A Murphy bed is a go-to solution for maximizing space, yet many people have never seen one in action.
Most people think that Murphy beds are only used for a small bedroom or in a studio apartment, but they have the ability to expand the functionality of any space. Spare rooms or guest rooms can double as yoga studios, home offices, children’s playrooms and just about anything you could imagine once a Murphy bed is in its upright position.
Murphy beds are becoming increasingly popular, but there are several things to consider before your purchase. One of the most common questions from customers is: “How does a Murphy bed attach to the wall?” Here is everything you need to know to answer this often-asked question.
The most common Murphy bed options are floor-mounted or wall-mounted, which indicates where the bed will be secured. Floor mounting is required by traditional spring mechanism systems, which makes it stable but usually causes permanent damage to the floor, according to home improvement expert Bob Vila. Spring mechanisms are counterbalanced to lower and lift the Murphy bed. Floor mounted units are also more difficult to remove once installed.
The majority of Murphy beds on the market require it to be secured to a wall. Wall-mounted units attach to studs and can generally be moved without causing much damage. Traditional wall-mounted Murphy beds rely on air piston lifting mechanisms to raise the bed platform up and down.
Depending on the model you select, different Murphy beds require different tools for installation. This is because most Murphy beds rely on either traditional spring-based or piston-based lifting mechanisms. Unlike other Murphy beds on the market, the Lori Wall Bed has no mechanical aids for lifting and lowering the platform, which makes installation that much smoother—and safer because it doesn’t involve coiled springs. It's a mechanism-free solution that can be lifted and lowered by hand.
If you want to preserve your floors, baseboards and molding, the Lori Wall Bed is a solid alternative because it doesn’t have a lifting mechanism which needs to create tension near the base of the bed to lift the mattress. The bed uses a standalone platform that only attaches to the cabinet when it’s in the upright position, meaning there’s very little weight, if any, pulling against the wall.
What You’ll Need to Install a Murphy Bed
Here’s a list of the equipment you’ll want to have around when installing your Murphy bed:
- Safety equipment. Gloves, protective eyewear, earplugs and dust masks all make woodworking safer and more comfortable
- Power drill, for driving screws and drilling pilot holes
- Standard drill bits
- Stud finder
- Measuring tape, pencil, level, etc. These are not strictly required, but may come in handy
- Paint or stain, sandpaper, brushes, etc. for finishing your project
Installing a Wall-Mounted Murphy Bed
The first step involves using your stud-finder to locate the studs (the vertical, wood 2x4’s) behind the drywall where you want to install your Murphy bed. Typically, studs are spaced out every 16-inches, though this may vary depending on how your house was built. To make it easy to locate, most electronic stud finders will beep once it discovers the right spot to drill.
Next, mark the location of the studs on the upper bed brace. Grab screws and drill through the marked points to create a pilot hole through the brace and into the stud. Lori Wall Beds provides large fender washers with its ready-to-install kits. The washers should be fitted around the screw to further secure the bed’s position to the wall. Don’t fully tighten your anchors until you are sure everything is where you want it. Small adjustments are helpful at the end. Once you have the position you desire, tighten them down.
Pro tip: If you plan on painting or staining your Murphy bed, Lori Wall Beds recommends doing wood finishing before the installation.
Other Considerations Before Installing a Murphy Bed
Vertical vs. Horizontal Frames
Murphy beds are housed in a cabinet that has to be mounted to the wall for security. When the bed lifts up, it becomes flush against the wall, revealing cabinets, shelves, paneling or a desk that instantly changes the function of a room. Traditionally, customers can choose from two types of frames: Vertical and horizontal. Each requires a different level of effort when it comes to installation.
Vertically mounted Murphy beds tend to have more installation steps compared to horizontal models because horizontally mounted Murphy beds have a lower center of gravity and are far less likely to tip than vertical options, according to the experts at Go Downsize.
Freestanding Murphy Bed Models
No-mount Murphy beds are probably the only option for renters whose landlords refuse to allow them to drill holes in the walls, or for those who simply don’t want to drill holes in the walls. As the name suggests, there is no wall mounting required. So how does a freestanding Murphy bed work? According to Expand Furniture, with freestanding Murphy beds, “the legs are attached to a desk to provide a counterbalance for the bed unit. The bed does not have to be mounted to the wall because the metal legs prevent the unit from toppling over.”
Freestanding models are also more portable than wall mounted units, making it a more flexible alternative Murphy bed option for people who move around frequently. One major drawback to a no-mount wall bed is the cost. There are limited options on the market, and they cost close to $5,000.
In our experience, Murphy bed assembly typically takes 2 to 4 hours for one person working alone, though it can take less than 2 hours with the help of a partner. At Lori Wall Beds, our mission is to put the wall bed within everyone's reach, so we've designed step-by-step plans that make assembling the Lori Wall Bed a breeze for even a novice. Each part of the process is detailed with pictures and explained in plain English. You can also follow along with our assembly video to see how to assemble the bed, including how to properly mount a Murphy bed to the wall.