and keep in mind installation costs, which can differ based on the type of bed and the complexity of the installation process.

  • Lisa

    Hello! I'm Lisa, a passionate writer and enthusiast for all things related to home improvement, interior design, and transforming outdoor spaces. My journey into writing began with my own adventures in renovating my home, where I discovered the joy and challenges of turning a house into a personalized sanctuary. With a keen eye for design trends and a love for DIY projects, I aim to share insights, tips, and inspiration to help you make your home a reflection of your unique style and vision.

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